Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Sacramento River Delta

We left the mountains yesterday. Traveled down thru the foothills, then across the Central Valley to the Sacramento River and Sugar Barge RV Park. We'll be staying here a few days to give our Wi-Fi and computer seminars.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Took a walk, saw some rocks.

It's not often that Chris is rendered speechless. The view going into Yosemite Valley did it. Awesome does not begin to describe it. The pictures do not do it justice. This is my first visit to Yosemite. Most of the falls are dried up at this time of year. That means we have to come back in Springtime to see the splendor of the rushing water and wildflowers. We left Odie in the motor home and drove the car down into the valley. Then we took a bus tour up to Glacier Point. The driver gave a wonderful narration on the ride. He stopped near El Capitan so we could see the rock climbers doing their thing. Mere specks on the rock face. Then up, up, up to one of the most spectacular vistas in the world. We could see hikers on the point of Half Dome through a telescope. Then it was down, down, down to the valley floor. Most of the people on the bus tour took the bus back down. Chris and I walked down the "Four Mile Trail" which is closer to five miles back to the car. I don't think Odie would have made it. There was some question whether we would make it! Just kidding, we really enjoyed the hike. We only saw five other people on the trail. One woman was running UP! It looked like she wasn't even breathing. Wow! We saw a bunch of deer on the way. Another couple said they saw a black bear. On the way out of the valley, the full moon was rising and we stopped for some more pictures. Then back home, tired and happy. What a day!

Photos from Yosemite

I'm speechless!

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Tioga, Tuolumne and Hot Brakes

I'm a day behind, I know - and I have LOTS of photos. We've been in Yosemite Park. We stayed Friday night at the Tuolumne Meadows campground and there were too many trees to get the satellite for Internet. A day offline sounded kinda nice anyway, so we didn't try too hard. I read a book, we went for walks and we even attended the Ranger's Fireside talk. She started by reciting the poem "The Cremation of Sam McGee". That's always been a favorite of mine, I even have the book. Maybe I'll memorize it?!
There are strange things done in the midnight sun
by the men who moil for gold
The arctic trails have their secret tales
that would make your blood run cold
The northern lights have seen queer sights,
but the strangest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake LeBarge
I cremated Sam McGee
Here's the drive up Tioga Pass road, from the east, into Yosemite park:
And the view looking back down. This road takes you from around 6,000 feet elevation down by Mono Lake to 9965 at the top in 12 miles. It was suggested that we may want to unhook the Honda and drive separately, but we didn't. We had been over 9,000 foot passes a couple times in Wyoming and did fine. But, this one is a bit longer! We made it fine, but we spent an inordinate amount of time in first gear. Almost to the top. See the snow? And, here we are! It wasn't very far then to the Tuolumne meadows campground, which is probably the only campground along the Tioga road that could accomodate us. You don't see any big rigs up here. I remember, when I used to go backpacking in these parts, we had to put all our food into one stuff sack, tie a rope on it and throw it over a branch so it hung high enough that a bear couldn't get at it. Well, according to the ranger talk, that's not good enough anymore. The bears have learned how to climb above that branch and then jump down on it to get the bag. In camprounds, you are required to put all your food in these bear proof lockers. If you're backpacking you need to rent a bear proof cannister to take with you. We didn't see any bear, even tho we were told they are at their hungriest right now, getting ready for winter hibernation. Just across from the campground is Lembert dome - one of the many examples of how glaciers carved the granite into smooth domes. Then we walked along the Tuolumne river thru the meadows. Nice reflections. Our destination was the Soda Springs. Water comes out of the ground carbonated!

Saturday morning we got up to 36 degree weather. Brrrrrr. We were at about 8500 feet. The campground was getting ready to close for the winter - we happened to be there on their last weekend. I'm so glad we made it - it was gorgeous. We hoped to stay at a campsite in Yosemite valley, but you need reservations and they were all booked up. So, we decided to drive west outside the park and leave the motorhome there while we take the car back up into the valley for Sunday.

Here's some photos along the way:

Tenaya Lake on a sparklingly beautiful day: Amazing how they cut this road from the smooth rock face. Coming back down from that 8500 level to our current 3000 feet is hard on brakes. We could smell them getting hot as we're driving. But, when we had to stop at the park entrance, they made some really wierd noises and then, when Jim pressed on the pedal it went all the way to the floor with no effect! Uh Oh. Not a good feeling ... one of my recurrent nightmares actually. He pumped them a few times and they came back, but we stopped at the first wide spot in the road and sat there for 2 hours while the brakes cooled. They seem fine now, but we will certainly get them checked out at our next stop in civilization. Here is a map of our last 4 days:

Friday, September 24, 2004

Greetings from Highway 395

This must be one of the most spectacular drives in the world. The road is mostly in a valley, but the Sierra Nevada mountains rise straight up on our right side. Except for all the noise of the motorcycles making their way to Reno for the 'Street Vibrations' weekend, this was a delightful lunch stop. I noticed 'Bodie' on the map and told Jim we had to take this little side trip to an honest-to-goodness ghost town. In it's heyday around 1875 it had over 10,000 inhabitants. The gold mine is what drew people to this 8500 feet desolated place. We had to unhook the car to make the final few miles on dirt road. What a spectacular view! After visiting Bodie, we continued south on 395 to Mono Lake. We spent the night in Lee Vining, California and are getting ready to head up Tioga Pass Road to Yosemite today! Wheeeeee!

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Horse Play

Melinda has a horse! The Washoe Valley, just south of Reno is desert/ranch/horse country. Her sister lives there and has a horse. When Melinda heard about the Parelli method of horse training, she decided this was a perfect fit for her passion about learning in general. It also provides an activity away from work and away from the house. She loves her horse. Meet Dudley: Instead of yanking on a horse with a bit in his mouth, or kicking him with spurs, the Parelli method shows you how to 'bond' with the horse and get him to do things with simple gestures. She clapped a short clap, raised her hand pointing to the right and Dudley started to trot in the direction she pointed. Our cowgirl, Melinda: She told me that one thing she learned is if she gets lower than Dudley he trusts her more. A girl and her horse. After visiting Dudley, we went out to dinner at the Peppermill casino. They have a great seafood restaurant. Talk about a contrast! From desert and dust to glamour and glitz. I actually liked the decor - neon everywhere. They made it feel like you were underwater with all the fish (one of my favorite places) and the sun was shining on the waves above you. The food was good too. But the best, of course, was conversation with a dear old friend. We've known each other for 25 years. We've lived together, traveled together, shared heartbreaks and joys and, lots of meals!