Road Trip 2013: Day 11, September 9, 2013

(click here for today's pictures)
Exploring Yosemite Valley

Around 6, Whitman and the Keaton woke up so we just made room for them in our bed and then went right back to sleep.  At 7, I called Pops to tell him to send the boys over so they could go and eat and he said he was sitting looking out his window at deer.  Our view wasn’t as pretty since we had the cars to look at but behind the cars there was a mountain taller than any mountain you have seen. 

The boys came over and found cozy spots under covers and the kids watched tv for a bit while Robby and I loaded up and got ready.  By the time that Nonna and Pops returned from breakfast we were about ready to load the car.  Robby went to get the car and then Anderson started shouting about deer.  We all looked out the window and man, he was telling the
truth.  But 3 feet from our patio was 3 momma deer and 4 babies. They were right in front of our room and didn’t even startle with all
of the kids screaming and looking out the window.

Soon we had loaded the van and were walking down the trail to Yosemite Falls.  The falls are the tallest in the US and I believe the 3rd tallest in the world.  They would have been pretty impressive-if there had been water flowing down.  Oh, well we knew there would be no water when we decided to come this way.  Am even without water, they were still beautiful.  

The kids enjoyed climbing on every single rock that they could get near.  Reagan would climb to the top of one and say “take my  picture.”  Later she added, “I don’t really care if you take my picture, I just love to climb.”   By the end of the trail, Keaton was trying to climb right behind them.

We then hopped on the Yosemite shuttle bus and drove around the park.  We jumped off at Happy Isles Nature Center.  They were having an hour long Jr. Ranger Walk but we opted to skip it thinking that the hour walk might be a bit too much for the littles.  Instead we walked on a tiny bit of the trails.  On my bucket list is to climb to the top of half dome.  I didn’t think that that trail would be stroller accessible so we skipped it today.  Robby and I have plans to come and stay for a week out here when the kids all go to college so we have plenty of time to get into shape for our trip.  

This little area had a pretty river that was flowing over the rocks with the huge trees and mountains in the background.  The kids enjoyed climbing on the rocks and no one really fell in-just a wet shoe or two.  And as a reward when we made it back to the bus stop Robby bought them all strawberry popsicles.  This was a big treat and we sat there eating and enjoying the scenery until they were all finished.

Back on the bus, we rode to the visitor’s center and walked through it.  Then we saw some of the movie about Yosemite-the kids (Reagan, Anderson and Graham) are really good about watching those movies.  Graham is like a sponge and soaks everything in-he may not remember exactly what was said but he does remember pieces of it-more than the rest.  Next up, we bought a few postcards-everyone picked out one to send.  Now the big thing will be deciding who they will send their postcards too.  

Oh, when we came out of the movie, the valley had become so smokey.  We even thought we saw ash falling down from above.  That was a bit disappointing because our plan had been to drive to the overlook of Half Dome but with the smoke as thick as it had become, there was really no reason to do this.  

So we loaded up to leave the park a bit earlier than we had anticipated.  It was a short visit at Yosemite though we still had a wonderful time, saw many of the sights and enjoyed the much slower pace than we experienced at Disneyland.  Before we left, we changed diapers and fixed sandwiches for the road.

Everyone pretty much devoured their food and shortly had cheese sticks and then cookies.  And in the first two hours that we were in the car, they had also had water and juice boxes.  The grownups in the front ate a sack of candy, cookies and quite a few cokes.  Everyone seemed pretty full by the end of lunch.

The road leaving the park seemed to go by faster than the road coming into the park-even though it was the same road.  The kids ate, watched a movie, looked outside and then played on their kindles for a bit.  The drive to the town that our hotel was in tonight wasn’t a bad drive and seemingly before we knew it, we were here.

Robby found us a place to eat supper on his phone-Figaros.  It was quick service Mexican food and it was really, really good.  It was pretty casual and since we were eating at 4:30 the place was empty which is always nice with my crew.  All 4 big kids had nachos and Keaton had rice and beans.  Everyone helped her eat her rice and beans and we all pretty much cleaned our plates.         

Soon we were in the hotel putting on our bathing suits.  The pool was outside so I figured the water would be warm but it wasn’t really.  The kids enjoyed the big pool except the 3 foot water was pretty deep and Campbell couldn’t really touch.  That was fine though-she just hung near the steps until Robby jumped in.

Robby went to fill up the car with gas and to vacuum it.  When he returned, he just jumped in the pool with his clothes on-this was enough to make the kids go nuts.  They thought it was hysterical.  Robby swam for a bit with Whitman who must really enjoy the water because he got pretty mad when we pulled him out.  And then he swam with Keaton who is getting pretty good at managing the pool with her armies on.  Robby let Campbell swim to him quite a bit and then there was lots of throwing of Reagan, Anderson and Graham.

Back to the room and everyone had showers.  Then we worked on our postcards (today’s school-ha!)  And the next thing I knew, the phone was ringing.  We were really trying to be quiet but Keaton is just a bit whiney and Campbell walks with a spring in her step.  I knew it was the front desk calling to get on to us.  I was pleasantly surprised that it was just Pops calling to tell me to send the girls to their room for the night.  

Just like that our kid count went from 6 to 4 and a minute later Whitman had fallen asleep on the bed.  So we were down to 3 and soon put Keaton to bed leaving only 2 Dennie kids awake.  That is a pretty manageable number!  This is our earliest night yet-just have to do my laundry and then bed!  It was another great day!

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