Destination: Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park in California is visited by 3.7 million people each year, and most spend their time in Yosemite Valley, a good-luck-finding-any-privacy campground strewn around modern amenities that would offend a true outdoorsman. Apart from this (though it’s not a bad choice for families on the camping grind), the valley is a solid base for exploring the rest of the park’s features, from cliff faces and waterfalls to mountain peaks and hiking trails. A few highlights:

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Stranded in Modesto, California

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Car problems in Yosemite had us towed to an unplanned destination: Modesto, California.

My tow driver wouldn’t accept my offer of the rest of my pepperoni pizza, but did recount tales of his wife’s versatile wardrobe. We discussed the perils of children sitting on pavement in the sun, of which there are few, the formation of lava cliffs, and finally, he went a step too far when he tuned the station to heavy metal.

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A First Try at Yosemite National Park

Eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park

Eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park

Fitting a square peg into a round hole is akin to driving a broken Mercedes over the Sierra Nevadas. I would know.

Transmission problems throughout Nevada left me wondering if I—if we, the car and I—could make it over mountainous Yosemite National Park. Getting my cabriolet to a Mercedes service department meant either traversing the park to reach Fresno, or returning to Nevada for service in Reno or Vegas. With visions of being stranded in a population-less state dancing through my head, we pushed westward.

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