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Old 01-26-2006, 06:59 PM   #1
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Seeking the Sun

It didn't take long to realize the rain in Oregon was going to hit heavy and often this winter. The question was, how do we escape this depressing weather. I saw an episode on RV Today (RFDTV) about RVing in Yosemite during the winter and wondered if it was really possible? After encouragement from fellow forum members and researching the Yosemite National Park website....winter was indeed a great time to visit. There were fewer visitors and the campsites were plentiful. The only question was.... will the weather allow us to get there and back out? Fortunately we hit the weather perfect, getting over the Siskyou Pass and into Yosemite without any storms. Our stay was enjoyable, taking in all the guided tours and one dinner out at the Ahwahnee Hotel. We stayed 3 nights at Upper Pines CG, and our battery was at 45%, with evenings dropping into the 20's. Our traveling companion's batteries (Komfort trailer) were low so we couldn't stay another night. I didn't bring our generator and the sun only hit the campground for about two hours a day for our solar panels to recharge. We left earlier than we'd planned (missed the moonlight snowshoe tour) but still had a wonderful time.
We traveled south to Visalia and camped at the KOA to have a base site to see Sequoia NP. We did the loop drive through, stopping at all the famous groves and again fortunately had sunny weather. Kings Canyon was closed....which means we'll have to go back to see that some day.
We then traveled east via rte 178 by Lake Isabella to Death Valley (that's a tight curvy road on the west side). On our way into Death Valley off 395 we were buzzed by a low flying F14 jet that scared the beejeezous out of us ! I think he was just trying to scare us.....which he did! We spent our first night in Stovepipe Wells CG, then moved on to Texas Springs CG near Furnace Creek. It was a perfect CG (no hookups) and the solar power was plentiful to keep our batteries topped off. We stayed there 3 nights, and saw everything that was open (Titus Canyon and Dante's View were closed d/t rockslides).
We headed southwest out of DV, braving strong Santa Ana winds, staying one night in Paso Robles on our way to the Monterey Peninsula. The next three nights we stayed in Moss Landing, taking in Carmel, Pacific Grove, and Monterey. We visited the Monarch butterfly wintering area in Pacific Grove, which was really fun to see. Also did the famous 17 mile drive and ate lunch (split a Cobb salad) at Pebble Beach Cafe, all under wonderful sunshine!
We then headed north up 101 to Arcata. We stayed two nights there, taking in some of the Redwoods....specifically the Avenue of the Giants. This was the first rain we hit since we left Oregon.
Then we headed home up 101 into Oregon, doing the drive (350 miles) in one day.
This was the first trip of this type we've made in the middle of winter....and fortunately we avoided foul weather and succeeded in finding plenty of sunshine. We may not be as lucky the next time!
I'm posting just a few of the pics (mostly of the AS) in scenic poses!
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Old 01-26-2006, 07:21 PM   #2
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Those are some beautiful pictures. What kind of temperatures did you encounter in Yosemite this time of year? So glad to see the other side of the coin. We need to take a trip, desperately seeking the rain.
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Old 01-26-2006, 07:54 PM   #3
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Yosemite

I went there once in November and it snowed . I had a hard time getting out as the roads were turning white. I've always felt it was to risky to tow a trailer there in the winter because of possible snow and crummy roads but you have shown that it can be done.

That road going into death valley from the west is a real corker, sometimes it feels like the next hump in the road is going to leafd you off a cliff. Did the truck do ok pulling you back out? What were the temps in death valley?
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Old 01-26-2006, 10:03 PM   #4
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great trip!..i think winter is the only time that non californians can gain access to yosemite ....
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Old 01-27-2006, 12:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bill benton
Those are some beautiful pictures. What kind of temperatures did you encounter in Yosemite this time of year? So glad to see the other side of the coin. We need to take a trip, desperately seeking the rain.
Thanks Bill,
The temps in Yosemite ranged from mid-50's during the day and low to mid 20's at night. We had originally planned to camp outside the p ark in a private CG near Groveland, but we missed the turn-off and decided to keep on driving into the park and camp at Upper Pines, which is open year-round (no hook-ups). My only mistake was to not take my generator. It would have made our stay there more comfortable, not having to conserve battery power. There was a storm predicted to arrive two days after we left.....so again we dodged a weather bullet.
Death Valley, was much more temperate....with the highs between 65-70 and lows in the 30's. We had plenty of solar to top-off the batteries. We really enjoyed the beauty and solitude of the desert during the winter. I can't imagine being there during the summer heat!

