Thursday, November 17, 2011

Yes it is Beyond Next Week

I just got reprimanded because the last BLOG entry left us back at Yosemite and Coarsegold . . . h-m-m . . . we aren’t there any more. The reprimand came from Bill and Julie – folks we met and visited with at the Tropicana often over the last few years who stumbled across us here at Hi Jolly. In fact we left California over a week ago. It was starting to get cold and time to move on to warmer climes.

We did our Laughlin thing for a few days. We checked-in at the Tropicana but there were only four RVs there – the old sticker-oners – and a couple of RVs from California.

One of the reasons for going to Laughlin was to go to the IRS office to see if we could somehow get a tax exemption to realize some of the revenue from the Jacob’s Tails E-Book without the 30% hold-back. After spending over an hour with a very nice, rather useless IRS field agent, I honestly think it is easier to leave the 30% hold-back. We did try but won’t know anything for 4 to 6 weeks, when they will let me know by mail! This was truly a frustrating experience!

Anyway, I managed to get considerable pleasure from the pedicure received from my favourite pedicurist – small things can make me happy.

We’re at Quartzsite, now – at Hi Jolly again.

It’s nice to be back here. We’re parked up against the wash; we have water and feed out for the little critters; the hummingbird feeder is out; I have already seen Debbie (from the Authors Fair at Paul’s Book Oasis); and we’re settled in for a while.

Oh, I forgot to mention – Fred has gone photographical on us – that is to say, he has been having so much fun taking photos that he is no longer satisfied using the old Fuigi or sharing the Olympus with me, he decided he wanted his own camera. After Fred’s usual in-depth research, he decided on a Cannon Rebel with two zoom lens. Yes, folks – if we had a first born, we would have to give it up to pay for it. Actually it wasn’t that bad, but as we talked about it with Thom and Dar, it turns out that they had just the set up and they really didn’t want anymore.

Long story, short – Fred now has the photographic set up he wanted and is heavy into learning how to use it. Need I say, after the automatic camera we’ve had, this is a very steep learning curve!

Well, we’ve heard from some other travelling friends and it looks like all plans are a go and we should see them in short order.

Well, I think that should bring us up to date – for the time being, anyway. Our plan is to go down to Yuma next week.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Son-of-a-Gun: it’s a long way!

Double Click on photos to enlarge
Flu shots on the 17th and all set for our departure on the 20th (October).

Our first night was in Butte, Mt. second in Idaho Falls, ID (ran into some problems setting up the Air Card) then we spent a couple of nights in Elko, NV then into CA and finally to the Escapees’ Park of the Sierras (POS, as they call it) in Coarsegold, CA.

Being absolute devout anti-crowds (anything over six people is a crowd); and anti-busy, crowded roads; we were fine until we got to Reno, NV. I had anxiety attacks just on the highways in California let alone going through the cities. Then I remembered . . . there are as many people in Los Angeles area as there are in all of Canada . . . and I swear they were all on the same roads at the same time as we were.

Son-of-a-Gun: it’s a long way! Over 2400 kms just to get to the RV Park . . . BUT it’s been worth it.

For you folks who are not accustomed to RV parks, most of them sit on what we might call a very level playing field . . . meaning that the sites (and therefore the RVs) are lined up in straight rows one after another. POS is built in tiers up the side of the mountain.

California drivers are crazy and the road from Park Sierra through Coarsegold and then through Oakhurst snakes, winds and climbs up over 2000 feet before you even get to the Park Gate.

As a special bonus, a great couple we met at Yuma last year (Thom & Dar) showed up the same day as we did – so we managed to share a couple of Happy Hours; catch up on all the news; and, of course, solve all the problems of the world at least a couple of times.

Yosemite National Park

Ever since we saw Ken Burns’ documentary on John Muir, we have wanted to visit Yosemite National Park and this was the year. Yosemite sits on the edge of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range on the east side of Central California about 2.5 hours from Fresno. It’s huge – around 1200 square miles but only about 5% is accessible - the rest is all wilderness. One visit to the park would never be enough. We went up three times and still never got to all the places we would like to explore.

Giant Sequoias of the Mariposa Grove

Our first visit was to the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias just north of the Gate. Standing among these giants makes any human feel small and insignificant. You can barely see the tops they are so tall. Some are said to be as old as 3,000 years.

Unfortunately, we were joined by a whole big bus tour so did not spend much time there. We never did see a tree you could walk through – many of the trees have fallen down.

The Roads

Big Surprise – they are crowded – even in late October in the middle of the week. Driving on the roads through the Park is like skiing a slalom run weaving in and out of the trees following the edges of the mountains. Up and down; dark and light; up to six seven thousand feet and down again into the valley all the time twisting and turning.

At one point it was so dark we wondered how anything ever grew on the forest floor but it does.

The Falls

When I went to take a picture of the Bridalveil Falls, I took it at an angle because there were so many tourist heads in the way but Fred managed to snap some from the parking lot.

The path up to the falls is a photographer’s delight. Every step shows fascinating shapes and textures with huge rocks, fallen trees and twisted undergrowth.

There is an Ansel Adams Gallery in the Village and as we wandered through the park, I started to understand why so much of his work was done in Yosemite.

Wawona Tunnel

At over 6000 ft elevation, about half-way between the South Gate and Yosemite Village, a mile-long tunnel cuts through the side of the mountain and there is a special parking area before the tunnel to view the incredible sight.

Gigantic monoliths rise up through a lush green carpet that resembles a tropical rain forest.

El Capitan

El Capitan stands at the southern entrance of the Yosemite Valley. It presents a 3000 foot shear granite wall that challenges even the best of climbers. El Capitan is often called the Guardian of the Yosemite Valley

Glacier Point

Glacier Point Road is another one of those slalom roads; only this one is very, very narrow which heightens the challenge of safely manoeuvring it from one end to the other especially with the California drivers and tour buses.

Usually by this time of the year, the road is closed but the Gods were with us and we have had nothing but fair weather since we left Alberta October 20th. The view from up here is absolutely breathtaking – a panoramic view of the entire Yosemite Valley.

Half Dome

So, to say the least, Yosemite has been a wonderful, unforgettable experience and the Park of the Sierras has get to be one if not THE best RV Park we have ever had the opportunity to stay in.

They are calling for some precipitation and colder weather tomorrow so our plan is to get the laundry done (the bane of my existence) and move on towards Nevada and Arizona next week.