Day 12: Birgit took us to Big Basin to see the beautiful and majestic Redwood Forests
A lot of the trees are burned out inside, but are still growing and alive. This shot was taken inside a tree trunk.
Cute couple :)
Big Basin has the Mother and Father of the Forest
You can clearly see the Mother of the Forest sticking out
Here's the Father of the Forest-explanation. When we first read that they're the tallest and the widest trees, we were like "Guess which is which..." - only to find out the Mother is the tallest and the Father is the widest. Birgit and I are OK with the name-giving again. :p
Father of the Forest
These trees are so amazing...
You can easily get a neck-cramp in Big Basin
Cute little bridge
Cute guy in forest
Birgit had the idea for this shot and took it! :)
Shaun trying to count how old this tree is. (He gave up ;))
Neat trees all around
All 3 of us! We sacrificed ourselves to the mosquitoes for this shot. I was flailing my arms right until the timer went off. :p
Huge tree trunk with markings of what happened over the years (centuries) as this tree grew
This tree was 1465 years old. Digest that for a minute. It was interesting how the tree rings got thinner and thinner over time. :( (Pollution?)
"Blue Rock Shoot" in Saratoga, CA. We had really yummy sandwiches here, on their back terrace.
Saratoga has a really cute downtown
Sushi!!! Birgit and Brian took us out to their favorite sushi restaurant in downtown Mountain View, CA: "Sono Sushi"
Stuffed with goodness. Shaun and I had been looking forward to sushi since driving through Kansas. :p
Day 13: Birgit and Brian are taking us to Big Sur. I'm holding the world's best bubble tea (green apple flavor) from "Verde Tea Cafe".
Men in ocean
Women on beach. Ocean cold.
OK, I'll get my feet wet *shiver*
Men walking. Women following. :p
The cutest little house in Carmel-by-the-sea, whose former mayor is Clint Eastwood
Enjoying a chai latte and a really good pretzel
Beautiful Big Sur
I love flower close-ups...
Bridge close-ups are cool, too
Shaun's just trying to steal the Nikon :p
So beautiful and serene
Just happy :)
Another couple that is just happy :)
It was freezing cold.
Beautiful little waterfall in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Birgit took this artsy shot
Beginning of waterfall...
The whole shebang
These 2 are so cute
Don't I look like a pro? :)
Close-up of Shaun's hiking stick (yes, he carved it himself)
Cute little bay
Sunglasses + hat = no squinting :p
Can they be any cuter?!? ;)
Same for those 2. :)
Our blanket on a secluded beach we went to. You can hardly see it, but I wrote "B & B" and "S & S" in the sand. :)
Relaxing and girl-talking
Meanwhile, the guys are in the water again. Brian: "You wanna play frisbee?" Shaun: "OK." (Birgit will laugh at this :p)
Brian in action
Shaun in action
This beach is actually famous for its purple sand
Brave Brian in the ice-cold ocean!
He's wet and cold and kissing Birgit ;)
More of my sand art
Darkness and light
Neat water caves
This is my Fred Flintstone moment. You had to run really fast to get anywhere, with the sand giving way so quickly. (The guys went up there because they thought it was neat how the sand filled back in when they dug it out. Yeah. ;))
Shaun decided he wants to relive his childhood (spent at the Indiana Dunes) and roll down the sand hill. Brian looks on in amusement.
Sandrolling in progress. Yes, I found sand in those shorts even after 2 washes.
And the guys climb another sand hill
Don't laugh. It was *very* windy. And my hat protected me from the sandblasts.
You can see the purple sand around the grass
Like I said, it was *very* windy
Braving the wind for a cute picture
The only picture of all 4 of us
Such a beautiful, secluded beach
Darkness and light again
Dinner at the "Fish Hopper" in Monterey, CA. Fan-freakin-tastic!!! These were the appetizers.
My "Hawaiian Trio": Seared Ahi Tuna, swordfish, and sesame-crusted halibut on coconut rice with mango chutney. I am in heaven!!!
Shaun's prawns with squid and crab on risotto
Day 15: We had to leave Birgit and Brian. :(((
Lunch at "Lanna Thai" in Sacramento, CA
Their Thai iced tea was presented quite lovely. The food was sub-par, so no pics of it. :p
Entering El Dorado National Forest
Another burnt down patch of forest :(
On our way to Lake Tahoe
First glimpse of Lake Tahoe
South Lake Tahoe, a town that looks a lot like a Swiss mountain village
Beautiful Lake Tahoe
I'd love to have a vacation here
Us being beautiful at Lake Tahoe :p
Very refreshing and yummy frozen yogurt
I put mochi on mine. And raspberries. And stuff. Yum.
