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Potential Last Minute Itinerary Changes (due to Rim fire)

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Raleigh, North...
Level Contributor
332 posts
6 reviews
Potential Last Minute Itinerary Changes (due to Rim fire)

Hi there,

We'll be traveling to CA in less than a week and may need to come up with some additional nights in the Monterey/Carmel area if we decide to leave Yosemite earlier than originally plans.

We've currently got 4 nights in Yosemite. At this point, with road closures, we'll already have to alter our plans (unless roads open), but now that we've seen that depending on winds, the Valley may be affected. If we can't hike due to air quality, I can't imagine staying for that length of time.

So, currently we've got 1 night reserved at the Normandy Inn (Tues, Sept 10) and then 2 nights (Wed/Thurs) at Glen Oaks in Big Sur.

We're trying to remain really flexible (since we don't have any control anyway), but I'm wondering about the odds of adding a night (or 2) somewhere at the last minute if we vacate Yosemite. So it would be either Monday, 9/9 or Sunday 9/8 AND Monday 9/9.

I'm just wondering what the odds would be to find a place to stay at the very last minute.

We could also alter our trip and approach Big Sur from the South (and even cancel our night at Normandy Inn), spending some time on the south end before our 2 nights at Glen Oaks.

Anyway - any suggestions/advice are welcomed.

Grover Beach, Ca
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
Level Contributor
17,196 posts
9 reviews
1. Re: Potential Last Minute Itinerary Changes (due to Rim fire)

I don't think you'll have trouble finding lodging on Sunday night next week.

If you want to come up to Big Sur from the south, take Highway 41 from Yosemite to Highway 46 toward Paso Robles. Take Highway 101 south 4 miles to Highway 46 West toward Cambria to Highway 1. Spend the night in Cambria. Perhaps tour Hearst Castle the following morning and then make your way up to Glen Oaks for your two nights.

That's just one option

Edited: 6:32 pm, September 01, 2013
Raleigh, North...
Level Contributor
332 posts
6 reviews
2. Re: Potential Last Minute Itinerary Changes (due to Rim fire)

Thanks for the feedback. I figure the more plans C, D....we have, maybe we'll be lucky and just end up with Plan A (or B) which is what we've been planning on for over a year!

One more question. If we end up abandoning 1 or 2 nights in Yosemite, and cancel our night at Normandy Inn (we can still visit Carmel on our trip, but just won't stay there) we might have 3 nights between Yosemite and Glen Oaks..... I'm wondering about going all the way to Santa Barbara from Yosemite. Is a drive from Santa Barbara to Glen Oaks do-able in 1 day. I'm sure we'll make some stops, but we'll have 2 nights at Glen Oaks so we have more time in Big Sur other than the drive.

Los Angeles
Destination Expert
for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
Level Contributor
10,563 posts
86 reviews
3. Re: Potential Last Minute Itinerary Changes (due to Rim fire)

Yes, SB to GlenOaks is doable in one day (I love GlenOaks; it's not 5 star, but boy is it in a nice place).

Level Contributor
1,343 posts
4. Re: Potential Last Minute Itinerary Changes (due to Rim fire)


[ This is a long post. I thought of sending it to the OP by PM but instead I am posting it in its entirety for those who might be lurking. ]



From your other posts, I know that you have planned and looked forward to your Yosemite trip for quite some time and that this trip means the world to you.

And then the Yosemite 'Rim Fire' started. And it changed the world for alot of people, including you. What's worse, the fire isn't going away any time soon, and certainly it's not going to be soon enough for your upcoming trip in another week, beginning around Sept 6 if I have your trip start time calculated correctly.

My thoughts . . . and take them for what they are worth which are strictly my thoughts . . . is that this fire is not being flexible. I realize that you really want to spend 4 days in Yosemite to hike around and enjoy the park smoke-free, that your heart is in this trip, and that you are hoping that your dream Yosemite trip will happen the way you have planned it, but no one can predict this fire and its drifting smoke.

It would therefore seem to be an impossibility for a person to remain flexible against a force that is not being flexible by its very nature.

The last few days the Yosemite web cams are starting to show a pattern. Whereas a week or more ago there was no smoke in Yosemite Valley, the last few days there seems to be fairly heavy smoke of a morning and by mid to late afternoon the smoke clears out of Yosemite Valley so that the famous granite cliffs are quite visible (in the web cams).

Secondly, I don't know how easy or how difficult it would be to find lodging around Big Sur or Carmel at the last minute. At best, looking for lodging (on-line or not) very close to the actual dates would be quite stressful because those destinations are extremely popular and most likely would be sold out, or sold out for the accommodation type that you would prefer -- you would get everyone else's leftovers. At the worst, you might very likely be in a place in the Sierras or around Yosemite that does not give cell reception when you desperately need and want it to try for last-minute lodging reservations.

