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Re: Nice towns to stop for the night

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Nice towns to stop for the night
April 30, 2009 12:30PM
I am driving to Yosemite from Phoenix, Arizona and I was wondering where good places are to stay about 2 hours outside of the park, specifically nice areas/towns to visit. It is a 13 hour drive from here, so I plan to drive around 11 hours Saturday May 9th and arrive in Yosemite May 10th. I will not be camping so wilderness is out of the question.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/30/2009 12:32PM by Twagner.
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
April 30, 2009 12:45PM
Sounds like you're probably arriving via CA-99 and possibly CA-41 or CA-140. Tioga Pass Road won't likely be open in your timeframe.

The larger places outside the park are Fresno and Modesto. I don't know if I'd describe them as "nice towns" but they are Central Valley cities where you can definitely find a place to stay and eat. They're not particularly touristy.

The most common gateway communities to Yosemite are Mariposa (on 140) and Oakhurst (on 41). I don't know if there's a whole lot to do in Oakhurst, but they do have a superb restaurant (Erna's Elderberry House) if you're willing to get reservations. Mariposa is a sleepy little community that's highly dependent on Yosemite tourist traffic. They have the California Mining Museum:

http://www.parks.ca.gov/default.asp?page_id=588
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
April 30, 2009 03:59PM
Oakhurst is going to be the quickest way in by far.
If it were me I'd put the padal thru the metal going thru Fresno and
find something in Oakhurst. My inlaws stayed there once and they
liked it... smiling smiley
Head in on 41 and check out the Mariposa Grove and then Wawona
before going into Yosemite Valley.
I'm not that into quaint but it seems like a nice town. At least they
got fast food goodness (you'll have to look at the Backpacking food
to know I'll eat anything) (I mean KFC... mmm...)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/30/2009 04:02PM by bill-e-g.
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
April 30, 2009 04:06PM
Quote
bill-e-g
If it were me I'd put the padal thru the metal going thru Fresno

There's a lot of enforcement on 41. So fly through Fresno but not too quickly.
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
April 30, 2009 04:11PM
I just meant I wouldn't stop in Fresno. smiling smiley
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
April 30, 2009 04:16PM
Quote
bill-e-g
I just meant I wouldn't stop in Fresno. smiling smiley

I know. But it was a good opening to mention the CHP on 41.
Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
April 30, 2009 04:34PM
Thanks for all the advice, I think I will give Oakhurst a try. I certainly know all about the great city of Fresno (have had some bad experiences there), as I am originally from the Bay Area. The info really helped because I am not familiar with anything past the Fresno area.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/30/2009 04:38PM by Twagner.
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
April 30, 2009 04:35PM
Quote
bill-e-g
I just meant I wouldn't stop in Fresno. smiling smiley

I stopped in Fresno. In summer during the daytime. Once I removed my flammable gas canisters out of the car to where the was A/C. I didn't want to risk them exploding.

Fresno isn't bad for picking up supplies or getting gas. All the major discount chains are there, and there is an REI store. I don't really know of many good places to eat there, but for me the Elephant Bar Restaurant was a fairly reliable chain.

I don't know if the original poster is into casinos, but there is the Chukchansi Gold Casino near Coarsegold on CA-41. It a few miles south of Oakhurst, and I think the clientele is primarily from the Fresno area. If you want to stay there, they don't seem to have online reservations. Even if you don't gamble, they probably have decent dining options, although some of the reviews of the buffet say that it was a bit gross.

http://www.chukchansigold.com/accommodations/rooms-rates.html

I would say that Oakhurst or Coarsegold are the last places to buy gas, and the prices are about what you'd pay in Fresno. If you get to Mariposa, they've got a Chevron station with higher prices, and the Shell station in El Portal is always through the roof. Of course you could always buy gas inside the park, but I thought it was pricey.
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
April 30, 2009 06:15PM
Quote
y_p_w


I don't know if the original poster is into casinos, but there is the Chukchansi Gold Casino near Coarsegold on CA-41. It a few miles south of Oakhurst, and I think the clientele is primarily from the Fresno area. If you want to stay there, they don't seem to have online reservations. Even if you don't gamble, they probably have decent dining options, although some of the reviews of the buffet say that it was a bit gross.

http://www.chukchansigold.com/accommodations/rooms-rates.html
How strange that the hotel description would include a section on
"Safety & Security
As a guest at Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino, your personal safety and security are of the utmost concern to us."

That links to a detailed descripton of fire alarms, sprinklers and automobile security!!!



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
April 30, 2009 11:11PM
Quote
Frank Furter
Quote
y_p_w


I don't know if the original poster is into casinos, but there is the Chukchansi Gold Casino near Coarsegold on CA-41. It a few miles south of Oakhurst, and I think the clientele is primarily from the Fresno area. If you want to stay there, they don't seem to have online reservations. Even if you don't gamble, they probably have decent dining options, although some of the reviews of the buffet say that it was a bit gross.

http://www.chukchansigold.com/accommodations/rooms-rates.html
How strange that the hotel description would include a section on
"Safety & Security
As a guest at Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino, your personal safety and security are of the utmost concern to us."

That links to a detailed descripton of fire alarms, sprinklers and automobile security!!!

Not sure why. However - I'm old enough to remember the 1980 MGM Grand Las Vegas fire. They don't seem to go in depth about personal security, but I'm sure that part of the reason they mention it is because patrons may be carrying large quantities of cash.
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
April 30, 2009 11:12PM
A lot of places I've stayed seem to talk about it these days. I think it's just a liability avoidance thing.
Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
April 30, 2009 09:59PM
Oakhurst has a lot of motels and is close to the southern entrance to the Park. A short, easy, beautiful drive from there to the park.

Fresno is a great place to get gas and the Costco is only 1 block west of Highway 41, at the Herndon Ave. exit in Fresno.

You don't have to be a Costco member to buy at the food court: quality, cheap snacks - the turkey wrap sandwich is ice cold and will be just the right temp after you drive up into the mountains, same for the mocha freeze or berry smoothie which are $1.45 and taste better than $4 drinks at Starbucks. There are a lot of places to eat in Oakhurst too.
Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 01, 2009 01:08AM
Thanks for the info on Costco, I will be staying in Yosemite for a week (woohoo!) and will definately need to stock up on some food.
Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 01, 2009 09:15PM
Well, Costco definitely has best assortment of trail mixes, in my opinion. Their Kirkland "Fruit and Nut Medley" is the bomb - unusual fruits such as dried strawberries, kiwi fruits, mango, dried cherries, apples, papaya, pineapple, banana chips and golden raisins, along with almonds, walnuts and peanuts. Great stuff although it's 7,200 calories for the whole bag, but you'll burn them all off if you're hiking a lot. There are other types of snacks and trail mixes to choose from, including the bag of dried mangoes from the Philippines which is also yummy. And they sell a tray of 24 boxes of chocolate milk, in those aseptic packages, so you don't need to refrigerate them - you can carry chocolate milk with you wherever you go. Same for fruit juices. If your motel room has a microwave you can get a pizza or chicken bake sandwich at Costco and just reheat it. Plus the gasoline at Costco is usually about 10 cents cheaper than anywhere else in the same town.
Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 01, 2009 01:16AM
While I have this post going, I just want to throw my itinerary out there to see if there are any suggestions or alternatives that you would suggest (I am in good shape so tough day hikes would not be a problem as long as the trail is easy to follow):
May 10th: Get situated and adjust to altitude (maybe throw in a light hike)
May 11th: Hike Upper Yosemite Falls
May 12th: Check out Mariposa Grove
May 13th: Rafting Tuolomne River (not optional)
May 14th: Hike to Glacier Point - Please suggest routes assuming 4 mile trail is not open
May 15th: Hike to top of Half Dome via Mist Trail (assuming cables are up by then) - if cables are not up please advise of an alternative hike (is the shoulder of half dome worth the effort view wise?)



