Now I was in the Yosemite Valley. My priorities were:
- get the YARTS bus to Fresno leaving around 4 pm
- have a shower and fresh clothes
- eat lunch
I had still nearly 3 hours until the bus left. But the valley is a vast area for a hiker, and I did not have a plan where to go exactly. There is a free shuttle bus going around a loop of maybe 4…5 miles, for which it needs nearly half an hour with all the stops. The bus loops anti-clockwise only.
I hopped on the next one that arrived and asked the driver where I can have a shower – he told me the “Housekeeping Camp” had showers open for everyone. Some 20 minutes later the bus arrived there, and another 10 minutes later I had located and walked to the shower house. For 5$ I could use the shower as long as I wanted, and got soap and a towel. So I fetched all I needed out of my pack, and quite some time later felt new-born in fresh clothes and with all the dirt removed from my skin and hair.
I hoped that I could get my lunch from the camp’s restaurant but it was closed at this early afternoon hour. Therefore I decided to got to Yosemite Village where the YARTS bus would depart from the vistor center, and where I would find other facilities too. This was just two stops away from my present location, but two stops clockwise. Instead of having another nearly full loop with the shuttle I walked there, but needed about the same time, it was more than a mile. Then I searched another 15 minutes where the right place was, until I found out that the YARTS bus uses the same bus stop as the shuttle bus – but there was no “YARTS” sign telling this.
Not so much time left now. I went further into the village looking for a shop, and finally found the little mall. There was a food market and also a burger grill. I prefered only to buy some food from the market and then walk back to the bus stop. I did not want to miss the bus though there was another run 1h 40 min later, but then I would arrive quite late in Fresno.
At the bus stop I met the two hikers with whom I had camped last night and who waited for the same bus to Fresno, and also the Miami girl I had left in Tuolumne Meadows two days ago – she had made it too in time and now took the bus to Reno to fly home. So we did some handshakes and good-byes. The bus arrived in time, it was clean and only half filled, and the driver was a nice guy.
We needed 4 h until Fresno, stopping at several places. I could buy a hot dog at one of these stops. Cellphone coverage improved as we approached the Fresno area. The bus run ended at the airport. From there I first had to walk out of the airport area and then continue one block further where I had a room reservation in the Best Western Plus airport motel. It felt a bit strange to stand in the lobby in shorts with a backpack.
I got my room and found out that it had a tub in the bathroom – great for tomorrow morning! But now I was hungry. I had seen a subs shop close to the parking lot, but when I arrived there it had just closed, at 9 pm. So I went to the next shop, a Little Caesar pizza take-out.
The next morning I slept in, then took a bath and went down for the breakfast which was really good. Then I walked back to the airport to claim my rental car. The procedure went faster this time as they had my data already in their system from my last rent. I drove the car to the hotel and went back to my room. I used the bath tub to clean the leaking Thermarest matress, in order to return it to REI in LA. Finally I packed everything and checked out.
The drive back to LA needed more time than expected; I had a lunch break, and the navigation system of the car – a Garmin unit – sent me to a wrong place. But with the smartphone app I found the B&B in Santa Monica. Some shopping, a dinner with the landlady, and after breakfast next morning a short drive to the LAX airport ended my journey.