Saturday, December 28, 2013


December 8, Sunday
After finding a room of refuge from the storm at Tehachapi and resting there for the night we enjoyed a wonderful hot breakfast in the motel breakfast room.  The road was still closed when we checked at 8 a.m., again at 9 a.m., and finally at 10 a.m. the road was opened to traffic.  Highway 58 was chock full--two lanes of traffic, almost bumper to bumper, travelling at about 20 mph.  From Tehachapi the road was almost all down hill.  Conditions improved from clear sunny skies with wet roads and snow covered hillsides to dry roads and no snow to be seen.  Traffic picked up speed and pretty soon all was normal again.

Hwy. 58 joined 99 at Bakersfield.  It was a good thing that it was a Sunday morning as traffic around Bakersfield was light.

We stopped once at a rest area and then arrived at Merced and checked into a Motel 6 by 2 p.m.  We took a few things up to the room, turned on the heat and then went for a walk to a supermarket to pick up some food.  We passed the afternoon reading, watching t.v., writing emails.  D.S. #1 in Yosemite soon called and we discussed road conditions into Yosemite.  At this time snow tires are sufficient.

December 9, Monday
We had figured on a two hour drive to Yosemite, but because the road was narrow and twisty and Jim is a careful driver it took a bit longer.  Then the navigator (myself) made a mistake and took the first left in the park and had to make about a 15 minute circle (because the roads there are one way) to reach Yosemite Lodge where D.S. was waiting for us.  What a treat to see him and give him a big hug!

He had reserved a room for us for the next three nights, and it was lovely.  Here's a view from our balcony.  The weather was just especially wonderful; there was fresh, white snow all around and the sun was strong, making everything sparkle.  We enjoyed these birds that came chattering around our balcony.

I'm not sure if it is a kind of bluebird or a blue jay.  I'd guess a jay because of the crest.  What a gorgeous blue!

We had a nice meal in the cafeteria, which offers lots of choice, from soup and salad through burgers all the way to a complete meal of fish/meat, veggies, etc.  We skipped dessert and were plenty full.

That afternoon we went for a short hike on the valley floor.  Late afternoon and evening we spent in our room with D.S. having a very good visit.

December 10, Tuesday

Had a slow morning, a dinner around 1 p.m. in the cafeteria again.  We drove to a parking lot just beyond Curry Village and hiked to Mirror Lake, the same hike we did last year in October.  This time the lake (which was completely dry last year) was covered with snow.  We went a bit further a took a loop back for a total hike of approximately 5 miles.  It was exhilarating to be out in the snow with the sun again shining brightly, making everything gleam.

Late afternoon and evening we repeated our relaxation and visit in our room.  Such a good time!

December 11, Wednesday

Our hike today was from the meadow below El Capitan up the talus slope--no trail, just rubble, snow and bush to the base of the cliff.  D.S. said that perhaps just a few of the million visitors to the park each year ever get to the base of that impressive cliff face.  Here's the view from the base, looking straight up.

That evening as Jim was having trouble with the extremely slow internet provided for guests he asked if we could go to D.S.'s room and use his connection. That worked like a charm.

Meantime D.S. was showing me a video on his DVD play of the competition to be the fastest team to climb the nose of El Cap.  That was amazing and actually pretty scary.
We went back to our room and together watched another video about Alex Honnold, an extremely gifted climb who of "free solos."  I'm just always thankful that I don't know when D.S. is climbing!

As we were returning from our hike that afternoon we noticed that the moon was visible in the afternoon sky.

This is our last evening here.  Tomorrow we drive on to visit D.S. #2 and his family.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


I'm sorry to leave you hanging there, having negotiated the Tehachape Pass, early in December.  We had some other adventures and misadventures along the way home, which I will tell you about later.  We did arrive home safely a week ago today, but are still having some internet issues.  We hope they will be solved before this coming weekend.

When the internet is all fixed I'll be back with an update on our trip home, and on the projects I've finished in the meantime.

Today is Christmas, so we both wish all of you a blessed day and a coming year of joy and personal contentment.
Your own Grammilou

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Catching Up

After a very pleasant time at our condo in Arizona we packed up last week and left on Saturday, December 7 about 8:45 a.m., driving north on Hwy 60.  We turned north on 72 to 95 north.  All this area was pretty typical desert, but with irrigated agricultural fields along the way also.

North of Parker on 95 the landscape was very different, very hilly along the Colorado River.  Nearing Lake Havasu City the hills were more like sandy mounds, covered with off road vehicle tracks.

We stopped in Lake Havasu City for a bathroom break and took some cold diet cokes into the car.  We drove north to I 40 and turned west.  The sky clouded over and the wind picked up.

At Barstow we switched to Hwy 58. That's a strange road, part of the route was good expressway, and part of the route was just two lane road.  Completely inadequate for the traffic is carries, especially considering that semis make up a huge proportion of that traffic.

At Mojave I suggested we stop for the night, even though it was only 3:30 PST (we had started in MST), but Jim preferred to put on some more miles.

Not too much farther along we encountered more heavy wind and this time combined with blowing snow, and the onset of darkness.  Pretty soon we were creeping long behind a semi at about 20 mph, with trouble lights blinking.  The road surface was polished ice and there were many vehicles in the ditches.  On the other side, the eastbound lanes there was a semi jackknifed across both lanes.  Behind that truck there was a solid two lanes of stalled traffic for a few miles (seemed like).

After a bit the truck we were following came to a stop, and the whole line of traffic also stopped.  We waited, turning the engine off to conserve gas as we were getting low.  After a bit some cars and pickups cautiously went around the stopped semis and after a while longer we decided to join them.  We found that a semi eastbound had spun out and come to a rest across the ditch between the eastbound and westbound lanes.  It was blocking the left lane of our west bound road, but, fortunately, the cab was at right angles to the trailer and car/pickup traffic was able to creep around and continue down the road. We formed a kind of convoy through the swirling snow, inching along with our trouble lights on until we came to the first exit for Tehachapi where we left the road and bought some gas.

By the time we headed back, the expressway was closed.  Traffic could exit but not enter.  We drove on into Tehachapi itself and were blessed to find a large, comfortable, warm room at Best Western Mountain Inn.

Five p.m. in the evening we were settled in and enjoyed a "light" supper of hot chocolate, crackers and cheese and settled down for the night, very thankful not to be spending it on the road or in the ditch!