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Old 09-25-2011, 08:58 AM   #1
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Yosemite Bound!!

Where: San Francisco; Yosemite National Park; Monterey, CA
Dates: Oct 29 – Nov 5
Who: DrDolphin – 1st trip to Yosemite & San Francisco, 1 prior trip to Monterey; DH - Crick85 – 1st trip to all three destinations.

After our fabulous trip to Arizona in January – DH and I got to talking about wanting to see more National Parks. I have seen 12. He has been to two – and those were both in January. I was scheduled to teach this summer and had some major issues with work, so summer was out. We started talking about later Oct/early Nov – as soon as I finished school. I started with the idea of Yellowstone & Grand Tetons, but the more research I did – the more I realized there was a STRONG possibility of significant snows and a majority of the park areas being closed. Ok – so now what? We knew we wanted to go out west – and I think it was hubby that asked about Yosemite. I went into planning mode. My original plans had been to try and get three NPs this trip – Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon... but we just don’t have enough time. Not when we are limited to 8 days, 7 nights, and two of those days will be spent on planes flying to and from California.

While all the planning was going on – I got Ken Burn’s National Park DVD series from PBS via Netflix and Fell.In.Love.... FABULOUS series – I have added a new bucket list item – see all 58 National Parks. Of course since DH has not seen but two – and I have 12 on my list checked off – I will have 10 repeats. Oh well. One of the focuses of the Ken Burns series was the history of the parks – and of course with that – the history of Yosemite. I didn’t know that President Lincoln, specifically to save the giant sequoias, federally protected it in 1866. It became a National Park in 1890. SOOOO – after becoming completely enamored with Yosemite – I had to figure out how to get us there and back – and what else to do while we are in the area.


Next - The Touring plan (What there is of it)...
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Old 09-25-2011, 09:19 AM   #2
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It sounds like it will be a great trip! Years ago I visited several NPs and they are all so beautiful! I hope you will do a TR and post lots of pictures!
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Old 09-25-2011, 09:58 AM   #3
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Great start, can't wait to hear more
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Old 09-25-2011, 10:05 AM   #4
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Yosemite is disappointing and yellowstone even in the winter they have snow mobil guided trips and a snow bus that goes every where i would do yellowstone and gt no matter what
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Old 09-25-2011, 10:29 AM   #5
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Great start!!! More pls!
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Old 09-25-2011, 11:05 AM   #6
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Great start Terri!
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Old 09-25-2011, 11:20 AM   #7
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Great start, Terri! Thanks for letting us tag along. I especially like hearing about all the planning for this type of multi-destination trip. It can get pretty involved! I loved the Ken Burns series also. Fascinating and beautiful.
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Old 09-25-2011, 11:34 AM   #8
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Great start!
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Old 09-25-2011, 11:41 AM   #9
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Glad you're doing a TR! We LOVE Yosemite! Keep saying we need to take the kids, but it's so crazy there in peak summer season. You'll be there at a great time.
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Old 09-25-2011, 07:48 PM   #10
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The plans - as they are -

Chris and I talked – and as usual, his input into the trip was “I don’t care... I like whatever you pick”.... GGGGRRRR. I HATE that. Ok – so he is stuck with whatever I want. First I set out to book airfare. We ended up on Southwest, we don’t have enough miles to book it all free... but we got a good fare and the flights we want. Then I did hotels for all of the nights, except those actually in the park, we are at Hilton properties staying for free on points. LOVE those Hilton Hhonors points! Then I booked the car - Hertz - I am Gold club with them - and get an automatic upgrade. Decided after the wonderful experience in AZ with the Rav4 to repeat it again. Lastly – our touring plan and list of things to do. I looked at yelp.com, urbanspoon.com and tripadvisor.com quite a bit to help figure out what was a must do and what could be skipped. This is still evolving – but we shall see how much of it actually gets done:

Oct 29 – Saturday – Fly from JAX – SFO. Land about 430pm. Get car, head to hotel – Hilton Fisherman’s Wharf – free on points.
Only specific plan this evening – dinner with Chris’ friend from Pharmacy school – Dr. Marcus Ferrone. Marcus came to our wedding last March – but left before dinner – so while Chris got to see him.... I did not. Gonna fix that this trip. Marcus is picking the dinner location.

Oct 30 – Sunday – Touring in San Francisco (I read an article that folks from SF consider it rude to call it “San Fran” – so I will endeavor not to do that). Plans today:
1. Breakfast near the hotel in a highly recommended local diner - Hollywood Caf. I know I get free breakfast at the hotel – but I fear it will be continental, and I have issues when I don’t get sufficient protein in the am.
2. We will start out the morning at the Golden Gate Bridge. I am debating renting bikes and riding across and back – or driving over, parking, taking photos etc from the park on the northern side, and then returning to town. I think the bike idea sounds wonderful, but it may eat up a significant chunk of the morning.
3. Then off to Golden Gate Park and the Walt Disney Family Museum
4. Tour the Presidio
5. Lunch will be at Joe’s Cable Car restaurant – made famous by Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives from the Food Network
6. If we can – I want to see Alamo Square’s row of “painted ladies” – the Victorian homes, I also want to ride a cable car and see Lombard street – although I think I want to walk it – not drive it!!
7. Chris has made one request for this trip other than “Yosemite” and it is to visit the USS Pampanito, which is a National Historic Landmark. So I think we will walk along Fisherman’s wharf
8. We have a 420 boat to Alacatraz booked for the evening tour and then after the tour – I am thinking about Scoma's Restaurant for dinner. I’ve read they have really great seafood on Fisherman’s Wharf.

