Our California road trip was 8 days of non-stop fun! We packed so much into each day that I had to separate my post by days! This post contains days 3 & 4. Make sure to read Part 1 so you can see how our California road trip began!
California Road Trip ~ Day 3
It took us a little while to get going since neither of us slept very well. The continental breakfast at 99 Palms Inn left a little to be desired. It consisted of cereal, apples, bananas, and danishes, not really consistent with my whole food plant-based lifestyle. I managed to find a package of plain instant oatmeal and I sliced a banana into it. Not bad but it did leave me wanting more. We hit the road around 10:00.
The lady who checked us in told Phillip about Sequoia National Park and gave him a brochure. It was only a short drive so we decided to add this to our California road trip. That is the beauty of having no plans! You aren’t on a schedule so you can go and do whatever, whenever you want!
We saw a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains as we were driving and decided to stop and fly the drone. As we pulled into the next turn we saw a sign that let us know this was the Kaweah Recreation Area. Lake Kaweah was full of people enjoying the sun, boating and picnicking. We took a few pictures and flew the drone. We didn’t stay long but we thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent there.
Here is the footage from Phillip’s drone.
Sequoia National Park
Sequoia was such a beautiful place. Both of us were glad we decided to go. Some of the largest trees in the world are in this park! The biggest one is named General Sherman. It is a giant sequoia tree that is estimated to be 23 to 27 hundred years old and it is located in the Giant Forest. It is the largest living organism on the planet at this time. 5 of the largest trees in the world are in the giant forest. You can’t help but be amazed by the wonders that nature has created in this forest.
I’ve put together a great slideshow of this visit. I hope you enjoy it!
The Rest of the Day
We drove through Kings Canyon National Park which is connected to Sequoia. It was a such a beautiful drive. Phillip is quite the entertainer on these road trips. He keeps me laughing and his love of life and adventure matches mine. Check out this video and you will see what I mean.
As we exited Kings Canyon we saw a fruit stand on the side of the road. By this point I was really missing all the fruit I was used to eating throughout the day so we stopped. Blossom Trail Fruit Stand is located in Sanger, CA and I really scored here!! I left with a bag full of plums, peaches, and apples!
We drove on to Fresno and landed at the Summerfield Inn at around 6:00. This was a cute little hotel that really made up for the nightmare at 99 Palms! It was very clean and comfortable and best of all affordable! It is not a chain hotel and the owner is very picky about who he rents rooms to. If you don’t have a major credit card you can not get a room. He runs this hotel like I would if I had one. Although it was an older hotel it was nicely updated.
The Dog House Grill
We needed to eat dinner so we checked TripAdvisor and found a restaurant called the Dog House Grill and it was ranked #4 of 1,041 restaurants in Fresno. It was moderately priced and close by so of course, we had to go! When I say this was a busy place I mean it was seriously busy. There were people driving around the parking lot waiting for people to leave so they could park! This made us even more curious about this place.
The food was definitely worth the wait!! Phillip had the Tri-Tip Sandwich which is what they are famous for and I had a Tri-Tip salad. Amazing is the best word I can use to describe the food. You order at the front and then sit on either the full-service or self-service side. They were pretty full so we sat at the bar which was on the full-service side. The bartender offered to get our food for us which we declined seeing that he was really busy. All the servers were young and energetic. This was a great place to eat!
We headed back to the hotel to get some much-needed rest after stopping to pick up some Mikes Hard Lemonade!
California Road Trip ~ Day 4
We left the Summerfield Inn around 8:00. We thought the next stop on this California road trip was Yosemite National Park. After we had driven for about 30 minutes we saw a billboard for a casino… OK, it got us, we had to stop!
We spent about an hour at Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino in Coarsegold, CA. It was a fun little break. Didn’t win but we didn’t really lose either. It was a very nicely laid out casino with several newer games.
Yosemite National Park
We entered the park around 10:30. It was absolutely stunning. I didn’t think it could get much better until we entered what they call Tunnel View. There are no words to describe the feeling of coming through a tunnel and seeing absolute heaven on the other side. Words do not do this place justice and all I can say is it was one of the most perfect places I have ever seen.
We continued on, stopping at El Capitan Meadow amongst the other several viewing areas. Instead of just leaving the park after going through Yosemite Valley we drove through to the east end. We heard it was less crowded and absolutely beautiful. We took the Tioga Road. This road is only open during the summer. Although it was a long drive, it was time well spent.
I took so many pictures that it was hard to decide which were the best! I think the ones I put together for you will take your breath away!
Bodie is an original mining town from the late 1800’s. It is now essentially a ghost town. This is one of the places I really wanted to see. It was next on our list so we headed that way.
When we got to the turn off the road turned onto 12-mile mountainous windy dirt road. We went through a gate with a sign that I wasn’t sure but thought it said it closed at 6:00. It was after 5:00 and I told Phillip it was probably too late but he was determined that I was going to see Bodie.
Phillip is a very good driver but I have to say I had a grip on the door handle all the way to the entrance! The lady at the ranger station where you pay to get in told us that they did in fact close at 6:00. It was 5:40. She also said they make an announcement at 5:45 for people to start heading to their cars. Phillip asked how much to get in and she said it would be $16.00. I just couldn’t let him pay that for the little amount of time we had. I did manage to snap a couple of pictures before we left though.
On to Nevada
We left the park and was getting pretty hungry so we started looking for somewhere to eat. Driving into Bridgeport, CA we saw the historical Bridgeport Inn & Restaurant and just had to stop. The hostess seated us at a nice table and gave us our menus. When I looked at Phillip he had the same look on his face that I know I must have had on mine! The prices were really, I mean really high! We were both starving and we figured the food must be pretty darn good so we stayed.
Much to our dismay, we were wrong. My $18 plate of spaghetti was just average and Phillip’s $17 Fish & Chips were nothing special. These were two of the cheapest meals on the menu. While the service was very good, the food was just not what we expected at those prices.
The Hotel Casino
While we were waiting for our meals Phillip made reservations for us at The Super 8 by Wyndham in Gardnerville, NV. When we arrived at the location where the GPS took us we thought we had somehow ended up in the wrong place because we didn’t see any signs saying Super 8 anywhere. Instead, there was a sign for the Topaz Lodge which is a casino! We finally realized that the 8 and the Topaz Lodge were one and the same.
We checked in around 8:00 and went into the room. I have to say I was a little disappointed because it was pretty old and worn. The bathroom was tiny and the shower was extremely small. The bed was comfortable and it was clean so we were ok with it. We got settled in and decided to go play a little at the casino. They gave us each a complimentary drink coupon so what the heck, why waste it! It was a very small casino with mostly older games that didn’t pay out hardly at all. We only stayed for about a half an hour or so and headed back to the room.
Our California Road Trip Continues
So don’t forget to check back to see the rest of our California road trip! It was an amazing adventure and I will post the rest just as soon as I can!