A Travellerspoint blog

July 27-29 2013

San Francisco

Three days in SF. Great city, we needed to adapt to the more "Belgian" temperatures of 60-70 °F but nice walking weather.
There so much to do here, we couldn't do it all but we did buy the Munipass which gave us right to hop on all traffic in the city like the trolley buses, metro but also the older trams (one had Italian headings like "Uscita") and also the cable car. We had to wait and queue for this cable car but it was worth it. I was hanging outside but you were not allowed to hang out too much so to prevent you from hitting the other guys hanging out from the oncoming cable car. The car takes a lot of hills up and down and these hills are really something, I guess like 30% or so.
We also rented bikes and rode on the Golden Gate bridge. Nele's bike broke down , her chain got jammed but after half an hour we could fix it. When we returned and explained the problem to the rental service they were sorry for us and gave us $50 discount ! Hooray for San Francisco !
We of course walked on Pier 39 , Chinatown, Coit tower, Union, Japan town, Market street, the most "crookedest street", and so much more...
Hard to describe but I hope some pictures can give you some idea about the city...

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Posted by Eddy VDR 19:31 Archived in USA Tagged california san francisco Comments (0)

July 26 2013

Monterey, California

When we drove out of Yosemite we drove through the smoke. This smoke was covering a large area, we assume this came from some forest fire and has drifted towards our location. The actual fire we could not see but because of the smoke it was like driving through BBQ land...
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Driving over the valley you could see a lot of orchards which were irrigated, the fields which did not have irrigation lay dry and colored yellow from the tanned hay. When we came to the coast the cold air coming from the ocean was trapped between the hill rigs and the hot air coming from the valley.
We spent the day in Carmel with its nice white sandy beach and after getting our feet wet in the Pacific ocean we continued to Monterey. Where we visited the Old Fishermen wharf.
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Along the shoreline we could see the seals laying and resting.
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Before we started the BBQ (the early morning trip gave us the idea) we decided to test the Pacific water temperature.
I only got up to my kneecaps wet but Arne and Kaatje managed better. Kaatje got surprised by a wave and actually swallowed a portion of the ocean. There was no policeman around so we got away with the theft of Pacific water.
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The sand is soft and warm while the water is strong and cold. The waves have more power than the small waves we are used to in the Nordsea.

Posted by Eddy VDR 21:14 Archived in USA Tagged california monterey Comments (0)

July 25 2013

Yosemite (day 2)

This campsite has a no noise policy, so at night we are not allowed to use our generator and by consequence we got no airco. It really was Ok since the temperatures were not that high! In the morning we took the free shuttle to Lower Yosemite Fall, which must be majestic in Spring but so far in the summer it is more like a "dripping" creek. Further continued to take a look at "El Capitan" but we didn't spot any climbers.
In the afternoon we took the hike to Vernal Fall and when returned we took a swim in the Merced River which runs very close to our campsite. The Merced river with it's pebbled ground and flanked by the green and rocky mountains remembers me of the Ardeche in France, so we took a fresh dive. The temperature of the water was "shrimplike" if you don't know what "shrimplike" water temperature means , try it yourself and see what happens ( PS only works for men).
In the evening we got acquainted with our neighbours. A nice couple (John and Sheila) from Santa Barbara. We had a nice talk with cigar and drinks (Screwdriver and Ricard) while the kids learned to play with a football.
We could see only a few stars but that was because the sky was lightly fogged by some forest fires...

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Posted by Eddy VDR 13:18 Archived in USA Tagged california yosemite Comments (0)

July 24 2013

Yosemite

Two days without internet and yes this survivable (at least for the first day). We left in the morning for Sequoia National forest, from Visalia we could not take the straight road with our 30ft RV ; only max 22ft allowed so we took the US 245 which was very windy - that's an understatement - and then the US 180 where we first rode into Kings Canyon national forest. Another 30 miles to Sequoia forest but worthwhile. We did a nice hike among the wooden giants. The General Sherman is the biggest living tree on earth (in volume of wood) with at the bottom a circumference of 31 meters.... We continued walking and felt very small during our walk. The sequioas felt very smooth like they had a fur.
We drove further North (via Fresno) to Yosemite. Had a nice dinner close at the park entrance (El Portal) but came into the park rather late (20h00) so that when we arrived at our campground the reception was closed. Unfortunately I forgot which campground spot I reserved but there was a whiteboard at the park entrance with the names of the late arrivals and their campingspot. At first we could not see our name but one name was written like Rivera, we assumed that they misspelled our name and that this was our campspot. When we arrived we saw that this place was already taken. I asked the guy if it was his spot and he said sure,his name was Rivera ! So we had to look for someone to help us. Luckily we found a ranger and he could look up our name and we found our spot. The whiteboard guy probably had forgotten our name. (when we later on the next day checked in at the station the guy indeed confirmed that since there was no space left on the whiteboard he did not put our name on it! Thanks for coming !)
Yosemite is way more crowded than Sequoia. So we don't fear the bears, they would have stumble over all the tents and people before they even reached our RV. Also musquito's are not so much an issue, almost everyone (except for the one Belgian guy without firewood) has a fire going and not all the wood was dry; so we feel a bit like smoked herring and definitely the musquito's that survive here are a strong breed.

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Posted by Eddy VDR 13:13 Archived in USA Tagged california yosemite Comments (0)

July 23 2013

Las Vegas - Visalia

Drove 360 miles today, started early in Las Vegas (around 7h00) and still quite some people on the road in Vegas, this must be the city that never sleeps. Or maybe there are also some normal people that do go to work in the morning?
Via the interstate 15 South then through Barstow up via the US 58 through Bakersfield up to Visalia. I felt a bit dizzy and was not sure why that came ? Maybe of getting up too early, maybe because of driving with soft suspension on the US roads, which gives you a bit the feeling you've been sailing after a long drive. Or maybe the combination. Anyhow we arrived at the campground around 15h00 and decided to have a relaxing day with following ingredients: pool, rest, a bit of guitar playing, some aperitif, BBQ, reading, pool, shower and shave, and of course writing this blog.
We could not drive through Death Valley, and I think this is a pity, nevertheless we did get some nice high temperatures and driving this far south we could see the vegetation changing from some brush and cacti to some fewer brush and cacti, the open spots were becoming bigger with sand and stone.
But when we came into California we saw the orchards with their Californian fruits. I couldn't help of thinking of Ms Toad (Grapes or Wrath from john Steinbeck). This trip unlike the others I've done I hardly had any time to read. Days go very fast and there is so much to see and do that reading is somehow neglected. I only finished one book (Tortilla Flat by Steinbeck).
In closing today a thought that struck my mind; it is interesting to see how many women are working on the roadworks and driving big earthmovers and other roadlaying gear. In Europe it would be rather an exception for women to work in this industry but here it is normal business.
And yes also here there is quite some roadwork going on.

Posted by Eddy VDR 19:48 Archived in USA Tagged california visalia Comments (0)

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