The next day’s driving brought us to Lemoncove, California, where we camped in order to see Sequoia National Forest. We set up in a hot, dusty campground about 40 miles from the park entrance. This would be our last sightseeing stop before heading back to Michigan.
We took the dogs with us, because they seem to enjoy the scenery, and although we have air conditioning in the trailer, I don’t trust it not to go off and cook the dogs. The temperature there was 100 degrees every day.
We got to see the giant sequoias, which are not to be confused with coastal redwoods. We saw the world’s largest tree–truly an impressive piece of foliage, and checked out their museum. We were up in the mountains again, and it was wonderfully cool. However, we were at 7000 or 8000 feet. Much as I enjoyed it, others in our group don’t do well at high altitudes, including the dogs, so we didn’t linger overly long.
We attempted to get a “giant dog pees on giant tree” type photo, but our dogs apparently had more respect for the trees than we ourselves did, and would not take a tinkle for a photo opp.
We headed back down into the heat. Much of the trip seemed to involve this sort of Catch-22, where you can have a comfortable temperature, or a comfortable altitude, but not both. Fortunately, we did have A/C, so we spent a lot of time inside the trailer.
Lemoncove gave us the opportunity to get some laundry done and even relax a little. I enjoyed the pool, even if I had no swim suit. (Mine mysteriously disappeared the day before we left.) (I swam in some yoga clothes.)
With Sequoia checked off the list, it was time to start heading back East. We drove into the desert.
I think we all pretty much hate the desert. I don’t understand why anyone lives there. By the time we got to Baker, California, the thermometer was reading 116 degrees. I always wondered what that might feel like. Honestly, I think you simply redline your “how hot is it” meter, and the difference becomes not how hot you feel, but how rapidly the environment sucks moisture from your body.
Traveling through territory like that with dogs is difficult. We can’t leave the dogs in the unairconditioned car for even a nanosecond. Usually, we can leave them in the trailer, which is insulated and does not heat up dangerously like a car. But when the outside temperature is 116, the uninsulated trailer is not safe for them, either. Sometimes we leave the car running with A/C on while we go inside restaurants, etc., but a car idling with A/C on will start to overheat. The hotter it is, the faster that happens.
We also couldn’t set up camp in that kind of heat. The A/C unit struggles to cool the trailer when it’s 100 degrees and dark. But 110 or 116 in the full sun would not work.
So the whole day was pretty much driving like hell and making very quick stops for fast food. We camped in St. George, Utah, where the temperature was a fairly civilized 99. There, we saw an Airstream motor home we’d seen before, in Malibu. Such things seem to happen on the road quite frequently.