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Day 159 – Travel Day, May 5, 2011

Last night, while I said I camped at the Turtle Bay Park, to be more specific, I camped in the Convention Center parking lot which shares the same main entry and exit point.  Wal-Mart and K-mart did not allow overnight parking, so when I noticed three tractor trailers and two campers in the lot across from the Turtle Bay Park parking area, I figured it was a safe place for some shut eye.

I awoke this morning to a bunch of racket.  I pulled my shade up to see what all the commotion was and literally the circus had come to town.  Tractor trailers and campers filled the parking lot as workers were hammering down stakes to set up some of their tents behind the convention center.  While it probably would have been interesting to talk with some of the folks, my first instinct was to get the heck out of there.

It was a good thing as today ended up being an extremely long travel day.  We headed north a few miles just to get a glimpse of Shasta Lake and Shasta Dam.  The lake was beautiful and I was surprised to see so many camping areas and signs for trailheads.  Most of my experience with lakes, it has been hard to find the trails, so I hadn’t planned on hiking in the area.  It seems like a place I could visit another time though.

I spent the rest of the morning and all afternoon traveling to Yosemite.  I spent much of my time on I-5 which didn’t provide much in the way of views, but did provide cell service for a few hours.  The last few hours of our drive took us through a handful of small towns and national forest land as we climbed around 3,000 feet along a steep, winding road.

We finally made it to the western edge of Yosemite around 5 pm.  I managed to get a campsite right on the border of the park at Hodgdon Meadow for the night, and I was able to reserve a one night stay in Yosemite Valley for Sunday night.  Months ago I was able to reserve a site for tomorrow night at the southern end of the park in Wawona, but Saturday I’m without a place to stay.  We’ll see how it all works out.  While I have only been on the outskirts of the park, and not to the famous part yet, I must say I’m not completely sold on all the hype given what campers have to go through to get to the park – long drive, reservations, showers only in one location, and bear lockers.  Or it could be that I’m just slightly grumpy today from a restless night of sleep.  I suspect I’ll be pleasantly surprised by the scenery tomorrow.

After negotiating our campsite which was rather uniquely designed, we went on a walk on Tuolumne Grove Road.  The paved road led to a fire road that ascended through the pine forest.  I tried my hardest to find something interesting or pretty to photograph, but frankly my most interesting sighting was a size 12 pine cone!

We are currently camped across from a group of ten teenage girls who have shrill voices and laughs.  I was one once, so all I can say is I hope they observe the campground quiet hours from to 10 pm to 6 am.  I have also successfully moved all of my food, lotions, cosmetics, tooth paste, medicines – basically anything with a scent – into a bear locker for the evening.  I’m not feeling too enthusiastic about unloading and loading VANilla for the next four days, so hopefully a campsite will open up for the weekend and we can stay in one location.  That’s it for now…no internet service, so there’s no telling when I’ll post this.  Hoping for some spectacular hikes in the morning!  ETB

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