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Stop for groceries/camp chairs/cooler between Sonoma & YNP?

New Hampshire
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Stop for groceries/camp chairs/cooler between Sonoma & YNP?
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Hi, will be coming from a B&B in Healdsburg and staying 5 nights in an AirBnB in Foresta.

I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to drive Rt 120, lol, so we will possibly come in the slightly longer way of Rt 140. Either way, I don't want to drive thru the bay area, so would be coming via Stockton.

Can I assume there's a good sized supermarket or Walmart (yuck, but....) not too far out of our way that we can stop for grocery staples for the cottage, as well as a foldable cooler, ice, etc? We'd also need to pick up a couple of camp chairs, as most of our Yosemite time will be sitting and looking, vs. hiking, due to hubby's disability.

I do see a few Walmarts in Stockton and a few in Modesto (if we decide to take Rt 140). Are any of them easy off/easy on from the freeway, and would be supercenters with food?

Better yet, are there any great well-stocked local places for groceries/deli/bbq meats but that would also have coolers, camp chairs, bug spray, etc? I would also consider stopping at a roadside farm stand for produce if there are any open. Also, this would be on a SUNDAY, and assuming a 10am start or so.

Thanks!

12 replies to this topic
Fremont, California
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1. Re: Stop for groceries/camp chairs/cooler between Sonoma & YNP?
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Unless you are doing major multiple day hikes - bear spray is not needed if just seeing the sights. Tell us more about your trip. I figure with your fear of an easy 120 drive to Yosemite, you are not doing major hikes.

You are going way out of your way to go back down to Modesto. Sure there is Walmart, grocery stores there. As well as in Sonora, etc. So all of these will have what you need.

Have a good trip. And do go the way you want to go just wanted to let you know you are going a bit out of your way.

Edited: May 13, 2021, 7:33 am
Elk Grove...
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2. Re: Stop for groceries/camp chairs/cooler between Sonoma & YNP?
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I would not stop at Stockton. The city of Stockton has gone downhill over the past 20-30 years. Especially for someone from out of town, may not know where best to exit the freeway.

Modesto is not ideal either.

Manteca I would. It is fine. Many stores around where the CA-120 freeway crosses the CA-99 freeway.

They have a Walmart Supercenter. They have a Costco if you are a member. Bass Pro Shop is there (everything camping/fishing related, they have it). Other grocery stores: Target Grocery, Food 4 Less (discount), Safeway (higher end grocery), Save Mart (middle of the road grocery).

Here is a map with pin-outs:

https://goo.gl/maps/pDNfsUpWNuhejwmn8

Elk Grove...
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3. Re: Stop for groceries/camp chairs/cooler between Sonoma & YNP?
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P.S. The CA-120 freeway kind of makes a Z-turn at CA-99. It ends its freeway status, and will become a local road and a regular highway (non-freeway) from there to Yosemite.

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4. Re: Stop for groceries/camp chairs/cooler between Sonoma & YNP?
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I'd do it like I was camping. Sonoma is filled with wonderful foods. Shop there. Buy an ice chest load up with ice , drinks and food and just be ready. Chairs will be at a local drugstores. Maybe even online deliver them to your hotel.

New Hampshire
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5. Re: Stop for groceries/camp chairs/cooler between Sonoma & YNP?
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Hi mini,

Not bear spray, BUG spray :-) Hubby can't hike due to disability, and my hikes are usually 1-2 hours on well-traveled easy trails, so I would assume we're not going to run into bears. But I have read about mosquitoes... plus, we'll be eating outdoors on our rental cottage deck.

Our time in the Valley will probably be spent wandering the valley boardwalks, and finding places to set up our camp chairs and watch climbers, picnic lunches, etc. We'll have a HC placard so will drive up to Mirror Lake and take a short wander (he also has a mobility scooter), etc. So very laid back, but because of that, our needs are centered around picnics and such. We have 5 nights, 4 full days. One day for the Valley itself, one for Glacier Point, one for Mariposa/Wawona (I know the access is limited now due to the fallen trees, but we talked to the accessibility liaison and the scooter rental customer service, and we're comfortable he can make it up the service road on the scooter to at least the Grizzly Giant.), and one for a drive up Tioga Pass Rd possibly all the way to Mono Lake and back.

