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Interesting Times: Yosemite to Redding, CA

Click on map to enlarge

The beginning of our trip was a semi-nail biting drive from Indian Flat RV Park down Highway 140 . . . some steep grades, lack of shoulders, sheer drop offs into the raging Merced River . . . but other than that, it was a beautiful drive.

Our original route from Yosemite to Placerville was to be along Highway 49. However, about 20 miles into this highway we saw “Road Closed” signs. We just kept driving because we figured there would be a detour ahead. We were wrong. The road just ended.

Dead End, Sucker

No detour at all. So we unhooked our Jeep from the RV, turned the motorhome around, and then re-hooked the Jeep. This, plus backtracking, plus a longer route, added about an hour to our trip. No biggy. We arrived at our Placerville campground late in the afternoon.



Our Campground Site


The Campground Spa


Dinner with Tim & Beth — great company, great food




After 4 nights at Placerville, we hit the road early this morning because SOMEONE BOOKED A CAMPGROUND STARTING ON MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND. Fortunately, traffic was light because we were on the road by 7 am. Yahoo! Dodged a bullet.

We arrived at our campground near Redding at about 11 am, had dinner at a burger joint, and did some grocery shopping.

Our Redding Site



Then at about 8 pm my iPhone received this incredibly loud text message from the National Weather Service that said in effect Tornado Alert! Take cover immediately!

We had been seen thunderheads building all day, but thought nothing of it. However, when we checked the Internet weather radar, it looked bad.



Fortunately, the storm missed us and ran out of gas. When we were outside our RV watching the sky, we met our neighbor who was camping in a small, pull-behind travel trailer in the site next to us. Her name was Jan and she’s an Earth Science high school teacher. Jan told us that she lost her home during last year’s wild fires, but was in the process of rebuilding. However, she also told us that it will be another 5 months before she can move in to her new house.

Hites Mine Road (El Portal, CA)

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While at Yosemite, we looked for hiking trails near us. We found theĀ Hite Cove Trail just a few miles away from our campground. However, upon closer examination, we discovered this ideal hiking trail was closed because of last season’s wild fires. Nuts.

Then we looked closer to home.

Turns out that Hites Mine Road starts in our campground and ends up at the same place — Hite Cove — as the closed trail. But, of course, there’s a gotcha — Hites Mine Road has several switchbacks and climbs 1,600′ and then descends 1,200′. Well, it turned out to be a great hike and Flirt loved it.

Lots of switchbacks

The first day we made it up to about 1,900′ (the 1st switchback) and then the following day Flirt & I climbed to 2,300′ (the 2nd switchback).

On the way up . . . plenty of Indian Paintbrush . . .


. . . wild fire damage . . .


. . . and the occasional trash cabin



On the 1st day, Jan stopped, but I kept going . . .


. . . and going (Jan’s in the white circle)


Lots of great views the higher I went . . .





Flirt was with me all the way up . . .




However, both Flirt and I were getting winded


Going down was hairy as the 2nd switchback was littered with baby-fist sized rocks that really slowed down walking.


Click on map to enlarge.


We arrived in our Yosemite campground on Monday, May 13th. On Tuesday we drove into Yosemite Valley to see what we could see.

There are many, many natural and man-made sites to see the valley. There is also traffic. Lots and lots of traffic.

Our parking spot


After parking the Jeep, we did lots of walking and had lunch somewhere. The we went in search of “The Kiosk” where we hoped to make reservations to raft down the Merced River inside Yosemite. That was the plan . . . and we found The Kiosk . . . a needle in the Yosemite haystack.

We Found Half Dome Village


We Found The Kiosk


However, since the Spring water runoff was particularly fierce this year, rubber rafting was delayed for a time — long after we’re gone. Bummer. We snapped a few pictures and called it a day.




Since the weather forecast was rain, rain, and more rain, we didn’t want to Park & Walk again. So we took a 2-hour bus tour of Yosemite Valley. A wise decision.

Look, it’s tourists!




A Bad Sign


Indian Flat Campground (El Portal, CA)

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Our Yosemite National Park base of operations.

We arrived last Monday, May 13th, and stayed a week. It pretty much rained (and snowed) from Tuesday until we left. However, we were able to get in a couple of Yosemite visits and tour which we’ll cover in following posts.

The drive up Highway 140 to Indian Flat RV Park and to Yosemite was absolutely stunning. The Merced River, which parallels much of the highway, was roiling with spring runoff from the mountains . . .


Though our campsite was not far from the highway, the view was . . .

Mountain side


River (Highway) side


Honorable mentions . . .


Our HughesNet dish (which allowed us to stream Game of Thrones)


CA gas prices



HughesNET Gen 5 Evaluation 4 Results

In 4 of the last 11 campgrounds we stayed, we had to use our HughesNET Gen 5 portable satellite Internet system. We’re using it far more than we expected.

We thought our Verizon and AT&T Internet data devices and plans (+ campground WiFi) would suffice. So the portable dish is turning out to be a good purchase . . . otherwise there’d be no streaming Game of Thrones.

Click on graph to enlarge


Here’s a link to my RAW DATA (PDF).

You’ll notice that some of the latency (or “ping”) times are quite long . . . where typical cellular wireless latency times are well under 100 ms, satellite Internet times can be well over 600 ms. Latency is the time it takes to send and receive data from a source. Shorter times are better. While Internet servers on earth may be hundreds of miles apart, Internet satellites are thousands of miles (~ 22,000) above the earth. Even at the speed of light it takes significantly more time to communicate with a satellite than an earth-based system.

However, I found that under most circumstances long latency times are not an issue, but there are exceptions. For example, using VOIP (Voice Over Internet) for telephone calling is problematic at best. Also, when using HughesNet, I’ve been unable to upload large (e.g. video files) to my blog. I have a feeling that this website uses some sort of ACK-NAK upload protocol that continuously checks how an upload is going. The long satellite latencies screw this process up. C’est la vie.