Saturday, July 10, 2010

California Vacation

Well, I'd like to say I'm exaggerating, but I was bit by a flying ant and my daughter was bit by a fire ant, so we decided it was time to stay in a nice hotel. We traveled through Yosemite, saw the biggies--Bridal Veil Falls, El Capitan, and Half Dome. We stood at the foot of Bridal Veil Falls. I've never been at the bottom of a waterfall, which is odd. I've been at the top of one in Yellowstone and with my fear of heights, it was a scary and surreal experience. Yosemite is a place that evokes those words: awesome, spectacular....fills you with joy. Then we stayed at the Virginia Creek Settlement--went to see Bodie Ghost Town, one of those touristy places that is not touristy, kind of in-between. Because the homes are locked up and in a state of degradation and disrepair, there is more of a sense of loss and loneliness to the place. The cemetery was probably the most interesting place--lots of youngsters...babies died there, especially in the first few months of life. It was odd to hear the names of original settlers that matched the names of people I grew up with ie. Jamie Cain. Lots of German and Irish names. Then we went to the natural springs up in the hills behind Bridgeport. That was an amazing place--little hot pots that you didn't have to pay to sit in, natural mudbaths and just a beautiful sunset. Ahh. Then, on to Bishop and the Keogh Hot Springs where we stayed in a tent cabin. I have to say despite the 100 degree weather, I enjoyed it there much more than I did up in the Lake Tahoe hotel I stayed in a week or so ago. Maybe this place reminded me of living on the farm in Iowa. I think the minerals in the pool and bath helped my shoulder stop hurting. There was a quaint little rock garden and a retro bathhouse. That's where the bugs were though. Next day, we went to Manzanar. I'm so glad I went. It was 106 that day, so we got the full effect--hot winds, dust, beautiful mountains, the monument--the beautiful Japanese art, the toys the children played with, imagining losing one's home and business and living in this desperate place--not knowing whether one would be allowe to return to one's home. I'd have to say it was more than just an educational experience. Then, of all things, we went into the small town of Bishop and went to see Eclipse again. Saw it at the drive-in before and had to hold my breath to keep from laughing out loud at Jacob with his shirt off. Whew. That was fun. Bishop is a cute, clean little town. Lots of beautiful Indian (and Hispanic) people--Paiutes, I think--saw some more of their history all along the way. I read The Autobiography of Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins quite a few years ago, so this was rewarding to see the countryside and imagine the history, both wonderful and terrible. The gymnasium at Manzanar had information that the local Paiutes had helped construct the camp. Well,that's my vacation so far in a nutshell. We crossed back to the coast via Lake Isabella and the Kern River and are staying at some fancy Best Western on the ocean beach. Lovely not to have to spray down the chiggers for a night.