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Katie, Robin and I arrived in Truckee, Calif.—a cute little town north of Lake Tahoe—on Tuesday, August 30. We stayed with a few of our friends from Whitefish, and had fun navigating to their house through dirt roads and forests. They live on a main road. Lesson learned: the GPS may not tell you the best route. (More lessons on map reading and GPS use to come later…) Tahoe is a popular area for kids from Whitefish to move to, so we were able to see a handful of our high school friends at this juncture in the road.
After going out Tuesday night, we decided to take it easy and relax at Kiva Beach for the day. Vincent and Koben are pictured above…note the relaxing. We were amazed at how clean and clear Lake Tahoe was. Robin, Vincent and I tested our swimming skills and swam out to the tall buoy—I was too afraid to climb to the top and jump off, but they made the leap before we headed back to shore.
(Katie and I relaxing in the sun. Photo courtesy of Robin Cross)
As the sun set we drove to South Lake Tahoe for some mexican food and gambling to complete our experience. We played Sigma Derby at the Montbleu Casino, where we successfully lost $20 in quarters, before driving back to Truckee to catch some Z’s.
Thursday morning we said our goodbye’s and left for Yosemite, hopeful that the Labor Day crowds wouldn’t have yet taken over the park. We arrived in the early evening, reserved a camping spot and headed out to explore in the last hours of daylight.
We took a quick walk up one of the trailheads we saw while driving, and stumbled upon this awesome stone bench. Near the bench was a plaque inscribed with a quote from John Muir, the founder of the Sierra Club and a man who is commonly referred to as the “Father of the National Park Service.”
It read: “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”
We headed back to our campsite to set up camp and start a fire. Our neighbors brought us brats over for dinner, and warned us that we should heed the park service’s warnings and remove all of our food and toiletries from our car and put them into the metal locker provided at our campsite. We were skeptical that the locker was more efficient than the car, and took our chances. As we expected, the car hadn’t been torn apart by a bear in the morning a la twinkie commercials.
Friday morning we took a short hike before leaving Yosemite behind and crossed our fingers for a local diner in our near future. We were ecstatic when we spotted Happy Burger Diner in Mariposa, Calif. and stopped to fuel up before heading back to the coast.
I’ve been back in Montana for nearly a month, so it’s time I documented my late-Fall adventure. To preface the next few days of posts, you’ll see that many of these photos were taken by Robin Cross (I’ll note where they are her photos). We encountered some rough terrain in southern Utah (which you’ll hear about later), and my iPhone—which I take most of my pictures on—was destroyed. Fortunately, Robin’s camera wasn’t, so we didn’t lose all of our photos.
After driving from New Hampshire to Missoula with Jason I boarded a plane for San Francisco to meet Robin and her friend Katie on what I hoped would be an eye-opening quest to find out what I wanted to do with my life. I joined the duo for the second half of their trip on August 27. Our destinations: California-Arizona-Utah-Wyoming-Montana. I had high hopes.
Our friend Charley picked me up from the Oakland airport, and I was immediately surprised by how cool the air was compared to the heat of the East Coast and Missoula. We headed to Berkeley, where Charley lives and goes to school, to wait for Robin and Katie to arrive from northern California. In the meantime, Charley showed me around his campus and the city of Berkeley. The college vibe brought up fond memories from the time I spent in Missoula and Boulder.
Robin and Katie arrived and we headed to downtown San Francisco to meet up with another of our friends for the night.
Monday I had a few informational interviews and then we explored San Francisco in more depth, thinking that one or more of us might choose the city as our next place to call home. We rode the famed San Francisco trolley to the ocean, hanging out the sides and high-fiving passengers headed in the opposite direction.
(Photo by Robin Cross)
Hopping off the cable car, we headed to the Pacific to catch a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge and explore the piers. We checked out the old ships and then walked to Fisherman’s Wharf. Salt water, seals and seafood filled our noses as we walked through the vendors and in and out of shops.
Robin spotted Lids and peeked inside in search of a San Francisco Giants hat for Tyler. To our excitement, the store offered custom embroidery—an opportunity we couldn’t pass up. The two 20-something sales associates at the store raised their eyebrows as we described the embroidery we were looking for, took our orders and told us to come back in an hour. We were happy with the result:
(Photo courtesy of Robin Cross)
We spent our last night in Berkeley, and I prepared for my meeting with a former University of Montana alum at Google the next day, where I headed before we embarked for our next destination: Truckee, California and Lake Tahoe.