We are back in Chattanooga, TN after our impromptu trip to the Pacific ocean, just following the weather. We left Pierre, SD after Melanie's Mom's funeral, but let me back up a few days. Our adventure began in Chattanooga with the birth of my first grandson, Caleb Sebastian Turp, to my son, Dallas and his wife, Jaclyn. After the first day of induced labor, Friday, August 19th, we got the phone call that Melanie's Mom had passed away after a long illness and funeral was scheduled for Monday afternoon. The baby ended up being born at around 5 am Sunday morning. Poor Jaclyn, but she did great and baby and daughter-in-law were doing well. We took off immediately fir Pierre, SD to get there Monday afternoon.
After the funeral we needed some time away. The plans had been all along that after our grandson was born to ride north to do the Cabot trail in Nova Scotia, but a hurricane has a strange way of altering your plans. After riding down to KS we decided to head west to one of our favorite towns, Estes Park, CO. We arrived to nice weather but no reservation, and the good campgrounds were full, so we stayed at a campground on the outskirts of town with a terrible camping area. Our dinner the first night was steak and vegetables, cooked over an open fire, in a light rain. The night ended being good as the rain stopped a sunset and we had a nice campfire before turning in.
The next day started off chilly but clear and a nice ride into Rocky Mountain National Park was on the agenda. It was a perfect day until the rain chased us off the mountain and back to camp. This was one of the National Parks that we had missed during our q2recently completed Iron Butt, Master traveler National Park Tour. During that tour we visited 78 National Parks in 25 states and 2 Canadian Provinces in one year. That was a fun adventure.
That night during Pizza in our tent we discussed where would be our next stop. Sites in CO, UT, AR, and NM all came up in conversation, but, looking at 7 day forecasts, all had rain predicted.
We agreed that we would continue to travel west, maybe Yosemite National Park. After packing up the camping gear in our trailer in the morning, we took off with good conditions. Up and over the mountain heading west toward Utah the riding was great with deep blue skies and incredible vistas. I am always amazed how riding and seeing the same sights is always so much more wonderful on a bike compared to traveling in a vehicle. We crossed UT and ended up staying the night in jail, the Jailhouse Hotel and Casino in Ely, NV, to be exact. This hotel has been around many years and actually had a coin slot machine in the lobby that spit out nickels when you won. Ask Melanie about her pockets overflowing with nickles, it was great.
The next morning was one of those great clear morning, just right for a long day on "the loneliest road in America", highway 50 across NV. We made a game of trying to guess how far it was to the next hill. At first we were both way off guessing 4-5 miles for a distance of 20 miles. With the wide open spaces distance can be very deceiving, try doing that in a covered wagon. I'll stick to the bike.
We pulled in to West Yosemite in time for a late lunch, then headed for the valley and our campsite over some of the most beautiful landscape I had ever seen. We both were busy enjoying the water and mountain views while on high alert for wildlife, especially deer. We made it to the valley to very full campgrounds and our campsite. We set camp within earshot of the stream and amazing vistas of half-dome, even more incredible at sunset with the sun casting a golden glow to the mammoth slab of rock.