Friday, 26 August 2011

Californication - Lakes, Fires, Bears and Valleys

Well the first half of the road trip could be categorised as the fun/rowdy half whereas we slowed the pace down for the second half of the trip and focused more on natural beauty.

The first stop now we were back in California was Lake Shasta, named after a 14,000ft mountain nearby where I assume the river originates. This was a nice place, but with red coloured mud dashing the shore. Climbing down to the cove was rather rocky but fun none the less. On the first night some bikers had a domestic in the pitch next to ours, and this got pretty out of hand.... luckily nothing too serious happened and they packed up and left the same night.

Like I said, we quitened down and spent our 3 days in Shasta playing cards, swimming, writing and taking some photographs.

The moon and tree line
Lake Shasta
After Shasta we headed off for a quick trip to Reno, Nevada to show Savage a real american casino. Reno is a funny little city, basically Vegas' poor little brother where proper addicted gamblers go, so bit of a dive. Getting out of Reno almost as quickly as we arrived we headed to the oasis that is Lake Tahoe. Not strictly speaking any kind of Oasis, Lake Tahoe was still surrounded by snow capped mountains. Despite this the water was lovely and we spent a lot of time in this just like Shasta.

The other important thing that happened in Lake Tahoe was I saw a bear in our campsite, which was fun. I woke Welsh up to see it but it had ran away by then, I just left Savage alseep in the tent, figuring ignorance is bliss.

Campsite at Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

On the next leg of the drive we drove past a forest fire, which from the distance looked like a volcano exploding, this in itself was quite epic...

Forest Fire
Being the winging people we are, we left it too late to find a campsite in Yosemite. So we stayed at Tuolumne Falls, still within the park but a bit further out. Yosemite is an awesome valley of huge Granite slabs of rock. El Capitan is the largest free standing granite monolith. We got a freee shuttle around the valley, climbed to the bottom of Yosemite falls for a quick swim underneath a waterfall before bouldering back down to take in a few more sites.

Lake Elizabeth

Yosemite Valley

The Sentinel?

Yosemite Falls

Posing for the view
Continuing the lack of planning, our next stop off was also prevented by campsites being fully booked, but by a weird coincidence of fate, Felix had got in touch to say he was back in California and we could stay with him in Palo Alto. Palo Alto is quite nice, posh and expensive though. Being very close to Silicon Valley everyone seems to be a young professional working for some internet company.
We enjoyed some happy hours and eventually met Felix and went to an English pub where they served proper ale and even had cider! On day two, thoroughly knackered from camping we did absolutely nothing before heading off to San Francisco a few days earlier than planned.

Palo Alto approach
In San Francisco, I ate lots of chowder and did the few tourist things I still hadn't managed to do - Alcatraz, Angel Island and Coit tower. We returned to a life of drinking and this of course once again ended in hilarity. An epic fail of a pub crawl, a 28 dollar breakfast and a lot of headaches to say the least.
San Francisco

Fog rolling in

Am now in LA where I am putting my feet up, doing nothing much at all to recuperate for what should be an interesting leg of the travels in Central/South America. Next stop Panama!

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