April, 2012

01-04-12 until 09-04-12, driving, driving and some more driving :-)

Ciricahue National MonumentWell, as the heading says, we drove quite a bit of miles. As you can see on the map at the homepage, the stretch from Texas (TX) (C) to Tucson (AZ) (D) is a long one. Some 900+ miles.
Meanwhile we stopped at Willcox (AZ) and went to Chiricahua National Monument (NM). We bought our National Parks Pass here, also sometimes called 'America the beautiful'.
We couldn't stay in the campsite as it was full. So we were directed to a overflow area. It turned out a beautiful spot as well. A little stream close by, nobody there, completely in the forest.
The next day we went early to the campsite in the NM. There were spots vacant so that was good. We fiddled around a little & in the afternoon we went for a little bike ride.
It turned out quite the drive, the path went up, & up & some more... In total we climbed 10 KM, with a total height difference of 500 meters... Back to the campsite went pretty fast though :-).
In the evening we had a little emergency as one of the camp-guests had a seizure of sorts. The camp host came around to ask If there was a nurse... Well yes. So we went there & assisted the poor guy. According to Iryna he had a states epilepticus, the seizures kept coming back with a short periods of time in between, though the guy didnt need any assistance with breathing or what so ever, he definitely needed medical help from the hospital. After some time the ranger from the park came & he had called ahead to the ambulance so we loaded the little guy in the truck & off he was.
The day after we relaxed in the morning again & went hiking later in the afternoon to a natural bridge. It was a magnificent trail.
By now it's 08-04-2012, we left early in the morning to go to Saguaro National Park (NP) we decided to stay in a RV park in Tucson (kinda camp area for RV's, RV being a Recreational Vehicle or the more common term in Europe a motor-home or camper-van) with a full hook-up. PS Tucson is pronounced 'Tousson'.
Then the 9th we visited the NP, which had astonishing high cactuses. We walked 2 trails which totaled only 10km in 35-40 degrees, which is to say the least strenuous. Heaps of water I can tell you that :-). We took a nice pic with the 2 of us there. click

10-04-12 until 13-04-12, visiting Joshua Tree NP :-)

On our way from Arizona to California we noticed gas prices getting higher & higher. As we thought, it was because of the remoteness of the area... Boy were we wrong, we crossed into California and the prices rose with 50 cents. Which you would say not that much, unless the tank in your RV is some 140 liters, ~40 gallons. Then it's all of a sudden a significant amount, do the math => $20 more.
The Joshua TreeNP has some nice cactus trees, although different from the Saguaro NP. It's quite windy in this park, so you'll feel like you're being sandblasted, haha. In the park we did some hikes, these were all short but nevertheless very nice. In short, the park is ok, but not that spectacular.

13-04-12 until 15-04-12, driving to the PCH!

Some scenery along the PCHAnd now you might wonder, wth is PCH, well it stands for Pacific Coast Highway, a very nice scenic drive on the longest highway in the world, the 1.
It starts all the way up in Alaska & winds down through the USA and all the way down to Argentina!
As you can see on the picture gallery. Apparently this is THE only place in CA where you can camp out straight on the beach.
The next day we continued on North towards the Red Woods. Somewhere along the PCH is a colony of Elephant Seals. These animals lay, with a couple of hundred others on the beach doing nothing but sunbathing. As they get to hot they throw some sand on themselves to cool down.
The road itself becomes spectacular with stunning views. This is truly a scenic drive! We decided that if we're not heading somewhere, eg from Houston to LA, we'll take it a bit slower. That translates into stopping around 13:00-13:30. Of course this won't be always possible but at least it gives us the possibility to enjoy it far more, and of course we'll be able to work on the site a bit more.
Tomorrow is the day we'll go to San Fransisco, we're looking forward to it!!!

18-04-12 until 20-04-12, a visit to San Francisco & driving further north

Wow, so spectacularly, The Golden Gate BridgeHere we are, in San Francisco. Big touristic attraction with its Golden Gate, Alcatraz, Aquarium, Cable Cars, Fishermans Wharf, some awesome theaters and a lot more. As we became lazy tourists we took it slowly. We stayed 2 nights on a RV campground close by San Francisco (SF). With a local bus and a metro we found our way quickly in downtown. After some walking in the center we went to see the Alcatraz island with its famous prison. It's definitely worth paying a visit.
Unfortunately, we had some bad experience at the cafe which is next to the Aquarium. First of all, it took them ages to bring the second drink and secondly, despite the fact that we mentioned we have the next tour soon, we had to wait like 10 min to get the change back! Well, if you dont have that much time these 10 min lasts like an hour! Thirdly you dont wonna know how much they charge there! But anyway, we carried on to our next destination the Fishermans Wharf, at the famous soup there and simply just walked around. After that, we took a ride on a cable car, it stood mainly on Govert's wish-list. Iryna went shopping but didn't susseded in what she was looking for. Back to the place where the rv was, we went to eat out. Because of little choice we went for fish & chips, which were delicious!
The next day we took off. Driving further north from SF turned out to be very beautiful as well. On Friday (20-04) we saw smth amazing, a whale!!! We were sitting in a RV with a view on the ocean. Govert saw it first and then after some time Iryna saw the whale as well. It was a cool feeling, we saw his fountain first and then his back coming three times to the surface. We hope to see some more of it in the Red Woods NP.
By the way, the oil of the RV has been changed today and the mechanic took a look at the RV and it seems to be in good shape. Of course it's an old car but for its age it's doing very well. We were glad to hear that of course but we need to change oil more often.

