Usa – West Coast 2010 Sequoia National Park, Yosemite and Death Valley
We started from San Francisco at 9, after a substantial breakfast with pancakes, scrambled eggs (for Gianni), fruit juice and American coffee.
We took Bay Bridge and our way to Tulare. From there we were going to visit Sequoia National Park.
We spent the morning driving, we only stopped every now and then when we saw some interesting place to take some photos. We only made a longer stop in Fresno, we had read that the town is very nice, but we only wasted our time because it is nothing special.
Our motel in Tulare was rather bare and basic, but we were happy to be there because it was really very hot and we really needed a dive in the swimming pool. Then we went to a department store where Manuel and I got crazy, because the price were really very cheap. In the end Gianni managed to take us away and took us to a very nice place for dinner, the Black Horse. We had wonderful steaks with fries, we jocked with the waitress and we had a really good time!
Sequoia National Park
And then, we started to Sequoia National Park: for the following day, our holiday will be full of natural wonders, and for us this is a real paradise!
Sequoias are wonderful, imposing, huge; we had seen lots of photos and had read a lot about them, but only when you are in front of them you realize how big they are! We took a lot of photos, then we wanderer around the park until we met a viewpoint very hard to be climbed, I gave up very soon while my travel mates got to the top and (so they said) enjoyed a wonderful view! A little funny thing: there are lots of litter bins around, but they are very hard to be opened, so that bears cannot open them and look for food inside (and they say this often happened in the past).
Another little walk, a stop to the toilet (very crowded) then we went to see General Sherman, which is the biggest sequoia of all. it is really amazing and everyone wants to see it and take a picture of it, so we had to queue up and wait for our turn. Then we crossed another park, King’s Canyon, to reach Mariposa, where we had booked a room at Best Western.
This town is very small but lovely, it seems time has stopped there and you have jumped back to the Far West time. We made a tour of some shops, we had dinner in one of the two restauranta (both full of tourists) and when we got to the hotel we found a lot of Harley Davidsons in the parking. There were also the famous “bikers”, most of them middle-aged but so full of energy and life!
Yosemite National Park
The second park we visited was Yosemite, one of the most famous. We had some problems on the road, because there were some works, so there was a queue and we had to drive very slowly. When we got to park, we went to see an area where there are some sequoias, they fine, but smaller than the ones we saw the day before, so we were rather disappointed.
Then we got to a viewpoint from where we could admire the Half Dome and big granite rocks and small streams. We stopped there for a while because it was so really fine.
The following stop was near a waterfall that forms a pool among the big rocks, and there were people walking in it, they were looking for refreshment as it was very hot. Even Manuel took off shoes and socks and entered the pool. After taking a lot of photos, we got on our car and left.
But the driving was great because we saw wonderful landscapes: we crossed Tioga Pass at more than 3000 metres, then we wanted to visit Bodie, a gost town built during the Gold Rush. Unfortunately we got there after closing time, so we could only take some photos in the distance. (Gianni and I came there some years after and could visit it very well).
Our hotel in Lee Vining was really ugly; we got a ruined bungalow, and the place didn’t look very clean, but it was the only place we had found when we had to book. What’s funny is that it was the most expensive hotel of all… and if you want to avoid it, the name is Tioga Lodge. After having dinner, we have a little walk and go back to the hotel.
In the morning, we left the hotel very early, and we didn’t even have breakfast (that was included in the hotel price) because the boy who had welcomed us the day before had disappeared. Before leaving the area, we wanted to see Mono Lake, a lake where there are very nice tufa towers. It’s here that was filmed “A man with no name” with Clint Eastwood.
And now we had to cross the Death valley, between California and Nevada. It is famous because just in the middle of the valley there is the lowest place in North America, and for its very high temperature (about 48/50 degrees). It is recommended not to stop on the asphalt because the car’s tires could melt; and don’t enter the Valley without taking with you a lot of water, both to drink and for the car.
We had no particular problems, but I have never felt so hot in my life, it seemed to be in front of a bonfire; and even if you went in the shade the temperature was the same!
The names of the two refreshment points in the valley are very meaningful: Stovepipe Wells and Furnace Creek. It was just there we stopped for lunch, together with two youn Italians on their honeymoon. It was pleasant, because so far we hadn’t met any other Italians and we loved having a chat in our language.
After this break, we went to see Bad Waters, a salt lake where the warmth was unbearable, so we stopped for a very short time before taking our way to Las Vegas!