Day 7? A week already? How time flies....
An early start today - we have a fair way to go and a lot to see. We left Big Sur in the gloom of 7:00am. Late sun this far west. We still had about half an hour's travel along the coastline before reaching Carmel and Monterey. There were spectacular little islands and bridges built in the 30's.
Then we were into traffic and the rush hour of Monterey - which we mostly by-passed. The idea was to go into Carmel and have some breakfast in their shopping district. But Carmel is a gated community and we found out "Motorcycle aint allowed in it" to quote Tina Turner. So we left Carmel to the Carmelites and continued on along crowded freeways - only making one Wing Rider type U-turn then headed for Hollister where we stopped for breakfast at a Starbucks. This time Kaz made the mistake of asking for a cappuccino, only remembering we had warned her as she picked up the cup. Very light. She went and got a latte.
From Hollister we travelled east towards the mountains. Not that we could see the mountains as there was a big haze around this morning from bushfires in the area. We travelled for miles through plantation country. A vast plain watered by rivers and aqueducts, featuring large trucking depots to get the produce out to the cities.
Finally we got on to Yosemite Blvd , east of Modesto and headed east into the hills. We stopped for lunch at the Hotel Jeffery, Coulterville, the oldest working hotel in California - so the bartender informed us. It had wi-fi hot spot internet - at $10 per hour. So I bit the bullet and ordered it then we had some beaut lemonades and ordered salads for lunch. I uploaded yesterdays blog and checked the comments page and email. Thanks for the comments, we are enjoying hearing from home as we travel about. The hotel really looked exactly like the old wild west hotels straight out of the old western movies and is apparently authentic.
Kaz asked the barman whether anyone had been shot in the bar. "Several times." was the answer. The obvious reply was "You'd think he'd learn to stay away then." Luckily, they don't shoot people in wild west bars any more, not since the 1970's anyway, so I got away with it. But the garlic in the Caesar salad nearly did us in. Woo it was strong.
After we left Coulterville, we headed up in to the hills towards Mariposa then Yosemite. The climb up into the hills was fun, with me following closely behind John with the video running. Lots of good film, but it is a bit much to upload, being multi megabytes per minute. I could process it for YouTube, but not until we get home as that takes too much time. So you'll have to be content with Charleen's photos.
On the ride down into the Yosemite Valley, we came across a recent landslide, but the authorities had built two bridges across the river so traffic could go around. It meant a 20 minute wait though. Finally we arrived at Cedar Lodge, got our rooms and finished up for the night.
The bears have found a heap of friends as Cedar Lodge is very in to bears. There's probably a few wild ones out there, but we don't expect to see one. However, the hotel lobby, shop and car park are full of carved bears and teddy bears of all kinds.
We'll be here for a few days, so more about Yosemite later. No wireless internet here so this will arrive after a few day's delay - sorry.
Here's today's photos:
|Here's us - and the bears|
|John and Kas|
|Checking out the menu|
|Bent roads and Bridges|
|Freeway traffic going into Monterey|
|Tomato picking season|
|The lettuce will be ready soon - green or red|
|A couple of examples of outer Monterey housing|
|Lots of firies in the area|
|Lake San Luis is quite dry, you can make out the "normal" water line|
|We've seen lots of mobile homes with cars on trailers.
This one is towing a 55 Chevy dragster - sweet.
|Unfortunate dairy cattle in feedlots - lots of pasture around, but not for them|
|There are way too many eucalypts in California and they're still planting
as the borders for vineyards. Not sure of this is a good idea.
|Is this not the ugliest and skinniest bear you've ever seen?|
|All four at the bar|
|At the bar of the Hotel Jeffery, Coulterville|
|Into the Hills|
|That's where the road goes|
|Stopping at an overlook....|
|....to see where we've been.|
|Road into Yosemite follows the river.|
|But a rockslide closed it for a while. Big cleanup job ahead.|
|Talking about cleanups, MMbear was getting grotty - so Bathtime.
This photo was specifically requested by Sweetlips.
|All clean, we can go make a lot of new friends. There's bears everywhere in here.|
|Now here's my kind of bear.|