Friday, April 29, 2011

Days 5 and 6—Be sure to wear a flower in your hair...

We left camp early and headed for San Francisco. The first stop was the exploratorium, which we did not originally intend to be the activity for the whole day, but ended up being quite interesting. I highly suggest bringing my husband with you if you ever go, he´s got a knack for explaining why you should be excited about the exhibits. He says, ¨The people there are excellent at creating visually arresting, fun, interactive exhibits which also teach good science¨. After the museum closed we did our requisite drive over the golden gate bridge.

For dinner we chose Chinatown´s House of Nanking. We thought the food was excellent, especially the onion cakes.

We stayed the night at the Hotel North Beach. This was a really interesting experience, the hotel is in a obviously historic building in Chinatown next to the aforementioned restaurant. Shared washrooms are an interesting feature, but not a problem. In the evening, we got a little taste of why we don´t want to live in the big city anymore, with police blocking of the street in front of the hotel for some reason.

While wishing we could teleport back for lunch, we made our break the next day. On to Yosemite...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Days 3 and 4—Big Sur And Big Fishies

Note: Really far behind, as campgrounds with wifi are few and far between, as you can tell by my mention of free earth day coffee at Starbucks. But hey, the Starbucks I´m at still had an earth day shelf label up today.

So, on Wednesday night we drove all the way to Cambria, CA, home of the most expensive gas yet, only to discover that part of California had fallen into the ocean and blocked off Highway 1 right before the campground we wanted to stay at (Photo).

We ended up driving back to the motel 6 of the previous post. Some research revealed that a mudslide just north of our intended campground left us with one route. Conveniently, Nacimiento-Ferguson Road goes right through a military training base, which fortunately is open to public thoroughfare. The road then goes through a beautiful state forest until it reaches highway 1 at the ocean.

Limekiln State Park is clearly 5 star camping. Our campsite was shaded by redwoods and next to a rushing stream. The park goes from the ocean to the redwoods. There are three half mile trails to hike, with about the best amazing-sights-to-hiking-distance ratio you can get (unless of course you only like to see things if you have to walk all day to get to them). The first trail goes along Hare Creek and ends at a stand of redwoods around a small falls that flow into a pool. We hiked this trail before lunch.

After the first short hike we set up camp and I made some pasta with broccoli for lunch. I was very excited to eat my first broccoli in 3 months. No one believes how much I missed broccoli while in the Amazon! After lunch, we set out for the the remaining trails. The falls trail ends in this beautiful 100 foot waterfall.

Backtracking from the falls, we took the path to the Limekilns from which the park´s name derives. The area was originally a lime mine, and the lime was processed in four huge kilns. These ruinous edifices in the woods reminded us of something from LOST or a Myst game.

Afterwards we went down to the Ocean to watch the sunset and the waves.

The night was chilly, but our new double sleeping bag is super warm and the sound of the stream is wonderful white noise to cover the night sounds that tend to keep me awake in the tent.

In the morning we enjoyed warm showers (part of the 5 star accommodations) and set off for Monterrey. We gladly heard the news that highway 1 to the north was now open. After a beautiful drive we stopped at Starbucks to fill our mugs with free Earth Day coffee! Then off to the Monterrey Bay aquarium. The aquarium has a really artistic way of displaying the creatures, which made it a neat place to visit. I think sea anemones are my favourite.

After we throughly explored the museum, we found a British pub with a British waiter and had some fish and chips and cobbler. It was quite good, plus there was a nice fire in the restaurant.

Our planned campground for the night was full, but we found Bob´s Pine Grove (210 Golf Club Dr., Santa Cruz), which was pretty enough and quiet, surprising considering its proximity to downtown Santa Cruz. Also, warm showers!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Road Trip Days 1+ and 2

Intro Post to follow...

Day 1 is really 5 days, we left Santarém, Brazil on Friday via a line boat to Manaus, getting there on Sunday at noon. Monday morning began our massive circumnagivation of the Western hemisphere.

  • Manaus-Sao Paulo
  • 12 hour layover in Sao Paulo
  • Sao Paulo-Washington-Boston
  • Finally Boston-Baltimore (this looks familiar)-Las Vegas-Los Angeles
In LA (tuesday night) we had dinner with some friends, and then stayed with Vania, who was very helpful as a culture shock intermediary, being Brazilian and all.

Wednesday morning we got an oil change, then new tires (not expected :-/) and we were off to our first stop...Well, we didn´t quite get there, so here´s from a Motel 6 in the middle of nowhere!

Okay gotta go actually do stuff!