We woke up Saturday morning somewhere outside of Fresno, conveniently near a Casino which took some of Dave’s money the night before.
We headed for our next stop – exciting Fresno!
Lots of flat open farmland, not much to see but the weather was beautiful, and heating up a bit!
Once in Fresno we found a place called the Fresno Breakfast House, and it had this adorable outdoor courtyard! I loved it, and the cool fountain So Dave snapped a picture of me. Check out the cool long hair I’m sporting now.
After breakfast we went to the destination that had brought us all the way here – the Forestiere Underground Gardens. Head to their website to check out the details, but basically Mr Forestiere back in the early 1900’s started carving out his amazing home, eventually expanding it to cover many acres, all underground where life was cool and breezy. It’s really an astonishing place, and so ‘green’, it’s actually seems like he was years ahead of his time. Recycling his water for plants, capturing rain, staying out of the sun and using the natural flow of air to cool. It’s just amazing!
His first love was orchards, and he bought the land intending to grow fruit, but the land was too rocky. Above ground there are these wonderful fruit trees. As a NW Native, it blows my mind to travel a few hours south and see Oranges, Grapefruit, and Lemons growing on trees in March!
This lovely pergola covered the waiting area to enter his home.
Just a few shots of the amazing underground home, and the open courtyards and trees growing in the sunshine. It was like some transplanted bit of Mediterranean paradise. And it was much cooler underground, so much that it was instantly noticeable when you came back up. This guy really knew what he was doing. I’m so glad his family was able to preserve some of his home so we could enjoy it.
After Fresno we headed up to visit another Casino Dave wanted to try out. As we were driving up to it we were seeing something coming up on the horizon, then I realized this town we were driving up to seemed to sit at the very base of a HUGE dam, with the spillway aimed right at Main Street! As we got closer the highway turned away from the dam, so it only looked like it emptied out on the highway.
That was Friant Dam, and behind it was Millerton Lake. We drove to the edge of the parking lot, but as you can see, the edge of the lake was nowhere near. There were boat launches that were high and dry, and the actual shore was WAY, WAY out there. You would have to drive quite a ways on what should have been lakebed to get to where you could put in. All that green stuff should have been covered in water.
After losing some money at the casino we headed back to Fresno, ate lunch at a Boston Market, which is one of our favorite places, but we don’t have them in our area anymore, and then headed for Yosemite.
Lots of this purple bush blooming along the roadside.
There was a section of road wiped out, and we had to sit at a stoplight for a long time while we waited for the one-lane temporary road to clear for our turn to go. We pondered all the other folks who had been in the same predicament, and spent their time decorating this sign.
We finally laid eyes on the Merced River, but it was getting awfully late. We stopped and checked in at our hotel, the Cedar Lodge. It looked clean and neat.
We turned right around and drove on into Yosemite, just to get a feel for the place. By the time we got to the lodge, it was dark. We walked around a bit, but it was very confusing, and things were farther apart than the maps on the signs made it look like. Finally we retreated to our car and drove out, and on the way past El Capitan I could see the twinkle of lights high up on the wall. Were climbers really up there after dark?!
We got back to El Portal and the grill was about to close, so we hurried over, to find a line of about 30 other late eaters waiting to put in an order! Luckily the kitchen stayed open until everyone was served. We secured some chicken strips and fries and headed back to our room, where we stuffed ourselves and watched a Tom Cruise movie on the TV. We were out of cell phone range, and Wi-Fi was expensive, so we couldn’t research for our trip the next day, we had to just chill out and relax, and see what would happen.