Posted by: GeekHiker | February 20, 2008

Yosemite In Winter Trip Days 0-2: Arrivals, Paintball and Departures

(Finally, eh?)

Day 0

I’m calling the first day “0” as I spent most of the day at work on that Friday, February 1, desperately trying to finish everything I needed to finish before leaving town for a week.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t helped by the (largely self-imposed) pressure of knowing that good blogger friend Just A Girl had arrived in town on an early-morning flight, and was waiting for me to get off of work. Especially as she had no cell phone, no place to go, and was hauling luggage around town while waiting.

Luckily, she was able to locate a phone (me having no idea that the local library no longer had pay phones) and was able to call me and reassure me that she was okay and waiting patiently.

Finally, around 2:00, I managed to escape work, drove home like a proverbial bat out of hell, and found JaG waiting at the local library, casually flipping through magazines. Greetings exchanged, luggage thrown in the back of the truck, we headed out to run some last minute trip errands.

Errands are never fun, but ending them with a tasty dinner at the local Chinese restaurant (best eggrolls in town, trust me), then relaxing whilst watching The Iron Giant is a fine way to end a day.

Finally, the ‘ol futon was transformed into its flat form, pillows and blankets added, and JaG had her slightly lumpy bed (sorry JaG) all set up. Off to our beds we went, as the next day would start early and be a long one…

Day 1

I’ve blogged about paintballing before, and playing again on that Saturday was largely the same experience: a mixture of stress relief, the pain of being hit, and general soreness. The pleasant exception was having JaG along, as she had never played the sport before.

Of course, one can’t really go paintballing without starting the day right: a good breakfast. Luckily, the diner in town provided just that: oatmeal for her, bacon & hash browns for me.

Properly fueled, we headed down the freeway in our old clothes, showing up on time for the group event, then sitting around and waiting and chatting with others in the group until the group leaders showed up… an hour late.

JaG and I spent the rest of the day playing on opposite teams, and I’ll freely admit she managed to get me out a few times (not that I didn’t return the gesture, mind you). Unfortunately, all of the shots that got me out throughout the day seemed to land in exactly the same spot, resulting in a single massive bruise on my right arm. A couple of days later it looked rather disgustingly spectacular.

JaG even tried to put a good word in for me with a girl who was on her team who I mentioned I thought was cute. Aren’t friends grand?

Tired, bruised and hungry, we changed out of the stinky paintball clothes and joined the group at a local restaurant for some fine BBQ, including some excellent beers provided by the tardy leaders.

Free beer. Who can complain about that?

Returning home, last minute packing and laundry ensued, gear was placed in the car, and the weather was checked. JaG, who comes from an area that gets just a wee bit more rain than LA, was highly entertained by the fact that the incoming rainstorm not only made the news, it was the top story. She watched the news story, wherein they dragged out the “Live Mega-Doppler 7000 HD” to chart the incoming rain, her face a mixture of being perplexed and bemused the whole time.

Oooh. Aaaah. It’s not just Doppler radar, its Mega-Doppler!

And off to our respective beds we went, as the trip would begin in earnest the next morning.

Day 2

The morning started off gray, cloudy and a bit rainy, but was brightened by the homemade cinnamon rolls JaG brought with her.

How she managed to get the tasty things past the TSA without them swiping the sugary rolls for themselves (“Sorry, ma’am,” *munch* “we have to take these” *chew, swallow, make “mmmm” sound* “for national security.”) is beyond me.

We headed out into the rain and up Interstate 5. As it had been closed over the Grapevine for a couple of days the previous week due to snow, and I was eager to get over the pass before the storm front proper hit.

Most of the day was spent cruising up the 99, past farmlands, fields and orchards. Occasionally we were hit by a strong rain shower, dumping rain from the sky at an insane rate. “Cool,” we thought, “there will be lots of fresh snow in Yosemite.”

Day 02 - Rainy Highway

Driving into the storm

Still, the drive went well, the truck running fine, the conversation and music fun. We even got to stop at my favorite Mexican fast food joint from when I was growing up in Sacramento: Jimboy’s Tacos. Sadly, Jimboy’s hasn’t made it to LA yet, and the four hour round trip is just a bit much to do on a regular basis.

On second thought, given how good and non-greasy and downright (wonderfully) unhealthy the food is, maybe that’s not such a bad thing after all.

Turning off the freeway, we headed past quiet orchards, thick black clouds obscuring the Sierra’s in the distance.

Day 02 - Orchard

Wintertime Central Valley orchard

Turning east onto State Highway 140, we worked our way through the nice little town of Mariposa and crossed the river onto a temporary road due to the rockslide from a couple of years ago that still covers the highway (the slope is so unstable rocks are still tumbling regularly). Continuing east, the road hugged the Merced River the whole way, clouds and snow lingering on the hills above us.

Day 02 - Merced River

Along State Highway 140

Finally, we arrived at the hotel, checked in, reheated the Chinese leftovers from Friday, and chatted with the three women who comprised the rest of our little group for the week.

Then it was off to bed, as tomorrow would be our first day on skis… or so we thought…


  1. Nice photos, sounds like a good trip!

  2. dun-dun-dun!

    Those photos are so vivid! I love it.

    I haven’t played paintball in years, but it’s all about having the proper gear. Unless, of course, you’re into having massive ugly bruises. 🙂

  3. It looks like the ol’ S5 IS took some good pictures. Sounds like a good start to your vacation … so far.

  4. Lynn – Thank you, and thanks for stopping by!

    Aaron – Heh. I wouldn’t say I’m into them exactly…

    Homer-Dog – Actually, the photos in this post are a mix; can you figure out which is which?

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