So after two and a half great days with Andrea and Bob it was time to say goodbye to city living and head back to nature in the RV. The kids were going to miss the dogs and the pool ,but the parks were calling. The first order of business was getting the RV out of the driveway. I didn't tell you all about getting the RV into the driveway. I drove into Pasadena on the freeway, which has essentially been the routine. Here is how I would describe who got what driving
1) Joanna- fastest roads, inside the national parks
2) Dad (my father) - tight corners (like in cities), storms, tough conditions
3) Arnie - the easy stuff :)
So after getting to us to the front of Andrea and Bob's place, I parked on the street and handed my dad the keys to get it into the back-lot on their property. Once safely in it just sat there for the entire time, as we rented a car for the week to have with us. But now it was time to not only get it out, but to turn it around. We guestimated it was going to be something between a 7 and 10 point turn (it took 8). Here are some great pics of the guys directing traffic and the "close" call on how wide the RV was relative to their fences/walls.
The good news is we got it out without ruining the fence or running over the sprinkler system, but it was a close call for sure. Off we went heading north on the 5 to get up to Sequoia. You actually get two parks for in one when you head up there, they are right next to each other and the two largest trees in the world are split between them. At Bob's suggestion we stays in Grant's Pass which is actually in KingsCanyon. The one fun thing we are doing is we got National Park Passports and we have been getting them stamped at every park, and then buying the national park sticker to put in with its. So we got Kings Canyon at the visitor center and then went to set up shop in the RV park.
National park RV parks vary quite widely. From having to make reservations months in advance, to this one where you simply filled out a piece of paper and dropped some cash in a box, honor system only here. We actually paid double as Arnie did see the fine print that said 50% off for annual pass holders...think of it as a $9 donation to the parks, they could use it given the sequester (sp?). After getting the RV balanced and all set we headed off in the rental car to go see General Grant's tree, the 2nd largest. We hiked up to the tree and it is a sight, and huge. The stat is done on volume, vs. height, width, etc. Having seen the Redwoods it was really hard for me to believe these were bigger, but I will trust it. Here are some photos from #2 (at bottom) and other very large trees both still standing and those who have fallen already.
Perhaps you took note of our dress, which clearly shows we have left the dessert and headed to the mountains. It definitely got much colder at night and we had to dig out the long pants, fleeces and sweatshirts for our evening hike. But as you can also see, blue skies all around. We have been blessed with the weather so far for sure, but also knew we had to sleep with socks on that evening. The kids had marshmallows on the fire that evening and we settled in for the night, as Sequoia and General Sherman awaited us.
We got up early to try to get to Sequoia early as we were going to drive to Yosemite in the afternoon. The hike down to General Sherman was all downhill so we knew it would be tough coming back up. This park was also more crowded than Kings Canyon. We did find it ironic that they named the world's largest tree after a General who's strategy was to burn down things to fight off the enemy, but we will leave that in history. The smell of Sequoia/KC was just unreal, no matter how good Febreze and Yankee Candle are you just can't bottle it. As my mom said "I wish I could just capture this and take it with me." Here are some pics of the great trees. The one of the patio looking thing is actually the shape of the bottom of the tree.
It is so hard to see the scale of these things, so I am now adding some pics with humans in them so you can get a sense of how gigantic they truly are. There was a whole path we didn't go to called "congress path" they name them after Presidents, senators, etc. But this was all part of the Giant Forest area of the park, and you felt like you were amongst giants for sure. Truly spectacular the immensity of it all.
So a great day and a half and off we head to Yosemite. I must say we are all very excited for Yosemite. None of us have been there, and of course we have seen all the amazing Ansel Adams pics of it, so looking forward to seeing it for ourselves. Off we go...