Day 2 at Yosemite
Today we arouse to a beautiful morning, however that was the calm before the storm. As we entered the park it was snowing just a little bit. That was to be expected because at that high of elevation, you expect some flurries, at least I do when it is cloudy with a chance of rain. Inside at the lower elevations of the park, there were just a few rain showers, at least until we got out of the van and on our way to the bathroom (again), a little heavier showers started.
We walked to the post office and purchased our postcard stamps. There we showed the kids the old architecture of the post office where they still had the PO boxes without keys, just combination style locks. It was really cool. Next, of course, was the gift shop, where the kids enjoyed looking at all the trinkets and gadgets. They made their purchases, and of course, now it is a down pour (guess that means no hiking today). So our next adventure was to watch the film on Yosemite, which I, Charlie, did not watch, as little kids just could not sit through the film, so we played outside under the awning. After that we headed back to the van to eat our lunch and come up with a new game plan.
After looking at our options, we started back to the camper in Lee Vining when the real adventure started. THE PASS IS CLOSED DUE TO THE WEATHER. Estimated time to drive around the park was 4 to 8 hrs. With Rebecca driving, we begin travel around Yosemite headed to Sonora to find that that pass was closed. Sonora had a beautiful downtown though. Well we got to the next pass at Angels Camp and it was open. Three and half hours after exiting the park we are on our way over the Sierra Nevada Mountains heading toward Lee Vining via Ebbetts Pass thru the Stanislaus National Forest (HWY 4). Thus far, it was a beautiful trip around the park. As we drove closer to the mountains, the clouds grew darker, and it began to rain. The road thru the park began to get winding and narrow with no markings for center lines and temperatures now in the mid 30 degree range, however the views were incredible. As we got to around 8000 ft. the snow flurries began, the temperature was near freezing at Mosquito Lake and the road got very steep and curvy. This went on for more than 20 miles, as I was a wreck going down the steep, tight and narrow curves. Right as it turned dark, we then got on another pass called Monitor Pass (HWY 89) through the Toiyabe National Forest that at least had center lines on it. As we are going over the mountains it began to rain hard, and the fog grew thick, but the road was much better.
Although this was not a planned side trip, it was a complete gift from God as it was some of the most beautiful land I have ever seen (I truly loved it). We finally made it to HWY 395 at 8:50 pm more than five and half hours later with still more than an hour to go. Soon after heading down HWY 385, we saw a sign that said “Tioga Pass, Open”. We began to be a little frustrated but how can we be for the trip had astonishing views of the mountains, streams and valleys. As we continued on HWY 395, it began to snow once again. We finally made it back to the camper in Lee Vining just before 10pm. Home, safe at last. Wow, what an adventure today was; I would not have traded it for the world. The kids were great troopers too. We are looking forward to our next adventure.
There have been many lessons learned thus far on this trip:
- Follow your instincts; they are usually right.
- Pray often; let God handle the rest. He works it out for you.
- Stick to major highways; it’s easier to find places to stay for free (Walmart).
- Enjoy whatever comes your way; it’s an adventure.
- Don’t drive large campers thru national parks (the roads are tight and not really designed to handle large vehicles towing as ours at almost a total of 52 feet).
- Make sure you have twice the water you think you need. It takes about 5 to 10 gallons for our family everyday.
- Always remember: where there is one deer, elk or whatever it is, there are usually more.
- Heading west after Little Rock, AR make sure you stop and get gas as many times as you see a gas station on I-40 pulling a camper. You are heading up in elevation the entire way to the Colorado Plateau and towing a camper sure does drink up the gas.
- Do what your biggest priority is first; there may not be another chance due to weather.
- Always carry blankets in the car just in case unexpected things, like bad weather happen. (We were not totally prepared for this adventure.)
Please keep praying for us and sending us all the comments. The kids beg us to read the comments all the time. We love hearing from you and miss each and every one of you.
Thanks and God bless,