Daily Archives: April 22, 2016

The Central California Trilogy – Part 3


All you need is love

Do-da-do-da-do. (come on, sing along)

All you need is love….

Part 3, finally

Where the heck were we? Damn tangents. Ok, so we leave Bass Lake through Oakhurst – geography people, take a drive – on to CA 49 north. Twisty, windy (long I – sounds better to me than winding) through some rolling hills in the gold mine territory. Half hour later we’re in Angels Camp, home of Mark Twain’s Jumping Frog and annual frog jumping event at the month long state-fairish thingy. Something like like that. Look it up if you want to know exactly what it is. Twenty minutes or so later we pass through the cute little town of Mariposa. No big whoop, and then we pass a warning sign, “Trucks over 30′ kingpin to axle not advised next 22 miles”. I thought, “We saw that same sign from Temecula to Julian” and it was a bunch of very tight turns in the mountains but everybody just backs off when they see you, so WTF! Andrea didn’t see the sign. Didn’t want to scare her so said nothing. Then out of the blue we come upon an overlook, the perfect place to have lunch. And then we took a look. Cat’s out of the bag. Holy Switchback!

Lots of people stopped up there after coming up from Bagby Recreational Area, down at that bridge. One guy in a big white pick-up truck (I think the only color they sell in CA), advised us against going down there. Whoop, there it is! Sign me up baby. Must be one of loose screws. Tell me not to do it and the green light comes on. Had similar warnings 12 years ago when we drove our old 27 footer over Independence Pass in Colorado. That was one lane at points at the edge of a cliff, a must drive if you like that kind of thing. Get out of the way, here I come. Great game of chicken. Back to the Bagby Rec Area. Nicely paved road, respectful drivers of a 42 footer towing, and a tiring number of very tight turns and switchbacks. I would much rather be on a flat, wide interstate but if the road is going to be a challenge, give me your best. It was no Moki Dugway but, damn, that was fun. And, it seemed like we were sniffing glue halfway through. With so much shifting going on we were bound to break something – a bottle of clear nail polish. No wonder I felt like Superman.

The next 50 miles were only slightly easier. It’s all mountains where CA 49 transverses. We ended up in the old mining town of Columbia, our overnight (2) destination. To get to the 49er RV Ranch, you have to go through and then zig-zag around Columbia Historic State Park. No problem. But upon arrival, we got the last site available. Three guys, all with beards but all needing some dental work, guided me into my spot, up a very severely steep curving hill – backwards. Good job boys. Topped off an exhilarating day behind the wheel. And the Wi-Fi was good enough to stream the Mets game.

One more by-the-way: I bought the single team MLB package this year for my team so if you need to contact my phone during a Met game, try Andrea or 911.

Columbia is one of many of the original gold mining towns along CA 49, named for the real 49ers, not hapless football team. The road is also known as the Golden Chain Highway, stringing a dozen gold rush towns together over hundreds of miles. We passed through Sutter Creek, home of the original gold rush mine. Lots of history along the way. You could make a nice vacation of it if gorgeous scenery, old west charm, and history is your thing. Here’s a little bit of the state historic park in Columbia:

Now we’re in Tahoe Valley RV Resort, in South Lake Tahoe. Beautiful. The best of National Lampoon’s Vacation if they had come here. Very tall pine trees and a lovely full moon tonight walking the dog, rather breathtaking as we await tomorrow’s snow storm. The drive in on US 50 was more of the same, back and forth for 50 miles, a couple of switchbacks and finally we emerge far above the lake – a beautiful view – you gotta put Lake Tahoe on your bucket list. We took a short drive today up along the shore to Nevada Beach in, surprise!, Nevada. The actual national forest recreation area was officially closed but we walked from a nearby street to the beach and I hope Andrea posts some of her pics soon because I left my phone in the car. We have to go back because this was one of the most spectacular sights we’ve encountered in almost two years on the road. We went to Tahoe in 2006 for our 30th anniversary. Problem was, my math was off a year and it was only 29 years. But we gambled then so it was fun. The scenery was gorgeous. And it still is. We’re voting for it as the place we would most want to come back to. Do you like jaw dropping natural scenery? Or, would you rather look at crumbling ruins of man made cities? Come on, this is a destination. You like to ski? Heaven. Gamble? Yeah, the Nevada side. Sit back and love what you’re looking at? The best. The chamber of commerce ought to pay me. I’ll get some pictures Saturday, after the snow stops.


