On the Road With West Falls: Yosemite National Park, CA

by Nina Myers McCammon


Kelly Shea and Brendan Banks of West Falls, a creative studio on wheels, are crisscrossing the country in a restored 1984 VW camper van until approximately Thanksgiving and sharing a weekly diary and gorgeous photography with 50 States of Style readers.

Kelly and Brendan's travels took them to Yosemite National Park where they ate well despite being on "high bear alert," something they've learned you don't take lightly. K & B also met a fellow Westy couple that didn't steer them wrong. Hope everyone has a fantastic, restful weekend! 

What we saw...
As soon as we drove into Yosemite, we began to see its fabled "domes."  These giant granite formations are rounded at their top in some of the most unique natural structures we've seen on the trip.  We drove from the famous Half Dome, north through forests of redwoods to a small primitive campsite where redwoods made a canopy overhead.

What we ate...
Dinner at our Yosemite campsite was far easier than the prep.  With the high population of black bears in the area, we had to take EVERY item of food and fragrance-inducing item out of the van.  Black bears can fit their claws into a crack in a car door and rip the entire side off the vehicle for a bag of goldfish (not something to mess with!) Our camp dinner consisted of a funny, yet delicious, combination of season steak tips and pasta with red sauce.  Brendan has a magical mixture of seasoning that consists of a "pinch of this" and a "little of that."  We add sliced cherry tomatoes to the pasta sauce to add a little freshness and texture.

Who we met...
After driving down the steep, winding roads of Tioga Pass, we came to a restaurant/convenience store/gas station where we met a fellow Westy couple.  They gave us some hot tips on the nearby and rarely visited hot springs and directed us toward the Tufa Towers of Mono Lake.  They were right, the Tufas were totally worth the minor detour off the main road.  The limestone formations hug the shoreline and make you feel as though you're walking through a coral reef.

On the radio…
This American Life #246 :: My Pen Pal

Van start time:
7:00 p.m.

Where to next?
High Sierras, CA

Life lessons...
Risks can be worth the reward. Take this trip for instance: HUGE RISK!  We've reaped the rewards at every turn and every newly discovered place.  However, there are some risks that are not worth taking, namely, bears.  When you take a big picture risk like leaving your old life behind and moving in with your significant other for the first in a moving vehicle, it's important to make sure that the daily moves are made with some catastrophe-aversion measures.  When there is a bear box and many signs telling you to remove all food items from your vehicle, you do it (even if it takes an hour).  You don't ask questions.