Friday, May 18, 2012
Yosemite to San Rafael, via Hetch Hetchy

This was our last morning in Yosemite Valley. We had coffee and sandwiches, showered, packed up, and moved on. As we left the valley around 10:30, the weekend crowds were rolling in. Great timing! Weekdays in mid May avoided the dumb masses, and we were blessed with mild weather and open roads. What a great visit!

We next went to Hetch Hetchy, about an hour and a half drive from the valley crowds. The Hetch Hetchy Valley, Yosemite Valley's “twin,” was flooded in 1923, much to John Muir's chagrin, to provide water and power for the City of San Francisco, 150 miles away. This valley was not ruined, however. The reservoir and its surroundings are beautiful. I wish I had my fishing rod!

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The quiet side of Yosemite

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Hetch Hetchy Reservoir

We parked at the O'Shaughnessy Dam, walked across it, reading the interpretive signs along the way, and got a look at the Teeulala and Wapama Falls, each more than 1,000-feet high!

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O'Shaughnessy Dam

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Water over the spillway

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Man-made waterfall

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Teeulala and Wapama Falls

With only one day of vacation remaining, we left Yosemite behind and headed for the coast. Along the way we passed some picturesque reservoirs and quaint historic towns, including the town of Angels Camp, in Calaveras County, home of the Jumping Frog Jubilee, being held this very weekend!

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New Melones Lake

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Angels Camp, California

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Roadside America

At 6:30 we checked in at a Motel 6 in San Rafael. This wasn't our first choice of hotel, but as it turns out, it was prom night, and we were lucky to get a room at all. Nor was this the nicest Motel 6 we'd ever stayed in, but with two limos and a Jaguar sitting out front, apparently we were in good company.

We had a great dinner at Celia's Mexican-American Restaurant, in walking distance of our hotel. It's a local chain – We ate at one near Stanford a couple of years ago. It freaked us out when they served coleslaw with our Mexican food, but it was actually quite good.

Continue to May 19, 2012

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