Day 121 – 12/29 Sequoia National Park

Today is our last full day here, so we are planning on a last trip to Sequoia to try to go a little further into the park, or actually, as far as we can go from the closest entrance.  It’s foggy outside here, at 7am, but I looked up yesterday and it was showing sunny up there in the mountains.

The windows here are pretty consistent now with the routine we are following.  I’m leaving the temperature at 65, and overnight leaving the dehumidifier on the kitchen counter top next to the sink.  I’m also leaving the window shades open (up), meaning no curtains blocking the windows in the living room\kitchen area.  By morning, what we get is the kitchen window pretty much all clear. Two of the slide out windows, the right ones on each section, are pretty much all clear, with a little bit of fog at the bottom, and the two on the left are foggy with some condensation.  Then, later when I open other windows, the one on my side of the bedroom is foggy with some condensation.  Carol’s side still has a good amount of water, and a puddle by the frame.  The upper bunk has some, and always depends on the fan that we keep up there, if the fan is pointing to the window, it’s dry for the most part, otherwise I point there once the girls wake up.  The bottom bunk also depends on curtain and fan, most of the time it has some condensation and I point the fan and open the window a bit once the girls are up.  When everyone is awake, I have been going around and drying everything anyway, and then it all stays pretty dry the rest of the day.  And that’s the update on the windows, it’s pretty consistent now here with high humidity, and I think it’s at a point we can handle.

I got going on writing after I woke up and made my coffee.  I was not rushing anyone to wake up, but we did want to leave around 9, so I started making noise around 8.  I was able to write a new post, and finish one I had not finished, then started getting ready to leave.

Carol woke up and started working on lunch for the day while she had breakfast, and also packing the food bag for us.

The girls woke up, and talked to Vi right away.  Vi had been missing her friends a little extra today and it was good they talked.  The girls changed and ate as well, so we could leave.  Bia continued talking to Vi as we drove towards Sequoia, until my cell lost signal.  They played on their devices during most of the trip, until we got to the zig zag part of going up the mountains, as they know if they keep playing they’ll feel sick.

We were able to leave around 9:45, so not too bad, and it was still pretty foggy around here.  As we drove further from the campground, we could see things changing, and within a few minutes we were out of the fog and into sunshine.  Crazy weather!  It’s like a cloud of fog just hangs by the campground. 

The day looked super clear from there, and we could see the top of the mountains, which were mainly white from snow.  There was not a lot of traffic, and it took us maybe 5 minutes in line to get in the park, all else was usual, until… I think we had crossed the 5000 feet elevation mark, and there’s a tight right turn into the woods that kind of changes the scenery from green to white, it’s a crazy cool spot where you’re coming from an area that has no snow, and then turn into an area that is all white. 

Well, that spot had a ton of cars lined up on both lanes going up.  This road has one lane up, and one down, so it was weird that two lanes were going up.  Then we noticed all the cars on the right lane, which was the proper going up late, were putting their tire chains.  Most cars on the left had chains, but not all.  We were on the left lane, trying to pass everyone, but it was all stopped, and pretty much the same amount of cars in both lanes.  Eventually a park ranger came down, trying to put some order in the chaos.  He basically tried to get people on the left with no chains to go right and put chains on, and the ones with chains to go up.  Which meant, we had to put chains on.  It’s crazy to think we need chains for a big 4×4 truck with All Terrain Tires (which are good for mud and snow), but when you are going up or down 6-9% grades, full of ice, you kind of have to.  I had never put tire chains on, and never owned them either, but we had to get them to visit Yosemite (we didn’t need to use them there).  And at Sequoia it had been the same thing as at Yosemite, required to carry but didn’t need it until today.  So, I squeezed in on the right after a few people maneuvered, and went out to get the chains.  It’s not hard to put them on, but there are a few details to watch for, like there’s a lip where the locking loops latch to that should be turned away from the tire.  There’s also a second locking loop thingy you need to make sure you run the locking wires through.  And, you should drive over the chains to be able to tighten it better right away.  We didn’t do this last one, so when we stopped at the first place, I went out and tightened the chains a bit more.  There’s also a rubber circle that has clips that you can connect to the chain in a cross shape which pulls the chain together in the front, making it more snug.  Also, once you have chains on, you cannot go over 25mph. 

