DAILY UPDATES.... This page will have updates from my trip, I'll try and post something everyday. If you have any comments or ideas please send me an email.

APRIL 6 - 12      APRIL 13 - 19      APRIL 20 - 26       APRIL 27 - MAY 3     MAY 4 - 20      MAY 21 - 27       MAY 28 - JUNE 5

JUNE 6 - 15       JUNE 16 - 30      JULY 1 -8      JULY 9 - 16

 

May 28 to 30, 2005
The first two pictures are from the drive to San Francisco last Thursday - I forgot to post them a few days ago. The pictures were taken on the road that leads to the "Lost Coast."

And, of course I had to get a picture of the cable cars while in San Francisco 

 

 

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A big fat happy cow!

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Redwood Trees

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Cable car on Hyde St. with Alcatraz in the background


May 31 to June 1 2005
Couch surfing went so well in Oregon that I figured I'd try my luck again while I was in San Francisco.

I met Heather, her husband Jared, Dixie and two other couples at a bar. After dinner and drinks the four of us went to the Lex (a lesbian bar) for a few more beers, but not before stopping at "Lube for Less" where Dixie made a few purchases.

After the having a few beers we headed back to Heather and Jared's (they're the people with the couch) place in Oakland. Jared has one of those things called a job, so he went to bed when we got home. Heather and I stayed up til 3am tweaking pictures and teaching each other new tricks in PhotoShop - those who enjoy photography will understand, the rest of you will think we're photo geeks.

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Dixie, J.B. & Heather at Lex

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Jared & Heather

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J.B. & Dixie


June 2, 2005
The trip moves to Yosemite National Park - the word on the street is that the waterfalls haven't looked this good in over 10 years - stay tuned!

I'm going to call Route 120 through central CA the windmill capital of the world (ok, maybe just CA) - anyway, the hills are covered with windmills and I couldn't resist getting a few pictures.

Big props to Sonora, CA - the main street in town is wired for the internet - just turn on your laptop, hit the "wifi" button and you're on the electronic super highway. If only they'd put a few electrical outlets next to the park benches I'd really be living large.

My nights always seem to end up with me having a few cold beers in a local bar - tonight's bar of choice was the Inn Zone (at the Days Inn hotel). I grabbed a bar stool around 10 pm and ended up closing the place. I was there all night chatting with biker Dave, bartender Ruth and a few of the other bar room characters.

Dave was in town to promote the upcoming Redwood Run - one of the last "old school" bike rallies left in the country (or at least that's what their website claims).

We talked for hours about bikes, bikers, photography, beer and of course our life experiences and philosophies (this is by far the favorite of ALL bar room conversation, and it only gets better as you have more beer)!

Bikers are nice people (and so are bartenders).

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Windmills

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Windmills along Rt. 120

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Dave, J.B. & Ruth (the bartender) at the  Inn Zone

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Sonora, CA: Inn Zone Bar

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The business hand!


June 3 to 5, 2005
I made it to Yosemite National Park - I'll be putting up a full gallery of pictures when I leave in a few days.

Just as I entered the park I saw a sign for a helipad - I had to check it out. What I found was a  fire/rescue helicopter perched on top of some mountain. The first guy I ran into told me it was his day off and that I should see his partner in the "tower." He said that I should demand Don (co-pilot) answer all my questions as I just paid 20 bucs to get into the park. Obviously that was the green light for me to have a few laughs with Don in the tower. We talked flying for a little while and then off I went. 

"No overnight parking" - oh please! I parked my car in the Yosemite Lodge guest parking lot on Thursday evening and by the time I got back to my car it was late, so why drive (it's about a 45 minute drive to leave the park)? I just rolled out my sleeping bag and went to sleep - what I neglected to read was the fine print on the sign - "Buses loading/unloading after 8am - Tow away zone." I thought it was kind of rude to be awakened at 7:30am by the back-up alarm of a bus dropping people off for breakfast.

Since I was sort of awake I snapped a quick picture (out my hotel window) and went back to sleep. After the millionth bus rolled into the parking lot I figured I should start getting ready for my day. As I glanced out the front window (I stay low in the back of the car so people can't see me) I saw a park ranger writing down my license plate number. After writing it down he walked away, that was my chance - I hoped into the drivers seat and took off - smooth, huh? Small problem though, I was still in my sleeping attire - no shoes, no contacts, no nothing (well, something, but not much) so I headed for the local picnic area to get my act together. The picnic area brought back childhood memories as I watched a family (SUV with a camper in tow) argue and yell at each as they attempted to prepare breakfast - nothing like a good argument while on vacation - ahhh, the memories.....

They offer internet service for $10 a day, but if you happen to be in the bar at the Yosemite Lodge and flick on your wifi switch (they have power there too) the internet magically appears on your laptop. While I was there I spoke to a guy who gave me some tips about where to take a shower and how to deal with the "man" in regard to sleeping in the car. It's a federal offense (this is a national park) if you get busted taking a night time snooze in your car and the fine for "out of bounds camping" is $50.

I spent Friday night on top of Glacier Point taking pictures of the stars, and just for the record, I didn't sleep there I just rested my eyes in between long (20 minutes to 2 hours) exposures. Once Saturday morning rolled around (I even managed to get a few sunrise, yes, the sunrise pictures) I could finally get some sleep in my car - the rules clearly state, "No overnight camping." I didn't see anything wrong with a mid-morning nap.

After checking out the giant sequoia trees (about 1 hour drive from the popular part of  the park) I stopped at the Wawona Hotel for the Saturday night BBQ. Since part of the hotel is "pioneer style" they don't have bathrooms/showers in all the rooms. But what they do have is community bathrooms/showers - there's nothing nicer than a hot shower after sleeping in the car for 4 days. It's too bad the campgrounds in this park always seem to be sold-out, I think you need to make reservations (when they take them) a year in advance. Since no one messed with me on Friday night I went back to my favorite spot on Saturday night and had a great night sleep.

I hope you enjoy my pictures - I decided not to break my back trying to shoot Ansel Adams style (or any of the other great photographers that have photographed Yosemite). If you want a great picture of the park buy one from the pro's - they are the ones who spend all the time, money and effort to wait for the perfect weather, light and location - and they have much better equipment then Johnny....

All in all, Yosemite is a great park, but they could use some help with traffic, the shuttle bus system and overcrowding. If you ever plan to visit this park give yourself plenty of time to see the sights and plan on sitting in traffic.

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Fire/Rescue helicopter

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My hotel room  :)

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Ansel Adams in training

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Mirror Lake?? or Swamp Lake

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Those are big trees

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Ouch!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Sorry, ran out
of pictures.