|Thayer's original arch ...|
|...more impressive after a little Photoshop magic!|
|Panorama with glacial erratics|
|Half Dome from scenic Olmsted Point|
|Half Dome from the valley|
|Yosemite Valley and Falls|
|Rafting the Merced River|
|Upper & lower Yosemite Falls|
In addition, there is the history of the Sierra Club, which was born in this area, and the colorful biography of John Muir and other early protectors of the park.
|Yosemite Valley at sunset|
One day we chatted with a volunteer who was meandering around answering people's questions. After he answered mine we began talking about what volunteers do in the park and how to get involved doing that. Turns out that if you can volunteer anywhere between one week to multiple months – and there are some neat things to do! In the winter, during Thanksgiving and Christmas, they need people to work in the information center, art museum and other areas, with indoor housing provided. During the summer there are many more things to do and they provide you a campsite in the campground, discounts at some of the eateries, and a cool shirt to wear. I am thinking pretty seriously about doing a month in the park during the summer. There is just so much to do there that you can't possibly see it all in just a few days, I think it would be really fun to spend a month there. Then it would just be a matter of deciding what next year's park would be, then the next year...
Sadly, with time becoming our master, we turned our back on the lovely mountains and headed down the winding road to civilization. Next up was Santa Rosa, home of my nephew, Stuart, and his girlfriend, Chelsey. Stu has turned into quite the forager, taking after his Uncle Robb in a big way. He and Chelsey moved to Santa Rosa just 3 years ago but have quickly figured out how to live off the land. Stu chases the mighty abalone to great depths, free diving 30-40 feet to chase down the wily mollusk. On his way up and down from the ocean floor he spears a few rockfish or lingcod and comes up with a fantastic meal for a big group. Fortunately he had had a successful fishing trip just a few days before we arrived and we were treated to one heck of a meal. The prize abalone from the trip was about 12 inches across! They are also very interested in wine and have a large collection. In just driving through Sonoma County, I could tell that they have found their niche in life. It was great fun to have a short visit with them and we look forward to seeing them in August. I hope they can sneak some abalone on the airplane.
|Chelsey, Stu and helper|
|Seals on the beach|
|Coastal BLM lands|
|Pretty coastal colors|
|More beautiful coastline|
|Wave tossed rocks|
|View from up high|
|5 geese hiking the Lost Coast Trail|
|Elegant cairn stones
Finally we fell precipitously out of the clouds into the cool little town of Ferndale, just south of Eureka. Ferndale is a very quaint little town with some lovely old homes that are nicely turned out and maintained. It is surrounded by many square miles of beautiful farmland, estuaries, and rivers and the people were really friendly and eager to share information about their big event, the K.G.C.
This was another case of perfect timing on our part! Memorial Day turned out to be the third and final day of the Kinetic Grand Championship. I copied the following description from the website:
The Kinetic Grand Championship is a 3-day, 42-mile bicycle race over land, sand, mud and water. (The "bicycles" are actually highly engineered sculptures.)
The day we arrived the whole town had turned out for the grand finale, incredible human powered crafts completing the grueling course and finishing in a blaze of glory. Everybody was dressed to the hilt and the alcohol was flowing freely. The event has been going on for 44 years and many of the participants have been involved for years and years. Winners of the event become the judges for subsequent years.
|Monster nurse log|
|Yoga amongst the redwoods|
|Burned out relic (the tree)|
|Good ol' Oregon|
|Early evening stroll along the Oregon surf|
|A secluded little beach hidden away somewhere on the Oregon coast|
After meandering 18,982 miles and more than 10 months on the road, I drove us the final leg home. I guess Thayer needed a rest. Handling the RV in busy big city traffic after so many months of backroad travel was a little hair raising but the rig just seemed to want to go faster as we got closer to Bothell.
PS - Within minutes of parking the rig, we had hopped into the car with Paul, Jackson, Sarah and Tour, and met Tommy at Sail Sand Point for a beautiful, sunny afternoon of sailing in our perfect Pacific NW. I guess it's reassuring that of all the places we've seen and experienced this past year, we still like it here the best.
It's good to be back!