Yosemite in Winter!

Shortly after the new year we started to get some inclement weather. What should we do?

Go to Yosemite!! Without the trailer of course, a day trip is in order.

We live 137 miles from the Yosemite valley floor. But how often do we go visit? Not very. It is a sad state of affairs, I know.

We had a free Saturday so let’s go. Our truck has 4×4 and M/S tires. Unless it is a level 3 chain requirement, we don’t have to do chains! I brought chains anyway.

We left home relatively early and the weather had been stormy the day before but was clear. But there were still level 2 chain requirements on CA41 into the valley. That’s OK! It will be an adventure.

We stopped in Oakhurst on the way to get some sandwiches at Vons. Bringing our own food in is a way to show how cheap I am! At least I didn’t make them at home. It was pouring rain in Oakhurst, a good thing I thought. More chances of snow in Yosemite!

As we climbed out of Oakhurst on CA41 there were more signs of snow on the ground. We rounded the corner and found the CHP stopping people to put their chains on. He asked us if we were 4×4. Yes. Were we carrying chains? Yes. Proceed. It was very nice to drive past all the others out in the cold and wet putting on chains.

The road had snow on it most of the way and I had to switch in and out of 4×4, but that is a switch on the dash so I didn’t even have to get out. It took us about an hour to get to tunnel view. And it was amazing!

Tunnel View

We were surprised by how pretty it was. It snowed on and off. A bit of rainy slush thrown in here and there. We were also surprised by how many people were up here.

We got out and took the trail to Bridalveil falls.

Bridalveil Falls

We drove around a bit then had our lunch at Yosemite Valley Lodge food court.

After some more sightseeing we headed back home. We stopped in Fresno for dinner at the Shepherd’s Inn. This was the first time I noticed how dirty the truck really was!

I would highly recommend a trip to Yosemite during the snowy season!


Christmas camping

My family always seems to be very busy. Hard to get together for anything. Christmas (2015) was going to be at my sister’s house in Bishop. Both of her daughters and families have moved back to Bishop so all of them were going to be there. Our mother from Arizona was also making the trek. That pretty much meant we should make every effort to get there this year. Also with retirement coming up we don’t know the next we will all be in one place.

It was a go. I got the time off. Since the house was going to be full we had planned on taking the Airstream and staying in an RV park there. Bishop can be very cold in the winter so we figured having hookups would be the best with the trailer. I made reservations. We could even use our heat pump (reversed AC) units to heat. We were going to drive half way to Tehachapi the first night and stay at the Love’s truck stop there. This would make our next leg a much easier drive.

As everyone knows, plans change.

I realized if Bishop was too cold the heat pumps would not work. The limit for heat pumps is around 30-40 degrees. We have been in Bishop in the winter when it got down to 12 degrees! That wouldn’t work. The option would be and electric heater, our propane Heater Buddy or the main furnace. Either way that didn’t necessarily mean we needed an RV park. So I asked my sister if we could park in her driveway and tap on to 15amp power. The answer was ‘Of course’. So we were now staying at the house but not in it.

Our mother was flying from Phoenix, to LAX, to Mammoth the day that we were going part way but that had a hiccup also. Her flight to LAX was just fine but the flight from LAX to Mammoth did not even take off because they feel they could not land due to weather conditions. So she was stuck at LAX. Change the plans. Go down to LAX, pickup Mom, bring her back to Visalia. Leave the next day with Mom and the trailer and do the drive in one day. OK. We can do that.

Luckily, Cindy (sister) thought of her getting on a shuttle that goes to a parking service in Van Nuys. That cut 30-60 minutes from our trip. We left around 5pm and got home around 1am.

The next day we didn’t get a fantastically early start but headed to Bishop with no issues. We got there around 4pm and the ordeal was over. Here is a shot of the mountains on the way:



I was very nice to spend the holidays with the family. As an added bonus our son Aaron and his girlfriend Rachel made it:



Also in attendance was our daughter Hannah and her boyfriend Lukas:



This made us happy to have everyone there. Can you tell?



Everybody survived, even this one:



I tried a variety of heating methods during the stay there. First night was the Dyson Hot/Cold. It didn’t really keep up. Second night was the Heater Buddy. It did well but the canister did not last all night. The final night was the furnace and it was the way to go. Of course it got down to 12 that night! It actually snowed for a bit the first day we were there. You can barely see it in this picture (we even got to stay in a gated community!):


We trucked home directly with no issues nor did Mom have any issues flying back.