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Old 07-17-2013, 06:33 PM   #316
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So do you guys mean we should not even SLEEP there? We don't have any plans to do anything in Bakersfield other than park our car overnight while we sleep.
Yes, you can sleep there. BUT for me, with it only what, another hour to LA....2 to Anaheim, why stop?



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Well, sorry babe, but we are still staying in Bakersfield. As long as there's air conditioning in the car and in the hotel room, that's really all we care about- we are not hangin out there, just pulling over and sleeping! I looked, and while the coast is much prettier I'm sure, and much cooler, it also adds a good 3 hours to our drive. Our plan is to spend the day in Yosemite, go see the Sequoias, drive 4 hours, stopping somewhere in fresno to eat, then sleep in Bakersfield, then wake up and drive a couple more hours to DL. It's just a pit stop, KWIM? And I have heard about this dry heat- we are having a heat wave here right now, and it's pretty humid out there in addition to being 99 degrees- just YUCK!
That said...I think you are backtracking to go up to Fresno for dinner, you may come out via Three Rivers/Visalia. If you spend the full day at Yosemite to even be able to get to Sequoia, see much, then drive to dinner I wouldn't think you'd want to backtrack at all. Mapquest or whatever times don't always allow for the smaller heavy tourist roads you will be on...

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That totally cracked me up! I think you're more pissed than me! Seriously- I felt like I was in an alternate universe or something- I could not wrap my head around how all these people thought it was ok to go against the arrows! BIZARRE!!
I would probably have been as befuddled as you. Jeff would have gone ballistic.
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Old 07-17-2013, 06:53 PM   #317
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I hear ya on the "I have to be really hot to swim". Like right now I want to jump in a pool after being outside for exactly 2 seconds. I almost considered trading my DVC for a pool. Haha NOT!

Beautiful pictures in this update. That one that looks right at the boat - it seriously looks like those decks are going in opposite directions.

CC looks so beautiful and relaxing.

BTW- I started a TR about my HHI (which I love more than ever) trip which will segway into my June trip. Stop on by when you get some time.
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Old 07-17-2013, 08:19 PM   #318
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Great pics of CC! I can't believe I still have to wait one year! We've always had CC as the last, next year's I think we have a sea day after CC so that will be a nice change, especially with that dreaded walk back to the ship!
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Old 07-17-2013, 09:40 PM   #319
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I'm so envious that you live some where that observe the High Holidays (Rosh and Yom Kippur). Utah still doesn't know what that is but by gosh July 24th is a holiday here. It's Pioneer Day or as we sinners call it: Pie and Beer Day.

Well, we have a lot of Jewish families in our town, so those High Holidays are definitely paid attention to! Pie and beer day....not so much!

Looks like a fun day. How did Timmy let you know he was back on the ship?

He was in the cabin when I opened the door. I pretty much let him have it, then we ordered room service and watched the movie.

How cold was the water at CC? I'm a little nervous for our January adventure.

It wasn't freezing- I'm just a wimp! I will let you know how it is when I am there this January, how's that? Then you'll know whether you need to pack a dry suit or not.

Chicken wings and Mickey bars, my exact plan for an after excursion snack.

It works!

And I echo that Bakersfield is a crap hole but certainly not as bad as Barstow. But you're fine to sleep there.
Good- thanks!

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Yes, you can sleep there. BUT for me, with it only what, another hour to LA....2 to Anaheim, why stop?

I guess to break up the driving? We want to stay in Yosemite as long as possible- so if we are leaving there at 4 or 5, we would get there around 9ish- we could watch some TV and hit the sack. If we drive all the way? We would want to leave much earlier- plus I am guessing we're going to be kind of pooped, having just spent nearly a week in hyper-activity mode. Not a ton of down time in either San Francisco or Yosemite- but I guess an hour longer to LA wouldn't be so bad- I just checked, it's 2 more hours. What about Santa Clarita? That would work- are you all ok with me sleeping in Santa Clarita?



That said...I think you are backtracking to go up to Fresno for dinner, you may come out via Three Rivers/Visalia. If you spend the full day at Yosemite to even be able to get to Sequoia, see much, then drive to dinner I wouldn't think you'd want to backtrack at all. Mapquest or whatever times don't always allow for the smaller heavy tourist roads you will be on...

