Thank goodness we got caught in road construction!

Well, you don’t hear that too often, but I guess there are always people out there looking on the bright side of things.

The road to our house, Hwy 41, has been under construction for most of the summer. They are doing a major re-grading and re-paving project along the entire section of road from the entrance station to Yosemite Valley, and has meant that for the entire summer, we’ve been subject to 30-60 minute construction delays (sometimes more than 60 min. although that is supposed to be the outside limit, and when we’re lucky, no stopping at all). Fortunately, that’s given us time to perfect our construction delay technique.

Construction delays are nothing like traffic jams. In traffic jams, you’re stuck inside your vehicle continuously inching along with everyone else. In our construction delays, there’s a guy with a big stop sign, and a long line of cars that are absolutely stopped until the pilot car returns with the string of cars going in the opposite direction. That means, that when you hit the construction, you can turn off your engine and hop outside and start looking around, and only jump back in when cars start passing in the other lane. Not every place along the road is as scenic as others, but there is usually something interesting to look at – wildflowers by the side of the road, if you don’t have a beautiful mountain overlook.

Tonight, they stopped us right at the juction with South Side Drive before you make the right turn to Bridalveil Falls parking. As usual, we popped out of the car and started looking around. I found a couple of interesting flowers near the culvert and started busily sketching. Tom uprooted an evil, invasive Wooly Mullein, and then set about making friends. First I heard him explaining to one guy that if he really needed to use a restroom, he could walk up to the Bridalveil parking and catch his friends as they went by there. Then, like a natural-born interpreter, I hear him making hiking trail recommendations and explaining about fire management in the park and how it helps to keep the forrests healthy. A crowd is gathering. He and his new friends are pulling out maps when the pilot car appears, and everyone has to get back to their cars.

As Tom is heading back toward the car, the man says, “Thank goodness we got caught in construction traffic! That was worth it!”