Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Sorry about posting this one out of sequence and without pictures,  but it was such a great day,  I wanted to get it out there to let you know I am still traveling and there will be new posts,   I will catch up on the other posts and the pictures as time  (and internet connections allow….)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Yosemite part 2 10/14 – 10/17

We got up this morning and decided to head towards Yosemite.  We took our time and decided, if we could get a campsite,  we would stay in the Valley the first night,  Drive down and stay at the Sequoia groves the second night,  and go back to the Valley for the 3rd night.   We got to the camping registration and asked if there were any sites available.  They gave us an incredible site right near the river and with a view of Half Dome. 
The weather was incredible.  We drove around the valley a little and headed back to our site for the night.   When we checked in they said this was the site Oprah stayed in when she “camped” in the park.  It was a really good site.  We set up the grill for ribeyes, and grabbed some beers and enjoyed the view.   It was interesting at night to see all the climbers with their lights on camped out on the side of Half Dome.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Hetch Hetchy and Half Moon Bay

Today,  I woke up and hiked to the Hetch Hetchy dam to get sunrise pictures over the water. I also hiked around the lake a little and then headed towards SFO to pick up another friend that was joining me for the next few days.   I made it to SFO, a little early and headed to Costco for supplies.  I picked him up and we went to Trader Joes for the rest of the food for the week. 


I had already driven from Yosemite this morning, and he got up early to fly in.  So we decided to go to Half Moon Bay State Beach for the night.  It was only about 11 miles away,  easy drive we thought.  NOT!  Little did we know that there was a Pumpkin Festival at Half Moon Bay.  It took us 1.5 hours to go 9 miles,  but it was nice scenery and gave us a chance to talk.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Yosemite Day 3 - Tioga Rd

Today I decided to drive the Tioga Road (the one I started to go on a couple of days before)  There was no gas along the way, so I stopped at the only station in the park to make sure I had enough.  It was 5.59 a gallon!  I got $50 worth so I wouldn’t have to worry about it for the day.  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Yosemite Day 2

I woke up this morning to rain.  They had not seen rain in Yosemite since June.  In the Valley they had an Ansel Adams Gallery,  so I decided to head there and do the tourist thing and walk around Yosemite Village. The gallery was really touristy,  but was nice to see some of his work from Yosemite.  I bought some ice cream from the store, and decided there were too many people and headed back to my camper for lunch.  As I was having lunch,  the rain cleared and the valley became sunny.  I wasn’t far from Sentinel Bridge,  so I hiked that way to get the famous reflection picture of Half Dome (no reason to get the truck out of the parking lot at this point)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Yosemite Day 1

This morning I woke up a little early and looked up through the skylight to a sky full of stars.  I took my time getting up and studied the Yosemite maps and decided to take the Tioga Road at the northern part of the park.  I had not been to this part.  I talked to some of the rangers and found out more about different parts of the park.  One suggested I take the Fire tower road near Crane Flat to get a good 360 view of the northern part of the park.  It was a great suggestion as a way to start my time in Yosemite. 


I also talked to them about the rat poop virus to get more details.  I found out that it only affected people that had been using the premade tents in one campground in the Valley that had the mice nesting in them.  They got sick (and some died) because of the virus they inhaled while they were sleeping.  The official term in the Hantavirus and is carried by deer mice.  This virus has been around since 1993.  One ranger said that Yosemite is now probably the safest National Park around because so much effort has been made to disinfect and clean all the areas of the park sine the problems happened earlier this year.  Made sense to me!  I sleep in my camper and won’t be smelling or licking my boots, so I’m not too worried at this point.  Enough about mouse poop…. Back to Yosemite and why I wanted to spend so much time in this park…


After the fire tower,  I headed towards Tioga Road.  There is a campground near Tamarack Flat campground to see what it was like (compared to the one I was in last night).  It was a windy and rough road, but interesting.  I got to the campground and started talking with a young women from Holland and she had only been in the States for a short period of time,  and asked if I wanted to hike with her today, since she did not want to hike alone.   Sounded good to me so we decided to head to the Valley and hike to Vernal Falls.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Towards Yosemite

