Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Yosemite National Park, California USA

After leaving the casino the following morning, Randy heads home to Oregon while James, Adam and I move on to the famous Yosemite National Park.

But before we do.. after a night in a nice warm bed and a proper shower, we KNOW we are going to be camping next.  So off to the grocery store to stock up.  I keep teasing these two that it's embarrassing to be walking around the grocery store with twin suits.. they both ride BMW and even look at the sunglasses!!! haha ;-)  I have to admit I enjoy watching how men think in a grocery store.  Adam went straight for the wine section, gone.. disappeared...AND he picks good wine.  James and I went in search of pasta and veg for salad.. gonna be a good meal!

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Into the park we ride....
Yosemite is larger than I expected, but not for an alien man from England!


The roads are all rolley polley paved, very nice.  Not fun and exciting, but nice! We have a good look around on the bikes, but I hate to say this park isn't completely doing it for me.  It is in most people opinions a favorite of parks for the United States, but either I am just tired, or I have been spoiled with too many awesome places lately that it's not hitting me.  Don't get me wrong, I love what I see and I'm grateful to be here.. just one of those days I guess!  The best way I can describe it on my judgement scale is that I'm glad I saw it,  but no strong desire to go back.. and there are many places I would love to go back to that I've seen on this journey!  'nuf said? ;-))

I am enjoying these two though. ;-)



The rock below called "Half Dome" seems to be a feature, viewed from Glacier Point.








So that rock is impressive too! I'm getting more into the park now, really not sure why I wasn't much impressed earlier.



Sun going down... no campsites available.. getting cold!!!!


Rules are strict in this park and most of the campgrounds are closed for the season.  The two that are still open are completely full.  Need to make a new plan.  Ride through the dark to the other side of the park and get out?  Not a great option as there is wildlife all over the road.  Will be slow and it's already super cold.  We vote for the illegal camping option.


We made the most logical decision possible.  We are in a national park, there are bears around and it wouldn't be a good choice to ride the bikes into the dirt to find a hidden spot.  We chose to backtrack to a small gas station/general store and set up close to it.  Not trying to hide or be illegal, and maybe a bit safer bear wise.

In the dark, the boys got straight into cooking up the pasta.. I like that!  I don't have to cook??!! ;-))))

I did my job helping to drink the wine!

After dinner, the boys decided to play with my camera and set up night shots. 


Look at those stars!  I love it here!  Of course you can't see them like we could see them, but I am impressed the camera got the amount that it did!


How we look the next morning..




I'm up early as usual, waiting patiently for the other two. Around 8 AM cars started lining up at the fuel pumps.  Store not open yet, but young James puts the kettle on and we have a warm meal of porridge..


Somebody must have turned us in. While I am sitting here, the boys look at me and tell me that the ranger has just pulled up in a truck and he's walking toward us.  They both quickly and collectively volunteered ME to take care of it!  I'm like why???  They said you'll have better luck as a woman talking through this.. Thanks guys!!! (I have found this theory to be very common by any men I have ridden with on this trip to get us out of trouble.. I admit my record is good, but still!!!)

The ranger was pretty pissed actually.  He took my drivers license and passport (both Australian), was more than ready and prepared to give us a ticket and fine.  After talking to him quite a while, he calmed down.  I think he was happy with the simple truth.  If we could have camped in the organized areas, we would have.  I explained about the closures or fullness.  (and he's a ranger, he knows they are closed) It was already dark when we needed to stop and if we rode out of the park, the big danger was wildlife on the road, which he agreed with. I told him I'd rather take the fine than die on the road at night due to park rules.. Hmmm.. he looked at me with that one. ;-)) THEN his concern was for the bears.  We've been camping amongst bears for months now, and we know the drill.  What we did was pack any of our food, dishes, etc on the roof of the gas station.  He was happy with that actually!  And finally, he didn't like that we had our bikes on the land.  He did let us go without a fine, we immediately moved the bikes onto the pavement, packed up and left.  All good. Thanks Mr. Ranger Dude!!  Whew!!!!



 Snow!!




It was a beautiful morning and a super pretty ride.  We eventually make it to the east side of the park and turn south to head toward our next great park, Death Valley.

Onto the highway.  A bit straight and boring, but beautiful here!  The landscape has changed quite a bit, which I love.

 Photos by James



James recorded a tiny bit of video too.. I'll include just for a bit of change from still photos?








Break time!



The end of the day was coming up when we got close to the turn off for Death Valley.  So, it's that time to find a place to camp.. again!

We stocked up on a bit of food from the little shop in Lone Pine and headed out to find a camp.  The first campground we came to was nice, but it was sooo surrounded by power lines.  I can't stand the idea of camping amongst all that electricity, and the boys agreed, so we moved on.


Adam has his eye on these really cool rocks and rides around to check about camping amongst them.  We don't see any houses nearby, but it's not a campground either.  We saw a little bit of evidence that others had made campfires here.  So group decision, we are staying.  It was a super cool spot!  We tried to keep our lights low so anyone on the land might not see us.  Turned out to be another great night in a super beautiful spot...



The stars were so awesome, so nice to camp like this.  Campgrounds are usually full of screaming kids, street lights, slamming car doors.  Out here it's just us, more real.. love it!

The next morning, a very reflective Adam is waiting for his coffee to kick in..

(more photos by James.. thank you!)



I can't help to wander about in the morning.. I pack up early (just in case somebody discovers us, I am ready!  We didn't camp here honestly, we just stopped off to eat a bit of breakfast! ;-)))






I'd be happy to stay here, but we need to pack up and get on to next stop.. Death Valley!
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