Sunday, September 18, 2011


Because we ended our internships a week earlier than planned to be there for Arianne’s wedding, Zach and I suddenly found ourselves with a whole week where we didn’t have work, school, and we couldn’t move into our new apartment yet.  Being kidless and carefree like we are and feeling flush with our internship earnings, we decided to take off to California for another one of our epic adventures; thereby completing our goal to drive coast to coast in one year.

We packed up the cooler with all essential snacks and then armed with a Jeffrey Deaver mystery on CD we started the long drive through Nevada, which basically feels like driving on a treadmill with the same 45 minutes worth of scenery repeating over and over. 

We made good time on that treadmill, so when we saw a sign for Lake Tahoe we decided to take a detour and I’m so glad we did.  Most gorgeous, most bluest place ever.  Family reunion location?  Anyone?

Zach: I agree with Clarissa.  It was the most bluest.
From Tahoe it was a short drive to Zach’s great-aunt Joy’s house, which has to be in the BEST location I can imagine.  It’s right on the shore of Lake Folsom, a fact we exploited greatly as we swam around in the fool’s gold water and built the most impressive sand castle you’ve ever seen.  Because we didn’t take pictures you’ll have to take my word on this one.

Aunt Joy and Laura were the greatest hostesses anyone could ask for.  We went on towards San Francisco full of delicious food and family stories.  I even got the dirt on Grandma Haight! 

Before San Francisco, we planned a side trip to the Jelly Belly factory because who doesn’t love Jelly Bellies? 
Attack of the giant pouncing Jelly Belly chef. 
The tour of the factory was very interesting and informative, and made me appreciate the free bag of Jelly Bellies we received at the end even more.  We left with approximately 3 lbs of Jelly Bellies, none of which survived the trip.

Diaper wipes and centipedes.  Who thinks of these things and
how do I get their job?
Moldy cheese and skunk spray.  Charmed, I'm sure.
Next stop: San Francisco!  After accidently driving over the Golden Gate bridge and paying AGAIN to get back into the city, we enjoyed the foggy view from the bridge.

What a  handsome hunk of a man.

Zach: this picture is worth an accidental 10 bucks to get back across the bridge, right?
Because I am female, I was drawn to Ghiradelli square.  I was determined to actually consume chocolate there and so we cued up in the nearest delicious-smelling store.  As we were waiting, an employee came down the line with a basket of free chocolate squares.  Need to purchase chocolate: negated.  We ducked out of line with our squares and high-tailed it back to the car.
We're suckers for tourist traps.  Especially chocolate ones.
Fisherman’s Wharf was an essential stop: I believe there is some California law stating that you can NOT pass San Francisco without getting clam chowder in a sour dough bread bowl.  Zach even got brave and tried his first calamari.

There would be a picture of me here, but all the ones that Zach took of me on the wharf were of me attempting to keep my blustery hair from becoming part of my lunch.  I somehow always manage to forget just how windy and cold San Francisco gets, even in August.

We had planned to visit China Town, but panicked while attempting to find parking with our manual transmission on the nearby vertical hills.  Imitation fashion will have to wait for another, bolder, visit.  It took all my courage just to survive the knuckle-clutching-the-steering-wheel-transmission-burning-I’m-so-glad-Zach-is-driving-not-me drive through town until we made it to the freeway and on to our next stop: the Redwoods.

We got to our campsite in a park just outside of San Jose in time to set up all that camping equipment we’d been longing to use all summer, and even started a fire (take THAT Colorado!). 

We love our little extra-long-for-you-weird-tall-people-tent with
our double sleeping bag.  MUCH more comfortable than two
mummy bags.
The place was gorgeous.  We found a 1200 year-old grove and spent hours hiking around the HUGE trees. 

You know you just went "awwww..."

This is my "You've taken 6 pictures of me in front of this same spot" smile.
Zach was smitten with the forest.  As he put it, it made understanding fairytales possible.
This is the amazing banana slug.  If you're ever bored, go here
and be grateful that your man is not a banana slug.
 We decided that we were going to build a tree house and live there forever, but then we realized that we would miss out on the beach part of our trip, so we went on.  Barely.  But that story will have to wait for another post.


  1. Wow! Someone should write a children's book about banana slugs...not! That article was hysterical and made me laugh out loud during a quiet adult meeting at church. All your commentary and pictures were wonderful!!! It was worth your $10 to me to have that photo beside the Golden Gate Bridge. :)

  2. First of all, how fun! You two are darling! And I love the red woods. Second, I remember those banana slugs from when we went there growing up...if I would have known what I know now about those things I would have never touched them. What disturbing little creatures/octopus things.