Wednesday, June 21

June 14, 2017 - Day 3

This morning was lovely. We all woke up much later - must be adjusting to California time. Scrambled eggs, sausage, hash browns, and toasty bagels for breakfast. (Thank you, Christy, for talking me into the eggs. It was a good choice.) The temperature wasn't nearly as cold today, either. Only slightly frosty.

None of us felt that dirty, but since we knew there weren't any showers at our campsite in Yosemite, we all decided to take a quick shower here. Of course, it was a camp shower, so not great. But Olive and I had hot water at least.

We wanted to go on one very short hike before we left, the Three Senses Trail. Decided to pack up first, and of course it took way longer than expected.  We were aiming to leave around 10am, but it was 10:00 before we were ready to go on our walk. It might have been cool, but we sort of rushed through it. Travel days are like that, I guess.

When we finally got in the van to head out to Yosemite, the windshield wipers were on and They Would Not Turn Off. Then we realized the entire dashboard wasn't working. No gas gauge, no speedometer, no blinkers. We weren't totally sure what to do. Since the car was drivable, we set out for a gas station. Figured we'd better fill up since we couldn't read the gauge (even though I was sure we still had 3/4 tank). At the gas station, Andrew and I were both on edge. Squeaky wipers going nonstop on a sunny day will do that to you, I guess. We opened the hood, like we knew something about cars. We did use the owner's manual to find the electrical parts, and pulled out the one that seemed connected to the wipers. Andrew blew on it like was an old Nintendo cartridge then put it back. Spoiler alert, that didn't fix anything.

We should have called Jucy, but were kind of afraid they'd charge us tons of money for this. So we decided to just keep driving. And thankfully, just a few more miles down the road, everything just turned back on. Our best guess is that Jucy wasn't totally honest about the amount of battery the fridge would use (or what battery), and we just ran down the car's battery. So after driving awhile, it worked again. For the record, we would NOT recommend Jucy.

Maybe 10 minutes later, we got stuck behind a line-painting truck that said Do Not Pass. We crawled along for 15 minutes. This was clearly not our day for driving.

Other notes about the drive: We stopped at a scenic vista overlooking a lake to eat our lunch -- nice, but I managed to sit in a patch of burrs. Ouch. We went through old-timey Columbia, CA. It was set up to look like an old gold-rush town, I think. We saw the quaint ice-cream parlor sign from the highway and decided to stop. Delicious ice cream and adorable atmosphere. We wandered the town for a few minutes, but nothing else compared to the ice cream. As we neared Yosemite, we had some majorly steep roads to climb. Our engine was getting hotter and hotter, so we had to pull off for a 15-minute break. Everything took forever during this drive. (And five minutes after we got going, I decided to stop for a cooler and ice--the overnight temps were not going to be cold enough to prevent our food from spoiling.)

Finally, FINALLY we arrived at our campsite, Hodgdon Meadow, around 3pm. Our site is . . . unimpressive. It's really crowded. We're right by the trash and recycling dumpsters, so campers are constantly clanging open the bear-proof carabiners and slamming in their trash. Some people even dump out their beer bottles on the ground right there. Nature! There aren't any water pumps; only water is up by the semi-dirty restrooms. (Speaking of the restrooms, they don't have any soap. Neither did Big Trees's bathroom. What is up with that?) No clear trails to meander nearby. Some fallen trees to climb on and around, but the kids quickly got bored with that. And since the main attractions in Yosemite are quite a drive away, we weren't doing those until the next day.

We got our camp set up quickly this time--we're getting good at this--then mostly we just got on each other's nerves until dinnertime. It seemed late enough to start making dinner around 5:30. Tonight's menu was brats grilled over the fire, macaroni and cheese, corn chips, and baby carrots. Pretty good. (Unfortunately, we ran out of beer. Dang.) After I washed the dishes, Andrew let me sit lazily by the fire while he took the kids out exploring. My knee was starting to hurt today and I'm limping around. I think it's all the hills. Hopefully not my boots. My rest was fairly short-lived, however, because Milo took a pretty big spill off a log and scraped up the side of his leg. This was maybe his 3rd or 4th big fall today? He's tough, that one. Man, I love that kid. Not because he's tough, but because he's just so sweet, thanking me for getting his band-aids and such.

Milo loved gathering wood for our fire. A semi-recent wildfire left this area pretty charred, so the ranger said we could burn anything we gathered. (He definitely gave me a WTF look when I asked about buying firewood.)

Milo and Olive chose some souvenirs at Big Trees yesterday--small stuffed fox for Milo and three butterfly finger puppets for Olive. They've been playing these imaginative games with them nonstop, some kind of family scenario. So fun. These kids get along great when they're not fighting.
Holding hands. Awwww.

As we head to bed, Andrew and I are feeling worried that we'll hate Yosemite, that it will be too crowded and crazy to enjoy anything. The older I get, the less I like crowds. But we had a plan--wake up early, quick breakfast and get dressed, get going. Gotta get a parking spot in the valley!

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