May 29 - Yosemite Birthday

Harriet and I head out the door at noon and decide, by the time we get to the car, to go to Yosemite -- long overdue. -- zipping via 80 to Sacramento, down 99 to Manteca / Escalon /

Oakdale, bringing back many memories, past glorious oak savannahs and a surreal lumber mill,

up the sunny, sere, chapparal-clad Priest Grade, with its abandoned lodgings at the top, past Big Oak Flat / Groveland (of KXPN transmitter fame), the Northern Rim of the World, to Yosemite entrance in c. three-and-a-half hours. 1/2 beyond, past the Tioga Road and Crane Flat (more memories), it's the first view of the valley, and we're tourists all over again, now with cellphone cameras...

Half Dome,

Bridal Veil Fall (in fairly full form, not the whisp blown up in the wind in the latter parts of some seasons, probably this season, too),

Leaning Tower, Cathedral Rocks,

Sentinal Rock,

El Capitan,

Yosemite Falls, and on and on, what Ansel Adams and so many others have experienced.

Late lunch outside at Curry Camp, and Crystal calls. It's her birthday -- I had called her earlier and left a message -- wonderful to hear from her. She's passing through Vallejo (Vacaville?) on 80, on way back from Seattle -- hope to rendezvous with her later this week, before she heads to Boston for a summer job that includes free housing, such that she's probably going to be earning more take-home pay than me! (from a certain perspective, not hard to achieve....)

Quick spin to the Ahwahnee Inn,

then down the Merced River Canyon,

past storied Savage Trading Post,

with a detour to the far (north, usually fairly inaccessible) side of the river, due to a massive landslide that totally buried the road last winter.

Up and over at Mid Pines, past the subterranean bar in Mariposa,

the beautiful nothing-doing-ness of Cathey's valley(somethimes the border between fog and sun in the winter), watching the foothills turn slowly, almost imperceptively back into the work-a-day Central Valley before Merced.  Past Cal State Stanislaus and looping back home -- contemplating orchestration of 37-38 of Godot....