You're thinking of different Sequoias- I'm talking about the Mariposa Grove in southern Yosemite. Fresno is about 1 1/2 hours south of there.

I would probably have been as befuddled as you. Jeff would have gone ballistic.
I believe most men would. And women!

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I hear ya on the "I have to be really hot to swim". Like right now I want to jump in a pool after being outside for exactly 2 seconds. I almost considered trading my DVC for a pool. Haha NOT!

Are you in this heatwave, too? It is going over 100 tomorrow, and we have three baseball games. God give me strength.

Beautiful pictures in this update. That one that looks right at the boat - it seriously looks like those decks are going in opposite directions.

Didn't notice!

CC looks so beautiful and relaxing.

BTW- I started a TR about my HHI (which I love more than ever) trip which will segway into my June trip. Stop on by when you get some time.
Thanks so much for telling me- I have been so far behind on my TRs, I must have missed it when you posted the link- but I am all caught up now! I do love it there- I had tears in my eyes a couple of times- your photos are so beautiful!

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Great pics of CC! I can't believe I still have to wait one year! We've always had CC as the last, next year's I think we have a sea day after CC so that will be a nice change, especially with that dreaded walk back to the ship!
That walk STINKS!!! You will love having a sea day as your last day- we will not have that luxury on our NYE cruise- it will be the walk back to pack all over again on the Fantasy....
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Old 07-17-2013, 11:21 PM   #320
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First off, very nice update. I don't have kids, but if I did I would have let Timmy have it too! I freak out when Fran doesn't tell me when she is leaving or going somewhere (and that is fairly often )

I never thought about having to come back from CC to pack. I will definitely consider that in booking future cruises. I want a day at sea before I get off the ship!

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Well, sorry babe, but we are still staying in Bakersfield. As long as there's air conditioning in the car and in the hotel room, that's really all we care about- we are not hangin out there, just pulling over and sleeping! I looked, and while the coast is much prettier I'm sure, and much cooler, it also adds a good 3 hours to our drive. Our plan is to spend the day in Yosemite, go see the Sequoias, drive 4 hours, stopping somewhere in fresno to eat, then sleep in Bakersfield, then wake up and drive a couple more hours to DL. It's just a pit stop, KWIM? And I have heard about this dry heat- we are having a heat wave here right now, and it's pretty humid out there in addition to being 99 degrees- just YUCK!
OK. This situation unfolds as we get further in all the quotes. When you said Sequoias, I thought you meant the same ones as Cynthia, on the Eastern side of the San Joaquin Valley.

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So do you guys mean we should not even SLEEP there? We don't have any plans to do anything in Bakersfield other than park our car overnight while we sleep.

I guess to break up the driving? We want to stay in Yosemite as long as possible- so if we are leaving there at 4 or 5, we would get there around 9ish- we could watch some TV and hit the sack. If we drive all the way? We would want to leave much earlier- plus I am guessing we're going to be kind of pooped, having just spent nearly a week in hyper-activity mode. Not a ton of down time in either San Francisco or Yosemite- but I guess an hour longer to LA wouldn't be so bad- I just checked, it's 2 more hours. What about Santa Clarita? That would work- are you all ok with me sleeping in Santa Clarita?

You're thinking of different Sequoias- I'm talking about the Mariposa Grove in southern Yosemite. Fresno is about 1 1/2 hours south of there.
So if you're coming from the Western side of the SJ valley, I'm wondering why you want to drive all the way over to the 99 instead of take the 5 all the way down. I know that you were looking at staying in Hilton chains and there aren't any of those on the 5, but the 99 is a local Highway that goes through lots of towns and the speed limit is reduced.

The I-5 passes through plenty of places with hotels where you could stop, crash, watch TV and just chill, and I'm not trying to change your plans, just giving you a heads up that if you're interested in saving time, you might want to stay on the I5 and stay in someplace like Grapevine.

I wouldn't advise that you drive over the Grapevine in the dark if you haven't done it before. It's a large pass that goes up to about 4400 feet. When I was young and invincible, I had no problem driving over the Grapevine. Somehow in my adulthood, I prefer to make Fran do it and she is happy to oblige me.

