My family has sort of a cool tradition, and stop me if you’ve heard this already. We take a BIG family vacation, with as many of my six siblings as can make it, plus my parents, all of our kids, spouses, etc. every two years. The twist is that my mom and dad had the idea to let someone in the family, starting oldest to youngest, pick where we go. The first year my dad picked Montana, then my Mom picked Nova Scotia, and this year my brother-in-law Jeff had the honor of selecting where in the world he wanted to take ALL of his in-laws. The pressure! If you couldn’t guess from the blog post title, he picked California, but specifically he wanted to visit Yosemite and Sequoia National Park with the Giant Redwoods.
My mom is quite the travel planner extraordinaire, so she set to work crafting the perfect vacation, complete with experiences, private chefs, and mountain resorts. I, on the other hand, don’t think I’ve really developed my vacation organization skills because I’ve always had my mom to just handle everything. I tend to wait until the last minute to pack, think about airplane snacks/toys, and book a rental car. But for this trip, I lucked out as my friends at Chevy sent a message asking if I’d like to try out the all-new 2019 Chevy Blazer. It turned out to be the most fitting vehicle for our family of four to navigate the winding mountain roads, snowy terrain, and toddler road trip restlessness. Ready for a massive photo dump? Ask and you shall receive!
Now it’s no secret that our Mendez-Valdez family unit isn’t necessarily super outdoorsy. Orlando likes to fish, and I grew up on a farm, but we don’t necessarily go camping or hiking very often these days. It was a bit of a shock to the system, then, when we arrived in Yosemite with our beautiful Chevy Blazer to near-freezing temperatures. If I’m a last minute packer, Orlando is a last SECOND packer, and so we were not necessarily prepared for the cold and snow. We were told it was a little unusual for them at the end of May, but nonetheless our usual San Antonio environment means anything below 60 is cause for a sweater in our opinion.
We started the trip at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite, a gorgeous rustic resort with a spa, outdoor activities, and indoor/outdoor pools. With super close proximity to the Park, we went to the Mariposa Grove, rented bikes to ride around Yosemite Valley, and rode the Sugar Pine Railroad. The Lodge also offered a flashlight tour, guided by climbing legend Mike Corbett, most famous for helping a paraplegic and 81-year-old climb to the summit of El Capitan. This entire vacation led me down a rabbit hole of rock climbing documentaries, including Free Solo that recently won an Oscar. It’s just incredible to see what happens when nature and humans collide, and how tiny we truly are in comparison to some of Mother Nature’s greatest work.
After Tenaya Lodge, we drove a few more hours to Sequoia National Park to stay at a private home on the river. We then headed into the Park to see General Sherman and General Grant, two of the biggest trees in the world. Again, photos just do not do it justice, but the girls have not stopped talking about “the big trees” since we’ve been back. We also went on a white water rafting expedition on our last full day in California, with my brother-in-law Jeff leading the way with my weak upper body strength directly behind him on the raft. The whole trip was spent admiring our country’s natural wonders, from trees to rapids to adorable deer and a peaceful coyote that trotted past us on a bike path in Yosemite.
Luckily the 2019 Chevy Blazer was there through it all, providing a comfy and powerful ride for the drives. I loved the onboard Wifi so I stayed connected in even the most remote locations, and Orlando loved the heated steering wheel for the chilliest mornings. It also blew my mind that the climate control system would automatically adjust to heated seats or air conditioned seats and hot or cold ventilated air, based on the temperature outside. Finally, the spacious second row was plenty of room for the girls to stretch out and still fit our luggage and hiking gear (aka stuff we impulsively bought upon arrival) comfortably in the back. Thank you Chevrolet for providing the perfect ride for a perfect vacation. It was an adventure all around!
P.S. This post is sponsored by Chevy. Don’t worry though, all opinions are my own.