Posted by: TomA | 4 May 2007

Day 5 – San Francisco to Yosemite National Park

I’d been somewhat scared of the whole driving bit. First time on the “wrong” side of the road; first driving an automatic. The bus ride to the rental place did little to calm my nerves, being in the middle of nowhere and up and down some insane hills.

Picking up our shiny, red Dodge Neon was rather exciting. Having been through the usual hire car hassle, pushy insurance crap and more, we finally set off back to our SF hostel to pick up my oversized baggage. And, turns out, it really wasn’t as scary as previously thought. Not to say I wasn’t bricking it most of the way through San Francisco’s busy streets, trying to keep nice and central in my lane, trying to remember (or rather forget) about the clutch and trying to navigate our way back.

Becky had her firsts too – she’d not map read before, but excelled in directing us to the hostel, and then through SF to the Bay Bridge. We missed our freeway exit (not our fault, it was closed), had a nice 40 mile scenic detour of the greater Oakland area before heading back on our proposed route towards Yosemite.

200 miles later, and only 4 hours or so, we’d travelled through the hills and mountains of California, driven past a rather serious looking roll over accident on the other side of the road, and seen many, many ranches full of delicious smelling cattle.

The hostel is sweet, located 20 miles outside the park itself; we’re staying in a tent cabin. It’s a bit chilly, but quite fun too. Apparently bears tend to rip through the walls at night if you leave your picnics out for them. They have a liking for toothpaste too. We survived the night bear free, though I swear you could hear one in the distance at one point. What is strange are the new noises – not the normal bird calls and crickets you get in the UK, or even in Vancouver; but new, alien noises.

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