Yosemite resort pioneers covered wagon camping in California

Crossing the bumpy prairies in covered wagons would have been so much nicer for the pioneers if those prairie schooners had air conditioning.

Maybe even a Keurig coffeemaker.

Alas, they did not. But this is 2018, and covered wagons can be tricked out with all manner of modern-day amenities.

Yosemite Pines RV Resort and Family Lodging in Groveland, Calif., has done it.

The resort, 22 miles from Yosemite National Park’s western entrance, made over six Conestoga covered wagons for “glamping” — camping with creature comforts.

The wagons “look like an incredible way to live out your wild west fantasies,” writes Travel and Leisure.

Each wagon has a king-size bed, one or two sets of bunk beds, heating, AC, a refrigerator and a microwave, according to a Yosemite Pines news release given to McClatchy.

“If guests don’t want to make coffee over the morning campfire in the fire ring next to each wagon while enjoying breakfast at the picnic table, they will be able to use the provided modern Keurig coffee maker,” the release says.

The one drawback, noted Afar travel magazine, “is that they don’t have private ensuite bathrooms, but restrooms and showers are located just a few steps away.”

The Conestogas — American-made, the resort says — are wider and deeper than the ones pioneers traveled in. Horse-drawn Conestogas like these, with their iconic heavy canvas covers, were used to haul freight — not people — from town to town in Pennsylvania and other Eastern states in the early to mid-1800s, according to History.com.

They are not to be confused, the History website says, with the smaller, lighter-weight, more agile prairie schooners that carried pioneers west.

Thrillist called the new glamping wagons “essentially decked-out rustic tents on wheels. They look just like the ox-pulled covered carts you remember from the 8-bit Oregon Trail you may have played in elementary school, except they’re outfitted with modern-day amenities, and your chances of contracting yellow fever are significantly lower.

“There’s even a community swimming pool and volleyball courts on-site, which may not be authentic to the pioneer era, but hey, neither is penicillin.”

The resort has received hundreds of responses on its Facebook page since announcing the installation of the wagons last month.

A stay in one of the wagons costs from $139 to $279 a night depending on the season, according to the resort’s website.

What would Laura Ingalls Wilder say?

Speaking of whom, though Yosemite Pines says in its release that it is the first location in northern California to offer a covered wagon glamping experience, the place Wilder called home in De Smet, S.D., offers overnight stays in covered wagons, too.

The four wagons sit on land homesteaded by Charles Ingalls, Laura’s pa, according to the Ingalls Homestead website.

Just bring your own linens and pillows.

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