Captain’s Log 6,068
Back in the saddle. All the trip stuff is put away. Laundry is done. Receipts are filed.
We came back a day ahead of schedule because my traveling companion had to go to a bridal shower that was scheduled after we made our plan. Oh, the young who still get twirled up about marriage and all the fuss that goes into it the first time. It made more sense to shoot home from the San Francisco area on Friday that dawdle half-way on Friday and leave at 6:00 AM on Saturday to get her back in time. I was fine with it. But it was 8 hours in the car on Friday.
And it was hot hot hot coming into Los Angeles. Temperatures in the Grapevine were 107-108 degrees. That’s very hot for California. Considering it was 37 degrees one morning in the mountains, it was quite a shock to be in such oppressive heat. We drank lots of water and listened to Annie Lennox on the CD player. It was all good.
My traveling companion calculated 1,700 miles for our trip. We clocked in at 1,684. Not bad! I told her to drive around the neighborhood for 30 minutes to hit the goal. Somehow, she didn’t think that was very funny. I walked into my house at 8:05 on Friday night. I was in my bed (actually ON my bed because it was so hot) at 8:15. I woke up sometime after 9:00 on Saturday morning. One tired and extremely happy puppy.
Our nightly stops (in order)……..
Kernville (the foothills of Sequoia National Forest)
Clovis (only place to stay because the park roads don’t connect)
June Lake (after our descent out of Yosemite – also the worst hotel AND my traveling companion got food poisoning)
Bridgeport (on our way to the Sonora Pass through the Stanislaus National Forest)
Sutter Creek (gold country on the way to Sacramento)
Walnut Creek (after seeing the redwoods in Muir Woods near San Francisco)
What did we see? Oh my gosh!
Kernville, where The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and lots of other westerns were filmed
Sequoia National Forest, where we walked the Trail of 100 Giants and explored those magnificent trees
Sequoia National Park, where we drove through groves of giant trees and viewed amazing scenery
Shaver Lake, found by taking a wrong road but wow it was nice
Yosemite National Park, where I cannot even begin to describe the beauty and the greatness
Mammoth Lakes, with ski areas and lots of amazing lakes
The Sonora Pass, probably the most beautiful drive of the entire trip
Sutter Creek, and all the gold rush stuff
Sacramento (California Automobile Museum), to see my pal and her museum
Muir Woods, to visit the primeval forest of giant redwoods
San Francisco, with electric trolleys, steep streets, and the Golden Gate Bridge
Danville (Blackhawk Museum), where I was left to wait almost 90 minutes by the director and I finally took off without seeing him
Trail of 100 Giants (Sequoia National Forest)
El Capitan (Yosemite National Park)
Sonora Pass (through the Stanislaus National Forest)
Redwood forest (Muir Woods National Monument – not my photo)
We got along well. Six days in a small car and sharing motel rooms and meals is a lot of togetherness. But it all worked out. A few days before the trip, I damaged one of the large flexor muscles in my hip, so I had to take it easier than I would have liked. I ate a LOT of Advil and was very careful about taking large steps, etc. I was able to walk the Trail of 100 Giants and Muir Woods. Anything more than that would have been too much. I did short walks every time we stopped to see cool stuff, but no serious hiking.
No serious hiking was probably a good idea since we spent most of our trip at 6,000 feet or higher. Hiking in thin air like that takes training. A few times, we were as high was 10,000 feet. My lips cracked at that elevation. I had no desire to push myself too hard.
Did we eat the 12 pounds of nuts we brought along? In a word….NO. We ate about a pound. My traveling companion is not very experienced with things like this, so it was a useful teaching moment. She also did not comprehend the simplicity of packing just one bag. Every night, she carted three bags into the motel rooms. By the last day, she figured out that she could have consolidated essentials into just one bag and saved herself a lot of work. But no. She brought in a special bag every night because it contained a tube of hand cream. I used to travel that way too. It took a lot of trips before I figured out how to maximize my packing based on what I am going to do and who I am going to see. I did the entire trip with one pair of jeans, a pair of corduroy slacks, three t-shirts, pajamas, underwear and socks for 7 days, one long-sleeved t-shirt, one sweatshirt/jacket, Kindle, one pair of shoes (that I wore the entire time), and my toiletries. All in one overnight bag (tossing the sweatshirt into the back seat). When you know you are never going to see the same people twice, you can repeat your clothing easily. I like simple and quick when I travel. I like to set up my “house” in a motel room in less than 3 minutes. Good to go. Hit the soda machine and be reading my Kindle before the DO NOT DISTURB sign stops swinging.
It was one of the most amazing trips of my entire life! Now that I have seen these things, I know what I want to see again. If I could pack up today and leave for another week, I would do it in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, duty calls. Duties and responsibilities.