Saturday, June 22, 2013

Day Two

What a crazy long day! The plan was to be on the road by 7:30am since at the last minute we added in an extra detour but we were all exhausted from the day before that we didn't get out till 8:15am. Oops! We began the drive on Hwy101 but as soon as we saw that we could get onto The Avenue of the Giants, we did just that. It was so pretty driving between such tall trees. Dad kept saying, "those are just baby trees, wait till you see the drive through tree." Clarke was probably the most outwardly excited by this, pointing out every big tree that he saw (which was obviously a lot!). We had to stop and take a picture before continuing the journey.
This is the picture that dad took (notice the other camera guy with the red car, this wasn't the first time we had seen him)

This is the picture that I took of dad trying to die (it was right after a blind corner so we were all a bit stressed, especially when he would full on lay down!)

We drove for another few minutes and I was met with my first disappointment of the trip: The Shrine Drive-Thru tree. Now, this stop boasted about being an amazing spot to truly experience the redwoods, complete with a drive thru tree, drive over log, tree houses made only of a tree stump, and animal carvings. Now, it did have all of this but it most certainly was NOT worth the $6 we had to pay. The drive thru tree was just an old tree that had split in half and was being held together by wires and it wouldn't even fit our vehicle. Then, the gift shop was supposed to be open at 9am but by the time we left it was still closed, not a person in sight, at 10:15am. Now, we weren't concerned with buying anything here but some people not to be named had to go pee really bad and dancing around in my skirt wasn't making it any better. Needless to say, I wrote a very unhappy and displeased review on every website I could find. Yes, I mad.
This was the drive thru tree compared the the height of my mom

Trying to find some enjoyment, we wanted to get a picture with the animal carvings but... dad made a well timed photo bomb.
After our "enjoyment" at the tree, we rushed off to find a restroom. Dad, thinking quick, made a sudden turn into a state park and they allowed us a 15minute pass to use their facilities. I was so eager to be out of the SUV that I jumped out onto gravel and dropped my sunglasses. Forgetting my lady like manners, I spun around, bent over to retrieve them, and rushed off. I think the people at the picnic table have now seen things that can't be unseen... sorry.

After relieving ourselves, we began our trek towards our unplanned stop, a find made by my father the day before we left - Glass Beach in Forth Bragg, CA. Now, years ago this beach was used as the city dump but since then has been cleaned up. What remains is all the glass that has been sea tossed. Usually, you can walk on a beach for hours and hours and never find a piece of sea glass but this place advertised being covered in the stuff. After driving the most winding road in the history of roads for the last 2 hours, we prayed for the most fantastic beach ever. At first look, it looks just like a really dirty beach with a few spots of white rocks. I was prepared to type up more bad reviews but Jaz and the boys opted to climb down the small cliff to the beach. Things were not as they appeared to be. The beach really was covered in sea glass.

We all plopped ourselves down and looked through the glass to find our favorite pieces.
Here's Jazmyn with just a few of hers

The green and blue ones were my favorites
 Since we were already over an hour behind schedule we had to get going much sooner than any of us wanted to. Our next stop was lunch... well, by this time is was going to also be dinner. Now I planned all our meal stops based on the reviews they got on Yelp an TripAdvisor. Taqueria Las Palmas in Santa Rosa, CA got some of the best reviews I saw stating that even professional chefs recommended this place. When we got there, we were a bit concerned due to it being one of those hole-in-the-wall places in the middle of the ghetto. Now that I have expierced it, however, it definitely deserved those good reviews. There was a newspaper article on the wall that told the story of the two brothers who immigrated from South Mexico to become chefs. Starting out as dishwashers, they worked their way up, built the restaurant themselves over a period of 7 months, and as Yelp said, even chefs recommend their delicious, authentic food.

Near by, thanks to a roadside attractions website I found about a month ago, we got to see this odd structure.
 If you're asking yourself, "Are those bikes?" Well yes, they are. I'm not sure how tall the thing is but I think it was more impressive than the "World's tallest totem pole" from the day before. It was just two blocks away from our meal spot and positioned in the parking lot of a car dealership. If you're driving down this road, you certainly can't miss it.

By this time it was 4pm which meant we were over 2 hours behind schedule. My father, with his lead foot, took us off to our next stop being a viewpoint that I've been once before on a mission trip - Battery Spencer. As I learned in my original planning, you can't just type in "Battery Spencer" and it'll take you there. Instead, you have to zoom in on the northern point of the Golden Gate Bridge and to the left (West), the label will come into view. Of all the viewpoints of the bridge, this is certainly my favorite. We stopped just long enough to take in the view and then continued on into the city.
As with other things we had seen that day, Clarke said it just didn't look real, "It's definitely just a green screen"
The plan was to spend 3 hours in San Francisco, riding the cable cars, checking out China town, and having dinner on the Pier. With the addition of glass beach, we weren't able to do any of that but at this point we were too tired to anyway. Surprisingly, the only traffic we hit was just before Golden Gate Bridge and it wasn't for too long at all. My crazy father really wanted to check out Lombard street. You know, that really steep, windy, cobblestone street. As if we hadn't had enough whiplash already, dad promised he just wanted to see it, not drive down it. He lied!

It really wasn't that bad but we were already pretty car sick
As you can see, the sun was setting so we made our way the last 2 hours to our hotel in Merced, California. Thankfully, this hotel had a chair with a pull out bed so only one person had to sleep on the floor this time. Oddly enough, Blake has slept on the floor every night because he wanted to! The rest of us were totally okay with it :) Getting into the hotel around 10pm, we hauled our stuff up to the third floor and crashed. Another long but fun day.

Today's plan is much simpler. We'll drive 4ish hours to lunch in Ridgecrest, get food to pack for dinner, then drive hours and hours through death valley. With brief stops at Furnace Creek and Dante's View, we'll continue the drive over the California/ Nevada border and into Las Vegas. Don't worry, we won't lose any money except that which has already been spent on the hotel. It's just a night time lodging spot before we take off on the grand Route 66. Until next time, dear readers (probably most recommend by my mom), live long and prosper!

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