Its 5:00 PM Thursday, Sept 17th and…
Yosemite Park sends out notice to all registered visitors, that the park is CLOSED for smoke.
Clearly, the trip “into” the park is not going to happen!
So, the board quickly re-imaged the drive to simply end at Rush Creek Lodge.
A lot of coordination made this happen: coordination with PCA national office, coordination with Rush Creek Lodge, on and on. We need to give Charlotte at PCA HQ for going out of her way to help — getting approval for the necessary changes in the PCA insurance document — in ONE DAY. We cannot expect that sort of turn around often, but this time, it made our trip possible.
The group assembled in Oakdale early Sunday morning, maintaining expected “social distancing” — for both people and cars! This being the first “normal” drive in COVID times, participants brought signed copies of their “Insurance” and “Covid” releases.
Of course, the “drive leader” conducted the “Safety Briefing”, the group filed out on to the road —- yes, “on the road again !”
Once on the “back road”, something curious occured to all the drivers. There were no other people on the road! Nobody but our line of Porsches! The road was smooth with gentle curves and scenic vistas and we were the only ones experiencing it!
The route ultimately rejoined Hwy 120/49 heading toward Yosemite National Park. The “TourMeister” had a treat lined up for us where 120 veered “up” and 49 continued down the valley. Instead of taking the, admittedly more twisty but less steep, New Priest Grade Road, we turned left onto Old Priest Grade Road, which is much steeper and adequately twisty.. and much more fun to drive.
At the top of Old Priest Grade, we briefly stopped at the Priest Station Cafe before heading into Groveland.
Even driving through Groveland, there were few other cars on the road, just our Yosemite Region “cruzin'” down the middle of town. After Groveland, we turned into the Pine Mountain area on Ferretti Road. The Pine Mountain area has an unexpectedly high number of residential homes, but the road was, again, all to ourselves.
Then back onto Hwy 120 heading to Yosemite Park and to our destination, Rush Creek Lodge. Now, anyone traveling up 120 towards Yosemite will remember the frustration of a nice road with a traffic jam of cars, RV’s, whatever. This time, no RV’s, no cars, nada.. just a very smooth Hwy 120 with lovely curves and pine trees. Incredible! EPIC !!!!
Rush Creek Lodge is a very large destination with modern facilities and beautiful settings. We stretched our legs in the parking lot, hung around with/reconnected with Porsche friends, relived the wonderful drive, trying to brainstorm when we could get out again!
The drive back down Hwy 120 was one that I won’t soon forget. Carrie Stone in her 992 Cabriolet and me in my Cayman GTS dancing to and fro down the hill, without any need to brake for anyone else, enjoying a drive that just doesn’t present itself — ever! Other Yosemite members reported the same experience.
Looking back, what was almost a ruined event, our “drive” turned out to be one of the best “driving” events Yosemite Region has ever been on.
Can’t wait for another opportunity!
For more pictures from the trip, go to the Gallery section of the website.