Brownie, Boots, and Smarty’s intitial entrance to California was not very welcoming. They might have had a sour taste in their mouths because they were one step closer to their road trip ending and dropping off Smarty Pants for good. Reality was setting in which turned Bootsie and Brownie against the beloved California.Brownie kept saying how she could never live there and went on and on about plate boundaries and earth quakes. Boots was complaining how brown the grass was since she couldn’t find anything else bad about it but wanted to.

The three queens again rise with the sun from their king size bed at the best western. Boots sneaks out the side door and packs up the car. Off to Sequoia National Park, as they drive from Visalia into the park, the landscape starts changing. It’s beautiful, okay California is not that bad.

They open the windows, it’s 20 degrees cooler from where they had started, large sequoia trees and red woods fill the landscape as they wind around the mountains. Throughout the trip they have made it a point to stop at every Visitor Center of every National Park they stop at.

At the sequoia visitor center, there are many signs about the wildlife, Mountain Lions, Bears, and Snakes Oh MY!

Ding, Ding, Ding

A very tall, young Park Ranger rings a bell, he is holding the skull of an animal and announces,

“If anyone wants to learn about Mountain Lions, follow me, I will be doing a quick presentation outside.”

Hmm sounds interesting, Brownie and Smarty are on the line for the bathroom, so Bootsie follows the ranger outside. It’s just him and her for a little awkwardly standing there. He starts the presentation thankfully more people filter in. Here comes Smarty and Brownie just in time.

Ranger Dan, I’ll call him this because he is as tall as my cousin dan. So ranger dan starts prancing around like a mountain lion, showing the crowd how it attacks its pray, measuring how far it can jump, he is pretty good at this. I wonder how many times he has talked about mountain lions. He teaches us the 4 important steps if you come in contact with a mountain lion.

Step 1: Stay in a group

Step 2: Give it space

Step 3: Get As big as you can

Step4: Fight the mountain lion


What?! Fight the mountain lion! He shows us how we can fight it and what we can use, rocks, water bottles, splash it in the face ... there are many ways to fight a mountain lion but he never said if they worked. A little scared of big cats now the girls head into the park.

It’s a beautiful drive, Smarty drives most the time when they’re on the mountains edge, they don’t dare let Boots do it her palms get too sweaty. They go through sequoia , stopping to take pictures with big trees, look at the scenery walk around all with mountain lions in the back of their minds.

Sequoia takes them right into Kings Canyon National Park, which is even more amazing and an even scarier ride. From sequoia all the way to the end of Kings Canyon it takes them 5 hours, they decide to camp for the night.

There are prancey tall happy rangers and there are not so happy rangers who are a little shorter. Pam is not like Dan, Boots asks Pam if there are campsites left. She grunts gives Boots no directions just sends her to the Mairen Campground. No one is there, it seems sad, Smarty wakes up from a nap. When you leave it up to Bootsie and Brownie things don’t work out as smoothly. They don’t ask enough questions.

So, feeling like do-do birds they head back to Pam only Smarty goes in this time. Smarty finds us the best camp ground and the best site right next to the rushing river, Kings Creek,  nestled between the huge canyons.Alrighty, Smarty is an important member of the team, gotta admit it.

It’s dreamy, crystal clear water running through the rocks, huge mountains surrounding them. They throw on their bathing suits and sit on the rocks take a dip in the river, it’s almost better than the fake waterfall in Vegas, actually much better!

Miraculously there is a market at the very end of the road, they buy 2 beers and an iced tea for 6 bucks holy mackerel! Boots goes up for more grabs two bottles of  “Josh” Pinot Noir and some Rice-Roni. The healthy road trip is over, Brownie grabs a bunch of potato chips and Kraft onion dip. Dinners Gunn be Gewd!

Boots pours them wine, Brownie puts it over ice and then pops open a Strawberry Mango seltzer and pours it in with her Pinot.

“no!!!!” Boots gasps!

“What?! This is how I like my wine!” Says Brownie.

Smarty and Boots look at each other and chuckle. They shrug “whatever it will take to get her to drink” and we all love when Brownie has something to drink. They cook up the Rice-Roni, drink the two bottles of wine and even try it with the seltzer, hey Brownie style ain’t that bad.

The tent is set up, without the fly so they can look up at the stars. Smarty, Brownie, and Boots fall asleep on bellies full of wine, seltzer, Rice-Roni, chips and onion dip. They love California again.