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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Yosemite, LA, Gas, and Photography.

Well, let's do a recap of the last three days, shall we?? I don't have any of my photos uploaded yet as it's been a crazy three days, but they'll come.

Tuesday, Matt, Curt and I woke up at 4 am and set out for Yosemite National Park. We were trying to hit the sunrise, so we headed early. We actually missed the exit on the way and so we missed the sunrise by a little bit, but I did soak it up from the car. That can sometimes be the best way - to not have to focus on the photography and to just absorb what is going on around me. Anyway, we got to the park around 8 am. It was CHILLY!! I was wearing shorts, sweatpants over them, a t-shirt, a long sleeved shirt, AND a fleece on top. It was probably 65 degrees. The lowest it got was 57. I know, that's practically HOT to Minnesotans after a long, cold winter, but come on, I have been in Hawaii for the last year! I need to reacclimate!

We spent 4 hours riding bikes around Yosemite, looking at the different vistas etc. It is now fall in CA and it is DRY, so the waterfalls that run wild in the spring were mere trickles right now. That was a bummer, but still... the park was breathtaking. I got a great close up on a monarch butterfly on the pavement. I think it was really chilly and was moving slow. After the photos, I picked him up and moved him to safety on a fern. We saw a few deer on the park [one was soooooo skinny, its ribs were sticking out!], a really hungry and tame squirrel, and a lot of ravens. No bears, much to Matt's disappointment. Matt and Curt went and explored the pools and the rocks at the base of the falls a little, and I stayed behind and hung out on the rocks. I will have photos up soon, I promise! We want to go back sometime in the spring, and maybe we'll go with my parents. They really want to see it someday too.

I started to get the itch for KFC after only a little breakfast very early in the morning and a lunchable at about 9, so we started on the search for a KFC after we were done at Yosemite. The road out of the park was extremely windy, so I was battling motion sickness a lot of the time, but I made it ok. I just stuck my head in the middle of the seats so I could see the road. We drove in the direction of Fresno and passed through a moderatly sized town on the way. We were busy scanning the building and suddenly Matt says, "Laura, look up ahead!" I did and a giant KFC sign beckoned to me. I gasped and said "I was praying there was one here!" We drive up, turn into the parking lot, and peer into the restaurant. We were met with a dark building [it was almost 3 or 4 pm by this time.] We drove around back to the drive through and saw the menus sliding out of the drive through board, and some laying on the ground. Apparently people in that little town were not KFC fans like me! After some more gasping and grumbling, the search for a KFC continued. We reached Fresno and finally found what we were looking for. I think I scarfed down my food faster then, than I had ever done in my life.

After Fresno, the drive to LA continued on. We ended up staying in a hotel right on the northern edge of LA, still kind of in the 'grapevine' or the mountain range the runs north of the city. I loved those rolling hills/mountains there! So pretty. We were so tired, we slept like rocks from 10 to 8.

We woke up the next morning and had breakfast at the hotel. Afterwards, we headed for LA, to pick up our Escape. Can I just say how fantastic GPS's are!?! Curt has gps capability in his cell phone and that was so great to have as we were trying to find the VPC car site. A map can only get you so far. We found the place without any trouble, and reclaiming the Escape was so easy! For all the hassle that the military makes you go through to ship your car, reclaiming it is so easy. We were ready to hit the road in no time. Curt headed back to Sacramento the fast way, in the 5, and Matt and I decided to take the coastal Hwy 1 back up north. We left Compton and headed out of LA.