Campcollector,

We were ignorant what to expect on the routes we chose. We couldn't tell by looking at our map how much elevation gain or how curvy the roads were. I need to purchase a book that has descriptions of passes and elevation gains, % grades, and tunnel information and recommendations on length of TV+trailer that is allowed. Any suggestions are appreciated! We took probably the hardest route into Yosemite on hwy 120 through Groveland. It was extremely curvy and steep. Some of the tunnels I thought we were going to hit the side or top of the trailer. I can't imagine any 5th wheels going in that way. The south exit out of Yosemite was a breeze.
The west entrance to Death Valley via Panamint road was also steep and treacherous, but our Chevy Avalanche 8.1L handled the challenge well. We exited via the south entrance thru Trona, which was much easier.
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Old 01-27-2006, 12:59 PM   #6
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Great story and pix. and congrats for getting out and being mobile.

Page and I have been lucky this winter - January has been mild here in VA. We are following your lead and heading to FL in early Feb with no real destination in mind. Hope we hit a homer on weather as you guys did.

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Old 01-27-2006, 01:03 PM   #7
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Sounds like a wonderful trip! When winter hits we just hunker down and wait it out, especially if there's any hint of snow. I'm glad you got out exploring. The pictures look beautiful! But wait - wheres G.G.?
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Old 01-27-2006, 01:08 PM   #8
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Smile What an adventure! Thanks for sharing it!

Really nice of you to post all that! Great thread. Yosemite is so beautiful, I've only seen it through pictures, hope to get out there someday. Great photos! Its inspiring to read about experiences with winter boondocking!
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Old 01-27-2006, 01:25 PM   #9
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Fantastic pics Jim & Cheryl! Thank you for sharing them with us. Seeing those pics doesn't help my cabin fever, though...

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Old 01-27-2006, 02:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stefrobrts
Sounds like a wonderful trip! When winter hits we just hunker down and wait it out, especially if there's any hint of snow. I'm glad you got out exploring. The pictures look beautiful! But wait - wheres G.G.?
Steph,
Here she is......we're sitting on some rocks along the coast on the 17 mile drive through Pebble Beach on the Monterey Peninsula! She travels well with us! Always looking for squirrels to chase!
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Old 01-27-2006, 05:15 PM   #11
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Thanks for the tour. Great pics. The rig looks great!
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Old 01-27-2006, 05:23 PM   #12
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Great trip Jim!

Ah.. being able to take off for an extended trip! If the kids weren't so tied to school, I think we'd probably being doing something simular. I'd like to do this some day, with the option of just hunkering down if deep snow hits. Time is our enemy right now.

LOVE the pics! Say "HI" to Cheryl and GiGi for us! I spent some time this week off going up to the trailer, topping off the battery (do you have duals in the 28ft'r?), and removing a bit more of the paint I missed the first time. I think I might just spend the bucks for a cyclo and nuvite and hit the Argosy this spring with it.

We'll miss you in Feb! The wine rally sounds great!

I've looked at some campsites (via a book!) for spring around Uberlanders (east of the mountains) and my (the sound) neck of the woods. Would you be willing to come up, say April'ish? I need to check on how warm it is though first.
Take care!
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Old 01-27-2006, 06:52 PM   #13
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Wow Jim I'm sooo jealous. I wish I was retired and could fly off at a moments notice.

Marc,
I was thinking March...it is so beautiful even in the end of Feb sometimes. It can get in the 70's during the day. Maybe Lincoln Rock SP or Daroga SP if we want hook ups and showers. But its beautiful in Leavenworth lots of good trails, shops, etc..only draw back...boondocking.
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Old 01-27-2006, 07:14 PM   #14
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I'm really busy in April, but if you do it in March, we'll be almost sure to join in. We used to live in E. WA, but there's still a lot of it I haven't seen.
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