Day 7: San Francisco to Yosemite
Up and out as quick as we could this morning and we exited out over the Bay Bridge, which is a strange and long double decker construction, with west bound traffic traveling over the top of the eastbound traffic. Halfway across is Treasure Island which appears to be a place for the well-to-do.
Walmart was our first destination for supplies whilst we were out of civilisation. I gave my friend Rich a quick call to let him know we were off the grid for three days, which we had timed to be a weekend so any computer issues that might need me attending wouldn't be so critical.
It turned out he was sat at our house with our cat Inky on his lap watching TV which is very cute. So glad she's getting first star cat sitting treatment - and I bet she is more so!
Supplies and new ice for the cooler purchased, we popped into Panda Express for one of my favourite things: Noodles in a box.
Except for one missed turn we made good progress over the next 50 miles or so, through a variety of terrain.
Travelling down a 20 mile strip of road about two thirds into the journey, we started seeing fruit trees that like before near Pismo went on for almost that entire time. Then we started seeing farm shops and I remember someone saying they always stopped off to get some Strawberries as they were extremely fresh and delicious.
We missed a couple as the signage came up too late but decided as we neared town to turnaround and visit one alled The Barn a short way back. Worth it, it was, yes.
A punnet of cherries and strawberries later we separated some out to eat there and then and put the rest in the cooler. I polished those off while Mel used the restroom so I separated some more! Wow. I've never tasted anything like it. The sun is obviously kind to fruit here.
The next part of the journey was another bum clencher for me, as we snaked up to 2500ft clinging to the side of the mountain, with me on the nasty side this time unlike highway 1. I did marvel at the fact we had a 4G signal at the top and updated Facebook to prove it. Then further up to 4000ft at Oak Flats where you can cheerfully pay $4.80 for a gallon of unleaded compared to the $3.83 we paid in Sonora before we embarked on our climb up Death Mountain, as I like to call it now. So bear that in mind should you do this, although filling up the tank of a 4x4 for £30 or £35 is not going to make the average Brit unhappy.
Our hotel, the Evergreen Lodge, sits at the end of a 6 mile road off Interstate 120 nestled amongst red pines and is very nice to look at - all the buildings are wooden cabins and don't look at all out of place. Perhaps Center Parcs got its inspiration from places like this.
However, at first I was a bit upset about the "Cottage" we had booked. The local insects were very quick to take bites out of us despite our deploying of spray, this combined with a lack of air conditioning in fierce heat and a screaming baby in the "Cottage" next to us led to an unhappy Andy.
But once I worked out that the heater they had on needed to be turned off, the ceiling fans could be upped a notch and the pillows were super soft, I was happier. Things got even better when I realised our decking area, lounge and bedroom window all face west into the setting sun. Happy now.
You know that trick when are at a caravan park in the UK and you toss bread onto the roof of your mates caravans so the seagulls wake them up? Just us then? Well, anyway, you could have much better fun here involving beef jerky and brown bears. They tell you not to leave ANY food in your car, which leaves me the image of Yogi and Boo Boo tearing the doors off to get to my open bag of Cheetos in the console.
The "Cottage" has a wide variety of games in it, including trivial pursuit, Scrabble, Yahtzee, Dominos, Cards and Boggle! They all are in good condition so Mel sat about thrashing me at Yahtzee until I got three of them in one game. She didn't even bother adding the scores up. Heh.
Mel had the steak with a balsamic glaze, which was delicious and I wished I'd had it rather than the sickly sweet maple chicken wings. Truffles fries again were very welcome, as was the warm bread and herb butter.
The walk back to the "Cottage" was very nice, with subtle lighting guiding your way and only the one cabin with the screaming kid breaking the silence; although luckily the parents are the sort to tell it to shut up and respect the other guests. Nice.
A quick kiss on the doorstep because the setting was so beautiful and we are sitting out on our balcony without the tint of light pollution you get in 95% of the UK. We marvelled at the stars on a clear night, and the silence and tranquility.
(Literally I guess.)
Think I went all slushy there, which is a change from Mel drinking them from every 711 we pass then complaining she needs a toilet.