I loved his rock guitar riffs. Eric Clapton, upon being interviewed as the best guitarist in the world, said that you should be interviewing Prince. Not a fan of most of his genres but when he started ripping on that guitar, I could just close my eyes and let him take me away. Would have loved to have seen him and Carlos Santana play off each other. I don’t know if that ever happened but I can imagine. As a human being previously known as the God of odd, I loved his independence – going your own way. We lost a genius.

OK, after running this by the editorial staff and cleaning up some of the steroid induced angry rants, it’s now Friday and the snow is here.

That’s some big fat snow.

Last thoughts. California is our favorite state. The geographic diversity, so much breathtaking scenery – we’ll be back, Arnold.

And my love to the editorial staff who has had to deal with the response to raging steroids and pain. I’m sorry for being such an ass.

The Central California Trilogy – Part 2

Left off with the two year old in a Pink Floyd shirt looking stoned. Wait, looking at me liked I was stoned. Friggin’ error correction.

We drove to the next suggested spot called Swinging Bridge, again getting lucky when somebody pulled out just as we were about to give up and go home. Been pretty lucky in life. But I knew that. The nuns told me when I was 6. I could have been born with the cannibals. Ah! Teach ’em fear from day one. But I digress. The view of Yosemite Falls was supposed to be pretty good from the walking bridge. It was, but it was also pretty good from the other million points where the other tourists were. Then it got interesting. I was using a very nice cane to help with those moments of knifings and electric shocks. Walking over the bridge we decided to meander off the path and follow the river toward the waterfall in hopes of another bridge just ahead, a shortcut back to the car. Alas, along the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we did not go. We ended up at the Yellowstone Lodge. If we had carried a map of the park it would have been easy to figure out how to get to the car. I had had enough walking so Andrea headed back to the car along the road we thought we had abandoned. Oops. Wrong road. As I sat on a rock watching Yellowstone Falls crash over and over and over – I could have sat there forever – a good Indica would have made it more fun – Andrea got misdirected by park rangers and an hour later walked back to me. Where the hell are we? In the lodge they suggested we get on the shuttle. So, first shuttle was full of zombies and we couldn’t get on. Next shuttle didn’t show until a half hour later, a few minutes after we figured out that we were not that far from the car via the first path we started from. By then my hip had enough rest to be dragged back to the car. My guess is the original quarter mile walk became about three miles. So much for restful recovery. But the pics were good:

If you like the same waterfall from different angles.

After finding the car we just wanted out but we were only about a quarter of the way into the valley.We kept going to Half Dome:

At which point we ran into two million drivers on a one lane road. Before dealing with more pansy (no offense to you pansies out there) drivers on 41 South, we stopped at an overlook just outside the big tunnel and got a last look:

If and when you go, avoid May-Sept, any weekend, and especially National Parks weekend. Better yet, sit back with something that floats your boat, and rewind the Ken Burns documentary.

Next: Leaving Bass Lake

I often leave out interesting drives because we don’t have photos. We had no idea the next 130 miles were going to be the most difficult in Odyssey history.

Hold on. Watching news as I’m writing. Anybody recall seeing this guy on CBS news, Major Garrett? He’s current. First of all, what kind of name is Major? I want to name him Trigger, or Mr. Ed. You know, you stick your face out there in the public eye and you might get a few of us taking a close look and wonder if he’s going ‘nay’. Some of us have this sarcasm gene for which we need medication but instead share notes. Maryann? And ten seconds later on local Reno TV is the CBS weather person (gender suggestion female) who looks like Flicka. I deserve a cruel death by The Foot. She lived two houses down with Shirl. Yes, you’re right. I am a bad person. You ever feel bad that way when you finish making fun of someone, someone pathetic (after you’ve had your little chuckle?) Good. I’ll see you in hell. (From Unforgiven quoting Little Bill as he’s about to have his head blown off by William Munny).

