Piddling in Sequoia National Park

A zero day was exactly what I needed; this morning I woke up and the swelling in my leg had reduced significantly.  Except when I got out of bed my leg was extremely stiff from a lack of movement.  A warm shower and a little walking made it much better.

Today was  a rare day where we weren’t in a rush to reach a specific place; combined with the fact that it was a blue sunny sky, this was one beautiful relaxing day.  In line with reaching Stateline, NV by Saturday, we decided to drive to Visalia, CA today with a detour through a southern section of Sequoia National Park.  There were so many different landscapes along the way, we couldn’t resist taking the time to stop, have fun, and take some photos with our new camera.  The quality was an incredible upgrade, but we’re still working on how to reduce the image size to work best on the blog.

Our relaxed day of “piddling” transformed to frustration as it grew darker.  We missed our route out of Sequoia National Forest and went much further north into the park than we had intended.  Rather than turn around, we continued on, planning to take an alternate route.  We got deeper and deeper into the secluded mountains when we finally found that our alternate route was closed, according to the ranger, due to “eight” feet of snow covering the road.  The only choice was to double back along the dark winding roads to the road we originally missed.  Strangely, our GPS was recommending that we continue all the way back to Bakersfield the way we came rather than take a route that looked much shorter on the map…this had to be a glitch.  It wasn’t until we were several miles into our “shortcut” driving up steep mountains with continuous switchbacks in snow covered terrain passing signs stating “snow chains required” that we realized that it was no shortcut.  Sure would have been an amazing ride in daylight!


About bhoefen

Going on a road trip.
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22 Responses to Piddling in Sequoia National Park

  1. Aunt Bo says:

    You guys are crazy! I get nervous watching the dark road video.
    The scenery during the day was gorgeous and I was very happy to see your Ugg boots Shannon!!!! Gotta love those Uggs.
    Have fun with the new camera. Pictures are great.
    Keep riding in a good direction.

    • Shannon says:

      Hello Bo! You can’t believe how crazy it exactly was…the video just didn’t show the extremeness of the steep climbs, winding roads, pitch darkness, our car a little low on gas, and warning signs that tire chains required. We just discovered that it’s illegal to drive in the Forest without chains in the car in the areas we were last night. Oh well, thank goodness for the XCountry! My consolation was that I was wearing the UGG boots in case we had to walk for gas in the snow. Okay…a little drama in order to promote UGGs! Very cool part of the country though and having an amazing time. Love to you and yours.

  2. Aaron says:

    Incredible pictures with the new camera! Some of them, the seventh one for example, are so good that they look fake! Amazing scenery!!!

    • Bret says:

      Thanks. the camera is 14 MP, so we struggled this morning with reducing the image size down. The pictures looked really grainy when first posted, but with a little guidance from Ryan, they now look much better. I can edit you in on the hay bails for a small fee!?

  3. Maura says:

    We went to Sequoia in 09 in early April. Driving to our hotel in the park was pretty scary as we quickly came upon lots and lots of fog/snow. It snowed all night and had a couple more feet when we woke up – had to buy the tire chains, and didn’t get to see much of the park. Pretty crazy how weather changes so quickly and how what looks like a shortcut on the map, quickly turns into hours of driving!! But seeing the trees is worth it – hope you saw some!

    • Shannon says:

      Maura, you know exactly what we mean then. Glad we didn’t have fog…but it would have made for a scarier video. Haven’t seen the sequoia trees yet, although we could have passed some in the higher elevations last night in the dark? So, we’re heading back into the Forest today. It looks like sunny skies; we’re hoping to see as much as possible…until it gets dark again. Yikes!

  4. Cousin Mike says:

    Geez, be careful with your adventurous side on those snowy, dark, winding roads–a lot of horror movies start that way!

    • Bret says:

      Must be something about the altitude…I noticed Shannon getting a little aggressive? I got really concerned when she levitated off the seat!

  5. Matt Boss says:

    Big fan of the new camera. Can’t wait to see how much better the food looks…

    11th, 10th and 7th are my favorite. This has nothing to do with you guys not being in them, promise.

    • Bret says:

      Ha ha…I’ll be sure to snap a picture of whatever it is we eat today, even if it’s just peanut butter and jelly. I considered reordering the photos so the pictures with us lined up with your favorites. Great to hear from you Matt!

  6. Jessica says:

    Those pictures are amazing… But I would have been much more freaked out by the signs that said “chains required.” Glad you made it out!

    • Bret says:

      There was plenty of freaking out that wasn’t accurately represented in the video. However, we made it out and went right back in again the next day without chains…slow learners. We need a good presentation from you and Ryan to show us how it’s done. Plastic dinosaurs not required but a nostalgic enhancement.

