Thursday, 21 May 2015

Sequoia - 30th March

Our window-deficient car was fine in the morning, and we had a great breakfast at our hotel, with the kids making their own waffles. I had a lovely long shower in our gorgeous bathroom, then we packed up the car and headed to a nearby Walmart.
We bought replacement cables, a battery charger that fits all our camera batteries (with the help of a nice employee called Ray, who said he shouldn't really open the box and let me try it out first, but that they don't call him 'Rebel Ray' for nothing!), I got a new laptop, Lucy got new make-up, stationary, and we managed to get a new blood test monitor and test strips. The test strips on the shelves cost up to $70 for a little box of 50!! I spoke to a woman in the pharmacy bit, and she got me down a monitor and 100 test strips all for about $30. I asked her why there was such a big price difference for basically exactly the same thing. She said 'this is America!' and that it was to do Health Insurance companies. I was glad I spoke to her anyway!
All-in-all it was an expensive little shopping trip, but we were really happy to get the new stuff, and had a nice chat with a man in the queue behind us, who heard our accents and wanted to talk about his travelling days.

We then had a 2.5 hour drive to Sequoia. I played with my new laptop and we charged everything up (our car has all kinds of USB and plug sockets in it - it's great!)
Took this photo with the camera on my laptop. I HATE Windows 8 with a passion, though I suppose I would have to switch to it sooner or later.

Gorgeous weather again! Great for having missing windows!

The drive through Sequoia was very winding and Alpine-like in places, with lots of scary drops right next to the road!

Harry spotting eagles at the park entrance stop-off.

Another quick stop-off in Kings Canyon.

We then stopped off to see General Sherman - the world's biggest tree (by trunk mass). There was still snow in places - we were quite high up - at 7335 feet at the highest point.
There were also signs saying keep food in your cars out of sight. We had a laugh then about not even having car windows... our robbery was more a source of amusement than anything else! I had worried that it would cast a shadow over the rest of our holiday, and spoil it a bit, but that wasn't really the case. After our initial upset, it created more of a thing of interest and humour, than anything else.
A discussion we had each time we parked though was where to best position the car so it'd be least likely to be robbed again! It wasn't exactly inconspicuous! - a massive white van with Minion Duck Tape round a large knocked out window, with a load of suitcases showing, plus another window wide open! (We'd got rid of the plastic bag taped to Lucy's window - it was too noisy and she couldn't see the view.)

On the trail to General Sherman.

Another of the giant redwoods. Their bark is kind of soft and matted.

I walked back with Lucy, and we definitely felt more out of puff than we'd usually be.

We then headed through the mountains to Ridgecrest, California. The road through the rest of Sequoia was just crazy! Steep and winding for mile upon mile. We'd then plateau out for a bit, then be driving over another mountain.

We just about squeezed through these trees on either side of the road!

For a while we drove through the most wonderful smelling orange groves!! I was just sucking the air into me as deeply as possible - the smell was just thick with perfume, and heavenly!

We stopped off in yet another of the orange groves and I picked an orange!! (I didn't feel too bad - most the oranges seemed to be dropping off and were wasting on the ground.) It was the best orange I've eaten, and it was warm from the sun!

As we carried on driving, Harry and Tom felt travel sick, and Tom got really poorly - not actually being sick, but shaking and feeling awful. We stopped off more and more frequently (like near this ranch in the middle of nowhere).

Tom sat in my front seat, and as we drove down from the mountains towards a place called Lake Isabella, it started getting dark pretty quickly. If felt kind of scary and exciting - crazy winding narrow roads, then stopping off in dark woods (with no window next to me and who knows what scary animals around!!)
At one stop-off Scott gave Tom a priesthood blessing. I loved that this was Harry's idea - he had complete faith that Tom would feel better after a blessing.
We made it down off the mountain roads OK, and Tom started feeling a bit better.
Driving through the near dark, with mountains in the distance and a huge lake at the foot of them, with the stars out and warm evening wind blowing was nice.
At the small town of Lake Isabella, we saw a McDonalds and stopped for tea at 9pm! We chose where best to park again and felt like we'd had another adventure we'd overcome... intrepid explorers finally reaching civilisation!
Tom couldn't eat much, but after we set off again he fell asleep till we got to the hotel - a Motel 6 in Ridgecrest (middle of nowhere) at about 10pm.
More parking discussion, blowing up of airbeds etc, and unloading everything - we are pro at this!

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