I'm not so much afraid of looking from heights, such as Glacier Point, but I don't like driving narrow twisty roads with drop offs. (I know there's one spot on Glacier Point Rd itself, and on Tioga Pass Rd) I think it's going to be playing it by ear. Last time we were there, we also came from the Healdsburg area going to Foresta planning to drive Hwy120, and at the last minute I changed my mind and drove in from Hwy140 due to bad weather (drizzle but possibility of snow at higher elevations). So, we'll see. The older I get the less I like that kind of driving...

Edited: May 13, 2021, 10:33 pm
New Hampshire
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6. Re: Stop for groceries/camp chairs/cooler between Sonoma & YNP?
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HappyFeet, thank you for the map. I think I was thinking of Manteca, not Modesto as I see that Modesto would work if we did drive in via Hwy140, but not Hwy120.

SoCal, we're staying in Healdsburg. I know there are great delis, etc, in the area, but for five nights in a rental cottage we need more than just lunch supplies. As we'll be making this trip on a Sunday morning, I'd expect places around Healdsburg to still be closed, also. We want a small cooler, maybe soft-side, so that we can use it for picnics. Hubby being disabled can't help me carry it around. So I was hoping to do our shopping as close to our cottage as possible so that not everything has to go in a LARGE cooler for a long drive.

OK, so question to the group: how difficult IS the Hwy120 entrance? I have driven up to Glacier point with no issues, but a small twinge in my stomach going round that big hairpin turn. I've driven Tioga Pass Rd all the way to the eastern Sierra. In Rocky Mountain NP I've driven across Trail Ridge Rd (with sweaty palms, but I did it!) RMNP was two years ago. I've seen people call New Priest Grade Rd. an "easy drive" and I've seen people call it scary and they have said they drive in via Hwy140 which isn't too far out of the way...

Edited: May 13, 2021, 10:54 pm
Washington State
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7. Re: Stop for groceries/camp chairs/cooler between Sonoma & YNP?
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Do you have an insulated shopping bag that you could bring with you for this vacation?

Manteca is a good choice for shopping. Oakdale can work.

New Hampshire
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8. Re: Stop for groceries/camp chairs/cooler between Sonoma & YNP?
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PNWF, we had several but they have all migrated to other people's homes, lol.

But that is a good idea, and I think we could buy a few in Healdsburg, and even look for camp chairs around there, which would limit our need for a grocery stop to "groceries only" on our travel day.

Hoping there are some nice farm stands open along our way, too.

Santa Clara...
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9. Re: Stop for groceries/camp chairs/cooler between Sonoma & YNP?
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New Priest Grade is very short and not that bad. You can "drive "it on Google Map:

https://goo.gl/maps/ykpobNweYhpLEHv16

Someone did a drone video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQhjC1WmdLs

You are on the outside lane going up New Priest but it not that bad in most places as long as you go slow. If you want to be on the inside lane, then take the Old Priest Grade.

Here is a video comparing New and Old:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iseh_muFdq8

And a drone video of bicycles going up Old:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSKDRVPZESw

If you can drive Tioga Pass, you can do this.

There are a bunch of farm stands on 120 between Manteca and Oakdale. You can't miss them. We usually go to the grocery stores at Oakdale.

Edited: May 14, 2021, 1:58 am
Elk Grove...
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10. Re: Stop for groceries/camp chairs/cooler between Sonoma & YNP?
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RE: " I've seen people call New Priest Grade Rd. an "easy drive" and I've seen people call it scary and they have said they drive in via Hwy140 which isn't too far out of the way..."

The Old Priest Grade Road is about 2 miles long, climbing 2000 feet in elevation. It is quite steep, far fewer curves. The New Priest Grade Road (present day CA-120 highway) is about 5 mile long between the same 2 end-points. As you can imagine the difference between them. The grade is much more gentle but there are many more curves.

When I drive a good car (not the case when I was younger, 😁)... I always took the Old Priest Grade Road because it cuts my travel time. In the UP direction, think nothing of it. You won't notice anything. If your car has a good clutch, should be a piece of cake. On the DOWN direction though, it will be a bit demanding. Many drivers don't employ the "down shift" method to slow down the descend but only keep braking hard. If you down-shift to max or to 2, let the transmission slows down the vehicle without much braking, and focus on steering, it's not too bad.

The alternate route using CA-140 to reach Yosemite, from the same starting point of Manteca (using CA-99 followed by CA-140) at Merced, takes about 40 minutes longer. It is an easier drive, not only from the Old/New Priest Grade section, but also the rest of CA-120 between Groveland and Yosemite Valley. CA-120 goes up and down and with bends. CA-140 is one gentle grade gradually up to 4000' elevation entering Yosemite Valley along Merced River for about 1+ hour.

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