After the bright lights of Vegas we hit the road again and headed to Death Valley. Taking heed of the warning signs along the road we took the sensible option and stopped for gas and as much water as we could fit on board before venturing into the infamous death valley. With vital supplies secured we drove off into the desert. Unfortunatly (because we were gasing) we took the wrong road out of the petrol station and merrily drove for 2 hours before discovering our mistake. We had just been saying "there's not much to see out here - can't see what all the fuss is about" when we realised it could be because we were no where near Death Valley! So heading off again in a new direction we drove for another 3 hours to get into the valley. It wasn't worth it!! We were soon saying "there's not much to see out here - can't see what all the fuss is". Infact that really isn't true, the langauge was a lot more colourful as morbid depression took hold from driving for 5 hours with absolutly nothing to look at. The only major hazar din Death Valley is boredom! So we made a plan to stay at the first town we came across the other side of the valley, hole up somewhere nice and maybe go out for a nice meal and try and salvage some of the wasted day. So a few hours later we finally came across an inhabited area. Couldn't really call it a town as about 95% of the near derelict buildings were uninhabited and those that were inhabited seemed to house very drunk people and rabid dogs. Although they did have a motel we agreed that faced with certain death or another few hours drive we would continue trucking on untill we got to a town that looked safer. In the end we had been driving for 10 hours before we got somewhere nearly suitable (standards did drop with time).
Bakersfield was a larger unexciting town, which fit the bill well! So we stopped there and got a few chores done before driving up to the Sequioa National Park. By the time we had gone to the supermarket and fully stocked up for the week (it's not all glamour this travelling malarky you know) we got to Sequioa late afternoon as the mists rolled in. Visbility on the road was down to about two metres which was just enough to see the various signs warning us not leave food in the car because we were in 'bear country'. With the weeks food stashed in the boot we were a little concerned about these signs so headed to the park rangers office to discuss this further. We were informed the best option was to carry the food on us and to absolutly not, under any circumstance, leave any in the car. Mr Ranger then proceded to show us pictures of cars that had been ripped to pieces by bears in search of an alternative to nuts, berries and tourists. Well the pictures convinced us but he would not be drawn on the likeliehood of a bear sniffing the copius amounts of goodies we would have stashed about our persons!
So heading off into the dense mist (great for increasing bear anxiety) with five days worth of grub on us we saw the magnificant sequioas. Visited General Sherman which is over 2000 years old and very impressive.
Next morning the mist had cleared so we got to fully apprecaite how big the sequioas were. With increased visabilty (and some of the stash scoffed) we were cool as cats about the 'bears'. With no sightings we were happily in denial and much more relaxed. Cue stage right ..... Friendly American who bumped into a bear that morning and had the pictures to prove it. Luckily he was in his car at the time so got to take piccies without a trip to casualty afterwards.
AFter that we headed up to Yosemite to do a couple of big hikes but were gutted to find they were closed when we got there because of snow. Spent a bit of time on the lower trails and visited a few musuems and galleries before calling it a day. Very beautiful but very frustrating because we couldn't get out and about and enjoy it as planned.