We are figuring on the same drive in reverse next week. We have a "special lunch" for one of Fran's long time friends 70th birthday. After booking this we found out I have my XXth reuinion the next night in San Jose. So essentially we will finish lunch and hit the road to Nor cal. How stupid is that? My parents have forbid us from arriving in the middle of the night since they just moved to a new place and claim that the walk to their front door is treacherous, so we are trying to find a place midway to stay. We are settling on Kettleman City because they have a Best Western with King and Queen Size beds instead of Buttonwilllow or Lost Hills with only motels with double beds. I don't know what Grapevine has to offer.

I remember you were trying to do Hilton Brand hotels, so the only place you'll find those is the larger cities which you won't find on I5, but you might want to cut across to Bakersfield on 58 instead of traveling down the 99 since you'll have a faster traveling time on the I5 than the 99. There are plenty of places to stop for Dinner, in fact let me recommend Harris Ranch's coffee shop. Harris Ranch is a major beef producer for the state and they have some great steaks. They also have a fancy restaurant with some awesome wines and great cuts of beef, but even the coffee shop has some great choices.

Bakersfield isn't that awful, I haven't been to New Jersey, but I know that New Yorkers give you folks grief. It's a lot of the same s*** different day. People in LA don't like the combo of oil and cow smell which is pretty much what Bakersfield is about. Combined with the fact that expansion has turned it into chain store mecca for the South San Joaquin Valley it has all the charm of a mini mall with all the smell of a farm and oil field combined.

We had a friend in Tulare and traveled through that route often. I've also been driving back and forth from LA to SJ for 30 something years. I almost know every off ramp and what fast foods you can find at each one and which ones have real restaurants too. If it we me I'd stick with the I5 and streamline your trip rather than head over to the 99 just to stay in a "city".
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Old 07-18-2013, 05:52 AM   #321
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I'll be on CC myself in January so I'll find out first hand. When is your cruise in Jan? Ours is the 19th out of Miami on the Wonder. I'm so crazy excited for our first Disney cruise.


I'll keep you posted on August. Alison too. If we go, we may not have a day at Disney but we could certainly meet in DTD or at the GCV.
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Old 07-18-2013, 07:56 AM   #322
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Great couple of posts Ellen. Can't believe those people ran into Tim and said it was his fault. Really. Read the signs people!

And your pictures from CC and the Ship are really making me miss it. Can't wait until we cruise again. CC is one of my all time favorite places to be.
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Old 07-18-2013, 10:27 AM   #323
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First off, very nice update. I don't have kids, but if I did I would have let Timmy have it too! I freak out when Fran doesn't tell me when she is leaving or going somewhere (and that is fairly often )

Yes- it is NOT good!

I never thought about having to come back from CC to pack. I will definitely consider that in booking future cruises. I want a day at sea before I get off the ship!

Well, I wouldn't make it a deal breaker, but it sure does make CC day a whole lot more pleasurable-

OK. This situation unfolds as we get further in all the quotes. When you said Sequoias, I thought you meant the same ones as Cynthia, on the Eastern side of the San Joaquin Valley.



So if you're coming from the Western side of the SJ valley, I'm wondering why you want to drive all the way over to the 99 instead of take the 5 all the way down. I know that you were looking at staying in Hilton chains and there aren't any of those on the 5, but the 99 is a local Highway that goes through lots of towns and the speed limit is reduced.

The I-5 passes through plenty of places with hotels where you could stop, crash, watch TV and just chill, and I'm not trying to change your plans, just giving you a heads up that if you're interested in saving time, you might want to stay on the I5 and stay in someplace like Grapevine.

I wouldn't advise that you drive over the Grapevine in the dark if you haven't done it before. It's a large pass that goes up to about 4400 feet. When I was young and invincible, I had no problem driving over the Grapevine. Somehow in my adulthood, I prefer to make Fran do it and she is happy to oblige me.

We are figuring on the same drive in reverse next week. We have a "special lunch" for one of Fran's long time friends 70th birthday. After booking this we found out I have my XXth reuinion the next night in San Jose. So essentially we will finish lunch and hit the road to Nor cal. How stupid is that? My parents have forbid us from arriving in the middle of the night since they just moved to a new place and claim that the walk to their front door is treacherous, so we are trying to find a place midway to stay. We are settling on Kettleman City because they have a Best Western with King and Queen Size beds instead of Buttonwilllow or Lost Hills with only motels with double beds. I don't know what Grapevine has to offer.

