Presidents' Day weekend
Day two in Yosemite was at Mariposa Grove, the main home of giant sequoias in Yosemite National Park. Did a quite stop in Wawona on the way, including the now-closed Wawona Hotel, where apparently the Lu family has some memories of freezing their butts off on past family trips.
Winter closes the upper parking area, meaning it's an extra two miles each way from the welcome plaza. Fortunately it's an easy hike there and past that to the Bachelor and Three Graces, Grizzly Giant, and California Tunnel Tree. Could have hiked further-- in fact as noted in yesterday's photos that staying in Yosemite one more night for the Firefall would have been optimal-- but instead the choice was made to push on to Death Valley.
Spotted a Lucid Air prototype (!) in the parking lot, stopped to check that out before we left. Then lunch Oakhurst, the nearest town outside of Yosemite's southern entrance, for a surprisingly refined menu at South Gate Brewing. Beer menu was okay, it was the food menu that surprised. Quality wasn't too special but who would have expected (let alone found edible) duck confit at a brewery?
Death Valley National Park, being on the backside of the Sierras in the middle of nowhere, combined with a holiday weekend, predictably meant no lodging was available. Well, almost no lodging. Snagged the very last lodging within a hundred miles of the park (well, within 35 miles of the sign...) at Olancha RV Park and Motel. Seeing so many stars in the sky was nice, the teepee (not even a motel room!)'s thin walls and most of the "bathrooms" being closed wasn't. US-395 is a busy highway, which you appreciate all the more after being woken up the 10th time in the middle of the night. *sigh*
But it still beat sleeping in the car!