Photo Friday: From Yosemite to Santa Barbara

by jdroth on 17 April 2015 · 8 comments

Has another week gone by already? Kim and I have both noticed that our sense of time on this trip has become very distorted. Days bleed into one another, and it seems sometimes like we’re barely moving. Yet at the same time, we’ve now traveled 1500 miles and the entire length of California!

When we last left you, we’d made our way to Yosemite National Park. The valley is beautiful, more beautiful than I could have imagined. Last Friday morning, we took our bikes into the park and pedaled from waterfall to waterfall, stopping from time to time to take a hike (or to sip a beer).

Kim goofs around while biking below Half Dome

After two days in Yosemite, we thought we’d return for a third. But by the time Saturday rolled around, we were feeling worn out. Instead, we took our first down day of the trip and hung around camp. We sunbathed and read. In the evening, we drove to nearby Evergreen Lodge, where we sipped whine and chatted with two guys our age from St. Louis. We had so much fun that we stuck around for four hours! Here I am trying to look rugged for our mountain surroundings:

J.D. looking rugged at Evergreen Lodge

On Sunday morning, we returned to Groveland to spend a final night with Kim’s brother. In the afternoon, Doug and I rode dirt bikes. In the evening, Jenn and her brother joined me and Kim for a barbecue at Uncle Freddie’s house. Fred has been in the entertainment industry for a longtime, including a stint as drummer for the Charlie Daniels Band. I made him pose in front of his gold record for “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” (which as always been one of my favorite songs).

Uncle Freddie shows off his gold record for The Devil Went Down to Georgia

We rose early Monday morning and drove south to Visalia. What’s in Visalia? A lot of farmland! We basked in the scent of the orange groves as we drove to and from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks (two adjoining parks managed as one). While there, we saw the General Sherman Tree, which is the world’s largest living tree. Here it is, flanked by two friends:

The General Sherman Tree, the largest tree in the world

After one night in Visalia, we had intended to leap the Sierra Nevadas and spend some time in Death Valley. But the more we looked at it, the more we felt like it wasn’t the right move for us. We decided to save that area (and Las Vegas) for our return trip in a year. Instead, we swung over to the California coast to an RV park outside Santa Barbara. At Rancho Oso, Kim got to hang out with the horses, which is always a treat.

Kim makes a friend at Rancho Oso

As we drove to Santa Barbara, we saw miles of billboards touting Pea Soup Andersen’s. Kim tried to convince me that it’s a California landmark, so we stopped to have pea soup for lunch. It was actually pretty good. But more than the food, I liked the amazing kitschy feel that seems to have survived from the Sixties or Seventies. Nice! After lunch, we explored the nearby town of Solvang, which clings to a Danish sensibility.

Kim preps to eat pea soup with all the fixings

On Thursday, we drove down to Ventura to see the Channel Islands National Park visitor center. As much as I wanted to visit the islands themselves, we couldn’t justify the expense; we’re already creeping over budget. Instead, we drove back to Santa Barbara, where we read on the beach and biked around town. In the afternoon, we celebrated our third anniversary by going wine tasting. We had a fantastic dinner at The Lark, which is in the middle of Santa Barbara’s so-called “Funk Zone”. (If that’s a funk zone, then all of Portland is funky.)

Celebrating our third anniversary by wine tasting in Santa Barbara

Today we made our first marathon drive, and it wasn’t fun. We spent 6-1/4 hours driving 230 miles across the greater Los Angeles area, moving from Santa Barbara on the coast to Idyllwild in the mountains. When you count packing and unpacking, it took nine hours to get settled again. I didn’t like it. We’ll do our best to keep future legs to five hours or under.

Now, though, we can rest. After 3+ weeks of nearly constant travel, we plan to stay put for ten days. We’ll visit Joshua Tree National Park and see both sides of Kim’s family, but for the most part we’ll sit around camp and read and write and make repairs to the RV.

With luck, that means I can actually get a few more blog posts written — both for here and for my personal site!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Uncle Freddie 19 April 2015 at 14:15

Wow u guys are really booking along I saw that u put me in the travel story had my first dinner w/ Johnny Gun and Christy last night at the Hotel. Keep trucking happy trails fast Freddie.


2 Cheryl Batton 19 April 2015 at 15:02

I am enjoying all of your posts, pictures, and stories. It is nice to visit the sites via your social networking connections. Thank you for sharing with us! It looks like you are enjoying the journey.


3 Julie 19 April 2015 at 17:17

Thanks for taking the time to share your stories and pix with us. It look like tremendous fun so far and you’ve just started your adventures. One suggestion for taming the budget is to be more selective with where/how often dining out. It’s always hard to resist for me to resist all the cool places on the road but it’s no secret that dining out, especially the alcohol adds up real fast. Can’t wait to keep tagging along!


4 Aaron 20 April 2015 at 14:23

When preparing for your trip, did you come across any other blogs like that are currently chronicling cross-country trips like yours? I find this entertaining and would like more similar blogs to read if you know of any? Thanks for sharing, it looks like fun!


5 Connie 21 April 2015 at 06:42

Dear “Rothwards” – I’m enjoying your blog so much! My sister and her husband (Westcliffe , CO) have recently begin making shorter trips in their own RV, so I’m sending them your link. I’m a new retiree and embarked February 1st on a post retirement “gap year” trip through Europe. I’ve also taken the plunge to become a first-time blogger. Keep your posts and the great photos coming. It’s great to read about your adventures.


6 Frank 30 April 2015 at 09:21

I see that you are in now Tucson. If your route takes you to New Mexico, along Hwy 60, let me know and I will give you a behind-the-scenes tour of the Very Large Array, site of the movie Contact and astronomy mecca.


7 Clay 14 May 2015 at 06:52

So happy for you two! Have fun and safe travels.


8 kimmie 15 May 2015 at 16:28

Clay!!! So glad you’ve checked out the website. We are having a ball :)


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