It was last Friday afternoon when, after stopping to recover from the heat of Sonoma County, Woon Chi continued down the 101 toward San Francisco. Acting on an awesome tip from a familiar blog writer, he exited the highway just before the Golden Gate Bridge and drove toward Marin Headlands where he was greeted by a postcard view of the City by the Bay.

The City was nearly fogless and perfect, a rare summer pleasure, on its best behavior for the arrival of our foreign traveler.

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After crossing the bridge, Woon Chi (himself a young Jedi) of course went immediately to pay his respects to Yoda at the Letterman Digital Arts Center in the Presidio. Insurance for a safe journey, I think.

Yoda

“Always two there are, no more, no less. A master and an apprentice.”

Woon Chi stayed with friends who live in the East Bay, giving him a chance to see life on both sides of the Bay Bridge. The sunshine stuck around and it was a prime weekend for exploring. That predictable summer fog dumped over the ridge above Twin Peaks but, for the most part, the Bay Area showed Woon Chi its most agreeable mood.

Sunday afternoon brought some thoughtful deliberation … should he stay or should he go now? With temps in Yosemite nearing 100 degrees, a lingering hangover, and the notion of arriving in bear country at sunset, Woon Chi delayed his departure until Monday morning. After an enjoyable ride, he found camping outside Yosemite Valley and the next adventure began.

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Yes, another breathtaking view. And another one, and another one after that. Although it’s far, far away from anywhere else, Yosemite is truly one of the most beautiful places in our galaxy.

Yosemite’s waterfalls are raging this year, thanks to El Niño and a decent snow pack in the mountains. Woon Chi found the park’s most iconic views on a drive toward Sentinel Dome and Glacier Point. In his words, “Top of the world!”

After camping a second night, Woon Chi packed up this morning and headed east on Highway 120, past Tenaya Lake, through Tuolumne Meadows, right at Lee Vining and south past Bishop. He says the ride out of Yosemite National Park has been the highlight of his road trip so far.

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So there you have it, folks. Death Valley has been deleted from Woon Chi’s route for fear of melted treads and self-combustion amid today’s high temperature of 116 degrees (44C). The Excessive Heat Warning for the area says “no person or animal should be left in a closed vehicle.” Probably no one should be left in an open vehicle either. Wise choice to change course, Woon.

He arrived at his alternate destination this afternoon — Keough’s Hot Springs, with a shady place to pitch his tent. He’s lounging by the pool at an “unreal” and “so retro” “oasis in the desert,”  proving that sometimes it’s better when your original travel plans don’t work out.

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Next stop: Big Blue.

Have questions for Woon Chi about his road trip experience so far? Leave your questions in the comments and I’ll post the answers.

***

Missed part of the road trip? You can catch up with Woon Chi here:

Woon Chi Rides the Western U.S.

Woon Chi Rides the Western U.S., Part 2

Woon Chi Rides the Western U.S., Part 3

Woon Chi Rides the Western U.S., Part 5

13 comments

  1. This is the second post on Yosemite I’ve read today! Must be summertime in the USA? First time I crossed Death Valley I had one of those canvas water bags strung in front of the radiator to cool it. I haven’t been to Yosemite in…what…30 years. Good memories!

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  2. I love the photographs of your notebook and the illustrations therein. Remember when we had no blogs and the only way to recall trips was by keeping “dairies” of them. Sketching along the way forces one to look much harder than we do and with more focus than when we snap a photograph.

    Looks like a great trip. Such a beautiful part of the world that is for sure.

    Peta

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    1. Great comment, Peta! Yes, I guess blogs are the new travel diaries but there’s no substitute for sketches and handwritten notes. I think my next series is going to be about postcards from my grandmother when she visited Europe in 1972. Thanks for reading and following along on this journey! 🙂

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  3. Yosemite ~ a piece of heaven, and Woon Chi is doing it right. What incredible views and photos, makes me want to head out as well. Smart choice not to hit Death Valley at such temps ~ but still…would love to ride through Death Valley 🙂

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    1. Hello again! Yeah, there’s nothing like Yosemite. Unique and grand but cozy and nostalgic at the same time. Agreed — I’d love to ride through Death Valley in the spring when the wildflowers are in bloom. Thanks, Randall! 🙂

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