Our fifth wheel and the truck

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Mixed Bag - Nevada, California, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming!!

Wow!! I just looked at the title of this and phew what a busy time!!!!

I left you just after we made our hurried departure from Flaming Gorge and we still have a giggle about it when we retell the story. I think we established a record time - 20 minutes - for packing up and getting on the road. It had to be funny seeing Norm and I rushing around in the snow. Mind you all the other rv'ers were probably too busy doing the same to take much notice of us.

We were planning on going to north to Idaho from Flaming Gorge but as Interstate 80 was covered in snow a change of plans found us heading south west. We weren't sure what to do so we decided to head to Coarsegold in California which is just near Yosemite. We planned on staying there for two weeks until our friends Sue and John arrived from Australia for a holiday.

On our way we drove through Salt Lake City and with the benefit of hindsight I would have loved to have stayed for a few days and got a better look at the Great Salt Lake but we didn’t think about it at the time. Another spot to save for our next visit! Haha.

We stayed for a couple of days in Fernley, Nevada on our way to California and I have to say I love the warmth and terrain of Nevada. It was soooo nice to be able to wear shorts and tshirt and soak up some sun. The mountains and valleys and deserts are just beautiful however Nevada doesn’t like me, as I suffered from dreadful hay fever the whole time we were there. Even Norm had a few problems with his sinuses.

While we were in Nevada we took a drive down to Lake Tahoe. This is one of the few disappointments of our holiday. It is very commercial and access to the lake is very limited. Parking at one of the beaches is $7.00 while one spot where we thought we could drive down to the lake front (a boat ramp) to take some photos, the girl in the booth where boat owners have to pay to launch their boats wanted “$2.00 for a 15 minute photo opportunity”. The lake is really beautiful and although the day was lousy we did get out of the car and take a walk down there (we parked on the side of the road rather than pay $7.00 for a quick walk along the beach!!) It is also very, very expensive but I am sure that in the summer it would be absolutely stunning and it is apparently a very popular spot for summer holidaymakers as well as the skiers and snow bunnies in winter.

We also took a short trip into Reno which was (to us) just another city albeit a rather small one dominated by casinos. We really haven't spent much time in cities while we have been here except for Seattle, San Francisco and New Orleans and a day or two in a couple of others. We really enjoy the natural wonders and beauties of this country more than cities.

We left Nevada and had to pass over the Sierra Nevada mountains to get to California. Another exciting adventure of man and woman in truck with fifth wheel against the snow. Well, sort of!

The pass through the mountains had received heavy snow the night before our trip and everyone had had to use chains on their tires to use the pass and guess what we didn't have - yep you got it - chains for the tires. Lucky for us we arrived a bit later in the morning and the road had been cleared and the chain requirement had been lifted. It was still snowing lightly in places but by going very slowly and extremely carefully we once again made it through safely.

We arrived at Coarsegold and stayed in the most different and pleasant RV park. Most of the RV parks have the RV’s lined up like a parking area with a small grassed area in between each one where you can sit and have a picnic table, barbecue etc. The Park Sierra park is designed with each lot built into the hills and valleys so each one is different. The park is huge with lots of winding, up and down roads and loops that made walking really interesting and quite challenging. I really enjoyed my morning walks with so many of the rv’s hidden in among the trees and bushes.

We had a fairly quiet two weeks gathering our strength for the last minute whirlwind four weeks before we have to go home. We visited Fresno (just another city) to buy some stuff for our return to Aust. We had brought over our two huge suitcases but gave them to the Goodwill as we didn’t want to cart them all over America. We kept the two smaller ones but will need four when we go home (but Norm I haven't bought THAT much!!!) hence two new suitcases!

We also visited Bass Lake which was just stunning and while it wasn’t as big as Lake Tahoe it was possible to park along the shoreline and go and sit on a beach. Would I like to live there - absolutely! Gorgeous views and beautiful village but the real estate on one side of the lake is very expensive - at least a million dollars to have a lake front property and of course the other side is park so there goes that idea!

We did get involved in the social events of the park which was really lovely. The park is an Escapees Park and we are members of Escapees so they really do make you feel very welcome. We went to a couple of ‘pot luck’ suppers and a party at one rv. We used the gym in the club house and I went to a quilting day. I was able to get a quilt cut out and started to put it together however I don’t think I am going to get it finished as the last few weeks of our trip are pretty full on.

Our friends Sue and John arrived on June 19th so the next two days we spent in Yosemite National Park. Although we have been to the park before it was gorgeous to go back again. The last time we were only able to visit the Yosemite Valley as the pass was closed due to snow. Mind you the pass was only opened on June 18th!! Timing is wonderful!

The first day in Yosemite was just amazing! The waterfalls and river were just gorgeous with all the snow melting on the mountains there is just so much water cascading down the mountains. However the valley was very disappointing as there were just so many people and cars that it was impossible to find parking at any of the attractions. That is until we got to Glacier Point which was much better and would have to have been the highlight of the day! The views are absolutely stupendous and just left us speechless. It is not often that Norm is at a loss for words!!

The next day we headed up Tioga Pass which was much less crowded and had stunning views and vistas. We took a hike to a grove of Sequioa trees and you wouldn’t read about it -we met six other Australians on the path. It is so easy to pick the Aussies - the accent stands out and is so easy to pick up on. I must say it was a very challenging hike - easy on the way there (all downhill) but coming back had us all breathing a bit heavy! Good exercise!

We did manage to see some animals including mule-deer and a couple of marmots although Sue was disappointed that she wasn’t able to spot a bear. I have reassured her that she should be able to see one when we get to Yellowstone where we will be spending three days. I have my fingers crossed. Even if she doesn’t see a bear she will at least see lots of other animals in Yellowstone.

We left California and had a VERY long day driving as we head towards Yellowstone. It took us about 9 hours of driving the first day, 6 ½ hours of driving the next day and 4 hours the third day to reach the Grand Tetons National Park where we will spend two nights then up to Yellowstone National Park.

What can anyone say about the Grand Tetons? Once again it is a time when superlatives just don't do a place justice. I would love to spend more time exploring the valleys and the mountains of this place.

We started our day with a trip to the top of a mountain on a gondola where the views went forever and just took our breath away. There was still lots of snow on top of the mountain and it was very cold for those of us who had worn shorts, however it was just stunning. Another place that would be lovely to come back to and explore some more. Looks like we might be coming back again a few times at this rate!!!!

After the gondola and the mountain we took a boat ride and then hiked up to the gorgeous Hidden Falls. It was just so beautiful and peaceful despite the fact that there were quite a few people actually at the falls at the time. This country has so many waterfalls it is amazing!

From the falls we travelled through the park stopping to spot animals and take photos of the gorgeous views of snow covered mountains and verdant valleys. It was a beautiful day which ended with a lovely dinner - thanks Sue and John - and a stroll around the lovely, tourist town of Jackson Hole. (Interesting name!) And by the way Sue still hasn't got to see a bear yet! Fingers crossed!!!!

Our next stop will be Yellowstone and I am so looking forward to visiting there again. Norm and I stopped there when we were travelling in the US in 2007 and just fell in love with the place.

So until my next blog I will say fare-thee-well and hope that you all stay healthy and happy. Take care my dear family and friends.

1 comment:

  1. Gday, it has been awhile and i am still catching up with your blog. Your travells still are overwhelming and inviting. One day Col and I might just do something like you guys. Not long now before you are heading home. See you then. Pen