Driving up to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, coming out of LA you drive up a huge mountain with no cover and beating sun. There are all these amazing signs about how to avoid your car overheating, radiator cool off stations, all the kinds of things you love to see when you’re driving in a 2005 car that’s had the problems that mine has. Fortunately I made it almost to the campground in Kings Canyon before the big scary red triangle with an exclamation point came on. I pulled into my campsite and thought, okay, I’m like 99% sure this is an oil situation, I know I have either coolant or oil in my trunk, and worst case scenario I know I’m above all possible mechanics and I can just roll down out of the mountains in neutral.
Fortunately, I had a quart of oil in the trunk, and here’s a great tip if you’re traveling in National Parks…the maps they give you at the entrance are a great material and size to roll into a funnel. So I pop the hood, unscrew the oil lid, and a nice waft of smoke/steam billows out. So at least I know I’m right about the issue! As I was refilling with my park map a nice Australian family pulled up in the spot next to me, and I just casually waved at them, you know the old “Hello! Nothing to see here, everything’s fine!”
I was technically camping in Kings Canyon, at the Sunset Campground, but it was just one spur out into Sequoia, so really I was in Sequoia and didn’t see the most iconic features of Kings Canyon. But I got all the big trees.
If you ever stay at Sunset Campground, make sure you get a campsite on the West side, it’ll be on a ridge overlooking the valley for sunset. I think 14 was the best but don’t quote me on that.