Although we didn't want to leave the park last night, we were left with no choice as no one is allowed in the park overnight. We ended up spending the night back in Bridgeport, CA again. At least we didn't lose any toes frostbite or vermin by just pitching camp any ol' place.
Today we woke up very early to head back into the park. We still planned on renting some first come, first serve bikes for the 13 mile trip around the valley floor. Got our bikes, but just as we started to head down the trail, we realized it was flooded out, and we couldn't take the trip we had planned on. That's ok, right? We'll just take a different scenic bike tour through Yosemite. Nothing's getting us down today! ... Wrong.
Dad's bike was just a piece of junk. Comparatively speaking, if Lance Armstrong rides the Rolls Royce of bicycles, Dad was riding the AMC Gremlin. A jalopy that squeaked, rattled, and rolled... barely. Even the chain kept coming off every time he'd try to stand up and pedal. Needless to say, we didn't make it very long before heading back to the bike station to turn in our bikes.
After that debacle, we head on back to the car only to find a notice on the car. It seems we had accidentally left a grape drink on the hood when we left for the bike "ride". The note said that the grape drink had been impounded. Impounded! What?!?! Oh no... don't impound my half empty drink can! Hahaha. We went to the coolers strapped at the back the car to grab a new (not impounded) drink when lo and behold, our coolers were missing too!
You know, we knew this cross-country trip was going to be full of learning experiences. Learning to drive. Learning how to rough it. Learning about each other. But really, do we need a "lesson learned" moment every single day?
Sigh... Lesson of the day: Do not leave coolers unattended at your parked car while in Yosemite Park. Apparently bears will find them and can rip them open. To avoid that, they will just impound.
So began the long hunt for the coolers. First we went to the ranger station. Waited in line... got a phone number to call... called the number. It was disconnected. So then we're told to go to another building. Head there... wait in line... told we're in the wrong place. Head to yet another building... wait in line. Yay! It's the right building. Now we have to get the coolers back to the parked car that is 1/2 a mile away and once there we can't leave them unattended. So a light bulb clicked. Why not just leave them "impounded" while we spend our day doing what we'd like to do and then be back by 5:00pm to pick them up? Great idea us! (high-five)
So we left our coolers (and also our backpacks) in the "impound lot" and decided to go rafting. We walked to the raft place, waited an hour in line, got a raft, and got shuttled to put-in. We took a nice hour or so raft ride down the Merced River. Then we waited in line for another hour just to catch a shuttle back. Next we had to walk back to the car and drive to the "impound lot" by 5:00pm. After a day like this, I bet you're thinking we didn't make it, huh? Well, we made it with about 15 minutes to spare! Phew! After a not so hot start to the day, we finally were back on track for a fun time.
We decided to leave the park again, as we didn't want to deal with the coolers again or get them impounded. So we set off towards the Giant Sequoia National Park. After looking at the map, we decided to skip Venice Beach because we weren't up for tackling our way through Los Angeles, traffic and all. We made it to Porterville, CA and are staying in a Best Western. It's easier to sugar coat the bad day's worth of events with full stomachs, showered bodies, and actual beds to sleep in.
Merced River Raft Trip:
Lower Yosemite Falls:
Late night at Denny's in Porterville, CA one hour from Giant Sequoia National Park: