Sunday, March 30, 2008

Trinidad Bay, CA (Mon.3/24)

A bit cold, a bit windy, but it had great rocks to climb.

The rule of boys near water was proven yet again. Shae and Kobe were so surprised.

“It wasn't our fault, the water just came up on us”. It's called a wave, son. They are going all the time and quite predictable.

Nonetheless, we declare victory

Redwoods, Northern California (Sun.3/23, Tue.3/25)

We saw the redwoods in two places: Avenue of the Giants off Highway 101 and the Redwood National Park. The drive along 101 was fantastic for seeing the countryside – the mountainous terrain. At one point we ducked off 101 to do the Avenue of the Giants.

You can't really appreciate the size of these trees as there is so much that you can't see. For comparison, the Red Woods are taller but the Sequoias are bigger around. The fact that redwoods get to nearly 400 feet tall and Sequoias are merely 300 something doesn't hurt them as you can't tell the difference. The sequoias look bigger and are the more spectacular to see (I think). But, with that said – the redwoods were still mouth dropping.

Most of the trees were about 500 years old, though they frown on you cutting them down to count the rings, some are 2000 years old.

In the Redwood National Park we saw the aptly, but not so creatively named “Big Tree”. We checked it out and determined it was, a Big Tree.

Levi took 15 seconds to run around the Big Tree

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

San Francisco, CA (Sat.3/22)

We had the night before to see the bridge, but for our one full day in San Francisco: The fisherman's wharf area, the Hyde St. Pier and the cable car were the targets. One has to get tickets a few days in advance to go out to see Alcatraz and the fact that the water is cold and I've never made the swim TO Alcatraz, I thought it best to skip it this time.

The pier had many cool ships to go through. After clearly establishing that we were not going to play hide and go seek on the boats, it was a great tour for the whole family.

As you can see, home school is really going well...

One ore out of the water... and the boat... Luckily Kobe has Shae as his captain to bark out the orders.

Shae and his search for knowledge... and his shoe. While the search for knowledge hasn't ended (though it almost did), the shoe was recovered.

The line was a bit long for the cable cars so I, rather loudly, explained to the boys the many fatal accidents the cable cars have had over the years. I heard that the cable hasn't been checked in a long, long time... I hoped this would thin out the line a bit but, sigh...

I believe it is the only cable car system still running. As popular as it is, I think it will run a bit longer. At least until the cable breaks. The boys loved it and wanted to hang out the side which wasn't allowed.

San Francisco, CA 'da bridge (Fri.3/21)

Crisis Counseling Hot line sadly necessary

Standing in front of a chunk of the big cable

Fun amazing facts the boys liked: 80,000 miles of wires (little cables) used on this bridge

...and 2nd to parenting teenagers on the lowest job satisfaction score: painting the bridge – terrible work conditions and when you finish, you start over again.

Yosemite National Park - Day 4, CA (Thur.3/20)

Levi, Elan and I signed up for a photography class in Yosemite. We kept good records this time and the trip from our campsite to the Valley in Yosemite is 48 miles, taking 1 ½ hours and totaling 380 turns.We knew we'd be a bit out-gunned but not everyone had huge cameras and tripods... there were 3 of us anyway who didn't.
The class started at 9:00 so we could get to this waterfall's rainbow which only lasts about 10 minutes. This did mean we had to leave our campground at 7:00 but with the boys fully Dramamine'd, we were all set.

The class was good, but much of it was over my head (so to speak). I still tend to overexpose, but manage to accidentally get some good pics every once in a while. We picked up some good tips and it was great to do together.

It was hard to say goodbye to Yosemite.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Yosemite National Park - Day 3, CA (Wed.3/19)

Everyone but the driver is fully doped with Dramamine (though I was informed that that is not license to drive as fast I want on the twisties).