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/01/2009 01:19AM by Twagner.
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 01, 2009 08:14AM
Quote
Twagner
While I have this post going, I just want to throw my itinerary out there to see if there are any suggestions or alternatives that you would suggest (I am in good shape so tough day hikes would not be a problem as long as the trail is easy to follow):
May 10th: Get situated and adjust to altitude (maybe throw in a light hike)
May 11th: Hike Upper Yosemite Falls
May 12th: Check out Mariposa Grove
May 13th: Rafting Tuolomne River (not optional)
May 14th: Hike to Glacier Point - Please suggest routes assuming 4 mile trail is not open
May 15th: Hike to top of Half Dome via Mist Trail (assuming cables are up by then) - if cables are not up please advise of an alternative hike (is the shoulder of half dome worth the effort view wise?)

Sounds ambitious without trying for too much. I've heard of schedules which included people trying to do two major hikes in one day.

Just check the trail conditions before you leave:

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wildcond.htm

Upper Yosemite Falls will take about 5-6 hours. If you start off early in the morning, you can have plenty to do when you get back. Mariposa Grove can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours depending on whether or not you want to hike.

The alternate way to Glacier Point is to drive. You might just go for parking at Sentinel Dome Trail and hike there to Glacier Point. Maybe even go up Sentinel Dome. The Half Dome cables aren't slated to be up until the 3rd week of May, but you never know in a poor snow year. I wouldn't recommend it just for the view from the shoulder. If you want views, Clouds Rest has the best views in the area.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/01/2009 09:51AM by y_p_w.
Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 01, 2009 09:29AM
Any other nice day hikes I can throw in? I will probably skip Glacier Point if it means I have to drive, I don't want to get in my car once after I get there (except for the rafting trip).



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/01/2009 09:33AM by Twagner.
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 01, 2009 10:11AM
Quote
Twagner
Any other nice day hikes I can throw in? I will probably skip Glacier Point if it means I have to drive, I don't want to get in my car once after I get there (except for the rafting trip).

Driving isn't that bad. If you're not willing to drive (save one exception) once you get into the park that sort of limits your possibilities. There are gas stations in the park if you're worried about that.

There's no public transportation directly from the Valley to Wawona or Mariposa Grove. I believe the free shuttle between Wawona and Mariposa Grove is running now. Still - you would need to drive down Wawona Road. You might also consider Merced Grove or Tuolumne Grove.

Glacier Point is worth visiting by car, just for the single view of Half Dome, Vernal Fall, and Nevada Fall.
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 01, 2009 12:14PM
Twagner,

I know you don't want to drive to Glacier Point but you could make a very nice full day driving there and stopping at the twin trailhead (on the way) for both Sentinel Dome and Taft Point/The Fissures. Each trail is easy and about a mile each, great day hikes with terrific views. The trailhead is about a mile and a half before Glacier Point on the left. As was also suggested, you can continue on from Sentinel Dome to Glacier Point by trail and then return the same way if you want more hiking.

If you would like you may contact me via private message with your email address and I can send you some views from the top of Sentinel Dome.

Jim
Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 01, 2009 01:09PM
Would you recommend hiking to Glacier Point from Sentinel Dome and back over taking a bus to the top and hiking the Panorama Trail down?
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 01, 2009 01:16PM
Quote
Twagner
Would you recommend hiking to Glacier Point from Sentinel Dome and back over taking a bus to the top and hiking the Panorama Trail down?

Looks like a great view. I'll probably be doing it myself.

http://www.yosemitehikes.com/glacier-point-road/sentinel-dome/sentinel-dome.htm

There might even be a question as to when the shuttle starts running. DNC seems to be variable on these things depending on weather and/or demand.
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 01, 2009 01:25PM
Twanger,
Drive up Glacier Pt. Road. Park at Taft Pt. Trailhead.
Hike over to Taft Pt. then on the way back take a left and loop around north of Sentinel Dome...
climb up Sentinel Dome and then back down and back to your car. total is about 5 miles.

