2013 USA Pacific Northwest travel blog

Groveland, CA - Yosemite Pines RV Resort & Family Lodging - site...

Groveland, CA - Yosemite Pines RV Resort & Family Lodging - site...

Groveland, CA - Yosemite Pines RV Resort & Family Lodging - site...

Groveland, CA - Yosemite Pines RV Resort & Family Lodging - site...

Madera to Groveland, CA 0 - our route - 105 miles

Madera to Groveland, CA 1 - one of the hwy sound barriers...

Madera to Groveland, CA 2 - we think this is some kind...

Madera to Groveland, CA 3 - a very small part of the...

Madera to Groveland, CA 4 - part of the water system from...

Madera to Groveland, CA 5 - we have started up the five-mile...

Madera to Groveland, CA 6 - very sharp hairpins and steep grades

Madera to Groveland, CA 7 - arriving in Groveland, CA after the...

Madera to Groveland, CA 8 - passing the most famous place in...

Madera to Groveland, CA 9 - out of Groveland and approaching the...

Yosemite 1 - the ever-present construction as we head to Yosemite NP...

Yosemite 2 - we are definitely in the clouds at 930 a.m.

Yosemite 3 - owie, owie, owie!!!

Yosemite 4 - a pretty meadow with results of a fire in...

Yosemite 5 - heading through one of the tunnels entering Yosemite Valley

Yosemite 6 - our first view of the valley - Bridalveil Falls...

Yosemite 7 - same shot Bridalveil Falls with zoom

Yosemite 8 - a small falls on the way in

Yosemite 9 - El Capitan with clouds swirling in the early morning...

Yosemite 10 - the Merced River flowing down the middle of the...

Yosemite 11 - some of the granite walls of the valley

Yosemite 12 - Sentinal Rock

Yosemite 13 - a Steller's Jay along the trail to Lower Yosemite...

Yosemite 14 - Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls

Yosemite 15 - the Upper Yosemite Falls when it is being whipped...

Yosemite 16 - Lower Yosemite Falls from the end of the trail

Yosemite 17 - Half-Dome

Yosemite 18 - a squirrel scavenging around our shuttle stop

Yosemite 19 - some of the valley floor

Yosemite 20 - Bridalveil Falls from below as we start up the...

Yosemite 21 - Bridalveil Falls from the end of the trail -...

Tuolumne 1 - snow when we get near the top

Tuolumne 2

Tuolumne 3

Tuolumne 4

Tuolumne 5

Tuolumne 6

Tuolumne 7 - erratics left behind by glaciers

Tuolumne 8 - more erratics

Tuolumne 9

Tuolumne 10

Tuolumne 11 - views from Point Olmsted - can you spot Half-Dome...

Tuolumne 12

Tuolumne 13

Tuolumne 14 - did you find Half-Dome?

Tuolumne 15

Tuolumne 16 - Tenaya Lake in foreground

Tuolumne 17 - Tenaya Lake

Tuolumne 18

Tuolumne 19

Tuolumne 20 - views from our hike

Tuolumne 21 - Lembert Dome rising 800 feet above the meadow

Tuolumne 22 - climbers a couple of hundred feet up Lembert Dome

Tuolumne 23

Tuolumne 24

Tuolumne 25

Tuolumne 26

Tuolumne 27

Tuolumne 28

Tuolumne 29

Tuolumne 30 - Soda Springs with carbonated water bubbling from the ground

Tuolumne 31

Tuolumne 32 - Parsons Memorial Lodge

Tuolumne 33

Tuolumne 34

Tuolumne 35

Tuolumne 36

Tuolumne 37

Tuolumne 38

Tuolumne 39

Tuolumne 40 - Tuolumne Meadows

Tuolumne 41

Tuolumne 42 - headed back home

Tuolumne 43 - moss on the pines at lower elevations

Hetch Hetchy 1 - the O' Shaughnessy Dam

Hetch Hetchy 2 - the reservoir, a flooded valley, smaller but very...

Hetch Hetchy 3 - only the lower portion of Wapama Falls is...

Hetch Hetchy 4 - the unseen upper portion makes it 1,100 feet...

Hetch Hetchy 5 - just a trickle from the Tueeulala Falls

Hetch Hetchy 6 - the front of the dam

Hetch Hetchy 7 - the output of the dam resupplies the Tuolumne...

