Yosemite: Evolving Travel Style

She said…

Shannon has never been to Yosemite, so we have zigged inland to spend a couple of days at Yosemite Lakes Thousand Trails, just a few miles down the road from the park. Now we can knock this one off the bucket list. We thought we had gone far enough inland to escape the smoke from the new fires in Northern California, but as the day progressed it got hazier and hazier.

Half Dome in the distance

Fall is touted as the least desirable time to visit Yosemite; the waterfalls are slowed to trickles and it is said that there isn’t good fall color. But I found the fall color to be quite satisfactory, and the waterfalls were still beautiful, misting down from the rim of the canyon.

Fall Color Yosemite

There were still a lot of tourists there, mostly from Europe and Asia. In fact, we might have been in the minority. It is also climbing season, and in spite of the accidents on El Capitan earlier this year, there were lots of people and tents on the face of that iconic rock.

There is also a huge amount of construction being done, some to repair damage from last year’s floods and some maintenance and new projects. Fall, it seems, is the only time to do work on the roads in the park, which suffer a tremendous amount of traffic each year.


When we got our solar install last month, I thought we would immediately switch our travel style over to a lot more boondocking. After all we have a huge expense to offset and I want to get on that as soon as possible. I know that we will never receive full recompense for our investment, I wasn’t counting on the learning curve being quite so steep. We have all of the websites and other tools to help us find free camping, but a lot of the information is aimed at free overnights, casinos, stores and restaurants that lend their parking lots to people travelling who just need overnight stops. We will, eventually, be looking for dispersed camping for up to two weeks, since we are now only limited by the size of our holding tanks. We are also limited by our length, 36’, and a lot of the dispersed camping we have seen is for shorter rigs.

We know it’s out there, we just have to figure out how to find it. In the meantime, the solar has come in handy while staying with friends. . .we can stay fully powered without interrupting our host’s energy needs.

The other adjustment we have had to make is in our living style. Our living room slide, which runs 16’ down the side of our rig behind the driver’s window, is broken. One end of it has fallen out of adjustment enough to catch on the bottom of the rig when sliding in. We had a mobile tech come out to help get it in so we could get on the road. The places that could fix it for us locally are taking appointments for late November, early December. So we have decided to push on. We are letting the slide out about 6” when we are parked just so we can walk end to end without turning sideways. Shannon can sit in his recliner while watching TV, I can sit in my office chair at the table. The kitchen is unaffected, so I can still cook. Kind of a pain, but I think we have the kind of relationship that can survive living in 40 square feet less. We made an appointment at La Mesa in Albuquerque for the end of November where we will find out if it is the best-case scenario, a minor adjustment, or worse-case, the whole slide will have to come out for repair and none of it will be covered by our extended warranty. Life goes on, and sometimes when stuff breaks you have to pay to get it fixed. By then I may not mind so much because I’ll be so glad to get my whole house back!

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