Then drive to Washburn Pt. ooo and ahh some more... then back in the car and drive to Glacier Pt.
Watch the sunset... drive back down to the Valley...

that's my 2 cents...
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 01, 2009 05:47PM
Taking the Panorama Trail down will require crossing the Illiouette Creek which may be a raging torrent then. Check before you go that route.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 01, 2009 06:13PM
Quote
mrcondron
Taking the Panorama Trail down will require crossing the Illiouette Creek which may be a raging torrent then. Check before you go that route.

Isn't there a bridge? I seem to remember a bridge.
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 01, 2009 06:16PM
No bridge. Got my ding-a-lings wet last time though.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 01, 2009 06:20PM
Quote
mrcondron
No bridge. Got my ding-a-lings wet last time though.

Looks like a bridge, but it's hard to tell:

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=37.711975,-119.560518&spn=0.003667,0.006507&t=h&z=18
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 01, 2009 06:26PM
You're right. We had come down from Mono meadow.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 01, 2009 06:27PM
Quote
mrcondron
You're right. We had come down from Mono meadow.

I was just about to say something about that trail.
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 01, 2009 06:24PM
Quote
mrcondron
No bridge. Got my ding-a-lings wet last time though.

These people think there's a bridge:

Next stop, the 2.1-mile mark and the Illilouette footbridge

http://www.naturalbornhikers.com/PanoramaTrail/Panorama.htm
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 01, 2009 08:29PM
There's a bridge. It's one of those senior moments.
smiling smiley
(maybe his who ha's were wet when he wrote it) tongue sticking out smiley



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/01/2009 08:37PM by bill-e-g.
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 01, 2009 08:58PM
Quote
bill-e-g
There's a bridge. It's one of those senior moments.
smiling smiley
(maybe his who ha's were wet when he wrote it) tongue sticking out smiley

Maybe he was travelling with two cats that got dropped in the raging torrent.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 01, 2009 10:35PM
Quote
bill-e-g
There's a bridge. It's one of those senior moments.
smiling smiley
(maybe his who ha's were wet when he wrote it) tongue sticking out smiley

Note to Self: New entries under the category of Slang



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/01/2009 10:47PM by Bee.
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 01, 2009 06:39PM
Twagner,

Normally, I would say take the tour bus and do the long hike down but there will not be any tour bus until later in the season. Apparently there may also be a question regarding crossing Illouette Fall this time of year due to high water. According to my map there is supposed to be a footbridge there and I swear I've seen photos of it.

Jim
Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 01, 2009 10:54PM
Someone may have already mentioned this, but if you arrive around May 10th the Curry Village rafting may not be open. I think it usually depends on the depth and/or speed of the current. Maybe the water temperature too. I have been there several times in May when I wasn't able to take my family rafting and it was a huge disappointment. But maybe you have your own rafts.

As far as nice towns, I've always enjoyed staying in Oakhurst. The people are very friendly there. They have the Von's and Raley's grocery stores in town. More expensive than Fresno, but not by a lot. Because of availabilty, I've probably stayed at most of the hotels there. The Shiloh Inn is good. The Best Western Yosemite Gateway lodge is good. There is the Days Inn / Holiday Inn Express as well. I gave it the slash mark because over the years I think it has been both at least twice. I really miss the Schezuan Chinese restaurant there. Theresa was the owner and they always took good care of our groups - even after a long, hot day of hiking. They had the best Hot n Sour soup on the planet. I begged her for the recipe more than once, but I never did get it. I don't know why they lost the lease (or gave it up), but it was my favorite restaurant in Oakhurst. I've heard the Jade Inn has pretty good food too. El Cid always seems to be crowded, but I've never been there.

There's a pretty decent deli in Yosemite Village. The "Lost Arrow" is a very good and hearty turkey sandwich that fills you up after a long hike.

As far as NOT going to Glacier Point? That would be like going to Paris and skipping the Eiffel Tower, or seeing Athens but not the Acropolis! I'd never do that. It's only 16 miles up Glacier Point road from the cutoff from CA-41. The view of Half Dome from Glacier Point is worth the drive all by itself. Plus, you will get a few of Yosemite Falls which should be wonderful this time of year. Take the time to go to Glacier Point. I wish I could be there on May 10th.

