Sunset in PV

Sunset in PV

Sunday, May 20, 2012

May 14 – 20, 2010 “Yosemite to Santa Rosa, CA”

The hour and a half drive from Chowchilla, CA, at an elevation of 330 feet to Yosemite, where the elevation varies between 2,000 and 13,000 feet, via Hwy 140 was spectacular; through the vineyards and citrus groves, up through the foothills where dairy farms dot the landscape. We chose to start our exploration at Washburn Point. (As usual, click on any image to enlarge) 

For the person that first coined the phrase, a picture is worth a thousand words, must have been referencing Yosemite; everywhere you look is a Kodak moment. Here the Merced River travels over Nevada Falls (upper) and the lower Vernal Falls. Even from this distance, you can hear the sounds of the cascading waters.

From Washburn Point its only a couple of miles to the roads end at Glacier Point, where one gets a bird’s eye view of Yosemite Valley, 3,000 feet below.

Standing high on the cliff, overlooking this spectacular valley, and Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls, I wondered what early man thought when seeing it for the first time, and how it has transformed over the eons. 

We left Glacier Point and back tracked the 17 miles to Yosemite Valley, where this landscape awaited us as we exited the 8/10 mile tunnel leading into the valley; a view of Bridalveil Falls.

You can hike to the falls, and below it is this small bridge crossing Bridalveil Creek. Beyond this point, photography can sometimes be difficult, depending on wind conditions, as the rising mist from the falls covers a vast area.

Bridalveil is the most photographed falls in Yosemite............... with just cause!

The undenominational Yosemite Chapel in the valley is the oldest structure in the park, and was dedicated June 7, 1879. 

The chapel survived the flood of 1992, but sustained extensive damage that needed to be repaired, as flood waters climbed to over 10 feet on January 2, as the sign in front of the chapel demonstrates.

Across the road from the chapel is Lower Yosemite Falls. If you only have time to visit one of the National Parks in California, make it Yosemite; it is much more diverse than the others, and there is a “Kodak Moment” almost everywhere you look. 

It has been a long day, as we travel back to our “home”, The Lakes RVand Golf Resort in Chowchilla, one of the nicest parks we have stayed in this year. The sites are lined by vegetation, ours with honeysuckle in bloom. Some surround the lake and have outdoor kitchens, with the clubhouse, pool and spa in the background.

We departed Chowchilla and traveled 100 miles westward to Morgan Hill, where we will call Maple Leaf RV Park our home for the next few days while we visit with some of CC’s family living in nearby San Jose. 

Our time to visit with family was brief, but we shared a wonderful Italian dinner at Mama Mia’s in Morgan Hill. I have been asked to post no pictures to protect those that are in need of anonymity. (Just kidding…….I forgot to take the camera……Oooops!) 

The following morning we did the usual, coffee, breakfast, and WDYWTDT. So, off to Santa Cruz it was; a short drive of 50 miles over the Santa Cruz Mountains to the boardwalk at the beach.

It was early, both hourly and seasonally, so the crowds were non-existent; opening day was three days from today, so we had time to walk the boardwalk and enjoy the coastal breezes.

We walked out on the wharf and had lunch at Gilda’s, an Italian joint open since 1879. I had snapper and CC enjoyed the calamari. They were both very good, but I’m sure we are somewhat biased as we haven’t had any fresh seafood for months.

The walk back to the beach revealed other “visitors” to the wharf.

We had originally planned on traveling to Santa Rosa on Friday, but after careful examination of our intended route, decided it may be prudent to travel early on Saturday morning. Hopefully traffic should be less hectic traveling 130 miles up I-880 through Oakland to the 101, into Santa Rosa.

We arrived at The Sonoma County Fairgrounds about three hours later, unscathed but slightly unnerved by the amount of traffic and the speed at which California drivers travel. Since we are towing the Equinox, state law limits our speed to 55 MPH, with a speed limit of 65 MPH for non-towing or vehicles less than 3 axles; most travel closer to 75 or 80, which makes merging and changing lanes “interesting”. 

Sunday morning after the usual tête-à-tête, it was off to an steam powered saw mill, open and operating this weekend for the public to tour. 

This restoration project began with an inspiration to share and preserve a piece of local history. The phrase "an American original" is often overused in popular culture; in the heart of Sonoma County, however, stands a special place that truly merits the title of American original.

At Sturgeon's Mill, you bask in the rich resonance of more than 100 years of California history. Imagine the mighty redwoods that passed through this once-bustling facility, creating the timber that built a great state. Close your eyes, and you can almost hear the voices of the workmen as they labored and laughed together. Stand alongside the powerful steam-driven sawmill, and the roar of its machinery still echoes faintly through the glade.

After a quick lunch, it was off to the coast, for a drive up The 1; the original coastal highway. Some RV’ers we have spoken to “claim” they have taken their rigs on The 1, but after driving 50 miles on it in the Equinox, there is no way Elly could make it. If your rig is over 22 feet, don’t attempt it, as it is much too steep, narrow and winding; all with no paved shoulders and very few pullouts. But……………..the views are breath taking!

It has been an eventful week, and writing about it brings back vivid memories, as if it were only yesterday. Next week our plans are to travel northward, up the 101, to Redwoods National Park for more BFT’s. Memorial Day is also on the horizon, so we will have to make certain we have a place to stay for the official start to the summer RV season; quite possibly Crescent City, CA.

Thanks for taking time to stop by and view our latest chapter. Until next time, take care and stay well…………………….

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