A Travellerspoint blog

Hotel California

all seasons in one day
View My Year Off on Lugor79's travel map.

It's a been a while, I'm sitting in the preverbal Seattle Coffee shop, catching up on my photos and blog.. here are a few thoughts and happenings...

  • I had been living out of my tent for the past bit and it has been beyond awesome. I'd wake up in the morning and look at a map and go 'Where do I want to spend the night tonight?' and the only constraint was that I had to pick up Patrick in San Diego Wednesday, May 7th. I had 3 and a half days to work with, it was fun! Spent one night in Big Basin SP, one in Big Sur SP (aggressive squirrels), and one night in Jalama Beach, camping one dune behind the beach.
  • I went into LA to check out the Walk of Fame and the Hollywood sign. I drove down to where Vine met Hollywood Blvd. Found a parking spot nearby and parked, had 1 hour parking. Walked real quick, took lots of pictures and I headed back to the car. About a block away I saw a traffic cop writing me a ticket. So I ran over as fast as I could and talked to him. I knew I was under 1 hour, so I asked him what was up. He said I was parked illegally, but I pointed out the 1 hour parking sign and the white T's on the road for the parking spot. He said it was a Red Curb (which means no parking) and a bus stop. $300 fine he says, we argue a bit, finally he agrees to write it down to $70 and tells me to take pictures and go argue my case with the courts. Take a look at the picture and tell me what you think... I personally think it's scam by either the cop or the city...
  • I saw some elephant seals basking in the down the California Coast. It's something I heard about but never experienced, and never would've thought I'd see. A beach full of seals, take a look at the pictures, even my best description can't match that.
  • Joshua Tree is so otherworldly. I've had it described to me before but seeing it is just different. Even pictures have difficulty capturing the weirdness of it. The best description I've heard is "it's like a Giant's Sandbox, where the Giants stacked rocks on top of each other in the most bizarre way." That is just the way Joshua Tree is, you have some of the most precariously balanced boulders I've ever seen; someone must have placed it there.
  • Yosemite was just packed. Patrick and I got tired of Joshua Tree, our hands were raw from climbing sandstone so we figured we'd give Yosemite granite a try on a Saturday night. Turned out it was a bad idea. Every campsite, every hotel, every motel within 20 miles was booked for the night, we were really lucky that we did find one that had vacancies, for $129 a night. Even with the crowds I'd highly advise everyone to visit this place; the valley is just beyond-BEYOND gorgeous.
  • Patrick and I (yes Patrick, we BOTH made a decision) to climb Snake Dike (5.7R) on Half Dome on our 2nd day. It's a 8 pitch 800 ft climb. With a 3-4 hour approach, 6 miles and 2500 ft in elevation change, 3-4 hour climbing and a 3-4 descent at 8 miles. So at a minimum it was a 9 hour day, to probably an average a 12 hour day. For us, it was a 16 hour day. We started hiking from the car at about 7:45, 4.5 hours later we arrived at the base of the climb at 12:30 or so. This was after some strenuous bush whacking as we could not find the trail the first time. We had a party ahead of us just starting to climbing, some people who worked for Google in Ireland. Now, the day started sunny and beautiful, by the time we got to the base of the climb it was partly cloudy and windy. Half way up the climb it started hailing on us, about small bead size hail... Lucky for us, the R sections of the climb was 5.4 so I didn't have too much issue leading it, but it didn't make me happy. I was also underdressed for the hail storm... However, as the theme of the trip has been so far, close to disaster but in the end, everything works out. Cause in the end, we summited in clear blue skies. We descended via the cables- however the uprights weren't there, so it was a bit hairy. So, in summary in 16 hours we climbed Half Dome in a hail storm, Patrick led a pitch of it, scrambled 800 ft to the summit, and hiked 8 miles back to the valley. Over all a good day.. ;)
  • The day after Half Dome Patrick and I took it easy and did the tourist drive. We were so sore, the old ladies were looking at us weird while hobbled up and down the stairs. So at night we dropped by the Ahwahnee Hotel to check the place out. The place, in my mind, is the ORIGINAL high end wilderness lodge. All those resort lodges you see in all those ski resorts are just wannabees. This hotel is just stunning- big fire places, uniquely and originally decorated rooms and even the faux candles added to the atmosphere rather then detracted from it. The dining room was full of people in dinner dresses, high heels and sport jackets- who brings high heels to Yosemite? The dining room itself reminded me of the vaulted dining rooms of old English castles; the whole place was lit by faux candles, which again made it even more tasteful. On top of that each room costs at least $439, Patrick and I paid $5 each for a campsite at Camp 4.
  • So in the theme of close calls. We had 1-ish flights from San Francisco. It's 180 miles from Yosemite to San Francisco, so we figured 3 hour drive and we budgeted to be there by 10am, giving us 3 hours... First we started late, instead of 7am, it ran into 7:30. Then Yosemite had road construction, some of the roads had 35mph speed limits and then we hit traffic. We got to the car return place at noon, got to the terminal at 12:30. So we were both very worried about catching our flights, Patrick's was 1:10 and mine was 1:30. Lucky for Patrick, his flight was delayed to 1:30 and for me, there was no line at the check-in or at security, so we had more then enough time to catch our flights. So again with the theme of things, close calls but all is well in the end.

