Yosemite National Park

7/24/2018 to 7/29/2018

A visit cut short by smoke and fire! We never got to see anything.

And scrambling to find another place to stay.

Tuesday 7/24/2018     We packed up and left Lemon Cove RV Park at 10 am. It started out as a fine morning as we were driving down highway 99 to highway 140 to Route 49. Before the exit to 140 Rose saw a sign that Route 49 was closed to Yosemite National Park which was our next destination. I got off the exit anyway and found a place to park and called our RV park near Yosemite. Our best route to the RV park was shut down. Seems like the road was washed out. The man I spoke to on the phone suggested another route. We turned around and began driving again but got a little confused around Modesto, CA before we found the new road we needed. This road had so many red lights and of course I caught most of them. Then it turned into a two-lane road. Eventually we were able to connect back to Route 49 and then to Route 120 which goes into Yosemite. This was another very curvy, very steep, two-lane road full of scary switchbacks. Twice we had to stop the truck and let it cool down because the temperature of the radiator got too high and the high temperature light came on. Finally we arrived at the campground and found a spot and set up about three hours later than we planned. I guess the worst news was yet to come through. Because of a wildfire in Yosemite parts of the park have been shut down. I ran into a ranger at the gas station above our campground and he said they will probably be closing all areas of the park tomorrow. He felt our RV park should be okay although there was smoke here yesterday and he said a lot of people left because of it. We don’t know what is going to happen. We might not be able to go inside the park at all. We’re considering leaving but we’re just waiting to see what happens tomorrow.

Wednesday 7/25/2018     When we woke up this morning the campground was filled with smoke. We checked in with the office and the main areas of Yosemite are still closed. We walked to the recreation center hoping to be able to check our email but there was no internet connection at all. So we spent the day relaxing and just hanging around the trailer. We’re still hoping more of the park will open up tomorrow.

Thursday 7/26/2018     We woke up again this morning to a smoke-filled campground. It was almost pretty but the smoke smell was awful. We walked up to the office again and asked what the latest news was on the wildfire. She said Yosemite Valley is completely closed and would probably be closed until the end of July. Yosemite Valley is where we wanted to go. She suggested that we take a drive on Tioga Road which was still open and runs north of the valley. We did drive for about an hour but there were no real points of interest to see. It was a beautiful, green forest but after you drive it for a while it becomes commonplace, plus you couldn't see much at some of the lookouts because of the smoke. On the way back to our campground, we stopped at Rush Creek Lodge where they told us we could get cell service. The plan was to spend six nights in this campground at Yosemite Lakes but now that we could not see the major spots and I had no internet or cell service, I was ready to leave. Rose wanted to stay because she was really enjoying the peace and quiet. (almost everyone else left) She stays busy reading or working on a puzzle but I forced her to leave. We drove back to our site, packed up and headed about 92 miles away to a campground in Manteca that I was able to contact from the Rush Creek Lodge. We arrived at the RV Park named Turtle Beach at around 4 pm. It’s another Thousand Trails Park that’s included in our membership but we can only stay for two days because it was booked for Saturday and Sunday. We set up and drove about five miles away into the town to look for dinner and fuel.

Friday 7/27/2018     I had to do research to find another spot to stay for Saturday and Sunday and luckily this campground had a very good cellphone signal. I was able to find another Thousand Trails Park called Snowflower RV Resort which is in Emigrant, CA. 142 miles away. After I made this reservation I began researching tours in San Francisco and was able to set up a two day Alcatraz/City tour for when we are there the first week in August. Later we drove back into town to stop at the Library to print our tickets. The exhaust on the truck has been rattling so we stopped at a Midas Shop and asked if they could look at it. Much to my surprise this Midas no longer works on exhaust systems, they are now called Midas & More and are now Auto Service Experts. He sent me to another shop a block away and they didn’t have time to look at it but he referred me to another shop a block away. This serviceman was very nice and looked at it right away and tightened up the part of the muffler that was rattling. He didn’t want to accept any money but I made him take a twenty for lunch. After that, we drove to a huge Bass Pro Shops and wandered around for a bit just window shopping.

Saturday 7/28/2018     We moved on to the Snowflower RV Resort today and got there shortly after 1 pm. This is a huge, maze-like campground nestled in the trees. A major problem with Thousand Trails is that they don’t assign you a campsite. They just hand you a map and tell you to drive around until you find one you like. This was the most difficult park yet. The signage is not well done and the gravel roads go up and down and wind throughout the park. Arriving here on a Saturday afternoon also made it very difficult to find a spot that was open. The first two spots we saw we were unable to maneuver into. Finally after driving around over a half hour we found a spot I thought I could manage. It was a tricky back up because of the trees on both sides but I think I did pretty well. After setting up, we drove a couple of miles away to get fuel. Later on we strolled around a good part of the campground and saw the lake with a small beach. People were swimming in the lake, kayaking and also fishing. It’s not a very large lake but it’s pretty. A lot of the campers brought ATV’s with them so there must be somewhere close where they can ride them. We walked to the pool and recreation center and also to a camping area that they call the cliffs. It’s actually just a large, blacktop parking lot that RV’s pull into and have access to electric and water. We didn’t like the area at all but it was also full. We don't have anything planned to do today and tomorrow because we are just using up the days that we were supposed to be in Yosemite. 

Sunday 7/29/2018     Many campers left this morning and now this campground is really very peaceful. It was very crowded over the weekend but today we could just sit in our lawn chairs and watch the squirrels being playful.  I saw a trail on the map called Cisco Trail that started at the back of the park and encircled the lake and then back to the park.  We started walking and noticed that it was really a trail for OHV's.  It was wide and very rocky and of course, the first two miles were all uphill and it was also not along the lake as I thought.  We never came close to the lake until the very end of the four-mile hike.  We thought it was going to be a short hike around the lake but it turned into over four miles.  After we returned, I just researched future campgrounds and relaxed the rest of the evening.


Monday 7/30/2018     Today we are moving to another campground that's only about 30 miles away in a city called Truckee, CA. We had this place reserved after our six nights in Yosemite that didn't work out. It's pretty close to Lake Tahoe and Reno.

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