|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