For the first half of our drive to Yosemite we were on highway 1. Bill drove and I spent the whole time staring at the road trying to keep control of my stomach. He was thoroughly enjoying "zooming" my tiny little car around the corners (and making video game sound effects while doing it lol). After a while I had to pee, but there was no where to stop. There were just vinyards forever! We finally reached a tiny little town that had a grocery store, and then realized once we were inside that they had signs plastered everywhere: "No Public Restrooms." We drove a little while longer and finally found this awesome barbecue place called the World Famous Hamburger Ranch and BBQ . I had the pulled pork (of course!) and it was amazing. It was a pretty cool place that had postcards on the walls from all over the world. I wish I would have gotten one to send.
After that, we drove past San Quentin, over the Richmond San Rafael Bridge, and into Oakland. During rush hour (see example picture above). We finally made it to Oakhurst in the late afternoon. We checked into our hotel a drove to Yosemite for some night time photography. We were able to make it to Tunnel View right after sunset for some quick pictures and the we headed straight down to the valley floor.
Sunset at a forest fire area on the way to Tunnel View
Tunnel View right after sunset
We stopped at Bridalveil falls first to try and do a short night time hike up to the falls. We quickly realized the error in that decision! My relatives had told us that the snow pack was high this year so the falls would be high. I thought this meant that the water would be about as high as they were when I was there in the spring three years ago (they're usually highest in the spring and slow down in the summer). I was wrong! All the rivers were running over their banks and all the falls were thundering and giving off wind and mist. The power of water is amazing! Bridalveil falls was running so strong that water was flowing in a river down the paved trail to the parking lot. Our feet were nearly getting soaked halfway up the trail, so we had to turn back and wait for daylight.
We drove further into the valley and stopped by the meadow in the middle to take night time pictures of Yosemite falls. Being that Yosemite is a huge photography destination, it wasn't surprising that there were already photographers lined up in the same spot. Everyone was trying to take pictures of "moonbows." What is a moonbow? A moonbow is a rainbow that appears in the mist of a waterfall when the waterfall is bathed in the moonlight from a full moon. It is usually only visible through long exposure photography. On our first night we weren't quite there at the right time, so we had some minor moonbow pictures. You can also see the huge difference between Bill's new camera and my camera below. Mine really isn't meant for night time! Since I knew that I wasn't going to be able to get the perfect moonbow pictures with my point and shoot, I decided to play around with some experimental shots.
The red thing is me :)
Yosemite Falls with Bill's camera. See the little moonbow on the bottom set of falls?
Yosemite Falls from my camera
It's a UFO!! No, it's actually a very rude person who decided to leave their lights on while they sat there in their car, angering all the photographers. It made a cool picture though!
The view with Yosemite Falls to my back.
We finally got back to the hotel at about 1:30 a.m. It was a long day!
Check back tomorrow to hear about our first full day in Yosemite! To see all the pictures from the first half of the trip, check out my facebook album.