Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Day 9: Yosemite to Bakersfield

Hotel: The Padre - Head Honcho Suite

I got up early and finished sorting out our luggage whilst Mel slept in for half an hour. Makes a change for it to be that way round, so despite her asking to be woken at 9am I work her at 9:04am as she was so sweet and giggly last night :-)

She threw on some clothes quickly and fetched the car, as we couldn't park next to the "cottage," then got her morning routine out of the way whilst I loaded the car and emptied the cool box iced water into the bath so we could refresh it with ice. I guess she was fortunate I waited until she got out of it.

With last nights revelation that we could drive by the giant Sequoias, we set off with that in mind, and headed into Yosemite Valley once more to almost instantly turn off down the 41 towards Fresno. Only moderate bum clenching on this one.

Another tip: Nearing the Sequoia Grove there is a sign that says that parking is full and you should stop and use the shuttle bus. It lies, it is a permanent sign that can't be changed and embarks you on a 90 minute at best round trip back to that location. Ignore it, at this time of year anyway, as the car park was a third empty and I'm glad I was cavalier in telling Mel to press on.

However, moments later Karma caught up with me when I told her to turn down the Forest Drive turning, as that sounded like a good way of seeing the trees when one is in a hurry. But no.

Forest Drive is a road called forest drive, complete with residential housing, and is not A forest drive as one might imagine. A u-turn, a consult of the map and Google, and off down the road we continued until we found the actual proper Grove we sought.

This stuff should be documented somewhere.

But in the end I was right, you can park up right next to the trails if you ignore the sign and press on to the real one.

Now at 102f we parked up, had a nibble of chicken salad, grabbed water and set off on the trail. We took some pictures of a live tree, a fallen tree and a burnt tree.

After a mile we decided to throw in the towel and head back to the air conditioning. If we were to visit again we'd allow more time and take the tram tour so as to see more, but we felt today due to heat and hurting legs from yesterday's hike that one tree looks pretty much like another and we'd had our fill.


It had been niggling at me for some time as to why Bakersfield rang a bell in my mind for something. I had picked its location purely as it was half way to Vegas, leaving Mel to choose a hotel she liked.

Once we started seeing the numerous bail bond shops on the way through town to the Padre Hotel it dawned on me. The Prison.

When we arrived we parked over the street as we intended to go out fairly quickly for some take-out, grabbed our backpacks which we'd packed for a quick over night stay rather than lug the big cases, and checked in.

The room is amazing, with a pillow topped memory foam mattress, huge soft pillows and a nice view of the city at the bottom of the bed.

As it's a corner suite there are also city views to the side and we later got to watch some skateboarders making good use of the multi-story car park on that side.

In the bathroom, which has two entrances either side of the bed making Mel happy, is where the suite gets its Head Honcho name from. The spa bath fills from the ceiling! A most unusual feature. 

There is also a large shower with a seat which I like, a barrel sink and huge mirrors. The floor is a very interesting hexagon pattern a lot like the entrance plazas to the Magic Kingdoms at Disney.

A 46" Tv is set above the desk, which isn't the smartest move as someone working at it obscures it for someone sitting on the bed or L shaped sofa.

The only huge downer here is the Internet access: Not only was it slow, it was suffering 10% packet loss, meaning the evening I planned on updating all my diary entries ended up a fight just getting the photos online so I could insert them into the text I had already been writing as I went along.

In the end I did get a couple uploaded in the morning by plugging the iPad in overnight and forcing retries on all upload failures..

Mel wanted BBQ fodder, so we headed to Fabios corner which had good reviews to find it closed, a quick google and we headed to Dangerous Daves on the other side of town. We order burnt ends, ribs and pulled pork and waited 30 minutes for it, $25 total.

I also picked up some peach balini Smirnoff Ice from a sweet old lady (I like drinking them over here, they are only 4%, small and very refreshing cold.)

When we got back we found 4 ribs, a dozen burnt end cubes and enough pulled pork to cover the toast it came with. The coleslaw was enough to fit on a spoon. Needless to say, I do NOT recommend Dangerous Daves.

It was so little and so poor we ordered a cheese and meat platter from room service to supplement it!

Mel bathed, I fought with the Internet, and then we went to sleep on the best bed I have slept on EVER. Just a shame my cough woke me up so often. Grr.

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