Made it to the West Coast! It's a weird feeling, time is both flying by and crawling all at the same time. On one hand, I can't believe that it's already been almost a month. At the same time though, it feels like months ago that we arrived at our first stop in Baltimore. I guess that's what happens when you pack so much in every day, between driving and sightseeing. Anyway, Jeff left off in San Diego with his last blog, so that's where I'll pick up. Things have been a little different since Jeff left. We miss his company of course, but also miss splitting things like food and fuel 5 ways. Seems like a small difference, but at this point in the trip it's starting to add up. Everybody's wallets are getting a little bit lighter, and we're wishing we didn't open them quite so often the first few weeks. Travel fatigue is definitely starting to set in a little bit too, with everyone just a little more irritable these days. Still enjoying every day though, and trying to soak in every city and national park as much as we can.
Our time in San Diego got off to a bit of a rocky start....we stopped at Ballast Point Brewery on our way into the city for a beer, and came outside to find our generator stolen off the deck of the bus. Someone had cut through the cable lock and straps that we had securing it and locking it in place. We filed a report with the police, but they weren't able to recover it. Fortunately, the generator wasn't absolutely necessary for our use of the bus, so we've been able to live without it (and without our AC). But the financial loss still hurts. Apart from that however, our time in San Diego was great. We met up with our friend Kathy, and she showed us around for a few days. We walked the boardwalk, hiked Torrey Pines, explored Little Italy, and bar-hopped in Pacific Beach. We also ate our weight in burritos, at least I did.
Leaving San Diego, we stopped for lunch with Shane's distant cousins in Mission Viejo, which was a pleasant surprise considering he didn't know they lived out there until about a week beforehand. We chatted with them for awhile on their back patio, and they showed us around their property. After some parting words of advice and well wishes, we took off for Newport Beach, where Angie (another friend of ours) lives. She showed us around the area, taking us to Sprinkles (a local cupcake/ice cream shop), Balboa Island, Fashion Island, and Tokyo Table for some great Asian food. We left for L.A. late that night, and slept in a Walmart outside the city.
In the morning, we said our goodbyes to Jeff, who had to head to LAX to catch his flight while we hiked Runyon Canyon Park, a good hike that would've been slightly better if the weather had cooperated. It was foggy, which took away from the views a bit, but we still enjoyed seeing the mansions lining the Hollywood hills. Later in the day at Griffith Observatory, the fog broke a bit, and we caught a decent glimpse of the Hollywood sign. We also confirmed what we had been told: that the bus wasn't exactly the ideal form of transportation in a city like L.A., where everything is a decent drive away and parking can be a nightmare. The traffic is no joke, and we learned that the hard way. That night, we went to a comedy show at the Comedy Store on Sunset Blvd., which didn't disappoint and kept us laughing the whole time. In the morning, we drove out to Santa Monica, where we spent a much-needed day at the beach. It's a real nice area, and we got some food and drinks by the water before calling it a night. In the morning, we hit the road for Sequoia, opting for the scenic route along the coast, taking us through Malibu and Ventura. We enjoyed the views from this drive, and the fact that we avoided the heavy traffic of going back through the city.
Sequoia and King's Canyon
We arrived in the park in time for a quick hike to the General Grant tree, a massive Sequoia tree not far from our campsite in King's Canyon. We cooked dinner and spent the night by the fire, and it was nice to relax a bit after all the rushing we'd been doing on the trip. The following day, we climbed Moro Rock, taking in some breathtaking landscapes. We also hiked to Crescent Meadow and Tharp's Log, a cool fallen tree that had been turned into a temporary home by Hale Tharp in 1861. Next was Chimney Tree, a large Sequoia that had partially burned out now hollow and open to the sky. Last but not least was the General Sherman Tree, which is technically the largest tree (by volume) in the world. We could see why....it was pretty damn big. Our drive back to the campground was capped off with an amazing sunset (the best Shane has ever seen if you ask him). We repeated the previous night's activities, cooking tacos and hanging by the fire before going to sleep.
In the morning, we hit the road bright and early for Yosemite, where we are currently. Our first day here has been....interesting... but I'll save that for our next blog.
That's all for now,