After Southern CA we headed to Sequoia & Yosemite & immediately lost WiFi & cell phone service. Sequoia had huge trees and giant pinecones everywhere. After the drive through semi-arid irrigated farmland itbwas hard to believe there would be giant trees, but after climbing a few thousand feet, there they were. The kids loved building stone forts in the campsite & actually enjoyed the giant sequoias (usually if they can't climb it, they're not interested). Our constant shower challenge here involved trying to save quarters & get two people in one ten minute shower. Jim lost time when Ian would only rinse off while doing the hokey pokey. When Julie and Devin emerged Nic explained with a snicker that a soapy Dad sent him to the store for more quarters so he wouldn't have to traipse onto the store with a towel wrapped around his waist.
At Yosemite Julie's friends Eileen & Brian met us and adapted to our "hike 500 yards then stop to climb rocks and have snacks" pattern. They were great sports, especially when Devin talked Brian's ear off or Ian insisted Brian carry him. We had one hike interrupted by a brown bear who was eating a squirrel in the middle of the path. Yosemite had amazing waterfalls and meadows alongside plunging canyons. On our way out we actually stopped for a snowball fight even though it was almost 90 when we broke camp.
We took a little detour at the end of the day to go swimming in Lake Tahoe, which Nic insisted on calling Lake Taco. The sand glittered with pyrite, which made for an interesting clean up. Now we're in Carson City on our way to Yellowstone. Pics to follow when we can.