  7. Uncle Lee and Aunt Sharon says:

    Hi Bret and Shan,
    That new camera is a beauty! Your pics are beautiful – love 3, 4,8,9 and 11 especially!
    Be careful exploring out there and try not to be too over adventurous in the dark unknown!
    Shanny, hope your arm is feeling better. So sorry about that nasty burn. You are amazing to juggle all you do, say nothing of juggling an entire breakfast buffet and hot coffee! Bret, hope your leg is feeling much better after a well deserved Zero Day! It must have felt good to both of you to just take a day to kick back and relax. Every good trip needs a few zero days thrown in the mix now and then.
    Anxious to see more pics of your return visit to the park and the Sequoia trees. Have fun and keep riding in the RIGHT direction! 🙂 Hugs to you both!

    • Shannon says:

      Hello Aunt Sharon and Uncle Lee! We aim to drive in a good direction but sometimes we (ahem, Bretly) like to push the envelope and see what’s beyond the forbidding signs. It’s definitely worth the experience. Love to you both!

  8. Cousin Geoffrey says:

    Hey guys,

    Wow – unbelieveable pictures! I’m so psyched that you are going to see Edward Sharpe – but I know that the concert is just an excuse so you can go on another video poker binge at Harrah’s. I feel totally responsible for this gambling addiction – If only I hadn’t suggested the casino at the gas station in Houma, Lousiana that started this whole snow ball…but who can turn down a drawing with only 10 participants?! Man – my legacy is getting you into all kinds of trouble… first the run in with CHPS over my fireworks and now uncontrollable gambling…

    …Here’s another for you…It’s a little known fact that if you purchase chains and don’t use them (or at least it doesn’t appear as though you’ve used them) you can return them come spring time for a full refund – a little birdy told me. You may want to have a set on hand – there are chain check points all over Lake Tahoe and if you don’t have them they will either fine you or they are happy to sell you a set at an outrageous price (remember supply and demand?).

    Have a great time in the Sierra’s! Keep Tahoe blue!

    Cousin Jeff

    • Bret says:

      Jeff, you’ve taught me so well I don’t see how I can lose? Based on your teachings, I’ve decided to put our entire nest egg on the line with video poker. Shannon’s is not thrilled about this, but I told her Jeff wouldn’t let us go wrong. Unless you show up to stop me (…and join us for Edward Sharpe) I’m moving forward. My winnings will buy chains and a nice firework display for all!

      • Cousin Geoffrey says:

        Cool – I say go for it! If there was any way that I could join you for Edward Sharpe, you know I would! As I type, I just became the proud owner of ‘Up From Below’. I’m looking forward to getting into this while I sit at my desk in a dimly lit room at work tomorrow! Enjoy your day in paradise for both of us!

  9. Debbie says:

    Hello Road Warriors!

    First of all, the pictures are AMAZING!! I especially love the one with fence post and the mountain behind it. Gorgeous! You guys are definitely getting better with your photography as you go along, that’s for sure. Will make for some awesome prints.

    Shanny? It makes me smile to see you in your Uggs 🙂 They got to have some serious wear and tear now. Perhaps for someone’s b-day coming up soon a new pair is in order? Yes? *MUAH*

    Bret, so glad to hear your leg is feeling better (and hopefully so is Shanny’s arm) so you can enjoy seeing some trees today. I had another meeting at the Roanoke Harley Davidson store yesterday and once more, the siren call to get you something attacked me and I caved. So! If you guys are staying in one place anytime soon, let me know (or I could send it to your Mom and Dad?) so you can get your prezzie.

    LOL! Love the footage of driving on the crooked road, it reminded me of my college days in Boone, NC. But what I loved most was Shannon’s “HOLY MOLEY!”

    Be careful you guys, have fun and keep driving in a good direction.



    • Shannon says:

      I should take a up-close picture of the Ugg boots you got me — they have been everywhere and through everything…desert sand, snow in the Sequoias at over 6,000 ft, both East Coast and West Coast oceans, Grand Canyon, Ontario pack ice, and cotton fields in TX. You know I swear by those boots!!! A birthday upgrade would be amazing, but the ones I have are pretty sentimental to me. We’re still here in Fresno where folks say it’s going to be brutally chilly tonight…33 degrees. PLEASE, they don’t know what cold is. But my Ugg boots will keep me warm as we head for Lake Tahoe. Love you and miss you big time! I promise to call soon.

    • Carol Huff Stanley says:

      Hi all,
      I went to school in Livonia with Betsy and have been following the blog and everyone’s adventures. I, along with so many others, am amazed by this wonderful blog you are sharing with your loved ones…and with those of us who you do not know. The blog, the pics, the comments…you are truly riding in the right direction.

      Anyway, I am responding to the comment about being in the “Roanoke” Harley Davidson store. I live outside Roanoke, VA…it wouldn’t be that store would it? Just wondering.

      Carol S.

  10. Kate (Lawrence) Burkhard says:

    Wow…the new camera is amazing, especially combined with your artistic talents 🙂 You took some great photos! Looks like you are having a terrific time. Yosemite & Sequoia are places I hope to visit some day and I’m enjoying the preview. Ride in a good direction and enjoy the concert!!

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