Tuesday, February 16, 2016

California - 3rd stop


On January 14, 2016 we headed to Gustine. Well, actually we were in a small town called Santa Nella, but the address is Gustine, which is just a few miles north. We started off our trip thinking we might not get here. We were all set to pull out of Dunnigan, when the RV wouldn't start. Called for roadside assistance and it took them two hours to get to us, to find out it was a cable connection problem. Thankfully the Happy Time RV Park didn't charge us for a second day and the Santa Nella RV Park held our space.
The campground is fairly large but their spots are not actually built for a rig our size so we had to park angled across two sites. It worked, but left very little space to park the car.

We are still in the Central Valley, which made day trips in all directions easy. First day out we headed to the coast and Monterey Bay. We had to cross the mountains to get there which is always a pretty drive.

Lots of farm land and orchards. The hillsides never cease to amaze us, they roll up and down in all different directions, then they crisscross each other in a maze of valleys.
It was interesting to see the farm houses surrounded by palm trees instead of regular trees.

Once in Monterey we drove though the Fisherman's Wharf and Cannery Row. Lots of shops and eateries and lots and lots of people. We drove Hwy 101 down the coast to Carmel by the Sea, stopping at beaches along the way.

The birds were very photogenic. 

We had so much fun climbing on the rocks, and playing in the sand.

The trees along the coast all lean with the wind coming off the ocean. 

 The rocky coast might not be good for surfing 
but it sure makes for great wave watching. 

The rocks make for a beautiful view as well.

Nancy wants to live in this house, it is built into the hillside and looks out over the ocean. 

While at one of the overlooks, we saw these guys stripped down to their boxer shorts and wading at the waters edge. Just before Nancy shot this picture they were laughing and waving at us, just after the picture they were squealing like 4-year olds and running up the beach after getting hit by a huge wave. Water temp was around 50 degrees.

At the next overlook we saw a pelican floating in the water.  
Of course a crow had to show up for one of Nancy's pictures. 

We drove the 17 Mile Drive, a scenic road from Pebble Beach to Pacific Grove. There is a fee of $10 per vehicle to access the road, which is a private road lined with homes. There are a number of overlooks to stop at with great views of the ocean. 
We stopped at Seal Rock, the overlook is quite a ways above the ocean with the rock just off shore. We were a little early in the season but we did spot a couple of seals lounging on the edge of the rock.
The Lone Cypress is one of the most photographed trees in the world. It is believed to be at least 250 years old. It has endured fire and wind damage and is now supported with cables and braces. The Pebble Beach Co. owns the copyright to the tree and all images of it. No artist can sell any painting or photograph of it. 

Carmel by the Sea is such a cute town, the houses along the shore line are adorable. Many are like fairy cottages. The beaches are so pretty. 
The drive from Carmel to Big Sur was the best. Rolling hills on one side and the ocean and beaches on the other. 

There are a number farms and pastures. Many of the pastures are right on the ocean, and we couldn't help but think how frustrated a developer must be when they drive past acres of beautiful ocean front property with cows grazing on it. Seems like the perfect use to us, but probably not to a developer! 

Casa De Fruta is a large roadside attraction off of Hwy 152. It started as a small fruit stand back in the early '40's and has grown to the large attraction it is today, with two restaurants, a gift shop, a two tier carousel, a scale model miniature train for kids to ride and a fruit market. 

The best part is the peacocks roaming around, and they have an albino one.
Pour Mielikki - the things we do to her!

Pinnacles National Park was the next stop after Casa De Fruta.We entered the park from the East side and drove along the Sandy Creek through Bear Valley. You really need to hike into the center of the park to see the peaks, with the dog in tow that was not possible for us. 

We did explore the river bed, the water is very low and in some places just a trickle. Once again Nancy found some interesting reflections on the water and a very busy spider.

We got a glimpse of the
peaks and interesting rock formations. 

The day ended with a beautiful sunset. 
The last adventure from Gustine was Yosemite National Park. Because of snow we thought we were not going to be able to get into the park. As you can see from some of the photos they received a lot of snow. Some of the smaller roads were still closed but the main road into the valley was open. What a beautiful park, would love to come back in nicer weather. 

The drive in took us past a number of orchards, a few had palm trees planted at the end of some of the rows. 
The scenery was beautiful as we got closer, rolling hills of farmland and pastures, with rivers running through them. 
Once we hit the park we started seeing snow, at first it was just a little by the side of the road, as we gained elevation the depth increased to where it was higher than our car. It was great if you wanted to ski, but not so much for driving, a few places were slippery and slushy. 
Badger Pass Ski Area

One side road we traveled took us to the Chilnualna Falls. They are right on the roadside, so no hiking in the snow. Mielikki loved playing in it though. 
We did see some wildlife up close and personal. If Mielikki hadn't been so vocal we think both may have come even closer. 

Once we hit the valley we were in awe of the beauty. Our first glimpse was at an overlook just before the tunnel that takes you into the valley. Just through the tunnel is the Tunnel Overlook where you get a perfect view of El CapitanHalf Dome and Bridal Veil Falls. We were surprised that it was colder here than up at the ski area. 

The Geologic process that created Yosemite Valley includes glaciation, erosion, rockfalls, and earthquakes. Most of these are still at work here today, shaping and reshaping the land. The sixteen types of granite found in Yosemite have been carried here over the years by glaciers.
El Capitan is famous for its massive bulk and sheer vertical face which soars 3,000 feet into the air. It is composed of a particularly durable granite, allowing it to withstand the pressures of glaciers and erosion. It is very impressive. It was first scaled in 1958 and since then climbers have found nearly a hundred climbing routes.

As you drive into the valley along Southside Drive you see the Cathedral Peaks, and Bridal Veil Falls, along with continuous views of Half Dome and El Capitan. 
The Merced River runs down the center of the valley between the Southside Drive and Northside Drive. It was beautiful with the snow around it. 

Both sides of the river are lined with picnic areas and trail heads. We spotted a number of snowmen hanging out in the fields. 

Our next stop in Bakersfield took us back to the ocean... See ya there!

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You! 

Tips and things we have learned along the way. 
~ As you know Nancy takes lots and lots of pictures, many more than what show up in the blog or on Facebook or Instagram. In a blog post from back in October 2015 from Lolo, Montana we shared how we keep track of our photos and other memories. Sometimes when organizing the pictures it is hard to remember exactly where it was taken, what road, what park etc. 
Nancy has started taking the same picture with her phone as she did with her camera and then takes a screen shot of Goggle Maps which shows the location. Sounds a little crazy to some, and extra work to others, but we have found it a time saver and much less of a headache trying to figure out where a picture is from.

To take a screen shot:
1. Press and hold the Sleep button.
2. Press and release the Home button.
3. Release the Sleep button.
4. Your screen will flash and the image will be in your Camera Roll.

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