Thursday, March 1, 2012

Restaurants and other stuff around Oakhurst, California

usbackroads destination--Restaurants and other stuff around Oakhurst, California

This is kinda of a grab bag of information if your staying in the Oakhurst area.  I really was not sure if where to put it so I decided just to throw it here.  We stayed for almost a month at the Park of the Sierra, just outside of Coarsegold.  That is covered in our previous posting.

If you want to explore Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks while staying in your RV your choices are VERY limited.  The National Park Service campgrounds are small.  In Yosemite Valley, there are only a few campsites left on the southside of the valley.  It appears that a 30 foot fifth wheel is max AND if you go their in winter the south side of Yosemite Valley is COLD.  It always stays in the shade.  You could be freezing in the campsite while on the north side of the valley people are sunbathing in the sunshine.  There is that much difference in winter.

Other times of the year you need reservations to stay in Yosemite Valley.  I gave up going to Yosemite Valley in summer during the 1970's.  Winter seemed crowded for us in 2012.  So your choices are limited to staying out of the valley.  I love Tuolumne Meadows area and this would be my choice in summer.

Mariposa and Oakhurst advertise themselves as Gateway communities to Yosemite National Park.  Just be aware that the Gate is two hours or more drive on winding roads with speeds at 35 mph.  The 21 foot RAM truck is not a sports car!!  So be prepared for long days of driving when visiting the park.

Oakhurst has all the basic shopping.  Somewhere, just check your points of interest in the GPS.  There are rumours of a Wal-Mart opening soon.  We shopped at Von's (Safeway) and Raley's.  Unfortunately, Von's gas discounts did not do us any good since they did not sell diesel.

Oakhurst is a small, but the hills around town are covered in homes.  So the traffic is bad for such a small town.  The roads have no shoulder and California has not upgraded the Gold Rush roads, well since the Gold Rush.  Civil Engineering schools throughout the nation must send their students to California to see how NOT to build roads (the do have the freeway part down pretty well, though).  Don't even think about riding a bicycle on those roads.

We had heard that the food had gone downhill at the local casino.  We can confirm that assessment.  Lots of food prepared cafeteria style.  Forget about ordering wine.  I believe the casino does not even have wine glasses.  So don't get excited about going there unless you gamble.

We did stop at the  in Oakhurst  at Crab Cakes Restaurant for lunch.  I do not understand the fascination with crab cakes.  We are not impressed with crab cakes.  I suspect they are a method of making bad crab edible.  However, the other food was good and we would return there.  Not the greatest, but good.  Go to the The Wharf in Medford.  That was great and inexpensive.

We also had brunch at Erna's Elderberry House.  Don't let the name fool you.  It is EXPENSIVE.  The Sunday Brunch was $58 a person.  However, a great restaurant.  Great food and service.  At great way to spend Sunday morning if you do not mind the price.  It probably will not become a Sunday habit.  However, for special occasions worth the visit.

We did visit Bass Lake.  It was drained.  The Forest Service campgrounds were $26 and $49 a night.  They were empty.  It looks like a nice party lake, that could be pretty when full.  The COE facilities at Eastman Lake are much nicer.

Lots to explore in the area.  We spent almost a month and did not visit all the places on our list.  Weather in winter was nice and it is above the Central Valley fog.  Cool night with warm days.  Great for sleeping and during the day it was pleasant sitting in the sunshine.  I suspect March and April weather is even nicer and those months would be better for a visit.  The wildflowers were just coming out and as we all know the best time to visit is during wildflower season.

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