Roseville, CA

Before we left the campground at Yosemite, we spent what has turned out to be one of my favorite kind of days on our trip. Chad had to go to the nearby town of Groveland to get caught up on work, using the internet at one of the restaurants there. So the kids and I were at Rocky all day. We did some studying, some cleaning, some reading, and general busy-keeping. Spunky Monkey designed a whole set of dollhouse furniture he later “sold” to us.

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I love the “fire” in the fireplace and the dog on the laptop:

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My Almost-12-Year-Old!

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A Bridge = A Game of Grumpy Old Troll!

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On to Roseville! I thought we should probably visit Sacramento on our way north, and was looking for somewhere that would have a church we could attend for Easter. In the usual roundabout way I come to finding campgrounds, we ended up staying at the fairgrounds in a suburb of Sacramento. The drive there was beautiful; lots of wildflowers and almond groves.

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We decided our interest level in seeing Sacramento itself was not greater than the hassle that would be involved getting through the major road construction going on, so we never did make it into Sacramento. The fairgrounds turned out to be a fine place to stay:

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There was a stage just behind our campsite, which always means creativity must be unleashed!

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I didn’t know it at the time I was making plans, but the Fairgrounds was the site of a 40,000-Egg Easter Egg Drop and Festival the day before Easter.

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It was put on by a local church, and had games, bounce houses, music, food and a helicopter that dropped lots of eggs to be “found”.

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As for Easter itself, we were feeling a little lonely, as we usually have extended family to our house for dinner, but we were thrilled to find out about an outdoor service in a shopping mall parking lot, put on by Bayside Church, and featuring Francis Chan as the speaker. We had already been blessed by his teachings in the past and were glad to hear more from him. It was a gorgeous day and felt very California-ish. 

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Here’s a KLOVE link to the service (although this is a video of the first service; we were at the second, and I think the message was even better at ours):

http://www.klove.com/events/easter-celebration.aspx

Either way, what really matters is: HE IS RISEN!! And that’s worth celebrating, wherever you are!

Afterward, we had lunch at Mimi’s and took turns getting pics:

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During our stay at the Fairgrounds, we enjoyed the large areas of grass to run and play Frisbee in, sidewalks to jump rope on. We met a very friendly couple from Oregon who gave us some tips on traveling there.

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Roseville has roses all over!!

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Next post—celebrating turning 12!

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Ahhhh….Yosemite…

We finally made it here!!

Originally, we had planned to head up the coast from San Francisco all the way to Seattle, then to come back down south further inland, and hit Crater Lake, Lassen National Park, and Yosemite on the way back down, then cross Nevada to Salt Lake City and head up to Yellowstone before home. But, that seemed like lots of unnecessary back & forth driving, which isn’t really advisable in a gas-guzzling motorhome!

So we decided to forego Crater Lake & Lassen for this trip (they’re still too snowy, anyway!), but would NOT have considered our trip complete if we didn’t visit Yosemite. So, we figured out how to get there before heading up to Oregon and Washington. Planning where to stay and still get internet coverage for Chad took all the planning and campground-researching skills I could muster up!! Staying in the park was out (which, after visiting, I feel must be THE best way to experience Yosemite), because our Verizon coverage is nonexistent there. I won’t bore you with all the details of how I narrowed it down, but we finally found a campground that seemed like it would work, and it was only $25/night for full hookups! (Turns out there was NO Sprint phone coverage…the campground actually had a payphone in the parking lot…and the campground’s WIFI as well as our Verizon coverage were VERY spotty; basically not useable.) Chad did the best he could, between the two and working in the nearby tiny town of Groveland.