Carol helped me and put most of the chain on her side, while I did mine and setup the rubber circle, and tightened it.  It was kind of quick and we were out.  It’s different to have those on, you get noises you’re not used to, and since we never had them, there’s always that feeling you did something wrong.  But, everything looked right, so on we went.  There was a big line of cars in front and behind us, a car here and there turned around and went back down.  The guy behind me asked to compare his chain as he thought he had one too small, and sure enough, his was too small and was not fitting his SUV, so he went back.  After we drove passed the line of cars, and the ranger cars that were holding traffic down, it was all clear.  And the views from there, were amazing!  Just amazing to be in the giant trees forrest with that much snow on the big trees.  Wow.

Our first stop was the Museum area, Carol and the girls wanted to use the restroom.  While they went, I tightened the chains.  It’s nice to have the tall truck as I can just put my head into the wheel area and see behind it, so tightening the back was not hard, but, it sure got me all dirty.  Jacket was dirty, hood, hair, hahaha… We decided to have lunch right there before we drove anywhere else, so Carol got the stuff she brought and we ate.  Food was great.  Carol had made rice with lentils and carrots and such in the new pan, it was delicious.  Girls were being picky about eating.  Bella ate just a little.  Bia ate maybe half.  I ate mine and their leftovers hahahahah.  The girls had been snacking on chips, so that had an impact.  

When we were all done, we kept going.  Again the plan was to go as far as we could, I really was hoping to go all the way to Kings Canyon, and then leave from there, but… roads were closed.  Pretty much everything was closed.  We drove towards Kings Canyon, enjoyed amazing views of the valleys but on the other side of the mountain, so it was all full of snow.  Pretty awesome to be up there with all the snow.  We eventually hit the “road closed” sign, and turned around. 

I wanted to check out some new section and maybe walk around a bit, so I saw the sign for a skiing and snow play area called Wolverton, so we went there.  As we pulled in, we could see the hill where people were sledding down, and there were quite a few cars and people there, enjoying some snow time.  There were quite a few people without masks as well, which was not good.  We just wanted to walk around a bit, so we went towards the hill and walked all the way up.  It was kind of hard, going up hill, with that much fluffy snow under you. 

It was all very pretty, sometimes the wind would blow some snow from the trees and you’d get this cloud of snow coming down, with the sun right behind the tree, pretty cool.  The girls played around with snow, and it quickly melted and they started getting cold, so we didn’t stay too long.  I think we were there for maybe 30 minutes.  And we started heading back.  The entire time we drove around, the weather changed from clear skies to fog, to clear skies, to fog again. 

The section near the museum seemed to be foggy most of the time, when we drove by this time it was clear, so Carol wanted to stop to show the view we had seen the other day to the girls.  Bella didn’t want to go, so she gave us some flack, but we got her down.  When we got to the rock with the view… clouds were covering the view at the bottom, so we could not see much down there, even though the sky was clear right above us. hahahaha… And we decided that was it for us, so we kept driving down.  I stopped at a turn out once we hit the area with no snow, and removed the chains.  I’ll clean them up later and try to put them back in the bag.  We enjoyed all the views one last time, and said good buy to Sequoia National Park.

From there we drove to a PetCo as Carol needed to get something for Maggie.  She had bought Frontline from Amazon a few weeks ago, but before she got to use it, she got an email from Amazon saying that they discovered that was a counterfeit product, and to not use it, and that they were returning her money.  So, she had to get some from the store now.  And from there, we just drove home.  When we got home, I dropped them off and went to the gas station to fill up before our trip.

When I got back, we unloaded the truck from today’s trip.  Carol then went inside and started dinner.  I stayed out and started packing for tomorrow.  I tried to get all the outside stuff in the truck, and just need to secure some items tomorrow, especially the propane tank.  We had a super moon event tonight, so it was pretty awesome to see and I’m glad we had clear skies.  I tried to take some pics with different settings on the iPhone, but night pictures never work great.

Calina’s had called so the girls and Carol were talking to them inside, while Carol finished making dinner.  She decided to make Sushi.  Wow.  Lots of work, but it turned out great!  We ate all of it, and Bia wanted more.  Well, I did too.  We all had showered, we had dinner, and then we watched some TV before going to bed.

I’m excited to move on to our next spot, but am a bit anxious about how the Stay at Home restrictions are being enforced, and how that will impact us and the rest of our travels through southern CA.

We had a nice last day at Sequoia National Park.

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