22-04-12 until 24-04-12, visiting the Redwood National Park,

On Sunday we were all set. Nice place near the Klamath river with some amazing view of the mountains, the Klamath RV park. It's a quiet and very clean place with some good facilities. I guess that I have to give up my hope to see some whales over here, the weather is not that good these days, cloudy and misty. Although someone told us that last year a whale reached this river Klamath and was staying in it some time. So maybe he will do the same trick for us and come over for some show haha.
The Redwoods NPBy the way, we were told not to leave any food outside, because they have a frequent guest visiting campground at night and looking for some leftovers :) The night before we came here, he destroyed a refrigerator and took away all the fish. So we closed our old camper and went to bed hoping we wont meet this small-little fellow.
Monday, chill out day. Didn't do much, Govert tried to fish haha with until now no results. The menu for today will be fried chicken with blueberry sauce and potato’s:) No fish unfortunately :(.
As expected Govert did't catch anything, but such is life.
The day after we did some light biking up a road where we had to get off because we couldn't make it. We tried to spot some whales but weren't lucky. In the evening we met some nice Canadians in the RV park who did some bike racing with their kids.
In the evening we made a little campfire which was a ..... to get going because the wood (redwood ectually) was wet from all the rain they had.
But in the end we got it going & had a wunderfull evening at our campfire, the guys told us some tips & tricks for when we were in Canada.
On the 24th we got early in our RV & went to the same spot as yesterday to try our luck again in spotting some whales, guess what we got lucky.
We saw some pufs & a head of the whales, that's spectacular. After a while we drove to the Redwoods to do some walking. We took a bit of a steep road, the RV made it but in first gear with nothing to spare. But we made it :-). The trees over in the NP are spectacular, so incredible HUGE you can't begin to imagine. Over 2000 years old & 100meters high. Darn in one word 'AMAZING'.

25-04-12 & 26-04-12 Driving days

We stayed at a Wallmart in Redding, left early to go to Yosemite.

26-04-12 till 04-05-12 YOSEMITE, spectacular!!!

As the title says Yosemite, is that a great park. At first we thought we're gonna spend a day or 2, maybe 3. After we arrived and got some ideas of the grandeur of the park we decided to stay a full week. If you ever plan to stay there make sure you book far in advance, if your planning anything in the summer months you're probably too late anyway. It's said that spaces go within a minute!!! after being available for booking. If you're going before May you have a higher probabilty of finding something.
little impression of Yosemite NPOn the first day we didn't do much, as we arrived late in the park. The next day we did a little hike around the valley, only 14 km's but boy are we outta shape. We both have very sore feet & the feeling as we walked a marathon. So for tomorrow it's another relaxing day, fixing a couple a things, sort out some pics, work on the site etc etc. Today was our relaxing day. Unfortunately we had our first issue (worth mentioning) with the RV. The warm water unit was leaking. It did that already for quite a while a little bit, but it got worse and worse. A direct result from that is that the water-pump is going every 5 minutes as well, because the water pressure isn't high enough. The problem was a tap screw, pretty much the same as for the oil-plug in the oil-carter in the car. So I first tried to fix it with some kit but that didn't work, than it turned out that the thread was almost gone so I thought it would be a crap job trying to fix it. I went for some teflon tape & fortunately they had that here in Yosemite village, it has a complete garage, although I don't wanna know what it'll cost you if you need it... Well, I got some teflon tape so I was able to fix the leak.
Further we found out that there is free internet in the lounge, which is good, so we made some emails offline & than I went there & sent them off & when I got back to the RV, Irchuk had prepared a wonderful meal with rice, cinnamon, dried fruits & some white fish to go with it.
Tomorrow we're off for a big trip again, Yosemite's upper falls. It's said to be very special! CYA.

30-04, the day of a steep hike up to the top of North America's tallest waterfall, Upper Yosemite Fall.

This hike is 11,6km round trip with some 823m elevation gain. We climbed up to the Yosemite Point, 2114km, which is some other 3 km elevation gain. It took us a full day for a round trip.
We stocked up with some food and drinks, got proper clothes and off were we. Hiking up to the top of the falls wasn't easy but we were glad we did it when the sun wasn't at it's hottest point. Most of climbing we did in the shade which was relief. We enjoyed the views around us: Yosemite Valley and the Falls of course. After some relaxing at the Yosemite Point we slowly made our way down the mountain. As the saying says: 'Going down is always easier then going up', well not always.....when we arrived by the point where we started the hike our knees were almost trembling from the pressure of going down! Anyways we did survive the second hike in the Yosemite. 01-05 is gonna be a relaxing day and 02-05 a long hike is ahead of us, Four Mile Trail.