Thanksgiving Day with the Little A’s
Blogpost Yosemite Random thoughts from Thanksgiving Day, 2014.
White knuckles–on me I think I’d better close my eyes. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was not sheer drop offs and wiggly roads climbing up the mountains. Whew! It is pretty, even breathtaking on our climb up to Yosemite, but I’m afraid I feel like I’m on some kind of nature’s revenge roller coaster ride. Did I mention that I’m scared of heights and windy roads? We are still excited, and almost there. It’s a good thing, because I need to start breathing again soon. 😳
On the way: Eucalyptus trees by road Nut groves–walnuts?? Olive groves, Tons of grape vineyards.
In the park: Oh, so tempted by those Sugar Pines with huge, long pinecones dangling in abundance. Can’t take them from the park, but we can take pictures and enjoy them! Would LOVE to take some home to TN! But, we will choose to be law-abiding citizens and leave them.
Saw Half Dome and many beautiful vistas. So much rock, so many drop-offs! 😉
Now for the adventure we knew we would find. Aka: our trip blunders.
Those “some day we will laugh about this” moments.
We arrived at the NorthWest side of the park, drove through the closest campground, which had plenty of space. Since we had just arrived, we weren’t sure what to expect, so we opted to continue on down to an area Banana Man had heard about to check out the campsite. That was probably mistake #1. We just didn’t grasp how stretched out this park is, and the drive took us a good two hours, what with the side stops to snap pictures and traffic. But we were not too worried until 1) we saw frost on the ground (temp had dropped), and 2) the campground we sought was fairly full. The longer we drove, the less excited we felt about crashing in a tent, so we checked out some other lodging options with no success. Back to the second camp we went, where at that point it was dark. We scoured the campground and discovered no room at all. So, there were no hotels close at all, and the thought of making that trip back up to the first campsite, which by this time, may or may not have vacancy, was downright discouraging.
Keep in mind that we had been waiting for the perfect spot to get settled and unpacked so that we could eat the Thanksgiving meal that we had prepared. So, everyone was ravenous! We ate–in the truck, in the campground where there was no room for us. We kind of felt like Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem. And as I dished up that meal that was supposed to be so special, and saw that cold, jiggly gravy and cold mashed potatoes, I cried. 😦 What kind of memories were we going to take back from this trip?
Then something amazing happened. My boys, who struggle just like us to be thankful and get along, one by one, said that this is the kind of food they like, and they were thankful for it, and thanked me for making it! Cold food! I was amazed, and I personally was still struggling with that cold gravy. But if they were happy, I was too, and that decision to be thankful really made all the difference. Those boys really were troopers, not complaining, even though it has been such a long wait!
We still had to find somewhere to stay for the night. The first camp seemed like too big a gamble with so far to go back, so we tried the opposite direction. Either “no vacancy” signs greeted us, prices of rooms scared us away (try $350 a night for one room), or a family of five disqualified us for the only open rooms. We drove and drove, trying every lodge, hotel, and possibility. We were even open to sleeping in the truck, but only if we could find a safe place, and as a last resort. I really had to marvel at Banana Man, because he literally drove down tiny little roads and obscure looking places to check out any sign that indicated they might have lodging.
Finally, it began to dawn on me that we had been leaving no stone unturned to find lodging, but we had not prayed specifically for help. I had begun silently praying, then we all decided to ask God for guidance. I believed He had something good to bring out of the long waiting.
As we opened our eyes, just across the road from the lodge we had come from to check out, was a sign that read, Ople’s Guest House, Vacancy. One eyebrow raised as we considered the little sign.
We could see nothing about the establishment, but felt like we had nothing to lose. I looked up the number, called, and handed the phone to Banana Man. He spoke with the man, apparently finding some room, even for five, and we agreed to go take a look.
Long story shorter, we decided to take the room, which was literally a room in his house, an old bed and breakfast that his mother had run previous to her death. Pete, the owner, we found friendly and open. We enjoyed talking with him around his warm and toasty wood stove.
Our room was just like a guest room in anyone’s house, clean, neat, but not fancy. We felt comfortable and cared for. The soft bed came complete with satin sheets, which made for a slippery night as I constantly slid toward the middle, where Banana Man’s weight pushed the bed down. It was pretty funny. He would ask me so scoot over a little, which I did, only to find myself right back in the middle before long! 😃 But that’s not a complaint! We all were SO GLAD for the warm soft place to stay!
Oh, and after we’d been visiting with Pete for awhile, getting ready to send the boys to their sleeping bags on the floor, he came and told Big A and Middle A to put their sleeping bags on the twin beds in the next room! Basically, he threw in a free room for us. That was so nice and so appreciated by the boys!
From henceforth, until I change my mind again, Banana Man will be called Friendly Man. He has an ability to connect with people he’s just met and engage then in meaningful conversation. This he did with our new friend, Pete, until late in the night. I have to say I’m proud of this trait, although sometimes I don’t rejoice in it when I want to “go”.
A good night’s sleep and a hot shower later, we moved on up the road. More about those adventures in the next post, but I will say that this adventure includes boys searching for Sugar Pine cones OUTSIDE the park and the hopes of seeing BIG TREES!
I’m glad they get excited about little things like that! 🌲