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Published: October 14th 2007
It took 40 minutes of driving through twisting roads to find this viewpoint.
For those that do not know Neetz and I returned on the 5th of October. We apologise for blatantly lying on our last blog by saying we would return on the 26th as originally planned. We decided to cut our trip short 3 months ago when we chose to rent a car and drive 12 000 km across the States and Canada as we did. Our decision was based on the cost of renting a car and also on the length of our trip. After arriving home early we initially surprised my dad, before jumping on another train and heading for Noosa to surprise Neetz's folks. The last part of our trip went as follows.
After leaving Vancouver and crossing the border back into the States we headed for Carly's place in Seattle. Thankyou Chris, Romany, Carly and Feather for putting us up while we were there. We enjoyed the warm bed, hot coffee and welcoming hospitality AND of course the birthday cake. Carly played tour guide for Neetz and I while we were in Seattle showing us the famous Space Needle and Pikes Market Place, as well as a great Australian bar - good to have some aussie beer
Neetz Carly and I
Hanging out on top of Seattles space needle
and a plate of vegemite toast after being away for so long. After sadly leaving Seattle we headed south towards Mount St Helens. The size of Mount St Helens was amazing, and the fact that the volcano is dormant but still letting out puffs of smoke made the visit even more interesting. You can actually see the affects of past eruptions as you enter the "Blast Zone".
The next few days were spent driving towards Crater Lake National Park. Crater Lake was formed when a volcano similar to Mount St Helens errupted, due to the huge blast the volcano collapsed in on itself creating a large crater. After years of snow and rain the crater filled with water to form what is now known as Crater Lake. In the middle of the lake is another small volcano that popped up later due to ongoing erruptions underground, now known as Wizard Island. Another outstanding National Park the States has to offer, we spent a few days admiring the area before driving west towards the coast.
As we approached the coast we realised that our trip was coming to an end soon, we had made it from the East to
Carlys Family and us
Loved calling your place home. Its probably a good thing Neetz couldn't fit the green bike in the car Romany. Notice where Tezz's hand is!
the West Coast. We stopped in at Jebediah Smith State Park which is an area known for its huge Redwood Trees, you can imagine Little Red Riding Hood skipping along. These guys are very tall, straight trees that are known as the Giants of the Forest.
A few days later we made it along some extremely windy roads along the coast and hit the beach. Our campsite for the night was right on the beach and made for a beautiful sunset. As we headed further south to Bedoga Bay we were blasted with strong winds for three days. We heard that they were so strong the ferries in San Francisco had stopped. Our tent survived the weather yet again.
Just as the winds eased we drove into San Fran (wearing flowers in our hair of course! okay I was wearing flowers in my hair, not Tezz). The weather was fantastic, the city even better. San Fran is famous for many things - that big red bridge, earthquakes, Alcatraz, sea lions at the harbour, perfectly painted victorian houses along narrow streets, and according to the Lonely Planet lots of gay people (we didn't know, apparently everyone else knows). The
Mount St Helens
Just a little puff of smoke. Who's worried?
Golden Gate Bridge is awesome, we took so many photos from every angle. We spent hours around Fisherman's Wharf, and tried to get on the ferry across to Alcatraz - for those who want to go try and book a ticket in advance. The Rock that everyone wants to leave is now quite difficult to get to. We stopped by Pier 39 to see what all the noise was, a bunch of Sea Lions have moved in and put on a great show. We also drove down a one-way street that is famous for being so windy and narrow - it's also where every tourist hangs out.
That night we had our first racoon experience... the buggers were trying to get at our food which is supposed to be racoon proof in the cupboard supplied by the campsite, it's not. They got to a loaf of bread and kept coming back for more. Tezz got out of the tent and needed back up since they were "the size of bears". So at 2am in the morning we're scaring away racoons with torches and rocks (which wasn't working too well) and throwing out food so they'd go away. They came back
Just another storm
Taken from our campsite for the night
as soon as we went into the tent and found that there was no more food, finally we were able to get to sleep.
Once again, on the road heading to Yosemite National Park. This place is of course spectacular, however it wasn't our favourite park (Yellowstone was). There's heaps of people that visit the park, over 4 million per year, because of its location in California it's a little easier to get to than most parks. You have to book before coming here, most places are full and if there's a spot available there's usually a line of people waiting for it. As we arrived at our campsite at the southern end of the park (we couldn't get a spot in the valley, but as it turns out our campsite was much nicer and less crowded anyway) we once again had the lecture about Bears and food. However, this time we were suprised to find out that we couldn't keep the food or anything scented in the car because the bears will rip into it, so everything had to go into the bear locker.
We loved Yosemite and ended up staying four nights. On our first night we
Crater Lake National Park
This mini volcano is sitting in a crater of water that has filled due to a much larger volcano.
met two Americans, Jim and Amanda, that were on their way home to Portland, for the majority of our stay we hung out together. Our second day was spent at Mariposa Grove, an area known for the huge Sequoia Trees that are related to the Redwoods. After tree hugging, we went out to Glacier Point for some breath taking 360 degrees views of the Park. Yosemite is known for many things including two very large granite rocks - Half Dome and El Captain which every rock climber dreams about. As it turned out Jim wanted to hike up Half Dome, and asked Tezz if he wanted to come along. Tezz intially said no since we had only planned to stay for three nights, but after hearing Tezz go on about how cool the hike would be for about half an hour, I said lets just change the plan and you can go on the dam hike! I got more wine that night, and Tezz was so excited about doing the 17 mile (26 km horizontal after taking the long way back and 1.5km vertical) hike he couldn't sleep. The next day Tezz and Jim headed out early and 7 hours
Always an angel
later we were drinking and stocking up on food at the buffet whilst hearing about Tezz and Jim's adventure. The rest of our time at Yosemite was spent relaxing and taking in the surroundings, we were sad to leave because we both knew that this was the last park we'd see in the US.
From quiet and clean green surroundings to LA. Where do I start... we actually camped at Malibu! For some people this is a weekend camping getaway, it's 15 minutes out of town. LA is dry, crowded with tourists, dirty, and just plain weird but hey it's LA what do you expect? A great place to visit but no way could we live there. We saw the typical Rodeo Drive, Sunset Bld, fancy houses in Beverly Hills, the Walk of Fame, the Hollywood sign (although you have to find your own way there) and the beaches along the way once you get out of traffic. I'd love to go on about it but we didn't spend too much time there, we had a plane to catch!
We finally came to the end of our trip. As we returned our car at LA airport the guy
Hanging out with a local.
handed us our receipt - US$6789 WHAT!!!! "oh you might have to go inside I've obviously made a mistake" said the guy, DAM RIGHT was our reply. After fixing the payment, it was only $1100 to pay, we went to the airport and sadly waited. The plane trip was fine until we started heading to Nadi in Fiji, what the?? Brisbane was fogged over so we had to land in Nadi, refuel and an hour later take off again with the hope that the fog would clear. Our plane was delayed over four hours.
Now we're back home after suprising everyone looking for jobs... depression sets in.
(tezz says send beer as it will be 2 months before the first ginger beer batch is ready - just in time for christmas).
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