The drive took us 11.5 hours total. We went through LA city limits, continued into wine country, saw smoke from forest fires, drove through some lovely towns that reminded me a lot of Brainerd, and then finally headed to the coast. We stopped at a lot of beautiful vistas to take photos, including an Elephant Seal sanctuary. There were HUNDREDS of seals on the beach. Amazing to watch. [It made me yearn for a telephoto zoom lens!!!] We continued on and passed San Simeon. Suddenly we realized that we were in very desolate country, with ocean/cliffs on one side and rocky hills/mountains on the other, and very very few towns in between. The gas gage was slowly slipping below 1/4th of a tank. Our poor planning crept up on us. That put a damper on the drive and for the next 40 minutes the car ride was silent as Matt and I each prayed that we'd make it to a gas station in time. Sure enough, we rolled into Gorda and saw the heavenly sign "GAS". I was too busy praising the Lord and photographing the signs at the small two pump station that I didn't notice the price on the pump. 4.79 PER GALLON. Anyone who knows me and knows my frugal [cheap] ways know that I about had a heart attack. I had to fight off the urge to freak out, and reminded myself that we were almost out of gas and that we didn't have any other alternative. We didn't know when the next station would come, so we just decided to fill up. I let the pump roll as high as I could and that I kind of snapped and made Matt tell the guy that he could stop there. 12 gallons later [you can do the math!!] we were ready to continue the drive. For the next 2 or 3 hours, we coasted around winding curves and stopped at points overlooking the water. I fell in love with these neat weed things that were everywhere on the rocks. I will post pictures since I have no other way to really describe them. We watched the sun set right next to a cow pasture. I caught a couple cute photos of a curious cow. I think I overstayed my welcome with the camera though because after about 30 seconds, he took off trotting away from me. Maybe he got camera-shy.

After it got dark, our main goal was to get back to Sacramento. It was still a 5 hour trip from sun set though. We went east after Monterey and followed the freeway to Sacramento. The trip was great and eventful. Just the kind of adventure that makes for great memories. I LOVED Big Sur. We didn't stop at all, but from what I saw as we passed, that will be a place I want to visit again someday. [I keep saying 'someday' and I just really hope we get to it all!] Maybe when we come back to do Yosemite in the springtime some year, we can hit up Big Sur also. It looks right up my alley - small town, trees, nature, small inns/lodges, and places to eat. Hikes and outdoor adventure all around.

We got back to Sacramento at 1115 pm and we basically walked in from the car, brushed our teeth, and passed out. Again, I slept like a rock! [I have been not sleeping very well since pretty much the time I moved to Hawaii. I wake up all the time at night, and since I've been here in CA, I have not woken up once time in the middle of the night. It is seriously a miracle for me. I think it's a combination of doing a lot during the day so I'm really tired at night, and it being COOL enough to sleep at night! I sleep so much better when it's not 80 degrees out at night.]

Today, Matt and I went to Curt's office and then along with Ryan [Curt's coworker], we went to a 50's diner for lunch. Great food! We proceeded on to an indoor climbing wall! It was really fun, I did three climbs. My forearms are going to be sore tomorrow! Curt and Ryan come a lot, and they are really great. They can do climbs where you have to swing your body out, away from the wall and reach up to grab the next hand hold. Pretty neat. I have a few photos of that as well, to come!

Tonight, we had a FANTASTIC dinner of a roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, and broccoli. Curt makes the broccoli with browned butter and some special cheeses and man, was it great!! I ate like it was thanksgiving!

Tomorrow is almost Friday! I can't believe it'll be a week since we left Hawaii. It feels like we have been gone for longer than that, kind of. So much has happened this week. Matt hasn't shaved his beard in 5 or 6 days. It is pretty scruffy. He's working towards a goatee, but wanted to get a good base of hair before he shaved it down to a goatee. Now he's just anxious for his hair to grow out. I have been having some stabs of nostalgia where I miss Hawaii and our friends there, every so often. I think of Kaylee and Andrew often; it seems like the radio stations always have songs on that we have played during our Rockband sessions! MISS YOU GUYS!!! Can't wait to see you in December!

Not sure of our plans tomorrow, but Saturday will be San Francisco. I'm excited for that!! Then Sunday we have a bbq at Matt's grandparent's house, and we head out for Minnesota on Monday. Can you believe it's October already?? WOW!

Photos to come! I just got the Lightroom program tonight, so I have some monkeying to do with it. I'm so excited. Thank you, Curt! :)

Thanks for checking in, and stay tuned for photos of Yosemite and the coastal Hwy 1!!

xoxo, Laura

1 comment:

  1. I can picture your adventures and i love reading your vivid stories. Hope you'll continue to have a great time and I'll pray for no more crazy gas prices ;) Stay safe on the road and take care! God bless!



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