Drive to Sequoia NP

Trip Start Jul 16, 2010
Trip End Aug 15, 2010

Flag of United States  , California
Friday, July 30, 2010

(Kevin) Traveling today brought many exciting moments and surprises.  We stayed at a KOA campground last night, relaxed by the pool, did our laundry, played cards, got a good night sleep, and slept in a little.  By the time we got packed up and updated the blog, it was 10:30.  A late start was fine because we only had a 3 hour drive to get to Sequoia National Park.  Our plan was to stop at a Wal-Mart in Porterville, CA for groceries and then head to the park.  Our GPS took us on a road that should have only been navigated with a small car.  We quickly climbed from our campground elevation of 2,000 feet to more than 7,500 feet.  Very narrow road, cliffs on each side, and the RV temperature gauge on the upper side of "normal".  I had to turn the steering wheel all the way to make it around some of the switchbacks (hair-pin turns).  To say the least, Jana was a little nervous.  At one point a local rancher was herding his cattle down the middle of the road and asked us to pull over until they were past.  Our 1:15 drive to Wal-Mart was more like 3 hours.  We drove through some very pretty country though.  Citrus trees as far as the eye can see once we got out of the mountains.  We stopped a few times to observe the crops and pick a few from the RV window.  Miles and miles of orange, tangerine, lemons, limes, and olive trees.  Pretty cool. 

After getting groceries, we headed for Sequoia.  The ride was pretty, climbing from elevation 400 feet to about 2,000 feet along cultivated land and lakes.  As we checked in at the South Entrance to Sequoia NP, the ranger asked how long our RV was and I said 33 feet.  He said “32 feet is the maximum and they won't let you through the construction zone in the park.”  I said, “actually we are 32 feet” and he said that they will check us.  It was worth a chance because it would have been a 3 hour detour around to the East Entrance.  We moved on.  After stopping at the Visitors Center, we headed up the side of the mountain.  Again we climbed to more than 7,500 feet, very steep and narrow.  The construction zone consisted of one closed lane, with a sheer cliff on the uphill side.  Only a few inches to spare on each side, especially when we met the waiting traffic on the other side of the construction.  We made it.  It was fun for some of us.  Later we found out that the Park Service does not recommend vehicle longer than 22 feet on the south entrance drive.

We saw some beautiful views and giant sequoias.  We setup camp and went to the amphitheater campfire and ranger talk.  The campfire started out fun and then it quickly turned to how the universe was formed and that there were thousands of galaxies, at which point we snuck out of the amphitheater two by two and then went back to the camper for a game of cards.

Still having a great time.  We have seen so many things and we are only halfway through our trip.

146.8 miles, avg. speed 30.1 mph, travel time 4:52, stopped time 2:08, total mile for trip 4,195

(Jana) I just need to say that I was scared out of my mind at some points today.  Tom had the quote of the day, “Mom, maybe you wouldn’t be so nervous if you drove but you’d have to open your eyes.”  I can’t believe we made it through some of the spots that we did.  At one point, a guy traveling in the opposite direction that was waiting in the construction traffic gave Kevin a knuckle-touch out the window as Kevin maneuvered around them. 

The weather here is beautiful.  High 70’s and not a cloud in the sky.  The wildfires are not in our area at all.  Take care everyone.
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Alan on

I have taken wrong turns before and steadfastly refused to backtrack. No givebacks. Good work, Kevin. Sounds like you're ready for the Apache Trail on the way home. Woo hoo!

#3 on

Maybe a trip through Ione,NV would have been better. Wonder if the outhouse is still beside that RV we saw way back when. FYI.. Tires cost $90 in Jackpot, NV.

Uncle Harry on

That is what we like about or GPS, it takes us to the most interesting places. Sounds like you are all having a great time, but Tom is the best writer. UH

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