Map of Lake Tahoe
Another map of Lake Tahoe.
The minute you cross the stateline to Nevada, there's a casino. As Shaun said: "Welcome to Nevada. GAMBLE!"
Neat tunnel on the left. Ours looked boring.
What's that following us...?!?
It's our car! :D
Sunset in the rearview mirror. Driving East means finally no sun in your eyes anymore at sunset.
Elko, Nevada. It has to rank high on the "trashiest town ever"-list. If you think my language is too harsh, go there.
Overheard at dinner as we were surrounded by X-rated conversations: "The first time I ever showered with someone other than my cousin or my grandma..."
We stayed at the Thunderbird Motel. It was actually surprisingly nice considering the town.
Mileage starting out on Day 16
Us on Day 16
Stateline to Idaho
Our progress so far...
Ahhh sucky Idaho. The state that put Shaun in what was officially the worst mood of the trip thanks to its lack of clear traffic signs and its abundance of insane construction.
Looks like Kansas, only greener :p
Our assortment of bugs on the bumper. The one on the far left is from Kansas, next to it, we have... :p And at this point, we hadn't even been through the highest concentration of bugs on the trip yet: South Dakota.
This car needs a wash. Bad. Shaun is having fun with the crazy soap-squirting-brush.
I thought we'd get stuck in a mountain of soap
The "Burger Stop" in Twin Falls, Idaho. Excellent burgers and one of the few things Shaun liked about Idaho. ;)
Shaun's ortega burger with peppers on it
My bacon cheeseburger. Really good.
Idaho. The smudges in most of the road pictures are bugs on the windshield. ;)
Idaho surprisingly has many caves
The Mammoth Cave
An ice cave. We were *that* close to taking the tour, but it was 45 minutes long and we were already behind schedule.
(Thanks to Idaho's lack of clear street signs we lost our way twice - the only times that happened on the entire trip.)
So instead, we took pictures of Native Americans on giant neon green plastic dinosaurs. :p
...and a giant Silke on a neon green turtle.
(On a sidenote, the porta-potty in this picture made for Shaun's worst bathroom experience of the entire trip. I could write a book about America's weirdest bathrooms now.)
I'm driving. Or rather, waiting for 20 minutes at yet another construction zone because they narrowed it to one-lane-traffic for about 20 miles. I'm not even kidding. In one of the construction zones, we had a lead car driving ahead of everyone!
Picture-taking while waiting
Beginning to see the "Craters of the Moon" landscape
"Craters of the Moon" National Park in Idaho
This is all lava. Idaho has a lot of volcanic activity.
Little trees coming up everywhere
I like my naked trees. ;)
We walked up this lava mountain. Turned out to be surprisingly steep.
The lava stones glisten in the colors of the rainbow when you look closely
I have to admit, when I first read "Craters of the Moon" on the map, I expected something else, but this was new
Sole tree on top of the lava mountain
Us in front of that tree. This shot took a while to set up on the tripod. During the first try, Shaun was still running towards me when the camera snapped the picture. :p
Artsy composition: Our shadows across the tree roots
Our little car all alone in lavaland :)
Another road that suddenly disappears ;)
The Arco Number Hill in Arco, Idaho. Read for yourself what it's all about.
Numbers on the mountain
Close-up of numbers. Who picks the hard-to-see spots?!?
No idea what the "A" is all about. Arco?!?
Idaho Falls, ID
These must be the name-giving falls. They also have an extremely patriotic watertower.
"Brownstone Brewing Company" in Idaho Falls, ID. This picture happened to capture our slightly less than competent waiter.
Shaun's chicken-something. Yum.
I had Idaho trout with an Idaho baked potatoe. Very yummy.
Mileage starting out on Day 17
Us on Day 17
Shaun trying to be all Zen about waiting in yet another single-lane construction zone
We found an actual drive-up rootbeer stand: "Frostop" in Ashton, ID
They actually served us at our car
Shaun proclaimed he would now be able to forgive Idaho because it gave him an honest to goodness drive-in
I think we were waiting in yet another construction zone on our way to Yellowstone...