I remember you were trying to do Hilton Brand hotels, so the only place you'll find those is the larger cities which you won't find on I5, but you might want to cut across to Bakersfield on 58 instead of traveling down the 99 since you'll have a faster traveling time on the I5 than the 99. There are plenty of places to stop for Dinner, in fact let me recommend Harris Ranch's coffee shop. Harris Ranch is a major beef producer for the state and they have some great steaks. They also have a fancy restaurant with some awesome wines and great cuts of beef, but even the coffee shop has some great choices.

Bakersfield isn't that awful, I haven't been to New Jersey, but I know that New Yorkers give you folks grief. It's a lot of the same s*** different day. People in LA don't like the combo of oil and cow smell which is pretty much what Bakersfield is about. Combined with the fact that expansion has turned it into chain store mecca for the South San Joaquin Valley it has all the charm of a mini mall with all the smell of a farm and oil field combined.

We had a friend in Tulare and traveled through that route often. I've also been driving back and forth from LA to SJ for 30 something years. I almost know every off ramp and what fast foods you can find at each one and which ones have real restaurants too. If it we me I'd stick with the I5 and streamline your trip rather than head over to the 99 just to stay in a "city".
Ok- I really appreciate all the tips! But I think there is still some confusion here- so here is a map of California-



So the reason we were being sent on 99 in every situation is because when we exit Yosemite at the South entrance, we will immediately hit 41. 41 runs into 99. If we stay on 41, eventually we will hit 198, which will eventually hit 5. 5 is further away, not closer. Which will then bring us back to just south of Bakersfield. It does take longer to get to 5, and we would not be on 5 for very long, but I guess 5 is an interstate? So we would be driving faster? But on all the maps I look at, there are no towns listed on the part of 5 we would be on. So how do I find a hotel? I did look at Grapevine, they have no hotels in Grapevine but there are 4 motels in a town called Lebec which is nearby? I did kind of want to stay right off the highway, because all we were doing here is making a pitstop. After everyones concerns about Bakersfield, then we thought, Ok- let's drive to Santa Clarita- but now you are saying driving through Grapevine at night is not great? I'm not sure when we will be going through there, whether it may have just turned dark. I am really, really confused at this point!! Where are the hotels on 5? Should I drive to SC or is it too dangerous at night because of elevations/twists and turns?

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Old 07-18-2013, 11:03 AM   #324
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Ok- I really appreciate all the tips! But I think there is still some confusion here- so here is a map of California-



So the reason we were being sent on 99 in every situation is because when we exit Yosemite at the South entrance, we will immediately hit 41. 41 runs into 99. If we stay on 41, eventually we will hit 198, which will eventually hit 5. 5 is further away, not closer. Which will then bring us back to just south of Bakersfield. It does take longer to get to 5, and we would not be on 5 for very long, but I guess 5 is an interstate? So we would be driving faster? But on all the maps I look at, there are no towns listed on the part of 5 we would be on. So how do I find a hotel? I did look at Grapevine, they have no hotels in Grapevine but there are 4 motels in a town called Lebec which is nearby? I did kind of want to stay right off the highway, because all we were doing here is making a pitstop. After everyones concerns about Bakersfield, then we thought, Ok- let's drive to Santa Clarita- but now you are saying driving through Grapevine at night is not great? I'm not sure when we will be going through there, whether it may have just turned dark. I am really, really confused at this point!! Where are the hotels on 5? Should I drive to SC or is it too dangerous at night because of elevations/twists and turns?

5 is an Interstate, 99 is a highway. Huge speed difference. HUGE. 99 will take you through every town and stoplight. 5 is what you want to drive into LA and down to Anahiem on.

I'd probably cut over at 198 and maybe eat in Hanford/Lemore. Lemore is a navy town, there will be food but Allison may have a better idea on that end.