Hetch Hetchy 8


Our trip from Madera to Groveland, CA was an uneventful 105 mile trip through the countryside - until the last 10 miles! That is where we started up the New Priest Grade Road. This is a road that was built as an alternative way up the mountain to the Old Priest Grade Road which rose 1500 feet in a mere 2.7 miles. It takes about six miles to cover the same change in elevation on the New Priest Grade Road, so the grade is about half of the older road. Vehicles over 7,500 pounds are prohibited on the old road due to the large number of accidents caused on the descent at such a high grade (about 15%) and the resulting brake failures. The new road has half the grade but is still difficult for the Mothership to negotiate and maintain a reasonable speed on the climb. Some of the hairpins are very tight and you are constantly in one hairpin or another for the whole six miles. Doris didn't much like it as the passenger is hanging over the cliff on the ascent. The descent when we leave will make her happier but I will be busy trying to keep the speed down to get around the hairpins without using the brakes too much. The Allison transmission on the Mothership is a great help in these instances. It should be able to handle the 7% grade without too much trouble.

We are staying at the Yosemite Pines RV Resort and Family Lodging which is a couple of miles east of Groveland. It is a large park with about 160 sites plus cabins and yurts. We have a full hookup back-in with 50 amps, a clear shot to the satellite and NO Verizon coverage at all. The park has all kinds of amenities: a stocked general store; a deli serving sandwiches and salads; pet zoo with assorted animals; swimming pool; hay rides; community campfire; and a gold-mining sluice where you can try your luck. The only downside we have seen (other than being phoneless) is the dust - no one seems interested in driving the low 5 MPH speed limit to keep the dust down and it swirls all over with every passing vehicle.

It was Memorial day weekend as we arrived and we had no interest in fighting the crowds to see Yosemite so we stayed at the campground until the madness had passed. And, of course, the college softball super regionals were being played and demanded my attention.

Tuesday we headed into Yosemite National Park, specifically visiting Yosemite Valley which is the most popular section of the park's four sections. It's about 45 miles and 1¼ hours to the valley from the campground. All the falls were running full and it was a beautiful day to see them. We parked in the parking lot and took the shuttle to the various points of interest. We got to see all the falls, the meadow, Half-Dome and El-Capitan. We walked the Lower Yosemite Falls trail and the Bridalveil Falls trail. Doris' back gets sore on these hikes but she has a quick recovery and we figure it is mostly muscle pain now as she gets back into shape from the surgery. One side effect of the surgery which is nice is that she seems to have less trouble with her knees when walking on pavement now. Apparently she was compensating for her back and walking in a way that hurt her knees. On the way back we HAD to stop at the Iron Door Saloon for a late lunch/dinner. It is supposedly the oldest saloon in California and a unique place, with all the antique decorations, dollars tacked to the ceiling, etc. All in all the trip was a little over eight hours and we were tired by the time we returned to the Mothership.

Wednesday we headed for a section of the park we had never seen before - Tuolumne Meadows. What a wonderful surprise! We had no idea this day's trip would be one of the best we have experienced. This is also called the Tioga Pass Road as it is the only way across the Sierra Nevada for many, many miles. Since you are going over the mountains, the views are unbelievable, especially at Olmsted Point. Once we got over the views at the point we headed onto the meadows which sit at 8,600 feet. Talk about a gorgeous setting to take a hike: this is IT. We had snow-capped mountains all around as we took an almost two-mile hike in a dry 50º to Soda Springs and Parsons Memorial Lodge. We were also fortunate to have two different deer sightings on the hike: one pair (about 150 feet away) and then a small herd of six (only about 50 feet away).

On the way back we took a look at the Hetch Hetchy section of Yosemite NP, which requires you to exit the park and then come back after a 10 mile drive through private land. This is a controversial section of the park. In 1913 Congress passed the Raker Act and President Woodrow Wilson signed it. It gave San Francisco the rights to the Hetch Hetchy Valley to be used for a water supply and power generation for the Bay area. Since the water and power were derived from public lands, the Act specified there would be no private profit from its sale. Of course we know how that works out! At any rate the Hetch Hetchy Project delivered the first water to the Bay area in 1934 through a system of pipes, tunnels and aqueducts over 150 miles. This one reservoir supplies about 25% of the Bay Area water supply and also delivers two billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. There is also an ongoing attempt to get the O'Shaughnessy Dam removed so the valley can return to its previous state which was much like a smaller Yosemite Valley. You can see from my pictures how the granite-walled side of this valley are very similar to Yosemite Valley and imagine those falls falling an additional 300 feet to the valley floor since the lake is 300 feet deep right now.

Guess what other "wonderful" piece of legislation was enacted in 1913?

After two full days of touring, Thursday was spent relaxing and watching the Women's College World Series (all four games)! Of course my Gators managed to not show up and lost their opening game. Now they have to win. win. win, win their next four games - just to get to the Championship series.

Friday we decided to stay in and catch up on some of the things around the Mothership and let Doris' back rest another day. It seems she does better hiking than riding on some of these rough roads!

Tomorrow we head for Monterey, CA - about a four-hour trip. We should be there one week and with any luck we should have our Verizon for a while!!

Did you guess it? The 16th amendment was ratified in 1913 giving Congress the authority to enact an income tax and the first Form 1040 also appeared that year.

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