Fina National Championships and Yosemite
Trip Start Aug 21, 2006
70Trip End Dec 18, 2006
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Anyway, I realized this year that my mom had never seen Yosemite. In fact, I was in my early 20's on my first trip to Yosemite. My mom and I decided that the family never went when we were younger because she and my father are both from the mid-west and didn't really know much about the place.
In any case, we decided that a trip was in order and piggybacking it on the end of the swim meet was very convenient. I of course had the grand tour in mind: Yosemite Valley then through Tioga Pass taking in the sweeping views while dropping down to Lee Vining then on to view Mono Lake. My grand plan of course did not take into account my mom's complete fear of heights while in cars. If you haven't driven the road, the last 15 miles or so of Tioga Pass involves hugging the cliff on a narrow highway, hardly a fence or barrier keeping you from careening down into the canyon. So in the spirit of 'staying in the moment' we mutually decided to enjoy our time in the valley and stay open to an 'alternate' trip on the way home
My mom teaches 4th grade so we consulted this historic mining town book on our way out to Yosemite to document items of historic interest she could show her class. We broke the drive into two days staying the night in a Quality Inn in Oakdale, the town as a place of historical interest more convincing in print that in person. However, we had a pool, free breakfast and a nightly rate that was a fraction of the Palo Alto Westin (even at the FINA reduced rate) and free Internet access (of particular interest to me since I am now lugging this laptop around). That evening we took in the sights along the main highway on a walk to Longs Drugs. The high-speed traffic and multitude of fast food joints were not particularly conducive to either a relaxing walk or an enriching cultural experience. We did enjoy the exercise. In the morning we hopped in the car and headed out Highway 120 which took us through a historic point of interest (term used loosely) called Chinese Camp. We photographed a couple of historic markers and an original Wells Fargo Bank and Post Office, both abandoned. We also bought a chilled Starbucks Frappucino from the refrigerator case at the local restaurant/bar/grocery store/motel from a spirited fellow from New Zealand. This seemed to be the center of activity here and as we left, a number of motorcyclists emerged and roared off on their bikes. We continued our trip on to Yosemite through the foothills, skipped the 'Old Priest's Grade" route and took the newer more modern road up to Groveland. The view was spectacular over the granite blocks bordering the road. Some of the landscape was still recovering from the large fires in the early 1990's; in other areas the majestic trees were intact.