Sunday, May 24, 2009

Day 36: Death Valley CA to Groveland CA

Friday, May 22
Death Valley, CA to Groveland , CA
Odometer Begin: 112,880
Miles traveled: 360
Time spent traveling: 9 hours
Other: Elevation gain today : 10,227 feet
Wx: sunny high 90s to 100s F.
States traveled: CA

So today was one of those days! We have been traveling for 35 days it was bound to happen… We had a good start in Death Valley, took in a hike through Mosaic Canyon
Mosiac Canyon
in very warm weather and then drove up into winter! We climbed up to Tioga Pass in Yosemite National Park at 9,945 feet. There was still 4 feet of snow in places.

For the most part, we have been camping for free in National Forest or BLM land on this trip. It has worked really well so far; choose a place on the map, do some quick googleing and viola! Another free evening! Today that system failed. There were several factors against us, it is Memorial Day Weekend, it is Yosemite and The Strawberry Festival. We knew it would be tough and we weren’t planning on finding a campsite in the park. The majority of the parks’ campgrounds are still closed right now as well. So, we planned on finding something in Stanislaus National Forest. I even called the Ranger Station in the district we were going to be in to see if they could make some suggestions. That was no help, just “It‘s your forest you can camp where you want“…, although she was very nice and returned my phone call; their Gail is no Chris B! (our friend who is the Visitor Information Specialist for the Whites) I already knew that. We drove down various Forest Service roads the pay campsites were full and other locations we found were high on the sketch factor. Right next to where someone was target shooting, under high tension wires, straight out of Deliverance, down a dirt road only a tank could travel or apparently where the local teenage rager was to be. It was getting later and later and the closer and closer to sunset. Brian finally called a local motel, (thanks to Garmina’s help) and told them we were looking for cheap accommodations since we had a tent and having no luck with campgrounds. They said we could put up the tent on their lawn for $25. Uh, we’ll take it! They actually have tents that it not too many people were using so they had a wash house. It was basically like an expensive campground right in town. There were 2 bikers that did the same thing. We bought some California wine and Milano cookies for salve for our wounds, cookies always make me feel better.

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