Thursday, April 05, 2007

Around the world in 80 Days

Not really. But we did go around the state in 10 days. California is a big state. That's pretty impressive, huh? The orginal intent of the trip was for me to go down to San Diego to watch my adorable granddaughter for a week while my son was away in training and my daughter-in-law took four days of classes required for the daycare business she's planning on opening up. Somehow it morphed into a plan for the entire family to come along and make it a "vacation". It's hard to get my hubby to take a vacation, he's usually happier at home, and it's really complicated to set up pet sitters and the like if we're away for more then a day or two, but we managed to make it all work and off we went.

Since I travel a lot and hubby rarely travels (and hates car trips - almost as much as he's terrified of flying and as much as he's afraid of boats sinking and as much as he's worried about trains derailing - you can see why he doesn't get away much. I mean, what's left - traveling by horseback?), I tried to make it as fun as possible and let him make whatever choices needed to be made. Which route did he want to take? 395 down the back of the Sierras, I-5 down the middle of the valley, or 101 down the coast? He'd never gone 395, so he picked the mountains.

We stopped at a candy store near Carson City. This old miner was outside overlooking the store. Someone who makes William look tiny! Doesn't it look like he's about to pick up him up and say "Well howdy there little fellar!"

We were able to stop at Bodie. It's a ghost town that's now run as a state park in a "state of arrested decay." William and I visited there a couple of summers ago and loved it. Jeff was really excited about seeing it. We flew through the gates just fifteen minutes before they closed, leaped out of the car, threw our money at a ranger, and ran off to hit a few highlights.

It took the rangers a bit longer than fifteen minutes to get everyone rounded up so we had about a half hour. William and Jeff took a quick look through the downtown and then ran off to the cemetery. What I wanted to do most was take photos of some of the interiors of the buildings, in particular the mortuary which hadn't managed to get any good photos of on the last visit. I raced down to the main street only to discover my camera flashing a warning that my batteries were about to die - ack! When that happens I can usually turn my batteries over and get 2-4 more photos out of it before it gives up the ghost. This time, miraculously, I flipped the batteries over and got about 30 photos out of it! (Maybe because it was a ghost town?) I got a handful of shots that I really liked. I want to go back again and spend a whole day photographing the town in the different light of midmorning through late afternoon. Unfortunately they close well before evening - bummer. Maybe I'll take William and his buddies back camping nearby this summer.

You can't camp there, but you can camp nearby near Mammoth Mountain. William tried to argue we should come visit in the winter so he can go snowboarding while I'm busy taking photos. Uhm, I don't think I want to tackle these roads in snow. Here's the road from Bodie back out to the highway. Click on the photo and check out the long ribbon of more road off in the distance. Yeah. It really is in the middle of nowhere. And at 8,000, although it's supposedly open year round, I'm betting it's pretty dern inaccessible during the winter. It's amazing to think of how many people lived there in its heyday.

Jeff was really happy with our route. It was the perfect time to travel it - no snow on the road but gorgeous snow capped mountains. Jeff was very patient with me pulling over a dozen times to take photos. William groaned and complained. Some of the pictures turned out lovely, but none of them truly captured the detail and beauty of the colors and textures. Today I put up some more photos of Bodie at Laumes Studios and over the next week or so I'll share some of the other more picturesque travel pics over there.

We finished off the first day of the trip eating at a really great local restaurant in Bishop and then driving in the dark (which was okay, the southern half of the drive isn't as picturesque as the northern part) to Ridgecrest and stopping for the night. The next morning we drove through a lot more "middle of nowhere", this time desert nowhere. We zipped through quickly but oh, I'd love to have stopped in some of the odd little "towns". They had little signs calling them towns but they were really just collections of scrap metal and rocks piled into two or seven or thirty "buildings" and inhabited by desert rats. Talk about photo ops!

Just after noon we met up with Lisa and baby Joli out on Coronado Island for lunch and an afternoon of meandering. Joli had grown so much! We hadn't seen her since she was a month old. I was afraid she'd cry if we tried to hold her or love on her, but she was all smiles and curiousity.

After a nice lunch we wandered around looking at all the homes and gardens. There was everything from tiny beach cottages tucked into postage stamp lots to mansions that took up an entire block all by themselves. Lisa wants to live on the island but since even the tiny cottages start at around a million dollars, I think she'll have to make do with the fantasy.

Here were some moderate sized homes (for the area) with gorgeous cottage gardens.

Lisa said this lovely old girl is called the Mini Coronado, as she is done in the same style and colors as the Hotel Del Coronado.

Wouldn't you love to have enough time (or enough money to hire someone else) to maintain a boxwood shrub design like this in your garden?

We also walked around the shops. This shop had a window filled with flutterbys! That's Lisa and Joli outside on the sidwalk.

It was a relaxing first day of our visit before Lisa started classes the next day and we were faced with taking care of Joli all by ourselves. Since she has quite the reputation as a mama's girl, this was a daunting thought. We finished the day with a stop for tea and muffins. Here's Joli wearing shades and showing off that she's also a California Girl.

More later. Now it's time to unload the rest of the car and start in on the garage. Lisa is going to try to make it up for a visit in a month's time and so I've decided, insanely, that instead of having my yard sale at the end of the summer like I'd planned, I want to be ready to have it while she's here so she can have first dibs on anything and can help me. That means I have about four weeks to get ready. An impossible task. Just call me Don Quixote. I'll pretend my garage is a windmill.


Blogger magicalmuse said...

What a cutie pie! Bodie looks so neat. I went to a ghost town in Washington but it wasn't that great compared to the photos of your's.

5:51 PM  
Blogger Iggy said...

Wow your vacation seemed so cool! I came across your blog researching my own California road trip. My wife and I have been planning a California Coast trip for this summer (we live in LA), but traveling through the Sierra Mountains seems like an awesome idea too! One question though, for the most part, where did you guys stay? Hotels, motels, friend's places? I personally prefer camping, but the wife wants nothing to do with sleeping in a tent. I know there are websites out there like (or any other major Cali city for that matter) that focus on finding you economy hotels for just such a trip... is this the way to go?

5:01 PM  

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