4500 Miles Later...

Discussion in 'Let me tell you about my trip' started by MsMac, Oct 14, 2017.

  1. MsMac

    MsMac Active Member

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    May 19, 2016
    We are back from our West Coast odyssey. :)

    19 nights
    4 national parks
    2 national monuments
    4 states
    10 campgrounds
    1 wedding (not ours, much to the chagrin of my family, LOL)

    It was an unbelievable trip. I will post some details and photos once I get the opportunity to sift through them tomorrow.
     
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  2. JPBar

    JPBar Well-Known Member

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    Sep 22, 2016
    Texas
    Congrats on your trip, glad you made it home safe!
     
  3. MsMac

    MsMac Active Member

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    May 19, 2016
    Thanks. :) It was a bit touch and go at the start, as my partner forgot to tighten the lugs on one of the wheels after he worked on the brakes. Fortunately, we were close to home and stopped as soon as we heard the awful thudding sound. It took us an afternoon to find replacements (thanks Tractor Supply :) ), and that was our only real hiccup for the trip.
     
  4. megcabra

    megcabra Active Member

    Sounds like a great trip! Loosing an afternoon isn’t too bad considering what time you could have lost if the wheel fell off.
     
  5. MsMac

    MsMac Active Member

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    May 19, 2016
    So...after our lug hiccup, we decided to sleep at home that night and get an early start the next morning. The really good part about that is that everything was packed and hitched, so we were able to get our start before sunrise. Our original plan had been to stop mid-way for the night, but considering our late start, we decided to drive straight through to Crater Lake.

    We arrived at Crater Lake mid-afternoon. Someone (who was not me :) ) overlooked the fact that the campground was closing the next day, so we did our truncated set-up for one night. Then off to the rim to enjoy the views. They had gotten some snow in the days before our arrival, but the weather had cleared up nicely for us.

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    The next morning, we were able to take a drive around most of the lake (a small portion of the road had been closed due to the snow), and see the pinnacles.

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    Our visit to Crater Lake was shorter than we would have liked, but fortunately we are close enough that we can make another trip relatively easily.

    From there, we had two days to play around with before our reservation in Lake Tahoe, so we decided to pull out the *gasp* actual paper atlas of California and see where we wanted to go...
     
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  6. MsMac

    MsMac Active Member

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    May 19, 2016
    Lava Beds National Monument was our choice for our next stop. Neither of us had ever been there, and honestly didn't know what to expect- you know, aside from lava beds. LOL

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    We lucked out and got one of the last campsites. Could hardly beat the price- $5/night with my partner's National Park senior pass.

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    I think that this was the biggest surprise of the trip. I had no idea that this area even existed, let alone all of the opportunities to visit the caves.

    For those who are not familiar with the area, there are many lava tubes that have formed from eruptions about 40,000 years ago. There are about 20 or so caves that were formed by lava flows that you can explore- conveniently classified like ski runs, from easy to black diamond, most challenging. In addition, for those who are interested in Native American history, you can visit some of the sites of the Modoc War in the 1870's.

    We visited the Sentinel Cave (which is one of the few that you can walk from one end to the other):
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    We went into the first part of the appropriately named Catacombs:

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    For the record, all of the caves, save for one, have no artificial lighting. The light in these photos are from my camera flash.

    This really is an extraordinary place. Off the beaten path, for sure, but definitely worth a trip.
     
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  7. MsMac

    MsMac Active Member

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    May 19, 2016
    The Lake Tahoe area was our next stop. We stayed for 2 nights at the Fallen Leaf Campground near South Lake Tahoe. It was $17.25/night with the National Park senior pass, and really is quite a lovely campground. (Though, IMO, $34.50 for a non-serviced site in a National Forest is really starting to push it.)

    The lake certainly didn't disappoint, starting with the sunset views as we were driving in from the Reno area:

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    We did a loop around the lake, starting with Virginia City, where we were lucky enough to see a group of wild horses:

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    And then down the Mt. Rose Highway:
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    Over to Truckee and down Route 89 back to the campground.

    I have been to the area many times, but never get tired of it. Especially this time of year, before the rainy season starts.
     
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  8. MsMac

    MsMac Active Member

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    May 19, 2016
    Our next stop was the Dimond O campground outside of Yosemite. We got there over the weekend, and were unable to get reservations in the park until Sunday night, so this seemed like a good option. Except...we didn't have the exact location of the campground, so we blew right past the turnoff. Luckily we were able to stop at a (closed) ranger station that had a map up outside and we able to locate it there. It was about a 40 minute detour and taught us a valuable lesson. It's great and all to have reservations and all of the papers for that in order, but it's useless if we don't have a map with it. :)

    Dimond O is, in our opinion, a good campground for what it is. Typical non-serviced NF campground, vault toilets, fresh water spigots, good proximity to Yosemite. It was $12/night with the 50% discount with the NP senior pass. We stayed at site 26, which seemed like one of the better spots:

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    Since we had a weekend before we "moved into the park", we decided to take the trip down to Kings Canyon/Sequoia for a day. Yeah, it's a long trip. LOL We did the tour of Crystal Caves (definitely worth it, but honestly a little anti-climactic after Lava Beds) and walked down to see General Sherman and decided that we would make a trip in the future specifically to spend more time in the area.

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    ^^^ sunset in King's Canyon
     
  9. MsMac

    MsMac Active Member

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    May 19, 2016
    Oh, forgot to mention, we came into Yosemite through the Tioga Pass entrance. At 9925 ft, we figure it's the highest we've both been outside of an airplane.

    Fred and Wilma were champs going up the pass, but it's definitely not one to be considered if one has an under-powered vehicle, whether towing or not.
     
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  10. GalsofEscape

    GalsofEscape Active Member

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    Nov 26, 2013
    Maryland
    looks wonderful.
     
  11. chambo

    chambo Active Member

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    Apr 27, 2015
    Southern California
    Looks like a great trip. Thanks for the detail and all the pics.
     
  12. NorthernSpirit

    NorthernSpirit New Member

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    Nov 4, 2017
    Ontario
    WoW! What a trip and what stunning pictures!
    Is there a way to "save" this thread for future use? This is the kind of trip we want to take.
    Thank you for sharing!
     
  13. sierrapup

    sierrapup Active Member

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    Jun 19, 2016
    awesome, glad all went well. i haven't been to lave beds in decades...gonna have to go back now...[CC]
     
  14. kcsa75

    kcsa75 Active Member

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    Sep 9, 2013
    Kansas City
    At the top of the thread, there is a link for "Watch Thread." Click on that and it will be available under "Watched Threads" at the top of the page.
     

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