Oct 31- Monday. SF to Yosemite. My goal is to be out of the city by 8am – traffic willing. I am hoping we will be going against traffic and that may help. I should take us about 4 hours to get to the park. I think we will start with breakfast at the hotel. Save time and money since this one is free. After our ~4 hour drive – I want to stop at the Whoa Nelli Deli in Lee Vining at the east gate entrance to Yosemite. Its located inside a Mobil gas station, but based on what I have read – it sounds like a fun lunch option.

After arriving in the park itself – I want to do the 2-hour guided tram tour of the valley as a way to get oriented to the valley and park layout before we tour solo the following day or two. Our hotel for the next two nights is the Yellowstone Lodge at the Falls, and we plan on dinner at “The Mountain Room” in the Lodge. I had really really wanted to stay at the Ahwanhee Hotel – but could not begin to justify the $400+ per night room cost...

Nov 1 – Tuesday.
Today is touring by ourselves. No guides trams or busses here. Goals for the day include:
1. The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias
2. Wawona Grove of sequois
3. Hike to Bridal veil falls
4. Hike to the Lower Yosemite falls
5. Toulome Grove and Crane Flat
6. And maybe Hetch Hetchy. I want to see this since it is the only reservoir inside a national park, and was built after park designation – which now is just unthinkable.

After the day of touring – we have an 815pm dinner reservation at The Ahwahnee Hotel Dining Room in the Ahwahnee Hotel. I may not be able to afford to stay there – but I can afford dinner there.

Nov 2 – Wednesday.
Today’s original plan had been to leave Yosemite, drive south to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks – tour all day, then stay in Fresno. Well... the more I looked at distance, drive time, etc – it just didn’t make sense. It would take about 3 hours to get from YNP to KC&SNPs... tour for 5-7 hours, then drive another hour to Fresno for the night before leaving the next day to drive to Monterey. I want to really enjoy the National Parks – not rush through them – so we will put Kings Canyon/Seqouia on the “next time” list and skip them. Instead – we can tour YNP a little more, finishing anything we were unable to see the day before, then leave and head west toward Monterey. It should take right at 4 hours to drive. Depending on when we arrive – we will get dinner, or tour around and get dinner.
Free Hilton – Hilton Garden Inn, Monterey.

Nov 3 – Thursday. Today is called – “Tour the Big Sur”.
We recently watched a National Geographic special about Big Sur – and we are so primed to see it... and now with my new camera (LUV my DH!!!) I can take lots and lots and lots... of photos!! Plans for the day include:
1. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
2. California sea otter game preserve
3. Carmel
4. Lunch at Nepenthe (Chris’ cousin’s recommendation)

Depending on how much we do and how tired we are – we may have dinner tonight with Chris’ cousin Maury and her family. I have met her son, but not her or her husband.

Nov 4 – Friday.
Today is Monterey touring. We definitely plan to go to the Aquarium. I’ve been there before as part of a weeklong training for work, but we only had a couple of hours. So I am REALLY looking forward to this. If we don’t see Maury on Thursday then we plan to have lunch with her today. After a full day of touring, we will head north to San Francisco, drop off the rental car and check into the Hilton Garden Inn at the airport.

Nov 5 – Saturday
Get up early and take the shuttle to the airport for our 700am (UGH) flight to San Diego, then we fly to Denver and then we fly home. Land in JAX at 710pm.LONG day of travel.

Since we get free Wifi at the Hilton properties because I am a Gold member of Hilton Hhonors (almost diamond again!!) – we should be able to do some live updates on the boards and via facebook, not to mention the facebook updates through our phones.

Crossing one more National Park off the list; adding three new Hilton properties to the "unique Hiltons" list (I am up to 103 since I started keeping track).
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Old 09-25-2011, 08:05 PM   #11
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Sounds absolutely wonderful! Your day in SF is jam-packed. I was going to suggest a visit to the Japanese Gardens for tea, but I wouldn't give up any of the other things on your list to do it. Another thing for another trip! Good compromise to have dinner at Ahwahnee. Can't wait for this one to start!
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Old 09-26-2011, 01:06 AM   #12
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Sounds wonderful!
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Old 09-26-2011, 06:01 PM   #13
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Great plans Terri!
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Old 09-26-2011, 10:53 PM   #14
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Your plans sounds awesome! My cousin and I did the Valley Tram tour about 4 years ago while her hubby climbed Half Dome. It was a great way to see all the landmarks without having to drive. The tour was very informative. Dinner at the Awahnee is really good. The Grand California decor was inspired by the Awahnee, so I was really looking for similiarities.
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Old 09-27-2011, 11:13 AM   #15
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Your plans sound great! When you talked about your first night plans to have dinner with Chris' friend, I was hoping the friend who pick up Scoma's. Then later you mention that you're planning on eating Scoma's, so yay! I've eaten there twice, and I thought it was great! Their cioppino is "use your bread and soak up every bit of sauce" great!

I'm really looking forward to your descriptions and pictures of Yosemite. I haven't been since I was a kid, and I'm planning on taking my kids there sometime soon!
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