In 1991 Charlotte and I decided that we would re-live some of our old trips and drive to Seattle in our van. We had not done any camping in about 20 years. This turned out to be just what we needed after so many financially stressful years. Our 1989 Ford Explorer van that had a bed in the back. The first day we drove to Amarillo and the second to Denver to visit Charlotte’s brother Dan Sawtelle and his wife Polly.
On the fourth day we stopped at Custer’s Last Stand battlefield. I was fascinated with the battlefield and its story. Charlotte had to drag me away so we could make Missoula by nightfall.
The fifth day we drove all the way into Seattle. While in Seattle, we spent one day cruising the San Juan Islands and a couple of days in Leavenworth, Washington. We had a great visit with Susie, Bruce and the girls but after about a week there, we started for home. First night out of Seattle was spent right on the ocean in Coos Bay, Oregon. That night we walked over to a nearby seafood restaurant out over the water and had a wonderful, leisurely supper with a gorgeous view.
While in Oregon we stopped and bought some big beautiful cherries at a roadside stand. When we got to the California border the border patrol said we could not bring them in nor could I take that big load of alder wood I had tied to the top of the van in the rack at the back. Charlotte finally convinced him how much she looked forward to salmon smoked with alder wood when we got to Texas. With Charlotte’s persuasion, he said ok on the wood but no on the cherries. Well, we parked the van on the Oregon side and proceeded to eat all the big sack of cherries.
The second evening we reached Yosemite National Park after going through the Redwood Forest in Northern California. I pulled up at the entrance gate and asked about camping. The Park Ranger looked amused and informed me that reservations had been booked up for over a year and if I didn’t have a reservation I had better look somewhere else. The closest somewhere else was over 40 miles back over the road we had just traveled. He said I could go over to the office and get information about the features of the park. I went over and entered the office, which was full of people. As I entered the door, the Park Ranger shouted, “I have one cancellation available!” I hollered, “I’ll take it!” I had no idea where it was but I knew Charlotte and I needed a place to camp that night and we had nowhere to go. I pushed through the crowd to the counter and she gave me a permit and assigned us a space to camp.
When I got back to the van, Charlotte could not believe it. I told her I had smiled and batted my eyes at the young lady in the office and she took care of me. Charlotte was doubtful, but we camped in Yosemite that night. The next day we drove Yosemite, viewing the falls and the mountains. Early afternoon, we headed south down the valley and stopped for the night at Riverside in a campground. That night while we were enjoying a cool evening under the stars, we decided it was time to head for home. We left early the next morning and stopped in Tucson lunch and drove on in to Las Cruces, NM.