The Golden State

Here are just a few photos of our travels so far. Peter and I left camping in Big Sur, and traveled up to the Bay Area, where my brother and sister-in-law live. We got to stay with them while we figured out our road trip routes.

After a few days of prepping and resting, we hit the road to Tahoe and Yosemite Valley. We decided to drive all the way around Lake Tahoe, stopping off at several vista points and state parks. It had snowed the night before we arrived and everything was covered in a beautiful dusting of bright white snow. The vivid blue skies, bright evergreens, and crystal blue waters of Lake Tahoe were a perfect contrast for the white snow covered boulders and ground.

Next, we headed south to Yosemite Valley. On our way, we passed amazing mountain roads, reservoirs and lakes, snow covered valleys, and sun beaten deserts. As we drove into Yosemite Valley, we were greeted first with a prescribed fire on the northern end of the National Forest. Then we were covered in a canopy of towering sequoias. As we drove deeper into the valley, the sides shot upwards into huge, sheer cliffs, and we were totally consumed by the monolithic formations.

We spent a day hiking toward Upper Yosemite Falls, and then to Vernal Falls. It was over 10 miles of hiking in one day, but we wanted to get as much in as we could in our 48 hour stay. The day we left we hiked up to Mirror Lake, and then on our way out of the valley, we hiked up to Bridal Veil Falls. Next time we plan to spend more than a couple days there, hopefully exploring into the wilderness. 

Once we got back to the Bay Area, we took advantage of the opportunity to visit with my family (uncle, aunt, cousins, grand cousins, second cousins, brother, and sister-in-law). Then we packed our things, picked up Pete's little brother, and headed to Monterey. We got to spend a couple hours at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which was so magical, and then found a motel for the night and did some research for camping spots along the PCH toward San Clemente.

We camped one night in a little valley, where the cool air met the ocean air. It was quiet, with only four or five other campsites taken. The next day we drove down the coastline and enjoyed stopping at little hidden galleries and cafes. We stopped at Pfieffer State Park, did a short hike up into the old redwood groves and an even shorter hike to see a seaside waterfall. We camped one more night along that stretch of coast. 

We arrived in LA on the eve of my birthday. I got to visit my good friend Sarah, and got treated to an amazing dinner out on the town.

I am extremely grateful for the friends I have all over the world, who drop everything when I text them 'I'M HERE' without much notice. I always feel warm and fuzzy inside when I think about all the love available to me.

The next day, we headed further south, to Seal Beach, to Peter's uncle's house. We spent the night and explored the next day. I got to see a long-time friend, Darrin, who was passing through the area on his way up to LA.

Now Peter, his brother and I are camped out at his aunt's house in San Clemente, getting festive for Thanksgiving and being thankful for the opportunity to see so many friends and family on this adventure. Pete's mom came in yesterday, and his cousins are filtering in as the holiday festivities near. It is exciting to be part of another person's family celebration. Although this is when I get the most homesick, I am thankful to have such a supportive, hilarious group of people to be surrogate family to me.

After the holiday, Peter and I will be heading down the coast to San Diego, go into Mexico, and then east, toward the Grand Canyon and eventually Texas and beyond.