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Old 11th February 2009, 09:57   #1
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Default Sequoia National Park and Camping - Bloopers

Funny incidences from our camping trip to Sequoia National Park, California, USA in 2006 -

#1 –
Date: Friday June 30, 2006
Time: Around 5 PM
Place: Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena

I reserved the rental car from Enterprise Rent A Car for the trip to Sequoia National Park. I remembered one Enterprise rental office at N Fair Oaks Ave which was just 3-4 blocks from our home on N Euclid Ave. So I decided to just walk down there. I started from home and reached the place in 10 mins just to find out that Enterprise wasn't there. Usually Enterprise will pick you up if you just call them but I didn't opt for pick up simply 'cause of their office being so near from my home. But now I regretted the decision. I called them up and found out that they had moved the office to 1060 S Fair Oaks Ave. I was at some 450 N Fair Oaks that means I had to walk down southwards to reach Colorado Blvd, where Fair Oaks addresses become zero then go further southwards till 1000 mark. (Total of around 14-15 blocks - it was right at the start of 110 freeway) Phhheww.....I started walking in that hot-scorching sun and reached their office after 45-50 minutes. I thought its done. I'll just rent the car now and go home peacefully.
But that wasn't the case. It turned out that none of my credit cards had the balance of $250 (Enterprise deducts $250 from your credit card at the time of booking and my credit cards were not credited with the amounts I deposited at that point of time) I had to go home, pick up 2-3 utility bills to put the charge on my debit card. I started back in Enterprise car with their person driving me home. He had to drop a lady in between. Got stuck in traffic towards way to her home, finally dropped her, reached my home, picked up the bills, reached back the Enterprise office and at last the car key was in my hand.

#2 -
Date: Friday June 30, 2006
Time: Around 10.30 PM
Place: N Euclid Ave, Pasadena
I was loading our car as we were supposed to start early in the morning. I loaded the tent bag, etc. In the third round, I was carrying 2 sleeping bag rolls, 2 pillows and 1 throw. That was too much stuff in my hand. I reached down, opened the trunk of the car and kept the key on the trunk floor mat. I arranged the stuff nicely and closed the trunk. I turned around, started walking towards our gate and as a habit touched my pockets to check the keys. Taa daaaa....!!!! It wasn't there. It immediately flashed to me that I had left the key in the trunk. The car was completely locked - all doors as well as trunk. That was a disastrous moment. I could see all our plans of leaving early in the morning locked up in that trunk. I was numb for a few moments. Usually Enterprise offices open at 7AM on Monday to Friday but unfortunately on Saturday they open at 9AM. I had to wait till 9AM next morning to get another key and start the journey ahead.
Then my wife suggested to have a look at enterprise's web site and get the road Side assistance number. I called them up and they said that they'll put me to AAA. I was also supposed to pay for the AAA locksmith services. Since I am a AAA member myself, I told them that I'll take up with them. Then I called AAA and they sent a locksmith within 15 minutes.
Now starts the most amazing part - The locksmith took a rubber separator to put a gap between window glass and rubber around the window. He then put a hair-pin bend kind of a big long aluminum stick from that gap. The end which went inside the car window has a little 'U' shaped curve at the end. Using that curve, he tapped the door lock button and unlocked the door within 2 seconds. It was amazing .... too good & true. I was able to enter the car, open the trunk and get the keys again.
Can you imagine what kind of feelings I had at that point of time? Ehh....

#3 -
Date: Saturday July 01, 2006
Time: Around 6.00 PM
Place: Horse Creek Rd., Sequoia National Forest
We had just completed a long day at Sequoia National Park (I'll write the detailed Travelogue soon) and started from Moro Rock point towards our campground at around 5.15 PM. Moro Rock is around 1 hours drive from southern entrance of Sequoia National Park
and our campground was also around 50 mins-1 hours drive from entrance of the park (We couldn't get any campsite nearer as everything was booked for Saturday night) All the roads inside the Sequoia National Park are hilly. You can not get past 20-25 Miles per hour. I reached Sequoia National Park in 2.5 to 3 hours from Pasadena (around 300 miles) but it took 1 hour to drive just 20 miles from Moro Rock to entrance gate again. From the gate, we had to take Horse Creek Rd on Highway 198. We reached to that point and took a left on the Horse Creek Rd, only to find out that the road was closed. It was a very small road and everything looked fishy in the directions.
Now, I was in panic as that was the only direction with me and I was not carrying any area map. I was in a hurry to reach campground as I wanted to reach there in sunlight. It would have been very difficult in the night time when there are no lights around. Remember, we were in the Sequoia forest area and not within any city. I started driving south (towards Visalia) on Highway 198 and reached a gas station after 10-15 minutes of drive. I inquired there and a hunky truck driver guided me about the path to reach Springville (our campground was near Springville). I had to go further south and take a left from the first intersection where stop sign flash-lights were flashing. After the left turn, drive towards east, take highway 65 which would take me to highway 190 which eventually goes to Springville. I was a bit confused as the area was completely new and there was no one in between to ask. The truck driver left with me still in confused state about what to do.
I purchased a local area map (As it turned out later, if I would have traveled just on the given directions without map, it would certainly have been a disaster. The map turned out to be the best choice). When we studied the map, we found out that soon after that gas station, there is a road - Yokohl Drive which goes straight to highway 190. We decided to take that route. We immediately started, found out that Yokohl drive and took a left turn onto that.
We started following the road and the map. The road condition was ok, but with no other car on the road, no sign of any human existence, not a single bird in the sky and just all barren land, mountains around, the road was deadly. After around 20-30 minutes drive, we started hitting mountain section. The sign said that next 15 miles are all hills. I was a bit worried again. As I have mentioned earlier, driving in the hill section is extremely slow and you can not drive fast enough due to hair-pin bend turns, blind spots. We kept going ahead, worrying about whether are we on the right track .... Mile by mile, minute by minute we progressed on that deadly road. With no signal on our mobiles (obviously), if something would have happened to us or to our car, I can not imagine what would be our condition.
Anyway, finally, we reached a landmark shown on the map called J37 and it was confirmed that we were on the right track. Highway 190 was around 6 miles from that spot. Soon we hit Highway 190 and saw the sign of Wishon campground 12 miles ahead. It felt soo good. The road ahead was again hilly, alone with no human existence around as our campground was on the elevation of 5000 Ft. It took around 30-45 minutes to reach campground by 7.45-8.00 PM There was still some sun light and we were extremely delighted to see the camp sights with people cooking food, kids playing around with the basket ball.
The smell of barbecues, lights from the lanterns, camp fires, sound of Tule river running next to our campsite, hustle of trees, black shadows of huge mountains around and mild light from the moon felt to good to be true.
It was really amazing again!!!! I immediately put up our tent, wife cooked delicious egg bhurji and we had a most satisfying dinner sitting next to our campfire.
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