Just saying....!

Have a great time. In Yosemite it's hard not to have a great time.
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 01, 2009 08:48PM
Ooopsie... I just looked up Who ha.
Rolling on floor laugh

(should have not used the plural)
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 01, 2009 08:51PM
Quote
bill-e-g
Ooopsie... I just looked up Who ha.
Rolling on floor laugh

(should have not used the plural)

Will you be doing a monologue on the subject?
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 01, 2009 08:55PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
bill-e-g
Ooopsie... I just looked up Who ha.
Rolling on floor laugh

(should have not used the plural)

Will you be doing a monologue on the subject?

O... I'm pretty quick nowadays... got TV to watch anways.
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 01, 2009 09:11PM
O boy... this is really not looking good for me now! (my wife and I were with him at the time)
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 01, 2009 09:29PM
I had some choice words... but the wife said I was "pushing the envelope"...

Here's the crossing from Mono Meadow. (the bridge is further downstream... if you really want a picture...)

avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 01, 2009 10:42PM
Jeeeez....NOTHING gets by unrecorded by the ^%$#^ cameras!! (said the paranoid person whose blunders reach far beyond dumb questions)no, stop, enough!

QB
Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 02, 2009 12:12AM
I won't be rafting in Yosemite, I am rafting the Tuolumne with a rafting company. I will definately be doing Glacier Point, I just was looking for a way up with minimal driving and the most hiking. Looks like I will do the trip from Sentinal Dome to Glacier Point and back down. All the info has been a great help and I am still keeping my fingers crossed for the 4 mile trail late in the week, but definately not holding out for it.
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 02, 2009 06:56AM
Quote
Bee
Jeeeez....NOTHING gets by unrecorded by the ^%$#^ cameras!! (said the paranoid person whose blunders reach far beyond dumb questions)no, stop, enough!

QB

Any river crossing where there might be shrinkage... gets recorded...

Plus the camera needs to be out in case something really good happens.

And this sixth grader has been chastised a plenty... "you had BETTER NOT take the camera out and follow me!"
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 02, 2009 09:33AM
Quote
bill-e-g
Quote
Bee
Jeeeez....NOTHING gets by unrecorded by the ^%$#^ cameras!! (said the paranoid person whose blunders reach far beyond dumb questions)no, stop, enough!

QB

Any river crossing where there might be shrinkage... gets recorded...

Plus the camera needs to be out in case something really good happens.

And this sixth grader has been chastised a plenty... "you had BETTER NOT take the camera out and follow me!"

Uh-oh...(thank gawd the skirt got tucked in the underwear before i Phones, mini digitals, maxi digitals, SLR's, etc. became standard attire.)
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 02, 2009 11:41AM
The skirt tucking in reference must be a girl thing. I don't get the connection, of coarse I don't get a lot of things in my dotage. (the state of having the intellect impaired, esp. through old agewinking smiley In case I forget.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 02, 2009 11:49AM
Quote
mrcondron
The skirt tucking in reference must be a girl thing. I don't get the connection, of coarse I don't get a lot of things in my dotage. (the state of having the intellect impaired, esp. through old agewinking smiley In case I forget.[/quote

In reference to the fact that EVERYthing seems to be recorded by the multitudes of over-active cameras; I was thinking how relieved I was that no one photographed the time on the trail when the bottom of my skirt got caught up in my underwear waistband after pulling myself together, post pee stop.
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 02, 2009 11:56AM
Oh, That! I've only witnessed it once. Shooting pool back in naught '73 when some snockered bimbo young lady comes out of the head with it tucked in. I'm not implying it takes a BA of 0.25. Accidents can happen.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Nice towns to stop for the night
May 02, 2009 12:21PM
Quote
mrcondron
Accidents can happen.

Especially if you are rushing things a bit in a less than desirable unsheltered spot!
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