Posted by Lugor79 19:46 Archived in USA Tagged ecotourism Comments (0)

Signs and Omens

First day of my World Tour and stuff happens. I'm not superstitious, but in statistics there is a concept known as conditional probability, the probability of event B happening given that A has occurred.

  • So what does it mean when your duffel bag rips while you are trying to pack it? In my case I just went to REI and bought another one. Good sign or bad?
  • I got picked up by Super Shuttle from Minh's at 5am, guy took us around town and to National (DCA) and my flight was out of Dulles (IAD). Driver tells me my reservation is from DC to Reagon (which it is, I just checked, I must've selected the wrong airport). He says I'm in luck because he's headed out there anyway. At this point he's ambivalent on whether he can get me there on time, it's 0600 and I have a 0850 flight. We pick up two more people and head over to Dulles, whole time I'm worried about lines, closing of check-in and missing my first flight. He gets me there at 0650, I pay him the extra fee for Dulles and run into the airport. I find the Air Canada line empty and try to check in my bags. I get an error, saying something about itinerary change... I hand the agent my passport and he goes over some info and hands me back my ticket. I got put on another flight, I had got bumped to an earlier flight of 0830. Either the other one was cancelled/recheduled or something else happened. I had checked the status of my flight the night before and it showed no changes. The whole check-in and security thing took less than 20 minutes. Was at the gate with time to spare. Does this mean I'm to expect close calls but spectatucal finishes? A lot of worrying for nothing?
  • I was on my laptop at the gate and this girl beside me asked if they had wireless in the airport. I told her they had, she was worried cause she had limited batteries and didn't want to waste it checking for wireless if there wasn't any. I pointed out to her that there are random outlets around the terminal and she tells me she forgot her power plug. Earlier I had noticed she had an Macbook, so I offered her my power plug. She thanked me and took off looking for a power outlet, leaving her bags in her seat. I waited for a bit and then they started calling for boarding for my flight. I had assumed she was going to be on my flight because she had this cute French accent, so figured she'd be back before my flight left for Montreal. After a bit of fretting on my part, she comes running back and hands me my power plug and I board my plane as the last passenger (no she wasn't on my flight, wish we had more time to talk...). I guess another sign of close calls?

So ripped bags, wrong airports, changed flights and last minute power plugs, what does it all mean?

PS: I over heard an United employee at Dulles excitedly telling another one it was Aloha Friday, anyone know what that means? Do they all fly jump seat to Hawaii and party on Aloha Friday?

Posted by Lugor79 18:03 Archived in USA Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

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