After seven months on the road, we finally made it to California. We started our visit to California by visiting four National Parks. The first park we visited was Joshua Tree. What a surprise that was. We expected loads of Joshua trees and a lot of desert. We got that and a lot more. This place was loaded with beautiful boulders, stacked on one another and spread out. We took a couple of beautiful hikes, one into a box canyon that at one time was used by outlaws to hide cattle that had been rustled. After Joshua Tree, we headed off to Shoshone where we camped while we toured Death Valley. Shoshone was a tiny little town with 17 residents, an Inn, a campground, one gas station and a restaurant. It was a beautiful location looking out at the mountains. On our only full day in Shoshone, the three of us headed off into Death Valley by car. Again, I’m not sure what we expected but it was another gorgeous area. We’re starting to call these “wow” days because it seems that’s what we’ve been saying over and over as we drive through the area. This time it was more of a painted desert with painted mountains. We took a couple of side roads into places words just can't describe. There were mountains of every conceivable color. And off in the distance, the snow covered Sierra Nevada Mountain range. We were so alone at one point we felt like we were the only living creatures until two coyotes peeked over the shoulder and wandered over to our car as we slowly drove by. Once it came time to leave Shoshone, we headed off in the RV towards the Sequoia National Park. Since we consider this trip an "adventure", we decided to take the scenic route through Death Valley rather than the main highway. On this trip, in the RV and towing the car we hit two separate areas with elevations near 5000 feet. The elevation was not as much of a problem but the switchbacks and sharp turns through jagged mountain passes tested all my RV driving skills. Claudia said that when she looked out her side window at times; all she could see was space. My eyes were glued to the road, praying that another RV or bus wouldn't come around the corner as we hit some of those turns. The vistas at the top however were breathtaking. Needless to say, we made it to our next campground safe and sound where we camped while visiting Sequoia. We started off with a drive through Sequoia and as we've encountered at each of the National Parks we've traveled through so far, we were delighted by what we saw. Even though we have seen pictures of the giant sequoias, we were overwhelmed by the magnitude of the forest and all the giant sequoia's as we drove at an elevation of close to 7000 feet. We took a beautiful mile long hike into the forest in order to see General Sherman, the world’s largest living tree that is approximately 2200 years old. We also took another hike up to Moro Rock. This was a climb of over 400 steps in order to arrive at the top of a huge boulder where it seems you're standing at the top of the world at an elevation of 6,725 feet with a 360 degree view. It was just another beautiful day. Now it was time to move on to Yosemite National Park. Unexpectedly, my driving skills were once again tested as we made our way to Yosemite. There were plenty of twists and turns across a variety of elevations with drops on either side so steep we couldn’t see down them. On some turns we could see our car beside us. We did make it safe and sound to Yosemite however and began a trip through what turned out to be the highlight of our California National Park tours. There were waterfalls, rock formations, trees taller than most buildings and views like nothing we've ever seen. Add to that the fact that the weather was gorgeous with deep blue skies and the visit was just wonderful. We took three trips to the park. On day one we traveled through Yosemite Valley, visiting such beautiful sights as Bridal Veil Falls, El Capitan, Yosemite Falls and Half Dome. At Yosemite Falls we climbed up the rocks to get as close to the lower falls as possible. On day two, just as gorgeous as day one, we returned to the valley. We started out by taking a 4 mile round trip hike to Mirror Lake where we could see images of the mountains above us perfectly reflected in the lake. Words can’t describe the stillness and the deep blue skies. Once we returned to the car, we pulled out our bikes and saw the park from a different perspective as we bicycled through the valley. On day three, we decided to take a trip up to Glacier Point, an overlook into Yosemite Valley from an elevation of 7,214 feet with a commanding view of Yosemite Valley, Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, and the High Sierra’s. It was just a magnificent way to end an absolutely awe inspiring visit to four of the most beautiful parks in the country. And best of all… we’ll be back. Ed
Ed and Claudia always dreamed of retiring and travelling the country in their motorhome. They retired in 2013 and this is the continuing story of their adventures on the road.