The big challenge of this trip happened on this day. Tioga Pass -- 9960ft. The FMC hasn’t done it before and Greg was concerned that it go well. We left June Lake in the late morning. Stopped to fill up with gas at the Mobil Station in Lee Vining. We got lunch too. This is no ordinary Mobil Station . . . They have a gourmet eatery on the premises -- The Whoa Nellie Deli. With all of us fueled up and ready to go, we unhitched and I headed up the pass first in my car (to find a spot to hitch up again before we got into Yosemite). I really didn’t know how the FMC would do -- we knew it would make it up but with what kind of grace.
Greg has three options for going uphill -- 60 mph in drive, 45 in 2nd, or 25 in 1st. We figured this hill would be a 25 mph hill. And, it was. Thankfully, the air was cool (thank you high altitude) and I only waited about the top for about 5 minutes or so. We hitched up the car and drove through the gate to Yosemite.
The reason we had to hitch up is that we have an annual pass for the National Parks -- going through separately would have cost us $25 but going through hitched up was free! We bought a new pass at Mesa Verde for the new year (our pass from last year was good until the end of June for this year) and have already used it enough to pay for it. If you are doing a road trip, an annual pass for the National Parks is a GREAT deal!
We drove the amazingly beautiful drive through Yosemite -- which for us is something of a commuter road to the Bay Area from my folks’ house. We decided to stop outside the park to camp. There were a few forest service campgrounds but none that would work for us so we pressed on to Groveland where we stayed at the Yosemite Pines RV Park. We got a fantastic site in the shade -- didn’t even need the AC. Greg took Ruth swimming twice. We had Ruth’s birthday request dinner -- all appetizers. We had bbq meatballs, Liza’s queso dip, and Greg’s Chipotle dip. YUM!