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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Yosemite: Day One

Above, my first view of Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The plan was to drive Friday night to Fresno and spend the night there.

A few days before, I made reservations at a nice little RV park in Fresno, Blackstone North RV Park, which was across the street from a shopping center off Highway 41. I arrived there Friday around 2:00.  After settling in, I headed over to the El Pollo Loco for dinner. After dinner, I walked back to the RV park and five minutes later, a downpour started. It lasted all night and into the next day. I lucked out on that one!

I headed Saturday morning to Yosemite National Park around 9:00. Check-in time for the North Pines campground in Yosemite Valley was noon, so I was in no hurry. I was looking forward to this trip as I've never camped in Yosemite before. I've been there twice before on day trips.

I entered the park through the South Entrance on Highway 41. As I got closer to the park, the road began to wind into the mountains with hairpin turns. The Beast handled it well.

Above, the entrance gate at Yosemite. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

About 10:30 (give or take) I made it to the entrance gate. Thankfully, I have the lifetime golden age passport and was waved in at no charge by the gate ranger. This saved me $30!

More winding roads led me to my first stop inside Yosemite: Tunnel View. This viewpoint has a great view of Yosemite Valley. It was crowded with people and I had to park The Beast in a spot reserved for buses. I got out and took some photographs of the Valley. It was raining inside the park and it didn't let up until Sunday.

After taking my photographs, I got back into The Beast (my cat Sierra was hiding under the pillows in my bed) and proceeded on.

Above, Bridalveil Fall. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, The Beast at the roadside parking area at Bridalveil Fall. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

As I had plenty of time before noon, I stopped at the viewpoint for Bridalveil Fall and snapped some more photographs. The Bridalveil Fall was dumping a lot of water. One of the shuttle bus drivers said that they haven't seen as much water in the creeks and the Merced River for about two years. After this, I headed to Half Dome Village (formerly known as Curry Village, but the name has recently been changed due to the trademark lawsuit by the former concessionaire, Delaware North). I picked up a few groceries at the store and then headed out towards the campground.

Above, a signing directing visitors to Half DomeVillage, formerly known as Curry Village. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

By now, it was noon and I was able to check into my campsite (number 132). North Pines Campground is one of the smaller campgrounds in Yosemite Valley. Since I don't like crowds, this suited me just fine. It is a nice campground, sandwiched between the Merced River and the Tanaya Creek.

Above, since Yosemite has bears, a food storage container is provided at each campsite. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I then set up my camp, including leveling The Beast and relaxed for a while. I took a short walk to the nearby Tenaya Creek. I kept Sierra inside the RV as some of the squirrels in the park have fleas with the plague virus. After this, I decided to take the free shuttle to Yosemite Village and browsed through the store and gift shop.

Above, The Beast at North Pines campground in Yosemite Valley. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Unfortunately, T-Mobile cellular service is non-existent in Yosemite and the public Wi-Fi was totally useless. Denise wanted me to let her know when I arrived (bless her heart).

Finally, I made my way to the Majestic Hotel (formerly known as the Ahwahnee Hotel, due to the aforementioned lawsuit) and found that their Wi-Fi worked great. So, I sent Denise a text message that I arrived safely.

Above, Tenaya Creek, which was near my campsite. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, a view of my campsite from Tenaya Creek. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I hung around the Ahwahnee...oops, The Majestic Hotel for a while and then took the shuttle back to camp to settle in for the night. I slept great, despite the raindrop noise on the roof of The Beast.

So far, so good!

Next: Yosemite: Day Two

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