I'd have to agree about going over the Grapevine at night, it is steeper than all get out and a bit freaky if you aren't used to that kind of thing. That said, with the heat actually at night is easier on the car that's for sure. Just depends on your comfort level

Santa Clarita may be your best bet if you go over the pass, if not then I'd just check AAA, there will be small places all along the way I'm sure there is something that would work. There is a Holiday in Express in Frazier Park/Lebec just the before the pass that might be the last option before going over the pass.

You could still crash in Bakersfield, it isn't that far off of 5 especially if the hotel isn't all the way in the city, you just want to be using 5 to head south, not 99.
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:26 PM   #325
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I'll be on CC myself in January so I'll find out first hand. When is your cruise in Jan? Ours is the 19th out of Miami on the Wonder. I'm so crazy excited for our first Disney cruise.


I'll keep you posted on August. Alison too. If we go, we may not have a day at Disney but we could certainly meet in DTD or at the GCV.
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Great couple of posts Ellen. Can't believe those people ran into Tim and said it was his fault. Really. Read the signs people!

And your pictures from CC and the Ship are really making me miss it. Can't wait until we cruise again. CC is one of my all time favorite places to be.
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5 is an Interstate, 99 is a highway. Huge speed difference. HUGE. 99 will take you through every town and stoplight. 5 is what you want to drive into LA and down to Anahiem on.

I'd probably cut over at 198 and maybe eat in Hanford/Lemore. Lemore is a navy town, there will be food but Allison may have a better idea on that end.

I'd have to agree about going over the Grapevine at night, it is steeper than all get out and a bit freaky if you aren't used to that kind of thing. That said, with the heat actually at night is easier on the car that's for sure. Just depends on your comfort level

Santa Clarita may be your best bet if you go over the pass, if not then I'd just check AAA, there will be small places all along the way I'm sure there is something that would work. There is a Holiday in Express in Frazier Park/Lebec just the before the pass that might be the last option before going over the pass.

You could still crash in Bakersfield, it isn't that far off of 5 especially if the hotel isn't all the way in the city, you just want to be using 5 to head south, not 99.
So- I'm looking at a map of Grapevine and Lebec- Lebec is south of Grapevine. What am I missing????
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:42 PM   #326
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I found a You tube vid of the southbound I 5 through the Grapevine- I think it will be fine, we will just head on to Santa Clarita. If we leave at 3, we will get there at 8:30, so it should be all light until the very end.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brayK8kSJhg

My head kinda hurts!

Ok- off to baseball-
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:49 PM   #327
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I'll be on CC myself in January so I'll find out first hand. When is your cruise in Jan? Ours is the 19th out of Miami on the Wonder. I'm so crazy excited for our first Disney cruise.

We are on the NYE cruise on the Fantasy- Dec 28- Jan 4- so I will be on CC Jan 3. You SHOULD be excited for your first cruise- it is the BEST!!!!

I'll keep you posted on August. Alison too. If we go, we may not have a day at Disney but we could certainly meet in DTD or at the GCV.
Excellent!! I really hope we see you!!

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Great couple of posts Ellen. Can't believe those people ran into Tim and said it was his fault. Really. Read the signs people!

YES!! Read the signs and stop thinking you know everything- because you definitely DON'T!!

And your pictures from CC and the Ship are really making me miss it. Can't wait until we cruise again. CC is one of my all time favorite places to be.
When is your next one scheduled for?
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Old 07-18-2013, 01:55 PM   #328
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So the reason we were being sent on 99 in every situation is because when we exit Yosemite at the South entrance, we will immediately hit 41. 41 runs into 99. If we stay on 41, eventually we will hit 198, which will eventually hit 5. 5 is further away, not closer. Which will then bring us back to just south of Bakersfield. It does take longer to get to 5, and we would not be on 5 for very long, but I guess 5 is an interstate? So we would be driving faster? But on all the maps I look at, there are no towns listed on the part of 5 we would be on. So how do I find a hotel? I did look at Grapevine, they have no hotels in Grapevine but there are 4 motels in a town called Lebec which is nearby? I did kind of want to stay right off the highway, because all we were doing here is making a pitstop. After everyones concerns about Bakersfield, then we thought, Ok- let's drive to Santa Clarita- but now you are saying driving through Grapevine at night is not great? I'm not sure when we will be going through there, whether it may have just turned dark. I am really, really confused at this point!! Where are the hotels on 5? Should I drive to SC or is it too dangerous at night because of elevations/twists and turns?