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The other tough part about getting to Yosemite in a motorhome is the roads! We went in on Highway 120 from Oakdale, and right before Groveland the road is extremely curvy and steep, with a sharp drop-off on the passenger side (which gets higher and higher as you go up!) and little shoulder. In fact, on our way out of Yosemite, heading down this pass, two twenty-something guys in a Cooper Mini decided they didn’t want to be behind a big motorhome the whole way down, so they TORE past us on one of the sharp curves, lost control, slammed their little car into the rock wall, bounced, lifted their rear tires off the ground, and thankfully came to a stop without rolling or plunging off the side. It was unsettling watching it all happen right before our eyes, but I was so thankful to see them get out of the car without a scratch. They apologized to us and sent us on our way (which was a good thing, since there was NOwhere for us to stop except right in the middle of the lane).

If you have been to Yosemite, you already know these pictures don’t come close to doing it justice. There is nothing like entering the Valley and seeing the HUGE granite rocks towering above on both sides. We were here at the perfect time of year to see the waterfalls, which tend to dry up later in the summer. We also avoided some of the crowds, apparently, although it seemed busy to me! The weather was perfect—70s and sunny. We spent three days exploring the Valley. We would have liked to drive to Glacier Point, but the road didn’t open until the last day we were there, at noon, and it would have been a 3+ hour trip, which would have taken the rest of our day there, plus we had a 2 hour drive back to the campground from the Valley as it was. We also missed out on seeing the big trees in the Mariposa Grove on the south side of the park, but we’ve seen big trees near Santa Cruz, and hope to still visit the trees in Northern California.

Our first day in the Valley, the kids and I attended a watercolor class taught by a visiting artist, Floy Zittin. There were seven of us in the class, and we sat outside the visitor’s center and tried to figure out how to paint leaves and branches and play with mixing colors. Floy of course made it all look so easy, but I’m sure with a little more practice we’ll all get the hang of it! Winking smile

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Chad stayed behind at Rocky to work the best he could with very little internet, but the three of us enjoyed our four-hour class, our picnic lunch, and then walking to the base of Yosemite Falls.

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The next day, we drove back to the park, and drove for miles through where the north rim fire was last fall.

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This was just inside the north entrance gate on Highway 120.

Thankfully, the fire didn’t reach the Valley, and we had a gorgeous day to enjoy exploring!

We saw lots of these little critters on the hike to Vernal Falls:

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The following day, we took a bike ride through the park, stopping to hike around Mirror Lake.

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Keep growing, Little Acorn! Only 100 more years and you’ll be as tall as SOME of these others!

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We came across this large area of cairns. Would be interesting to know the story here—who placed the first one?

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We all picked out our favorites, and the kids gathered what little stones they could find to make their own.

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Spunky Monkey’s was a “mixed media” that included sticks and leaves.

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A quick trip to Ansel Adam’s studio on the way out, and then a pic at the entrance gate (we see you, Kilroy):

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Goodbye, Yellowstone, I mean Yosemite!

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Jelly Belly, John Muir’s Home, and getting to Yosemite…

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While we were staying at the KOA in Petaluma, this was a VERY big hit with our kiddos (when they weren’t studying, of course): They spent HOURS here, making friends with the different kids that came and went during our stay, inventing games and obstacle courses, and getting really sweaty! The pool looked very inviting, [...]

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How we choose campgrounds…

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We’ve found that folks ask many similar questions when we tell them what we’re up to. One of the common questions is, “How do you know/decide where to stay?” We have been incredibly blessed by the campgrounds we’ve found to stay in during our trip. I’m trying to think of one we really did not [...]

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Goat Dairy Tour

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This afternoon we had the treat of visiting an artisan goat cheese farm near Petaluma, CA. Knowing we wanted to visit a dairy farm, I searched online until I found McClelland Dairy, which gives what sounds like very educational tours of their organic cow dairy farm. Unfortunately, we were just a bit early in the [...]

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Muir Woods & Muir Beach

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This entrance to the boardwalk makes it look like no one else was here today. The opposite was true—it was packed! Reality is that I sat in front of the entrance long enough, helping the kids with their Junior Ranger programs, that I jumped up when I saw a chance to get a photo without [...]

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