After work on Thursday we headed off for a 5-hour drive to
Yosemite National Park. It was a long and boring drive in the dark but eventually we made it to the Wowona Hotel . What you can see in the link is the main part of the hotel, but there are other buildings in the same style. The really funny thing is that it was just like being on the set of Dirty Dancing . No kidding!
After we signed a sheet confirming that we were 'Bear Aware' we headed off to the room. We had missed dinner but since we were there on the Romance Package (!) we at least had strawberries and fizzy wine...
Breakfast the next day was fantastic (at last) and we set off fairly early into Yosemite Valley. The road drving in was fine - we were on the inside hugging the cliff. The way back wasn't nearly so much fun - right at the edge of the road and TWICE some jerk nearly drove us off the road, too busy admiring the scenery....
Have to say, the scenery is amazing. Sheer granite cliffs that tower thousands of feet above the forest canopy. I can't possibly do it justice - just trust me when I say that if you ever get the chance, then you really must visit this place.
Tired, and not a little shaken by the near-misses, we arrived back for dinner. The evening meals were mostly organic and we were completely stuffed.
Sadly, the weekend buffet breakfast was really bad(can you tell I like my food?) but we made the best of it and headed out to the Mariposa Grove which has some Giant Sequoias. If you click on the link you will see a picture of The Fallen Monarch, which has been on its side for about 200 years and doesn't show much sign of diminishing any time soon. We headed for the upper grove but about an hour and a half in my energy levels plummeted. Although it is very unlikely that we would see a bear, since the area is very popular with tourists, be obeyed the guidance and didn't take any food with us, so this meant I could go no further. However, Number Guy reasonably felt that he was unlikely to make it to Yosemite again, so having dropped me back at the hotel he headed back to complete the walk. Sadly for him, he still didn't see any bears....
A bit wiser re portion size come dinner time, we had only one starter, main and dessert between us. Even so, we couldn't finish all the food.
On Sunday we said goodbye to the park and headed sort of westish (our map wasn't very good so we were kind of dog-legging along0. The drive was gruelling - very hot and not many places to stop. In addition, we passed many CAFOs - Concentrated Animal Feed Operations. Can't be much fun for man nor beast - you smell these things before you see them. The animals are very closely confined and fed an unnatural corn-based diet which is so unhealthy for them that some of them actually end up exploding becasue of a build up of gas. If you want to know more, read The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan.
CAFOs are a damned disgrace. I don't care whatanyone says. There is NO justification for this type of farming. We don't need to eat meat every day. It SHOULD be an expensive luxury for all sorts of reasons. I am no saint, and I know there is room for improvement in my life and my eating habits. I'm just glad to say that this is something I have done something about. We all can. There is no excuse.*
* Well, there is actually - If you live in that area of Los Angeles where there are no grocery stores, only fast food outlets, I accept that you have to eat somewhere....but lordy, what IS the world coming to??