Where are all the bears..

Trip Start Jul 27, 2004
Trip End Dec 13, 2006

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Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, August 24, 2004

After leaving Vegas we drove through Death Valley National Park.. at first it just looked like a big quarry but got a bit more impressive as we drove out and you could see across the vast desert.
We headed up to Yosemite National Park the day after, a beautiful place with lots of huge Redwood Trees, amazing rock formations and crystal clear lakes. We booked a ´cabin room´ at Housekeeping Camp on the other side of the park and when we got there we found a couple of beds with a frame surround and canvas wrapped over and around. There were also lots of warnings not to feed the bears or leave any food lying around so we wondered whether they might visit us in the middle of the night as there was no way to secure it at all... After an afternoon of swimming and relaxing we went for a walk later on and ended up walking back in the dark through ´Sleepy Bear Meadow´. We also had a rather restless nights sleep but the bears never made an appearance... I think they overplay them just to attract more tourists!
We then headed further up US highway 395 and stopped to visit a ghost town called Bogey. It was a lawless town of a couple of thousand people during the gold rush but is now uninhabited. Lots of the buildings such as the saloon, school, church and houses are really well preserved and were really interesting to look around. This being America there were also several people dressed up in the traditional costumes and you could get Beef and Beans like the cowboys used to eat..
We carried on driving north and visited Lake Tahoe which has a beautiful lake surrounded by large mountains. In winter it is a big ski and snowboarding resort but unfortunately there was no snow for us. It was´t very sunny in Tahoe so we decided not to stay and instead headed up to the Napa Wine Valley east of San Francisco. We found a lovely little town called Calistoga which was just one main street of shops, a couple of bars and a disused but restored train station. We had a couple of nights of luxury here as our hotel had a swimming pool. We also spent a day walking around to some of the wineries and doing some wine tasting. Twomey was a small winery which makes lovely Merlot in the old french barrels the traditional way. Sterling nextdoor was the complete opposite.. numerous different wines all mass produced but some very good ones. To go tasting at Sterling you also had to get a cablecar up the hillside and you got great views. Not as friendly as the people at Twomey though where we got through a couple of bottles!
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