by Chantel Windeshausen
Taking a vacation with five of your closest friends enjoying Napa Valley and all it has to offer undoubtedly is going to be a memorable trip. For Susan Thomas, National Sales Manager with Travel and Transport, her trip became truly unforgettable when she took a few extras days after her girls trip to experience Yosemite National Park on her own.
This adventure began when Susan dropped her girlfriends off at the airport and swapped her very large SUV for a shiny white Mustang convertible. Susan’s plan was to drive the Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to LA and even if it was only 60 degrees she was going to take full advantage of the sun and a vehicle without a roof.
On this independent excursion, Susan also wanted to make sure she was able to experience Yosemite National Park. She recalls always having a fascination with John Muir, Hetch Hetchy and El Capitan and the true beauty that is Yosemite. As someone who travels for a living, Susan did her homework and found unique accommodations that would put her in the heart of Yosemite’s forest. At Camp Curry for $49 a night ($89 if you wanted heat) you could stay in a yurt or tent (imagine a canvas tent with floorboards, about 1/3 the size of a typical hotel room.) Susan decided that heat would probably be a good option for this adventure so she opted for the higher rate. The tent was very nice and spacious, with a cot, bed sheets and towels.
Susan pulled into the national park and stopped at several of the overlooks to take in the beauty. During her stops she made note of the many signs warning visitors to watch out for bears and avoid leaving food in cars. Susan was starting to think that her cooler of wine and snacks that she brought from Napa Valley and her cute little white Mustang convertible may not have been the best choices for this adventurous trip she was about to undertake.
Upon arrival to Camp Curry, Susan went to check-in where she was greeted with a warm welcome but a strong warning that she could not leave anything in her car that had a smell as this may attract bears. Canned soda, lotions, make-up etc. would have to be put into a metal box that would be located outside of her tent. Susan mentally calculated how she was going to fit 3 cases of pop, a cooler and a grocery bag of left over snacks along with all of her toiletries into a metal bear safe. This was going to get interesting.
Assuming she could park directly outside of her tent, Susan made her way back to her car to find out that parking was about 3 city blocks from her yurt. With the help of a friendly ranger (AKA Camp Curry’s bellhop), she loaded her many supplies into the back of a truck and rode with the ranger to her home for the evening.
Dusk arrives early in Yosemite so it was imperative that Susan got her food and supplies packed into her bear safe metal box as quickly as possible. She also turned the heat on for the evening. With her vision of sitting outside of her tent enjoying the stars and a glass of with and some cheese shattered by the bear warnings – she drove to the lodge for quick bite to eat. When she returned to her tent, Susan found the temperature to be extremely warm. Unable to leave the door open for fear of a “visiting bear”, Susan was required to become comfortable in her personal sweatbox. Of course her adventure could not be complete without realizing that her phone and iPad where both out of juice and her charger was not functioning. At 8:30 p.m. with nothing left to do, Susan prepared for her slumber only hoping that the bears could not smell fear and think she was their snack. Her only saving grace for the day had been that she always travels with a flashlight, so at least she could navigate to the shower house, but would she be brave enough to in the middle of the night? Biology overcame fear and sure enough in the middle of the night she made a mad scamper to the facilities – all the while swiping her flashlight across the path like a light saber looking for a set of brown eyes.
Morning in Yosemite is one of the most peaceful times anyone can experience – if you are not in one of the 100 tents near Susan Thomas. Did you know that even if your phone is out of power that your alarm still works? At 6:45 a.m. Susan found this out. After several minutes of trying to muffle her phone with pillows and blankets she was able to get her charger to work so she could power on her phone to power off the alarm.
At this point Susan was ready to pack up and leave her yurt. After 10 trips to her car and dragging a large suitcase along gravel she was ready to continue her adventure. Good-bye Camp Curry, hello open road. The next few days were spent taking in the breathtaking views that the Pacific Coast Highway has to offer. Her stays in hotels were very restful and relaxing.
Though she had quite the adventure at Camp Curry she would go back in a heartbeat. Here are a few things she would change.
1. She wouldn’t bring food
2. She wouldn’t rent a convertible
3. She would make sure her phone had enough power to get her through the night.
Some very helpful tips from one of Travel and Transport’s most adventurous road warriors.
What is your most adventurous excursion? Tell us about it here.