Well vacation is over.  After I dropped my guest at the airport,  I really had not thought about what was next.  I did my standby plan and went to Costco for gas and supplies.   I just decided to stealth camp in the Costco parking lot and to make the decision in the morning.  This morning I got up and decided I really wanted to go to Yosemite,  rat poop virus and all.  So that is the direction I headed.  It took a little over 4 hours to get there and I decided to camp at the first campground and to start exploring Yosemite in the morning.  (it turned out later,  I should have actually headed toward the valley at least for sunset, because it was really the only decent one of the week….)  I camped at Hodgdon Meadow campground, outside the valley till I could find out more about the rat poop virus.  A nice couple was in the campsite next to me and they saw me cutting wood with my hatchet and were nice enough to offer me their ax.  It was a little easier with the ax to cut the log.  I cooked a ribeye on the grill,  cooked my potato/veggie mix over the fire, and had a nice wine.  Not a bad way to start my time in Yosemite.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Hendry Winery

One of the wineries we were fortunate enough to tour was the Hendry Ranch Winery ( just west of Napa.  Our neighbors recommended this winery to us and thought I would be interested in the particle accelerator owner and partner.  They were right!  The sign said by appointment only, but we were lucky and our timing was right to be able to join one of the tours for the day.  (if you go… please make sure to get an appointment or you will probably be turned away.)

We were fortunate that it was in the middle of the winemaking season,  so we were able to see the entire process from the large 1 ton crates of grapes all the way through to the final product.   We started the tour with the de-stemming machine that takes the grapes off the stems. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Vacation 10/4 – 10/8

Well I picked up my visitor from long term parking and decided to take a vacation from picture taking (mostly) and blogging while my guest was here so that we could just enjoy the time together.  We crossed over the Golden Gate (without fog this time) hiked Muir Woods,  enjoyed Napa and Sonoma wineries ( I will do a separate post on our tour of the Hendry Winery),  stayed in Bodega Bay,  visited the school house from Hitchcock’s movie the Birds, took a pictures from of an old church in Bodega( from the same view as Ansel Adams) and got some great pics from the Golden Gate viewpoint on the Marin side.   It was a really nice vacation from my rough life of travel, blogs and photography.  We had a great time!


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

On towards San Francisco

Last night I stayed at Sonoma Beach State Park,  just north of Bodega Bay.  This was an interesting campsite because I camped in the sand dunes just on the other side of the beach.   I wasn’t able to get any outstanding pictures at this location,  but here is one from the campsite.  One interesting thing was waking up to the fog horn.  I met the couple from Grand Tetons at this site again,  and Doug said the foghorn was every 9.5 seconds,  it must have woken him up too…

I took my time and headed down Hwy 1 towards San Fran.  I ended up stopping for a late lunch at the Pelican Inn.  This is a little English Style tutor inn with a pub near Muir Beach, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.  I had the Shepard’s pie and a pint of beer.  Such a nice stop!  I like this place.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pacific Star Winemaking and Highway 1

I talked to the owner last night at Pacific Star and she let me stay in the field at the front up towards the highway.  It had incredible view of sunset and the water.  4 regions,  4 wineries that have let me stay; I am liking this streak!  She also invited me to stay around and watch pressing of Petite Sirah this morning.  She said that it just has the most incredible color,  and it does.


I hung around for about 4 hours watching this process. Please forgive me if I get any of these facts wrong,  I will do the best I can to be accurate.  11 days ago they crushed 10 tons of grapes into the very large steel tank,  and today was the day to separate the wine from the skins and seeds.  They ran the juice from one tank,  though the press for a rough filter and back to another large tank. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Redwoods and Wineries

Sorry about the delay everyone,  Its now 10/20 and I realize I haven’t posted anything for almost 3 weeks.  I haven’t been eaten by a bear or anything and am still having a blast! Some friends have flown in and joined me in my adventures,  so I took a little vacation from blogging and going through pictures to spend time with them.   I will be catching up over the next few days.  Now back to the what I have been doing since the first of October…

I continued down the road along the Avenue of the Giants.  And much to my surprise, guess what another winery,  in the middle of the redwoods,  so I had to stop.  The place is named RiverBend Cellars, and is in Myers Flat, CA.   The wines were very good and Don was a great help in telling me other wineries to hit on the way.  I bought a Sasquatch Red from him (was good and I liked the label…)

I finished out the Avenue of the Giants and headed south to Highway 1 along the California Coast.  To get there from 101 it was a road full of curves for about 25 miles,  I could hardly get over 15 to 20 miles per hour.  It sure was fun,  just would have been a little easier in a sportscar instead of the truck and camper (but they did fine).  As I hit the California coast, I could actually see it this time,  actually the first time the whole trip without fog.  And just as I saw the water,  the Beach Boys “Surfin’ USA” came on my random music.  Nice coincidence.