Monthly Archives: May 2010

Trip 10 Cont’d

Day 5
Wednesday, May 19

Yellowstone is full of bison/buffaloes. Wow. We also got to see bears eating a buffalo. That was quite sick. You will find tons of snow in Yellowstone and a bunch of construction and closed roads if you visit in May.

Day 6
Thursday, May 20

Day two in Yellowstone took us through the lower loop. A few geysers followed by a couple of waterfalls and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. The canyon is what puts the yellow stone in Yellowstone.

Day 7
Friday, May 21

Saw Mt. Rushmore this morning. Kind of underwhelming as I was expecting. Gutzon sculpted this beastly creation of four 60-foot heads with the idea of inspiring people through a testament of America’s first 150 years. Well considered me amazed at his skill, but not necessarily inspired.

I’ll expand on all of this in due time.

Trip 10 Some More

Day 3
Monday, May 17

People don’t go to Lake Tahoe in May for a reason. Yowsa, it was cold. We did see a few fellow tourists roaming around, but for the most part Tahoe was very dead. We decided to take the two-hour car journey around the entire lake. If this body of water were allowed to flood the state of California, every inch of California would have 14.1 inches of water on top of it. We took stops wherever we saw signs telling us there existed a park or view point. That left us to wander a few beaches, a couple of cliffs and a dam. I assume the the whole scene is a lot more exciting under sunny skies or mountains fully-covered by snow. Note to othersL don’t go to Tahoe in May. They really don’t want you anyway. By the end of the night, we had driven to West Wendover, Nevada, a casino town at the border just before Utah.

Lake Tahoe very much reminded me of Poway, in the wooden buildings, the Dennys and Taco Bell, and the quiet nature. Lakeshore Boulevard with its cops and annoying slow speeds also similar to Poway Road.

For the record, we went from California to Nevada to California to Nevada all in a span of 45 minutes thanks to a trip to Baja Fresh.

Day 4
Tuesday, May 18

On this day, the interstate travel continued from Nevada to Utah to Idaho to Montana.

In Utah, the stop of choice of was the Gateway Mall in Salt Lake City. Why? Because my Macbook Pro 15-inch went kaboom the night before. One second, I was whizzing around the Internet. The next, the rainbow spinny wheel was lost in an infinite cycle as information sought a place on the hard drive but could not find one. According to the genius at the Apple Store, something got encoded funny on the hard drive due to bad luck. They replaced the hard drive as my one-year warranty continues until July 13, but quite the sad day indeed. This means I’ll have to reset all my settings and preferences for the third time on this machine. What to do? What to do? Props are due, however, to the bizarrely busy staff at the SLC Apple Store for replacing the hard drive within 15 minutes.

Idaho had potatoes and cows. We choose not to stop to see them. My mom, in fact, choose even more brazenly to sleep through Idaho and ignore the staples of the state completely.

Here in West Yellowstone, Wyoming, we are less than a mile away from the West Entrance of Yellowstone National Park. The lodge inside the park costs $255 per night, so we took the more frugal approach by staying outside the park for a night. A one-hour drive into the heart of Yellowstone awaits us in the morning. As does rain, snow, wind and an all out chill.

If Lake Tahoe is Poway, West Yellowstone is kind of like the Wrightwood, Big Bear or Solvang in its touristy trap nature–right down to the Asians streaming out a tour bus and students wandering the lands in large groups.

Trip 10

Day 0
Friday, May 14, 2010

Safely arrived in Fresno after a five-hour drive. As some foreshadowing passed by a Target truck. Of course, the end of this journey will be Target’s home city. People above us might be having a little fun. Not quite sure. About three groups of teenagers were hanging outside their cars near a McDonalds and Dennys across from the Vagabond Inn. I guess that’s what people do for fun in this city. Go to Dennys in high heels. I wonder if there are clubs nearby or something. We also stopped at a Shell in Pickley, CA. The man standing outside the station in a cowboy hat, blue jeans and a blue full-sleeved collar shirt scared me with his angry glare. Luckily, we are now in Fresno. Probably more dangerous, but less scary on the face of it. On to Yosemite.

Day 1
Saturday, May 15

Apparently this morning got off to more rocky start than initially thought, and the day only got rockier—but in a much prettier sense. We left a canteen full of water in the fridge and a big and pretty much full bottle of contact solution at the Vagabond Inn. Within two hours, we arrived at Yosemite with some minor traffic delays as we approached the Yosemite. My dad’s recent 62nd birthday earned him the privilege to buy a $10 senior pass, which lasts forever and can be used to cover up to three other adults at any national park. Very sweet deal.

The quick 1,000 foot walk to see vista point to look at Brideveil Fall didn’t take much effort, but it was a good first foray into the waterfall culture. It was like a rainstorm down there as the water crashed to the bottom of the fall and mist rose into the air. It was as if we had been transported from the California to the Amazonian rainforest.

The next mission was to visit the tops of Vernal and Nevada Falls, .75 miles and 3.5 miles away, respectively. I quickly began to outdistance my mom and dad; my grandma did not even begin the journey. The upward trek turned out to be more daunting than I expected, but the two or three periods of downpour of water or mist were differently highlights. The other highlight was being able to see and touch snow. Even managed to toss a couple snowballs. If one does want to venture on the 7-mile round-trip hike to Nevada Falls, then note that is a lot simpler to come down John Muir trail—albeit longer—than on Mist Trail. The latter might keep you a bit cooler for a while though. My biggest annoyance how hot it was at certain points. I understand that we are six weeks away from winter, but if I can throw a snowball in May, then I should be able to see my breath during the day.

The Pavillion Buffet was rather pricey at $15.25 per adult, but the food was not too bad. Much better deal than the Food Court offering next door to the Lodge.

Sitting comfortably in the bed of this lodge, I’m discovering that the walls are paper thin. Just by our luck, we have four desis and a baby cramped into the adjacent room. Not a good combination for those of us who want to go to bed early.

Day 2
Sunday, May 16

As I sit here on yet another motel bed and now watch Boston-Orlando highlights wondering why LeBron is not in this game, I also wonder about why I am not still on top of the world. On the overlook above Yosemite Falls, the highest waterfall in North America, the gusts were suspiciously mild but the temperatures pleasantly cool. Again, the best part of the 3.4-mile hike to the top of this waterfall was the portion which placed the hiker directly in the path of the wafting mist. The relaxing feeling offered by this mist is unmistakeably pleasant. Unfortunately, the transition into sandy, dry and deserty conditions is quick and the chilled sensation is lost.

After completely the two-hour hike upward, I stubbed my toe on the top of the falls while trying to gaze at mountains across fro And now my toe is in pain. Hopefully, it won’t bother me tomorrow while wearing shoes. The hike back down took and an hour, 45 minutes and including a couple slips and a couple snakes.

A hat tip is due to the Asian couple in front of me who kept pushing me. They were the one group of people that I could not pass. They just kept forging ahead.

A fellow Padre fan, with two sons who are Dodger fans, informed me the Padres lost on Saturday. That made the next 30 seconds quite disappointing. (I was without Internet or Cell Phone service since Friday night.)

The bus driver this morning also directed our attention toward a Bobcat. That is, Bobcat #1470 (the construction vehicle). Man, he’s good.