The June Bug Heads to Yosemite

Back in July, I talked about the makeover of our 1966 Airstream Caravel (aka “the June Bug”).  I also shared a bit about our brief camping trip to Deception Pass State Park.

Airstream Caravel with chili pepper lights

That trip was trial run to work out any glitches before our September road trip to Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite has been on my bucket list for a long time, and since we just returned I thought I would share a bit about that gorgeous place.

But first, a couple of recent improvements to the June Bug.

The June Bug:  A Work in Progress

With a vintage trailer, there is always something that needs fixing, doing, or improving.  So before our Yosemite trip, we ticked a couple of little things off of our “to do” list.

New Curtains

I’ve always disliked heavy, light-blocking window coverings.  For years I’d been meaning to do something about the curtains in the June Bug.

curtains over banquette

Good quality, but a little too drab and heavy for my liking.  In such a small space, we need to bring light in, not block it .

And I wanted something whimsical.  We only use the trailer a few weeks a year, so why not have some fun with it?

Of course there is no finding ready-made curtains for a 1966 Airstream.  But sewing them was easy. We chose an inexpensive calico print with ladybugs and daisies.

Curtains

Because the interior walls curve, we have a cable system to secure the curtains at the top and the bottom.  It’s similar to the system that we used for our burlap greenhouse shades.

I think the curtains also look sweet from the outside.

Trailer exterior with curtains

 

A New Kitchen Faucet

The trailer came with a very small kitchen sink and faucet.  We recently replaced the sink with a larger one, but that silly little faucet remained.  It was almost impossible to rinse pots and pans.

Sink with old faucet

So right before our road trip, we replaced it with a larger bar faucet.

Upgraded faucet

So much better.

Now were were ready to hit the road!  Hopefully.  With a vintage trailer, you never really know.

On the Way – Sort of

We headed south from Washington State but veered west to spend the first evening at Nehalem Bay State Park on the always-breathtaking Oregon coast.

Oregon coast sunset

Chris immediately set up one of the vintage lanterns that he has been collecting.

Coleman lantern in vintage airstream

Big Trees

Our next big stop was at Calaveras State Park in California, home to giant sequoias.  They are some of the oldest living things on Earth.

Giant sequoia

Yosemite!

The June Bug is only 17 feet long, so we sacrifice living space but gain convenience.  I think it’s a great trade off because we can camp in sites that are often inaccessible to larger RVs.

Chris had researched the various campgrounds at Yosemite and White Wolf was high on his list.

Initially, I was not thrilled to learn that White Wolf had no “facilities,” as far as water and electrical hookups, at the camp sites.  But we had a generator and propane, so it didn’t really matter.

And any reservations I had dissolved once saw the campground. Located at 8,000 feet, the camp sites were nestled among granite boulders.  The air smelled wonderful.  There was just something magical about this place.

White Wolf campground

And it was a great hub for enjoying high-country day hikes.

Of course it got cold at night, so a crackling campfire was always a plus and sometimes brought us visitors from other camp sites.

trailer at white wolf

These high-country campgrounds are open only a few months of the year.  By the time this post is published, all the tents and RVs will be gone, leaving nature to reclaim White Wolf until next summer.

 

The Little Things Matter

At Yosemite, everything seemed big to me.  The mountains were right there, and they were huge.  We learned that the towering El Capitan is the largest solid granite rock in the world.

But we also learned this fun little factoid:

Chipmunk, right?

golden mantled ground squirrel

Wrong.  He’s a golden-mantled ground squirrel.

This sporty little guy is a chipmunk.

Chipmunk

And he looks slightly insulted by our mistake.

I’ve decided that I’m not going to post any iconic big picture photos of Yosemite here because you’ve already seen the best of them by the likes of Ansel Adams and other great photographers.

Instead I thought it would be fun to zoom in on some of the small things that often get overlooked.

Like this little trace of past human presence, perhaps from an old farm or ranch, on a valley floor hike.

Yosemite valley hike

Or a rusty directional sign on a high-country hiking trail.

Yosemite hikers sign

Farther down the trail, the waters of Lukens Lake were still.

Lukens Lake Yosemite

And on our hike to Mt. Hoffmann, I was surprised to find the dreamy May Lake High Sierra Camp – a remote hike-in camp for backpackers.

May Lake High Sierra Camp

This camp was already closed for the season, and a small crew was winding things down.

tent at May Lake

During breaks, they create art on an old chopping block behind the kitchen.

bottlecaps

If you’re ever in Yosemite, I highly recommend a drive to Olmsted Point for sweeping views of the Sierra Nevadas.

And a walk among these otherworldly subalpine trees.

They are probably much older than they look.

Subalpine tree yosemite

Subalpine tree Olmsted Point Yosemite

One day we took a tour bus to the top of Glacier Point.  But we chose to hike back down.  There are two trails to choose from, and we chose the “Four-Mile Trail” which is actually almost five miles.

The switchbacks have old rock retaining walls which were likely installed by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression.

glacier point hike Yosemite

A Ghost Town

We had planned to stop at other parks on our way back to Washington State, but there was so much to see at Yosemite and we stayed there too long.

We did manage to make a few quick stops on the way home, and the most interesting one was outside Yosemite’s east entrance:  The ghost town of Bodie.

It is a true ghost town – in the middle of nowhere.  The road to Bodie stretches on for miles.

Road to Bodie

Bodie is now a historical park and is kept in a state of “managed decay.”

Inside the abandoned homes, dust is undisturbed.

Bodie lounger

Bodie crib

Water damage is not repaired.

Bodie living room

Weathered exteriors are not repainted.

Bodie doorways

Bodie - walthy residence

Life in Bodie’s heyday was probably so much simpler yet harsher than life today.  There were several funeral directors and undertakers in town, which tells you something about life – and death – in Bodie.

Time To Head Home

Whenever we take a road trip with the June Bug, it takes me a few days to adjust to living in such small quarters.  But after that, I wish we could just stay on the road forever.

rearview mirror

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