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Thursday, May 30, 2002

Take five!

Okay, really quick, work is insanely busy. I walked back in on Tuesday to find I was suddenly having to work at project pace. Bleh. I sat at my desk for less than an hour yesterday. The rest was consumed by a series of meetings and time spent in the lab working on testing scripts.

But that's not what I planned to write about!

Yosemite was really cool. On Friday we wandered out there, stopping along the way whenever the mood struck us. We bought cherries along the side of the road. We browsed through a housing development in Los Banos. We stopped by Dairy Queen for a chocolate dipped cone (my favorite!) for me and a Blizzard for Rick. We stopped by a flea market/crafts fair thingy in Coarse Gold, where Rick bought a set a bagpipes (!) and where Sam (the proprietor of the music store) threw in a tabor pipe for free. When we finally made it to the inn, we found our room small, but quite nice. We made reservations for the hot tub at 9:30 and headed the rest of the way to the park gate. We bought a National Park Pass and headed in. We stopped for dinner at the Wawona hotel. It was the perfect Victorian elegance I wanted just then. We both had some of the best tomato soup I've ever eaten and shared a pork loin entree. One flaming candle atop my slice of chocolate mousse cake for dessert and I was pretty happy with my birthday.

The next day we took a tour of Pioneer Village and had a Stage Coach ride (sadly without a goose for Aunt Matilda) at the Wawona. Then we ventured out to the Mariposa Grove to see the really big trees. Rick swears I tried to kill him hiking up to the museum. But the big trees were really cool, and the most interesting of them was on the second portion up the hill. We concluded our day with a moonlit train ride and songs around the campfire. At the barbecue before the train ride, we had the good fortune to sit down with a couple from L.A. She's a teacher, and he's in computers. Rick chose wisely in picking a table.

On Sunday we went down to the valley floor and rode our bikes around. Unfortunately, the bike paths are also pedestrian paths, and the pedestrians didn't seem to be aware that they needed to share. I started by saying, "Passing on your left." and not getting any response. We stopped off at the Yosemite Lodge to see if they sold bike bells. They didn't, but the clerk suggested just screaming, "Roadkill!", stating that that seems to be the only thing that worked for him. That did, in fact, work for me as well, but when we made our way around to Curry Village, I checked in at the bike shop there and got a bell nonetheless. After that, I only had to resort to screaming "Roadkill!" once. The worst was the guy talking on the cell phone who meandered right in front of me. Scary. At about 5:30, we started contemplating what to do with our evening. At stop at the Ahwahnee earlier in the day had brought to our attention that we didn't bring clothes enough to dine there. Rick's black jeans and button down shirt definitely didn't meet the sport jacket requirement. This left me wondering, "Who the heck brings a sports jacket to the woods?" But apparently, those in their 50s do think of such things. Go figure. So dinner at the Ahwahnee was out, and traffic out of the valley was at a standstill, backed up for miles. So we rode around for a while longer, and ended up at the Yosemite Lodge for a lovely dinner looking out on the Yosemite Fall. On our way back to the inn, we made a detour up to Glacier Point. This is the place to go to understand the true majesty of Yosemite. Walking up in the moonlight, we saw the silhouette of deer munching on the foliage. Venturing out to the point, I looked down into the Valley and across to the falls and Half Dome and realized exactly why this place inspires so much awe. Rick was not quite so impressed. He was suffering the effects of 8000 feet of altitude, a day of biking, and a fear of heights. We headed back down and to bed.

Monday morning we decided to head straight home rather than risk running late by going to the Ahwahnee for lunch. We stopped at the best little coffee shop in Oakhurst. They roast their own beans, and we had stopped in there for coffee and chai a few days earlier. At breakfast we ran into Joseph and Elaine from the Moonlight Train Ride and ended up spending another hour over breakfast chatting with them. Little did I know that the Great Breakfast Quest would stretch to Yosemite, but I gotta admit, this was the best breakfast I’ve had in ages. And the coffee was fantastic!.

We made it home by 3:00 with minimal interference from other travelers. Before heading up to Berkeley for dinner with Kevin and to the Plough for dancing, we managed to do laundry, and I dyed my hair. I woke up Tuesday morning ready to face work. The four day weekend was the perfect mini-vacation I’ve been needing.

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