Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequioas – OH MY!

After an uneventful 4 1/2 hour drive, we arrived in Coarsegold, CA.  We stayed at SKP Park of the Sierras, an Escapee park.   Their rates are very reasonable to begin with, but then since we were first time visitors, we were able to take advantage of a $50 off a week stay coupon!  So, for $97 for the week, we were in a beautiful park with FHU’s!

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views on the way
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rest area on the way

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When we checked into the park, we were offered the opportunity to take a guided tour, so we said “sure!”.  We were picked up right at the appointed time by Jim driving a golf cart.  It really is a beautiful park, and is a co-op, basically the same principles as a condo association, where all owners own an equal part of the CG.  Most of the maintenance, etc. is done by volunteers, all of whom are owners.  They certainly were the friendliest bunch we’ve met.  We were invited to and attended a social hour and also a pot-luck dinner.  Both were well attended and very good food and company.

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HUGE maintenance pole barn
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you couldn’t wash vehicles on site, but they had a wash area, so the truck FINALLY got a bath!  It needed it BAD!

Of course, we spent a good amount of time in Yosemite National Park.  For our first visit, our goal was to drive into the park, go to the Visitor Center in Yosemite Village.  On our way there, we stopped at a few of the vista points to take some pics of the amazing views.  We ended up hiking down a bit to see better.  We were not disappointed!  It is a truly a magnificent place!

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the truck is getting far away!

 

 

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can you see the waterfall?

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After hiking back up to the truck (yes we went that far!), we finished the drive to Yosemite Village.  We were surprised to find a fully stocked grocery store, along with the usual touristy items.  Evidently the people who work in the park also live there, hence the grocery store.  Their prices weren’t too bad either.  We were a little hungry after our walk/hike, so we split a roast beef and cheddar sandwich.  It was actually pretty good, complete with lettuce, tomato, onion and horseradish mayo.  To drink, Bill got a beer and I had a single serve bottle of Pinot Grigio.

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this is the grocery/souvenir store

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We walked around the whole village area, we got info on the shuttle bus that takes visitors around the park, letting them off/on and spend as much time as they want at each place.  It is free and very convenient – we considered it for our next visit.

Bill had been trying to decide when to get tires for the dually.  We’ve already replaced the front tires, but we got more miles out of the duallys. For those who might be interested, we always buy our tires at Sam’s Club.  There are a couple of reasons for that – 1) They always sell their tires at a fair price 2) Included in the $15 per tire installation fee is a nationwide road hazard policy, which means if the tire is unable to be fixed, they replace it (subject to protating, of course), which we’ve taken advantage of more than once with my CRV.  After significant research, Bill had put Michelin LTX MS2’s on the front, and would have ideally liked the same ones on the back.  Well – those tires were no where to be found in CA, or anywhere on the west coast for that matter.  It would take a full week (or more) to order them from TX.  Since you have to order them from the store you want them delivered to IN PERSON, and we aren’t going to be anywhere for longer than a week, Bill needed to decide – get those tires somewhere else, or pick different tires.  Thankfully, his runner-up tire was available and could be at the Fresno Sam’s Club the next day, so he ordered 4 Michelin LTX AT2’s.  They are a more “aggressive” tire, and if you look at the tread, even I (who understands little about tires) can see that.  Bill almost put the LTX AT2’s on the front, but was somewhat concerned about road noise and they are also about $20 per tire more.  So – the next day, we are waiting for the call that the tires have arrived so we can head down to have them installed.  Finally at 3pm, Bill called them.  The tires were there, why no one called us, we have no idea.  We decide to head down after dinner (the CG was having a pot-luck dinner – we didn’t want to miss out on that!).   We get down there at 7pm, only to be told they were closing and wouldn’t be able to put them on.  We were NOT happy!  The store doesn’t close until 8:30 and no one mentioned at any time that the tire area closed earlier than that!  It isn’t on their website either.  Bill spoke to the store manager, and after some back and forth, he offered us a $100 gift card for our trouble.  We returned the next day and had the new “sneakers” put on the dually – and then took off for Kings Canyon & Sequoia National Parks.

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the tree on the left is a Sequoia, the first one we saw

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its important to know the different types of poo you might see – so they have a chart in the Visitor Center

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just being silly – in spite of the snow, it was not that cold!
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you have to stand very far back to the get a pick of the entire tree

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Sequoia trees are resistant to decay, this one fell a long time ago
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standing inside the fallen tree stump

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this is the bottom of the trees
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and this is the tops!
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this was the largest Sequoia that was cut down and chopped into pieces, people brought the pieces to other places and reassembled it to show people how big they were; trouble was everyone thought it was fake, didn’t believe it was real. What a waste.

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perfect spot for a picnic lunch – check out the table!
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huge pine cone!

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guess who took this one

Bill has always enjoyed looking at far away things and places through binoculars – and he has always owned a pair.  Except he lost them, or at best, he believes he may have left them in his boat, in NJ.  Either way, there have been times that he has missed having them, so we stopped at the local REI to see what they had.  I have been considering new hiking boots; I currently have hiking shoes, which I love, but I’ve been wanting additional ankle support.  This is largely due to two friends who’ve recently rolled their ankles hiking – one needed surgery, the other was just a sprain.  I have enough trouble with my knees, don’t need any additional issues with rolling an ankle.  I am happy to report we took care of both those items!  We left the store feeling very happy about our purchases!

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For our second (and final) visit to Yosemite, I wanted to just walk around – enjoy the beauty – AND – see the waterfalls – up close!  There may be some of you, my dear readers, who would challenge yourselves and attempt the hike up to the Upper Yosemite Falls, but neither Bill nor I is up to a 7 hour strenuous hike, especially one that has a 2700′ elevation gain!  We talked about getting ourselves in better shape so we might take advantage of that another time!  We also took some time to see the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, which used to be known as the Ahwahnee Hotel.  Bill wanted to see a grand lodge, and what a beauty this one is!  It sort of reminded me of the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO.

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beautiful ceilings in the dining room
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lobby

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these little trees were just growing out of moss on the rock face

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cool looking bird – maybe a type of Blue Jay?

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had to pull over and take a pic of these guys snacking on some grass – we just sat and watched them for a few minutes, along with a bunch of others – it was so peaceful

One thing is for sure, our National Parks are amazing!  I had a few of those moments where I almost felt the need to pinch myself – yes Kelly, you are awake and this is your life!  Being on the schedule we are on, we were able to see just enough of these beautiful places to wet our appetites to come back for more!

Speaking of wetting ones appetite – I’ll leave you for today with this pic of our dinner one evening – YUM!

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