Sun 7/20. After breakfast at John and Mina's, we said our good bye's, and headed for Yosemite. In order to pickup US 5 south, we had to go over the Cascade Mountains, and we chose a route that took us right through the forest fires that had been burning in that area. John had warned us there would be a lot of smoke, but none of the roads were closed, so we decided to make it part of our adventure. It was like driving through a dense fog, with the added smell of the trees burning. When you actually can see an area that's burning, you realize what an insurmountable job it is to contain these fires. It's like Mother Nature's way of saying "I'm the boss". We finally picked up 5 south and drove to Modesto, where we stopped for the night in a rest area.
Mon 7/21. We continued our drive to Yosemite (a total of about 11 hrs from John and Minas') arriving around noon. Again while driving up to the park entrance, we had to stop several times to let the engine cool. I was still not concerned. We made a loop tour of the park in the motorhome, seeing all the highlights (Yosemite Falls, El Capitan etc.). It appeared to us to be pretty crowded, so we settled in at a little swimming area on the Merced River, which is fed by Yosemite Falls, and still within the park. The river had a swift current and was only waist deep, but cold!.. Steven and Deanna had a great time walking up river and riding their boogie boards back down with the current.
The water was crystal clear. Roe and I tried to get Luke to swim, but I think it was even too cold for him. We spent the rest of the afternoon there. Leaving the park, we again picked up US 5 and drove south to Fresno, where we parked at (you guessed it) a Walmart parking lot. For those of you who may think I am being too frugal (Ken), you most understand that our motor home is totally self contained, and there is no need to pay a campground to park, unless you want to empty your holding tanks or swim in a pool if they have one. A lot like anchoring as opposed to tying up for the night. OK?