We brought the bikes which is a good way to see the large valley area.
My family, out standing in their field

At the end of the day we had pizza in the lodge

Another beautiful sunset at the end of the day

Yosemite National Park - Day 2, CA (Tue.3/18)

Going to see the Big Sequoia trees. In the winter, you can't drive the Sequoias, you must hike – great, I'd rather hike anyway. Kim wasn't feeling totally up to speed from a cold she had, so it's Dad and the boys. The trail to the trees was 2 miles uphill on a snow packed road. If you walked backwards it looked downhill but that didn't seem to help.

The trail was wide and in fact not a trail at all thus not fitting Kobe's description of “hiking”.

The gumption left Kobe quite quickly which left me holding the bag, or rather, Kobe... on my shoulders most of the way.

The trees were big, they were worth it.

Levi is holding the "fish" a bit closer to the camera to make the catch look a bit bigger than actual.

Some kids were sledding down the road on the sled that their dad used to pull them up the big long hill – which is much better than carrying them. Why are some people better informed than others? OK, why are so many people smarter than me? This was genius, pure genius – the trail was made for a sled. But, nowhere to buy a sled, not at this hour. So I carried Kobe back down the snowy road.

Big pine trees too! = Big Pine cones

Back to the truck – and listening to the Chronicles of Narnia (thanks Berryhops), I drove our crew back down the twisty road. I don't think I was driving faster than the day before, but when I turned around Kobe didn't look so good... before I could pull over he was puking all over himself, Mr. booster, Mr. backpack, his brother's backpack, book #1, book #2, the floor mat, the carpet and a few assorted other truck junk. Why do we have so much stuff in this truck? I had little sympathy for the boys complaining about how bad the smell was, but thankfully I didn't loose it and calmly cleaned the truck for the next 20 minutes. By then, Kobe was feeling all right, so we eeked our way the last few miles. It's all good.

Yosemite National Park - Day 1, CA (Mon.3/17)

After a long drive to the campground, it was quite dark for positioning the camper. It's “Silent Mode” for the kids when we are “on approach” to the campsite as I like it quiet to focus on what I'm doing (it's the guy mono-tasking thing I suppose). Since the office was closed, we didn't have a map of the campground, but no fear we had our campsite number from the e-mail confirmation. Proceeding to the end of the campground and after figuring out that we must be the last site, I also discovered there was no turnaround. So, we had to back out, turn around and then back all the way through the campground to our site. Mr. Bollacke wouldn't have a problem backing this far in the dark, but I didn't enjoy this at all. It's all good, learning more patience.

Day 1 in Yosemite: Our campground is only 14 miles from Yosemite. That's the good news. The bad news is Yosemite is the size of the state of Rhode Island with incredibly mountainous, twisting roads. We arrived in the valley (40 miles later) with everyone but the driver feeling kind of woozy from the twists.

What a place! It's God showing off again! Described as a temple more beautiful than any made my human hands.

The temperature was in the 40's, but very nice in the sun. This waterfall (and following stream) was on the shade side – and very icy.

We liked this sign, though Shae saw it as a challenge...

...and welcome to Yosemite

We didn't do any major hikes but enough to see the big stuff in the valley. So much showing off to see, so little time.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Pressley's, Acton, CA (Sun.3/9-Sun.3/16)

The Pressley's – a great family of 2

We hadn't seen them for 1 ½ years - since they left Minnesota. Other than the fact they are living in the land of 10 mile drives which are 1 hour commutes, they are doing really well. While they were busy much of the time with school and teaching, we still had time for some fun including a fantastic hike at Vazquez Rocks. Here's a bad picture of some of the different movies / TV shows that have been filmed here. Some are animated movies... I'm not sure how that works exactly.

"Why can't I hang over the edge, dad? I did it a minute ago when you weren't looking."

They've got a house on a hill (looking at the back of the house, down the backyard hill)...

The Pressley campground is a nice spot! – a few less
trees across the way because of forest fires last year.

We had a cheesy movie night: King Kong ('74 version) and Godzilla. It was a great duo combo – except for the fact that Kobe cried after King Kong died... sigh...

We finished our great stay by going to church with them Sunday morning. They attend a lively, relatively new church where the gospel is preached – we really enjoyed it. Kong-sized thanks to the Pressley's for hosting us and for your friendship!