Just because schools are back in session does not mean that popular destination areas in California have slowed up. This 'after-school-starts' season is typically the season when those whose kids are grown up are able to venture out and travel, travel, travel to their heart's content. Just now I went on-line and looked at Glen Oaks availability. They are sold out for 09/09 and are almost sold out for 09/08 and are pretty much sold out for the following 3 weeks. The Normandy Inn shows better availability.

I cannot suggest what you should do. What I can do is to tell you what I would do.

If it were me, I would immediately adjust my expectations about the Yosemite part of my trip and scale it back from 4 days or nights, to 2 nights.

The likelihood is quite probable that even in 5 or 6 days from now that all-day hikes, or nearly all-day hikes in Yosemite will be quite hampered by heavy smoke of a morning, then clearing by afternoon. True, the fire's wrath has calmed down quite a bit, however, it is still burning, and it is burning eastwardly in a very remote part of Stanislaus National Forest and in a very remote part of the northeastern part of Yosemite National Park. It continues to produce smoke whose direction can change daily and unpredicably according to the prevailing winds.

Next, I would cancel two of the four nights at Yosemite and immediately secure lodging at a place of choice (Normandy Inn where you already have one night) for those 2 nights while there is seems to show availability, and possibly most importantly, while I still have good internet connection at home.

Then, I would be able to embark on my trip with lodging reservations confirmed, and without the potential last-minute need to cancel lodging and re-book new lodging. I would not need to run around while in the mountains in Yosemite trying to find an internet signal to either book on-line or to use my cell phone for reservations.

Edited to add:

Santa Barbara is also a quite popular destination area, 'after-school-starts' . I managed a b&b there. Week days might be a tad bit easier, but I wouldn't say it will be truly easy to find what you want in SB. Go on-line now and perhaps get some places penciled in on your trip notes.

I hope this gives some perspective.

Edited: 7:45 pm, September 01, 2013
Raleigh, North...
Level Contributor
332 posts
6 reviews
5. Re: Potential Last Minute Itinerary Changes (due to Rim fire)

Thanks for taking the time to respond at length. I did think about canceling part of our Yosemite nights and revamping those nights, but honestly I'm just having trouble with the idea that if we did that, and then weather was healthy enough to hike, then I'd be heart broken to have to leave Yosemite. We've already made the decision to accept having a financial impact (lost deposits) if we make changes within the 7 day DNC window....so that part we've made peace with.

We our plans already have 4 nights in the Big Sur/Carmel/Santa Cruz/Half Moon Bay area, so thus me considering "swinging thru' (LOL) Santa Barbara if we leave Yosemite earlier than hoped.

We spent a lot of time talking about our options (including SF) and looking at webcams so we know what the potential "worst case" is. I feel like we've got the right, adjusted attitude and my husband and I are both aware of having to be very flexible on things.

I appreciate everyone's willingness to share their thoughts and advice!

I will owe you all a good TR when we get back!!!

Raleigh, North...
Level Contributor
332 posts
6 reviews
6. Re: Potential Last Minute Itinerary Changes (due to Rim fire)

Your point about limited phone/internet once in the Park is a very good one.

Perhaps we'll take a look this week at securing "plan C" lodging with a 24 hour cancellation policy and then we'd only have to make a call to cancel (as opposed to finding availability/rates) if we don't need them.

Thanks for making that very good point!!!

Level Contributor
1,343 posts
7. Re: Potential Last Minute Itinerary Changes (due to Rim fire)


Glad to have been of some help.

Getting a Plan C in place while you are still at home and while you still have a good internet connection is a very very very good idea.

Alot of people do not realize that cell reception and internet connection is virtually non-existant in the mountains.

P.S. A year ago we had some dear friends who had just departed our home (located north of Yosemite) en route to their home in Arizona. They accidentally locked themselves out of their car on Olmsted Point (in Yosemite). They were stranded for 6 long hours, yes 6 hours -- absolutely no cell reception and by this time the sun had set and it was getting really cold for them. People had stopped by during those 6 hours, offered to help, gave them food and so on. Oh, they had asked several people to contact their roadside assistance company. A key point they forgot is that when you are in a national park and get stranded, you need to notify the ranger patrol office in the national park who will take it from there. Apparently, they did not know this or did not want to trouble the rangers inside Yosemite. Their roadside assistance company was not going inside Yosemite but of course, they did not know this information. Well, the stranded wife desperately tried another text message to her daughter in Portland, and miraculously the text went through. Her daughter notified 911, who notified the ranger office inside Yosemite, who came to them on Olmsted Point and unlocked their vehicle.

Monterey Peninsula...
Level Contributor
2,099 posts
8. Re: Potential Last Minute Itinerary Changes (due to Rim fire)

After Labor Day tourist activity on the Monterey Peninsula quiets down considerably, so I don't think there will be any problem finding last-minute lodgings should you decide to add some extra days here. There is a race at Laguna Seca Raceway on September 7/8, which may affect room availability a bit, but it's not a huge event.

-Mr. Toy


9. Re: Potential Last Minute Itinerary Changes (due to Rim fire)

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