Tuesday 5th July (235 miles)
We upgrade our breakfast before leaving the Best Western Tuscan Inn. The hotel was lovely, in a great location and with really comfy beds and adjoining rooms.
An Armenian cab driver took us to the airport to collect our car. Straight out of the airport we took wrong turn number one, missing US101. Not a promising start. Then 235 miles over the Bay Bridge, through Oakland and the hills, across the valley and up into Yosemite. The drive into Yosemite is simply amazing, including a very scary hairpin road where we were always on the side of the drop. After stopping for photos a couple of times and one wrong turn in the valley we had fun finding our cabins at Tenaya Lodge.
The cabins were really spacious and just a 5 minute walk from the impressive main lodge. We had our meal on the terrace by a roaring gas fire! Ben spent the evening riding his new board whilst we slumped in front of 101 Ways to Leave a Game Show, with a beer.
Rob made a video blog about this part of our trip.
Wednesday 6th July (102 miles)
Amazing breakfast buffet sets us up for a day exploring Yosemite's main valley. First stop, the gas station. This car eats fuel on these roads. Then on to Glacier Point, including the squeakiest moment so far, where you drive downhill towards a hairpin, at 7,500 feet, with nothing ahead of you except Half Dome and nothing to stop you going over the edge. Glad I didn't know about the brake problem at that time!
Glacier Point was spectacular. Cannot describe it. Driving at 7,200 feet up a mountain is insane. Yvonne's loo experience was similar. Giant bug landed on my hand. Photos cannot capture this place. Boys spotted a Bear and Cub on the drive back down, photos of similar quality to the Bigfoot ones though.
Then we drove down into the Valley bottom for views of Bridal Veil falls, El Capitan and Yosemite Village. We got two buses to the base of Yosemite Falls then walked up the trail. I waited out the last ten minutes as there was an incline and my ankle was very painful by then and worst on downhill slopes. We then walked back to the car via the Village, where we saw someone being busted, presumably for shoplifting.
Finally, we drove out of the Valley and up to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Redwood trees. A tough 1.2 mile walk in the heat and the pain but well worth it to see these majestic things. The boys spotted deer on the way back and I caught a glimpse too. Also got a bastard mosquito bite on my right ankle. If the bugger had bit my left it would have hit the swelling bruises and been exploded by the pressure!
Then it was back to the hotel for a laundry failure - no soap, a trip to the Jacuzzi for me - instant pain relief - and the pool for the boys. Another meal on a different terrace, with a different fire, but the same waiter. Amazingly, 100 miles of driving today.