Twentynine Palms to Los Angeles
10.05.2013 - 16.05.2013 35 °C
Day 30 on the road: 29 Palms
On the way here we made a quick stop at Kingman to see the Route 66 Museum. It was slightly educational and not really that exciting for us. There was a few interesting pieces of old memorabilia and in the end it was better than just stretching our legs at a service station. Between Kingman and 29 Palms it felt like we'd left civilisation. It was slow driving on the old Route 66 road for a lot of the way. We stopped at a servo to pick up a drink and 15 bikies pulled up and started celebrating their route 66 drive. They seemed a bit more excited than us but it was still pretty cool.
We rocked up at the Harmony Inn in 29 Palms where U2 had stayed and worked on their Joshua Tree album. We'd decided to go shopping the next day so we had to fit our Joshua Tree National Park visit in this afternoon. It was a token effort on our part as we pretty much drove in, found some cool Joshua Trees and scenery photos, and drove back out- a total of 15 minutes spent in the park . We couldn't wait to get back to the hotel to sit in the pool. Michelle cooked a yummy dinner with steak and vegetables and we had dinner under the stars by the pool with a desert mountains backdrop. Perfect!
We decided to dedicate today to just shopping at the Desert Hill Factory Outlet which is about an hour from 29 palms. Let just say we spent a shocking amount of money on shopping today on clothes that weren't much cheaper than we'd seen in other places (i.e. New York). Either way, we filled up our bags and it was still far cheaper than Australia! We were pretty disappointed on the drive there as we saw hundreds of Joshua Trees which were way closer than the National Park (which was the whole purpose of visiting it...). We got home and pigged out on cherries and played cards for the rest of the evening. All in all a very relaxing place.
Day 32: Death Valley
It was a long drive to Death Valley - a good 5.5 hours, so we started driving pretty early. And by early, we mean 9am. Hehhe.. We've become really bad with our wake up times and waking up to go to work will definitely be a struggle when we get home. Death Valley has the record for the highest recorded temperature on Earth! It was only spring but it was still easily 40 °C. Our motel was in the middle of the park and it was a pretty desolate drive. We only had one night here so we checked in and headed out to see the most famous parts of Death Valley, the Sand Dunes and Badwater Basin.
The Sand Dunes were beautiful to look at but in the end it was kinda like being at the beach, minus the water. It was so bloody hot so we didn't hang out at the dunes for very long..
Badwater Basin is a salt pan with a natural spring in it. They said that the man who discovered it said he was dissapointed that he couldn't drink it when he arrived. That must qualify for understatement of the year! Seems like the whole area is hot an mostly waterless so I'm sure he said a bit more than "I'm disappointed". We got some pretty good photos and headed back to the motel.
We had a choice of one restaurant for dinner so we went there. Michelle had a nice piece of flat iron steak; And I had an open burger with chilli. It was pretty reasonably priced and from what I can remember dinner tasted pretty good so we lucked out there. After that it was back to the room and time for some cards and a drink before bed.
Day 33: Yosemite
Another long drive today. It took us nearly 7 hours to get to Yosemite. Today was also our 4 year anniversary which Blake had forgotten (as he apparently had something planned for the next day), so we had a very quiet drive to Yosemite as I (Michelle) decided played the silent treatment all the way there. Knowing it was a special occasion, we had prebooked a nice getaway at Tenaya Lodge. The place was just amazing and relaxing though not cheap. It was probably the most expensive place we have stayed at this entire trip.
Once we checked in, we spent the rest of the afternoon by the pool sipping cocktails. We finished the day with room service for dinner. And yes we had kiss and make up by the end of the day.
After our disastrous day yesterday, we decided to pretend today was our anniversary again. We started the morning with a yummy breakfast at the hotel, then we headed out to Yosemite National Park to check out the Giant Sequoia trees. We parked our car at the entrance of the Mariposa Grove and caught the shuttle bus into the park. Just as we were parking the car, we saw the shuttle bus coming so we ran for it and Blake forgot to turn off the car engine. He just got out of the car and started to run (he didn't even have his shoes on yet). That's the problem with a keyless car!!
Mariposa Grove is the largest grove of giant sequoias in Yosemite National Park. When they say giant.. they are really TALL!! The grizzly giant is one of the larges sequoia trees in the world!! We walked around the grove for a while and I asked Michelle to marry me near the faithful couple trees. Hopefully we'll grow closer as we grow older just like these two. When we returned we sat around for an hour then headed down to the spa for our massage, sauna and steam bath. It was perfect, though I think we may have unde-tip our massage therapists!
The bachelor and three graces:
The grizzly giant:
The Faithful couple:
To celebrate, we decided to have dinner at the best restaurant at the lodge. I had the lobster bisque which was amazing, half a duckling; Blake had crab cakes, and very yummy steak for mains. And we shared the best flourless chocolate cake i have ever had.
Day 35: Sequoia
It was only a 2.5 hours drive to Sequoia, so we took our time checking out. We slept in, had breakfast and lingered around doing our laundry before hitting the road again. On the way we stopped to buy groceries and saw a 40minute foot and neck massage for $25each. We had one the day before but couldn't resist the bargain!
Our lodge was just near the entrance to Sequoia National Park in Three Rivers. We lucked out and picked a place that had a river flowing past the back of our rooms. We spent the afternoon near the river enjoying the sound and sights. There was also a massive loquat tree out the back which provided our dessert. The sound of the river put me (Blake) to sleep that night.
We were ready for a quick visit to Sequoia National Park. It deserves more of our time but after 20days of national parks they start to look the same. We checked the driving time and it looked like an hour each way. Unfortunately there was road works in multiple places on the way in and out which must have added an hour and a half! Nice to have the extra time in the park but it would have been nicer if we weren't surrounded by cars and people standing around on the road. Anyway, we had the time, so no big drama. The paths in the Park are really well laid out and marked so we made our way around the General Sherman tree area pretty easily. We were a bit short of breath but I guess that happens at 2000m above sea level. We eventually made our way back to the lodge and spent the rest of the day relaxing near the river. This has got to be one of the most relaxing places we've stayed, though Michelle said the sound of the river just makes her want to pee...
Michelle and I standing in an old Sequoia log.
This is the biggest tree in the world (Well actually its the largest known single stemmed tree). The base of the tree is 7.7m!!!
This is NOT the biggest tree in the national park nor in the world.. but it is still really big or tall should i say. Look how little Blake looks at the bottom!:
Next and final stop in America.. Los Angeles..