Thursday, January 28, 2016

Memorable Journey

This is a road trip that started in Houston with a detour east to New York City before the long drive west to S.F. Bay Area. It all started with me promising my daughter that I would help her move from Houston to NYC and then drive the car west to home. When my mom heard that I would be driving the car across country alone, she offered to be my companion along the long trek home. I couldn't turn her down since this trek would reward her with new sights and experiences- as she likes to say "new wallpaper is good for the soul". After dropping my daughter off to her new apartment, new job, wonderful boyfriend, and new adventures in life, I drove to Baltimore to rest for a couple of days before heading off with Mom west. The east coast to west coast trek took nine days and introduced us to memorable places, foods, and people.

First stop was beautiful downtown Greenville, South Carolina.

Day two, we took a slight detour to see Stone Mountain outside Atlanta before heading to Mobile, AL for a delicious dinner of shrimp boil at the Shrimp Basket.

Day three, we strolled the grounds of the beautiful Oak Alley Plantation situated by the mighty Mississippi River before heading to Beaumont, Texas for the night. 

Day four, we told ourselves we have to experience a Buc-ee's before leaving Texas. So, we ate lunch at the Buc-ee's before heading into San Antonio, TX to see the Alamo and the Riverwalk. In my opinion, Buc-ee's is much more interesting than the Riverwalk. We ended the day with a wonderful meal at the Saltgrass Steak House and learning about the Saltgrass Trail.

Day five we drove from San Antonio past beautiful mesas and ugly fields of oil rigs until we reached Carlsbad, NM for a wonderful time shopping at a tiny art gallery and an excellent dinner at the Trinity Hotel. Sadly, I didn't stop to take any pictures that day- just a serious day of driving.

Day six started off with a visit to Carlsbad Caverns (sadly, the elevators were not in operation) with short climb down into the cavern to the bat area of the cave. And then after walking back out of the cave, we watched a video about the history of the cavern. From there we headed to White Sands NM in New Mexico by passing by the highest point in Texas (El Capitan) and skirting El Paso. After watching folks enjoying their day at White Sands, we headed into Las Cruces for the night.

Day seven, we drove to Tucson. We enjoyed the day of eating tasty tamales at the Tucson Tamale Co, visiting the White Dove Mission (San Xavier del Bac), and strolling the beautiful gardens of Tohono Chul.

Day eight was a delight!  Before wandering around Borrego Springs looking at the interesting metal sculptures, we visited Dateland for the famous, yummy date milkshake and drove by Yuma which was full of Snowbirds with their RVs. We tootled along the Borrego Salton Seaway to the Salton Sea before heading into Indio, CA for the night.

Day nine was spent driving from Indio to the S.F. Bay Area, home. The highlight of that day's stop was lunch at Harris Ranch on I-5.

Total miles traveled with mom were about 3,950. We were both surprised at the diversity of the topography and vegetation while traveling across the US-so many beautiful places. I'm so happy that my mom was able and willing to make this long trek with me. I love her so much....and thank her for being my companion on this memorable journey.

Friday, January 22, 2016

End of December Travels

On December 28th and 29th, my husband and I headed off for a three day trip to the Big Sur coast. Our first stop was exploring wonderful and beautiful Kirk Creek campground and the surrounding trails.

Site #11

We hiked up a portion of trail across from Kirk Creek campground, but had to turn back due to the sun setting.

The next morning, we ventured down a trail just behind our campsite where we were then rewarded with beautiful views.

Before heading north, we headed to Plaskett/ Sand Dollar Beach area just south of Kirk Creek for a hike along the bluff to the point and back, and then a climb down to the beach.

After taking in the views, we headed north to Pfeiffer Big Sur campground. We squeezed into our spot for the night and took a stroll around the campground.

Our discoveries were the Big Sur Creek and fungus.

In the morning, we took a dog-friendly trail (Pine Ridge trail) that led us up out of the campground into the Ventana Wilderness. We met numerous backpackers heading to the backpacker campground near a hot spring.

We opted for a short hike off a spur trail that ended with this nicely done dead-end. Finding the dog-friendly trail was such a wonderful surprise since the State Park trails are not dog-friendly. Kirk Creek was our favorite campsite and the trail up into the Ventana Wilderness was our favorite trail.