Today is mostly about driving, as we head 160 miles south east to the outskirts of Yosemite. It’s a very American drive; we get on the interstate outside the motel and the next direction is to exit in 120 miles. That gives us sufficient time for the entire Wicked soundtrack. And tick, tick…BOOM!
Our destination is another old mining town; Mariposa. Here, we will spend a night at the Miner’s Inn and stock up with supplies before entering Yosemite National Park in the morning.
We arrive in Mariposa at 1.30 pm and order brunch in the Miners’s Roadhouse. As already mentioned, Mariposa’s history lies in gold mining (it sits atop the Mother Lode – a seam rich in gold discovered in the 1850s) and this restaurant has chosen to take the gold mining theme and run with it – and I’m not talking a sprint! There is a model of the Yosemite Valley Railroad running all round the ceiling and the toilets are designed to look like mine shafts.
After lunch, we attempt to check in, but our rooms aren’t ready. So we walk down the road to Mariposa Museum & History Center; a quaint little place detailing the history (mainly mining) of the town. Next, the Chamber of Commerce, which is home to the Visitor’s Center. Having exhausted the town’s tourist attractions, we return to our hotel. It’s now an hour past official check in time. The receptionist is extremely flustered as it’s ‘super busy’ (nobody else here except us) and says she has no idea if our rooms are ready. I offer to go and ask room service. This gets her even more flustered. We sit and wait while she mutters to us/herself/someone else – who knows?
We give up and drive a couple of miles out of town to Stockton Creek Preserve, where you can walk along a trail past a creek to a reservoir. The kids go for a long walk. I lose interest after half a mile – I’m tired and just want to check into my bloody room. I return to the car, which is parked on the main road in/out of town, mainly frequented by trucks driving crazy fast. It’s obviously a great place for roadkill and I sit and watch vultures soaring overhead waiting for lunch to be served by a high speed hillbilly.
Ninety minutes later, we return for another round of attempting to check in. The crazy receptionist is on a cigarette break, so all goes smoothly and we are able to check in without further incident. It may have taken 6 hours to clean our room, but this was insufficient time to get rid of the stink of tobacco smoke from the previous inhabitants.
Bad snell aside, it’s the nicest room we’ve stayed in so far (after a string of Motel 6’s) and the first hotel this trip to have reopened its pool. So we take a dip before dinner and an early night.
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