OK. I have to apologize. I don't know what geographical crack I was smoking there, but for some reason I was thinking that Yosemite was Pinnacles, which is located on the complete other side of California.

I just checked out the drive from Yosemite to Fresno, and if you leave Yosemite by 4 or 5PM, you'll get to Fresno between 6:15 to 8PM depending on traffic going down the mountain. Google estimates it at 2 hours 15 minutes for the 93.5 mile drive.

Here are some estimated driving times.

Fresno to Tulare - 1 hour on the 99
Tulare to Bakersfield - 1 hour on the 99
Bakersfield to just before the Grapevine - 40 minutes 99/I5

Driving to the 5 would be about the same time frame according to Google (20 minutes less).

41 to I5 (Kettleman City) - about 56 minutes
Kettleman City to Grapevine - about 1 hour 24 mins.

The only reason I mention these times is that every one of these little towns rolls up the sidewalks at about 9PM. Sure you can get into the hotels, but your plan to have dinner when you get down the mountain is a good one. Judging from the timing, you definitely want to stay on the North side of the Grapevine. It will be very late by the time you would be driving over it and you wouldn't want to get stuck. I know from experience that it is no fun to have a blow out at 11PM in the middle of nowhere.

The big difference between I5 and SR99 is that the speed limit on I5 is 70mph the whole way. SR99 reduces the speed limit to 55 whenever you go through each little town and I'm not sure it gets above 65 ever. In Bakersfield, there has been traffic to reduce speeds to 20-40mph, but that's not for more than about 10 exits.

There is a Best Western in Kettleman City off I5, which offers rooms with two Queen beds for a reasonable rate. That is about an hour out of Fresno and puts you an hour and a half from the bottom of the Grapevine.

You might also look into the Charter Inn and Suites in Tulare. We had a friend who lived there and used to stay often. The rooms are like a DVC studio (micro/fridge) and they serve you a hot breakfast in the morning complete with "make 'em yourself" waffles. One of my favorites! This usually runs about $100 per night and puts you about the same place that Kettleman City is from the bottom of the Grapevine.

Tulare or Kettleman City are pretty much 4 hours north of Anaheim (without LA traffic). If you left between 7-9AM, LA traffic would be over by the time that you hit LA. The advantage of Kettleman City is that you would not hit any Bakersfield rush hour traffic.

I didn't mean to open up this whole can of worms on your TR! Now you probably know more than you ever wanted to know about California Central Valley Geography. Bakersfield is fine to just crash in as well, but depending on how long it takes you to get down the mountain from Yosemite, you could be looking at a very late arrival time, also depending on what your plans for dinner end up being. We always end up eating our dinner from drive through on trips like this because we spend too much time dawdling and run behind, your family might be different.

Anyways, back to your packing on the ship!
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:43 PM   #329
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Great pics Ellen! Love that clear blue water at CC! With no CC stop, our cruise will end with a day at sea, after Grand Cayman. I'll let you all know how that feels!

I would have yelled at Timmy too for heading back to the ship. WHo knows, he might have gotten jumped by the mean bike people! Or run over by the crazy stroller lady and lying somewhere in a ditch, left on the island with just him, the cat, and Captain Jack!

Thanks for the baseball well wishes! We finished the tourney in 2nd place. Very respectable, as our boys weren't ever expected to be so good, but the team that finished first was "that team". You know the perfect one in every league that practices every night, is perfect, beats everyone, and is coached by the guy who runs the league. The one team everyone else hates!

It was a good game until one inning. One of our kids messed up base running, then DS came up to bat, and the kid ump told him his bat was illegal for their league. ***???? He'd used it 3 other times, and its just now illegal? I almost became that mom! I stepped back off the cliff, and just asked him how he waited until the game was almost over to call that, and asked sweetly if he was also checking the other teams bats! AARRGH!

Oh well, now its over and i can enjoy the rest of the summer! Hope your schedule is done soon too!
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Old 07-18-2013, 07:12 PM   #330
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Great pix of CC!!! I don't think they had a Magic show when we were on the Dream, if they did we missed itThe Shows we saw were excellent though !!!
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