Friday, June 4, 2010

Yosemite National Park - Day Two

For day two of our visit to Yosemite, we left the scooter back at the RV park and made the drive in the Trek.  We went via Mariposa so we could drive through more of the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountainous countryside. 

Somewhere along the way, I noticed the ABS light was lit on the dashboard. I pulled over and checked the vehicle Owners Manual which essentially said that if the Brake warning light was not on, the brakes were OK but the Automatic Brake System was not working. The brakes were working as normal and Lynda and I decided to go ahead to Yosemite as planned.

This was a very pleasant drive. A few miles before the park entrance, highway 140 drew up alongside and then followed the Merced River. As we drove upstream, we could see that the river was roaring along fueled by millions of gallons of snow-melt from the mountain ranges and peaks. The noise of the rushing water was amazing.

By this time, the Trek was pretty low on gas and I knew that gas is not available in Yosemite Valley – I had read this the day before. So we decided to gas up in El Portal, just before entering the park at the Arch Rock entrance. That Shell station was price-gouging - charging $4.07/gallon of regular! I grudgingly put enough gas in the Trek to get us around for the day, but refused to fill it up. I even said something to the owner or manager or whoever he was, and the man just grinned. Folks, get your gas before El Portal - don’t give this guy your money!


This entrance to Yosemite is comprised of a single ranger station; apparently this is not a route taken by many people. The Arch Rock spans the narrow road shortly after this entrance station. Once past Arch Rock, the road narrows and we went down a steep incline for at least 3 or 4 miles. I was careful with the brakes and kept a careful watch for dashboard lights. Then we went up, and then we went down again. And so on.

We made it safe and sound to the Yosemite Valley area and drove the length of it enjoying the views. We wanted to park the Trek near the Visitors Center to eat lunch and walk around a bit but couldn’t find a parking spot for the RV. Although it was a weekday (Friday) and very early June, the Valley area was already crowded. So we headed back west on Northside Drive and found a place to pull over to make lunch. Afterward, we drove just a little further along and found a great spot to pull off. Barley made friends with a group of young Middle Eastern men who jostled each other to have their photo taken with him. Unfortunately, Sydney just growled at them and so they gave her a wide berth. Typical. We were able to walk the dogs on the boardwalk running across the meadow and enjoy excellent views of the Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls, and the overall splendor of Yosemite Valley.

Still within the park, we drove out of the Valley area and took Big Oak Flat road northward to visit Crane Flat. Again, the road was steep going up and steep going down… up and down, up and down… well, you get the idea. And it was very narrow – in fact, I was worried if it got any more narrow we’d have to turn around. But, we popped out safe and sound by the Hodgdon Meadow campground. We drove around the campground area just to check it out, and then when we were coming up a little hill to turn out of the park, the brakes stopped working.

That’s’ right, the brakes stopped working. And it could not have happened in a better spot. We had just spent over an hour driving up and down steep mountain roads with no shoulders or guard rails; if the brakes had quit then, I doubt I’d be writing this blog post.

Now how this brake situation panned out is another story but it just did not matter that much because (1) we did not run off the side of the mountain, and (2) we got to drive around Yosemite!  Check out some photos here.

The Gods were watching out for us today.

1 comment:

RognCath said...

Boy, I remember those twists and turns at Yosemite (with Parmesh driving white knuckled). Thanks be that you were not on the mountain roads.

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