Saturday, September 3, 2016

Summary of the 2016 Western Trip - Part Two Yosemite National Park & The Western Edge of the Great Basin

Monday, August 15 - Woke up and had a big, huge breakfast at the restaurant associated with the Virginia Creek Settlement. He wanted to get one of the most expensive breakfasts on the menu (of course), so I ordered pancakes instead, with a side of eggs. We got two chocolate chip pancakes, and they were indeed fantastic! It was breakfast for both of us, and he had the second portion for lunch later! After that, we showed and went to the bathroom, and then headed out towards Yosemite National Park. Stopped a few times for spectacular views of the Great Basin, as well as mountains and streams and waterfalls and lakes just outside of Yosemite. Finally, we headed towards the entrance, and there was a massive line to get in. We waited for quite some time, but finally got in. First place we really visited was Lambert Dome, and we stopped at the Information/Visitor Center on the eastern side of Yosemite. Snapped some pictures, and then headed towards Yosemite Valley, although it was quite the drive. Spectacular views along the way, although we were disappointed that Mariposa Grove (home of the Giant Sequoias) was closed for the season, which I knew beforehand because of my internet research. Finally arrived at the main part of Yosemite, and then visited El Capitan, the Three Brothers, the Merced River, the Bridalveil Falls, the Cathedral Spires, and that place where the falls normally would have been, but they were dried out for the season. Got some really awesome views of the Half Dome. A wonderful visit, pretty full for just one day, although there was not much hiking. Massive traffic jam on the way out, trying to exit, and then we headed towards Sacramento. Arrived around 11 pm, to the worst hotel experience in my life. The parking lot was blocked off on one side, and a card access gate was closed on the other, as a security guard approached us, asked if I was on some guest list. Told him my name, and he looked through the papers, and clearly could not find us, asking me to repeat the name. Then told him that we had room reservations, and he looked surprised. "Oh, you have rooms in the hotel!" He then let us go to the registration, and I got the room. Asked when the pool opens, and was told 9 in the morning. Was told 8 the next morning. There was an extra security charge of $50, for a place that had barbed wire around it. No continental breakfast, only "free" coffee, instant and with powder creamer and cheap sugar. Our neighbors were very loud and obnoxious, with a child around my son's age. He went right outside our window and kept playing some kind of video game or something, and kept making weird noises. I opened the door at one point and kind of stared him down a little, hoping he would get the message. He went back in, but he and his mother (I'm guessing) were screaming at each other. He used language that I would never have dared use on my own parents, including your typical four-letter words. Their door must have slammed at least half a dozen times, if not more! Was surprised my son did not wake up, as this went all the way to one in the morning! Then, just like that, the mother said, "Okay, that's it!" And maybe a minute or so later, I heard their door open for the final time (close much more quietly this time, too), and heard the car doors open, then close. The engine started, idled for maybe a few seconds, and then  they left, apparently never to return (at least not that night). The rest of the night was relatively peaceful, thankfully. This was at the misnamed Good Night Inn Sacramento. One of the worst hotel experiences of my life. 

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