So day two was an exciting day for me. We’d decided to rent a car and drive to Yosemite National Park for the day on a self-guided tour. Everyone who’d asked about our plans and heard ‘We’re going to Yosemite…’ would immediately interrupt to say, ‘I hope y’all aren’t driving! It’s a different world over there. They drive like maniacs!’
Well, it just so happens that I fancy myself the Greatest Driver on the Planet so needless to say, I was looking forward to the challenge. I will admit though, the cab ride I mention in my previous post made me the teensiest bit nervous but I was determined to soldier through.
Early that morning we get ready and of course head over to Pergamino’s to begin the day right. I had the French Toast that morning and Oh. My. Yum. We also get our daily pointers from our unofficial tour guide (who, btw, thinks we’re borderline insane for making such a trek in one day), and finally go pick up the rental car.
I am forced against my will to drive across the Bay Bridge (and by ‘forced’ I mean it was the only way to get where we were going…trust me, I checked.) I guess I should preface that comment by saying that I believe bridges with metal tops (and especially TWO LEVEL bridges of metal) were created by an evil, demonically maniacal person whose only purpose was to torture me and throw me off my Greatest Driver on the Planet title. I hate those bridges. Hate them.
But alas, my title remains firmly in place as I made it across the bridge without incident – despite my two hateful friends who thought it would be humorous to rock the car as we drove across the bridge. Yeah.
So now we’re on our way. I have to say, once you get outside the city they still have beautiful scenery to enjoy while you drive. Rolling hills and lots of golden grass. Below is a picture of some of the wind turbines we saw pretty early on our trip. We don’t have those ’round my parts. 🙂
And below you see some more of those rolling hills, this time with trees scattered.
The drive alone was a ball. One of the other ladies with me was trying to figure out the GPS on her iPhone and asked how to spell ‘Yosemite’ enough times to make it hilarious. Plus, our route took us on some back roads and we passed fields of grapevines and almond trees. Of course we’re degenerates so we stopped and stole a few almonds off one tree. They were fantastic!
Here’s the thing though…the roads start winding up mountains and getting snake-y curvy so of course we’re thinking we’re getting pretty close. Um, no. It was another hour’s worth of a drive before we ever saw an entrance to the park.
The good news….We finally made it!!! One person found a self-guided day tour online that we thought we might follow but it’s impossible to do so in one day with 8 hours of driving. Also, the problem with visiting national parks like this is there are about 6,381 places to pull over along the road with gorgeous scenery and when you’re excited, it’s what you do. So here’s a picture of the Half Dome. (That’s it there in the center.)
We gave the tour the old college try though and our first ‘official’ stop was Bridal Veil Fall.
The walk to the base of the fall was a short one and paved so pretty much anyone can get up to see it. We stopped along the way so I could play cheerleader and climb on a fallen tree to spell out ‘San Francisco’ with my body. It was hilarious, but hilarious in a horrible, no-other-human-eyes-will-ever-view-these-photos kind of way. It was quite a show for the other hikers though.
After leaving Bridal Veil Fall we got turned around in the park and it took us quite a while to find our next stop which ended up being Mariposa Grove so we could check out some of the giant redwoods. This translates into ‘we basically skipped everything in the tour except three stops and one was dinner’.
Only two of us made the .8 mile hike to see the Grizzly Giant (pictured above). Pictures just don’t do these trees justice. This tree was probably a car length wide at the base, and it towered up above me. Humongous!
And then we rounded off the night with a stop at the Wawona Hotel for a nice dinner. Despite being in California, the hotel/restaurant gave me the feel of the Old South. Wrap-around porch, a piano player, the whole look of the place. I kind of felt like I needed to put on my Scarlett O’Hara costume and fan my face while I ran around looking for Rhett.
After dinner we headed on back to San Francisco. It was another hour or hour and a half of windy, curvy roads and I’ll be honest with you, I was pretty sick of the gas, brake, gas, brake, gas, gas, brake!, gas those curves require you to drive. It gets tiresome after a while.
Back to the rental car parking garage by 12:30, Greatest Driver on the Planet title waving proud, and then walked to our hotel to rest up for the third and final day.