Dom: One day we drove out to Joshua Tree National Park, made famous by the U2 album. On the way we had to stop at a Wal-Mart on the highway so I could have a wee. The place was so big it was scary. I couldn't see the walls, that's how big it was. Made a mental note to keep C and Mum away from this shop.
Our day at Joshua Tree was great. The scenery was bizarre. The trees and landscape look like something from a Dr. Seuss book. We stopped along the way for a picnic and there was no shortage of wildlife to keep us company. Very beautiful place.
Highway 1 on the west coast of the USA is fairly classed as one of the great coastal drives. It was difficult keeping the car on the road and be able to look out past the cliffs to the ocean at the same time. We were headed to San Francisco.
Had a stop in Santa Barbara. This place was just for rich people. You could just tell. The fountain by our restaurant of choice for lunch had real turtles swimming about in it. Even the second hand shop we went in had brand new books, not a scruffy paperback in sight. We also had a quick look-in on Carmel, the town that Clint Eastwood is mayor of. Everything appeared to be in order so he must be doing okay.
Also passed a lot of people parked up at a random spot on the side of the highway and felt we should be nosy. Good idea, there were a whole load of seals flopping around on the beach with their pups.
As we drove north the weather deteriorated. By the time we reached San Francisco it was raining on and off. We liked San Fran... but didn't have nearly long enough to explore. Maybe next time. We did use the famous cable cars though, and had a look at the Golden Gate Bridge, with a good view to Alcatraz. In town we went to Union Sq and Macy's (-a department store! I was glad have ticked that one off the list of things to do in San Francisco), Lombard Street (the crazy, twisty road that was made so because it was too steep even by San Fran standards), and a little look around Ashbury-Haight (flower power central).
C- From San Francisco we started the long journey to Vegas with an overnight stop at the Sequoia / Kings Canyon National Park. Sequoia is home to the 'General Sherman' the largest living thing in the world. (It's a tree.) They measure this by volume (which to me wasn't as impressive as the huge Kauri trees in New Zealand as they were wider and older.) Still, i'm not saying that they weren't impressive, they were still big ass trees! The 'General' lived in the Giant forest surrounded by many beautiful huge Sequoia trees.
The most bizarre thing as we made our way into the National Park was that all of a sudden we were surrounded by snow. None of us had a clue that would happen but it made for some very pretty scenery.It didn't feel like we had climbed any high mountains but all of a sudden it was like we were back in the Alps. It also reminded me how much I miss snow! 8 months is a long summer. We stayed in the park overnight in a beautiful wooden cabin lodge in the middle of the forest.