One more. Hey, I’m not taking any drugs except massive amounts of Aleeve and Tylenol, but I have another idea that I’ve been thinking about. A new national anthem. Nobody can sing the current one well. Don’t we all wait for Bouncie or whoever, to miss a note? Can you sing it? OK, Jill, you probably can but that’s one in 80. But can you sing ‘All You Need Is Love’? Of course. It starts with the horns that sound so much like the beginning of an anthem. And like the current anthem or pledge of allegiance when you go ‘blah-blah-blah’ through most of it, you can do that with the Beatles song, and then pipe up when you know when to sing the chorus. Anyone out there want to take the lead on this? Carol? (Uh-oh, 4 Carols on the list. You know who you are). If ever there was a political cause I’d sing for, this is it. “Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time. It’s easy.”

End part 2. Stay tuned for part 3.

“No where you can be that isn’t meant where should be”.

How many would like to change the national anthem to ‘All You Need Is Love’? Raise your hands.

The Central California Trilogy – Part 1

This one got kind of big – lots of material – so wait until you’re off work and read it while you’re driving. Actually, I just counted pictures. I usually get kickback on servers that limit email size and that’s generally about 10 pictures. So, there will be a part two and part three.

First, an update on the St. Agnes ER story. Not me. I left a couple of colorful moments out. First, remember the screaming ugly Melissa McCarthy character. She said something that explained why she looked so nasty. Rolling on the floor she said, “I’ve had kids, I got shot in the face, but I ain’t never had pain like this”. Does that paint a better picture? Second – Lola, the 110 year old Brazillian dancer with the 9 inch nails. Andrea spoke to her and the first thing that struck her was the gun tattoo on her cheek. I avoided eye contact so I missed that charming feature. Finally, the Susan Sarandon person? I’m convinced it was really her – she was on Bill Maher last week and that was the same person.

And that’s that. The hip? A few days of perceived relief. We’ll revisit that in a topic this summer called ‘Adventures in Back Surgery’.

I told you this is going to be long so pull over and start sniffing glue or work that vape pen.

Yosemite – If You Have Only One Day

That’s the page we focused on Saturday. The lovely RV Park at Bass Lake provided us with a nice brochure on the area, mainly about Yosemite. Well, a couple of days after the St Agnes ER episode, raging steroids gave me the bad sense that perhaps all is well. So off we went to Yosemite.

Unfortunately, it was a Saturday – more people – and, most unfortunately, it was free National Parks weekend. Did any of you go to a National Park this weekend? Wait. If you’ve already got your 62+ Senior Pass, you’re excused for not going. That 62 Pass is the best deal on the planet. But, somehow, a million people who don’t have that pass showed up at Yosemite Saturday. A million? Well, maybe not. Seemed like two million.

The weather was perfect, mid 60’s, gorgeous day. But really, where the fuck did they come from? Yosemite is 150 miles from San Francisco. We drove 50 some odd miles through the south entrance (CA Rd 41) on a dizzying, winding road with perhaps one straight stretch of a quarter mile. Otherwise it was curve left, curve right, up 1000 feet, down 1000 feet. The road was great for a Porsche. And there were no shortage of them. But…many more Dodge Caravans ruled the road and you could finally feel for the guy and his hottie in the Maserati crawling in the conga line.

Finally, we’re in Yosemite. When you drive up from the south to Yosemite Valley, the first suggested stop on a “if you have one day” trip is Glacier Point. Oops. Road still closed for winter. Next stop, Tunnel View. Good suggestion, if twenty-two million people aren’t there when you arrive. They only have parking for twenty-two. Something like that. But, we pulled into the lot and traded our English Rosetta Stone for a spot. After feeding Luna we took our first pictures in the park.

Ok, got the jist? Waterfalls. After Tunnel View was a pullover for Bridalview Falls. We got lucky and stopped to consider what to do when somebody pulled out just ahead of us. Wow. No negotiating for a parking spot. I got a chance to try some real walking. A half mile there? No big deal.

On the north side of the road was another waterfall. I don’t know what the name was.

And then our objective, Bridalveil Falls:

This was a stupid one. I got soaked but protected the phone.

But my favorite part of walking to those falls was when I paused to sit on a rock. A family passed by and the mom said, “Look honey, the same shirt”. Their two year old was wearing a Pink Floyd shirt. I told the kid she had a great shirt, good taste. Looked at me like I had four eyes.

End part 1. Part 2 coming up.