Land of the Giants

29 05 2015

“Now that San Francisco’s gone, I guess I’ll just pack it in.”

North from The Bay, we planned on two nights right outside the Trees of Mystery, one of the biggest tourist traps on the West Coast.  But we didn’t care.  We wanted to see giant redwoods, and this place had them.  Mystic Forest RV Park was one of the most pleasant campgrounds we visited, and it was a short mile walk to the SkyTram to the tops of the trees.  And Paul Bunyan, no less.

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Frogger, lower right.

The walk through the trees to the Tram was really cool.  Massive trees, everywhere.  Carvings, statues, and even “singing” cathedral trees littered the half mile walk through the forest.  Space, mountains, skyscrapers, and canyons have a way of making a person feel small.  But these trees had a mystical way of belittling you.  I am often given to hyperbole, but the giant redwoods of Northern California remain one of the most impressive sights I’ve seen in this great land of ours.

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The 2,000 year old Brotherhood Tree stands at 297 feet tall, and boasts a diameter of over 19!!!!! feet.

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We do some legitimate camping.  Sort of.  In a home-on-wheels.





A Love-in There

29 05 2015

Well, maybe not the “Love-in” we were hoping for, and I don’t think any of us had flowers in our hair or beards, but we were ready for the Golden Gate City.  I flew into LAX at 6am, Thursday, May 21.  By 8 o’clock, Rosemary had thrown up, I  ripped a part of the metal trim from one corner of the RV on a telephone pole, I purchased a new and unnecessary water filter because I didn’t check ours for STICKS, and I had to own up to the nearly $300 bill that we incurred and the oil change/storage facility.  But that was just another day on the road!

We made it from the sterile traffic patterns of SoCal into the busy mist of San Francisco by mid-afternoon.  Parked, set up, and made our way nearly a mile away to the ferry that would sail us across San Francisco Bay.  Another two miles of walking across Fisherman’s Wharf and we found Pier 39, fish tacos, and scores of sea lions!  We would like to spend more time in the Gay Bay, but our visit coincided with Harvey Milk Day, and well, lets just say, that ain’t a festival for the kiddos if you know what I mean.  Anyways, the following morning, we drove to the Golden Gate Bridge (something we almost didn’t do), and jammed the theme song to “Full House” the whole time.  I sure had fun.  Not sure everybody else enjoyed that piece of nostalgia as much as I did.

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It was rather windy on the ferry to downtown San Fran!

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City of Angels

29 05 2015

They call Los Angeles “The City of Angels.”  I didn’t find it to be that, exactly.  But I’ll allow there are some nice folks there.  Course I can’t say I’ve seen London, and I ain’t never been to France.  And I ain’t never seen no queen in her danged undies, as the feller says.  But I’ll tell you what, after seeing Los Angeles, I guess I seen something every bit as stupefying as you’d see in any of them other places.  And in English, too.  So I can die with a smile on my face, without feeling like the Good Lord gypped me.

 

Well, L.A. was next, and what can you say.  The traffic reports are legit.  The smog complaints are too.  No point in ever visiting here, really.  But we managed a pretty solid time, all the same.  Thanks to the good people in our family.  If not for them, L.A. would hold NOTHING of value for me.  Except, of course, some of the places mentioned in The Big Lebowski.

I made it there for two days before I had to go work, but my Crew stuck it out for TWO WHOLE WEEKS!!!  A “medicinal” dispensary on every corner, hours just basically parked on the freeway, yeah, it was a blast.  We did get to see Malibu (“Stay out, deadbeat!”).  Visited the unparalleled In-n-Out Burger.  Had a blast on Santa Monica Pier, and even got in an Angels game (with Seth Smith hitting the eventual GW home run for the visiting Mariners).  So it wasn’t all bad.  But I can’t imagine anything that could get me to go back.

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In Malibu (a nice, quiet little beach community here)

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The In-n-Out Burger’s on Camrose.

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Papa Ryan got a Porsche.  Word.

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City of Angels

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Santa Monica Pier.  Pretty good spot for a ferris wheel

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So that’s Seth Smith at bat.  You don’t have to believe me.  I was there.  King Felix was on the mound for the M’s.  Nelson Cruz went yard too.

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Getty Museum.  Yeah, we do art.

 





Keep it Classy, San Diego

29 05 2015

We’ve been a to a lot of places this trip, and have experienced myriad climates.  But we had not ventured into the allegedly best weather in the country.  So we HAD to go to San Diego to see if it was true.  And, by golly, I suppose it was.  The waters of the Pacific are generally a little cold for my taste, but HAVE MERCY the weather was beautiful!  We procured a spot on a small strip of land in between San Diego Bay and the Pacific called Silver Strand.  Brother, I’m talking right on the beach for four nights, and we spent a wonderful few days enjoying the best that SoCal had to offer.  If you don’t count not fixing the gearbox on the slide motor (see a theme here?), this part of the trip was pretty much perfect.

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After kicking it on the beach for a day and a half, we headed into town to visit Old Town San Diego.  Often considered the birthplace of California, San Diego was the first Spanish settlement in the Golden State (ca. 1760s).  Some of the original areas of commerce and law are represented in a tourist-trappy yet quaint and enjoyable town square.  It was a really cool place to spend the afternoon.  And it was just a block or so from the Rockin’ Baja restaurant.  Which is worth mentioning because they make insane lobster tacos.  That’s right.  Lobster tacos.  Mic drop.

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The following day, we met up with Chris (of Cheeseburger fame), his wife, Monica, and their always smiling daughter Penelope at the San Diego Zoo.  The girls got along instantly, and everybody had a wonderful at perhaps the country’s finest zoo.

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Lots of wildlife at this place.

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Of course, the zoo’s most famous resident.

 

The sun was hot, but the shade was pleasant.  We really had such a blast in San Diego.  We are confident that we will spend some more time later this year on the next trip.

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Breezing through the desert

29 05 2015

Not too interested in the desert on this leg, we stopped for lunch in New Mexico, and for a brief overnight stay in Arizona, and that was it.  Didn’t really see much need to do a lot of exploring in the spoils of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo since we had spent some time there in the past few years.  We did, however, stumble upon a sight we are considering revisiting:  Picacho Peak.  Site of the westernmost battle of the American Civil War, this lonely 3,000 foot high protrusion of rock was astonishingly picturesque and exuded a sort of magnetic draw to it.  Despite the gearbox on the the slide motor taking a dump as we rolled in long after nightfall, this was a delightfully surprising highlight of our westward voyage.

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Heading West, Y’all

29 05 2015

After nearly six!!!!!!! consecutive weeks without the RV, we finally polished ‘r up and hit the trail.  Bregitte drove the girls and the rig from Jackson to Houston the day before I left work, and I flew into Bush something-or-other International in Houston where Kati and her crew picked me up.  Pretty sweet, since I haven’t seen them in quite a while.  They hung with us at the Houston RV campground, sampled some of the finest Mexican food the second largest U.S. city had to offer, then we were on our way.

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(We did remember Graham, despite his best efforts to go unnoticed and sneak off).

From Houston, we were bound for San Antone and the most famous outpost in American history, the Alamo.  Which is rather disappointing as far as memorable outposts go.  But they had a pretty sweet old-school firearms display that Rosemary quite enjoyed, so it was all good.

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(After a while, you just get used to public transportation, and eventually embrace it).

Then it was on to the equally famous San Antonio Riverwalk.  The usually pristine waters had turned murky on account of the rain, but it was a pleasant afternoon all the same.

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The next day was one of the most special days we’ve encountered on this whole trip.  We participated in mass (despite being manifestly un-Roman Catholic) at the Mission Concepcion.  The oldest unrestored stone church in America, Concepcion appears today much the way it did when it was commissioned in 1755.  It was truly a blessing to spend a splendid Sunday morning in this weathered house of God.

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On our way out of Tejas and into the deserts of the Southwest, we stayed one lonley, windy evening in Balmorhea State Park.  Could have been a nice time, but the wind was blowing 30+ mph, and the sign on the entrance of the park read “Beware of Rattlesnakes.”  So much for a relaxing stay.

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But that was Texas.  And the rest of the trip was not.





Easter

28 05 2015

Not gonna elaborate too much on another long stay in the Sip, but suffice it to say that we had a fantastic Easter.  (Also spent nearly a week in Arkansas, but that should be on the fishing part of the blog).

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