Wednesday, September 28, 2011

San Jose, California

We visited San Jose today, with our first stop being the San Jose Flea Market.  This place was huge, one of the biggest we've ever been to.  One problem is that everything for sale here was either from the Philippines, Taiwan, Mexico or China.  Lots of clothes from China, lots of cheap knock offs and junk.    They did have about 30 produce vendors that had a lot of nice produce. Overall it was a waste of time.  We then stopped by the World's Largest Monopoly game board and took a few pictures.  The board is made of granite and each square is carved in.  Since we were the only people there, we did not play. We went to the new San Pedro Market Square, which is a lot of nice stores and restaurants in an area of renewal.  The grand opening is next month, but many of the businesses are already open.  We had a nice lunch at Peggy Sue's.  Next door to the market is the Old Pueblo, the oldest structure in San Jose.
The highlight of our day was a visit to the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum.  We entered through the peace garden and went into the museum.  This museum has mummys, coffins, hieroglyphics on stone tablets, statues of pharaohs and lots of items found in tombs.  They even had some mummys put through an MRI so that you could see what was inside the dressings and inside the mummys themselves.  The artifacts were many and very interesting.  It was quite fascinating.

Monopoly in the Park
Monopoly board

Resting on the Dice
Go to Jail square
Debbie in jail again
The old pueblo

Egyptian Museum
Guarding the entrance

Can you see Debbie at the door?

Child Mummy
Sacred Dog guards a tomb

Model of the first ever pyramid

Pharoh Adherha


Inside a tomb
Fertility carving




Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Santa Cruz, California

Today we took a day trip to Santa Cruz, a very nice city on the Pacific coast.  There were lots of upscale areas by the coast and a very nice downtown with great shops and restaurants.  This is a college town, the home of the University of California at Santa Cruz.  The team mascot is the Banana Slug.  Go Slugs!  We toured the pier with souvenir shops and seafood restaurants, but the boardwalk is not open until the weekend during the autumn.  They have lots of roller coasters, rides, and arcades on the boardwalk.  We visited the Santa Cruz lighthouse, which also holds the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum.  Back in the early 1900's, 50 years before Hawaii became a state, three brothers from Hawaii came to attend the college at UCSC and this is when surfing was introduced to the states.  We had a nice lunch at an organic restaurant called Chocolate. 

Debbie at the lighthouse
A view from the lighthouse

Surfer Dude
Debbie is for the birds

The boardwalk area

The Santa Cruz Pier
One of the many sea lions

Wave hits the seawall
A great view from the lighthouse


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Big Sur, California

September 18-October 17, 2011. We are in Morgan Hill for a month, using this city as our jumping off point to visit Big Sur, Monterey, Carmel, San Jose, Gilroy, Santa Cruz and another visit to San Francisco.  We've both had bad colds and bronchitis, have been to the doctors and stayed at home all week.  Our first trip out was today to Big Sur.  What a beautiful drive along the coast from Monterey to Big Sur. We tried to get some seafood in Monterey at one of the restaurants on Cannery Row, but being Sunday, the town was packed.  We drove around for quite a while looking for someplace to park, but gave up and drove up the coast to Castroville, which is known as the Artichoke Center of the Universe.  We had great mexican meal at The Whole Enchilada and then stopped at Garlic World in Gilroy, known as the Garlic capital of the world, and bought a few things. It was a good day.

What a view from Big Sur

Another great view
Nobodys at the beach

Deb on the cliff overlook
Leaving the Whole Enchilada


My Garlic Queen


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Eastman Lake, Chowchilla, CA.

September 15-17, 2011.  Debbie has a cold and sore throat, so no touring today.  After two national parks, we needed a rest stop, so we went to a Corp of Engineers park at Eastman Lake.  They have a big dam and a nice lake.  We saw lots of rabbits and heard the coyotes howling at night.

Our campsite
Eastman Lake

Sunset over our campsite
The dam at Eastman Lake

We usually post our blog every few days, but its been nearly two weeks because we have been in a remote areas.  We've had no phone, television or internet service since we left Lodi.  There are still wild, remote areas out here.  There were times when we were 50 miles or more between gas stations, many miles with nothing but wide open spaces.  It's a bit scary being in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone or internet service.  Our cell phones and five spot are worthless out there. Thank God that this 2007 Dodge Ram Diesel just runs so good!


Sequoia National Park

September 12-14, 2011.  Giant Sequoia trees in numerous groves are the big show at Sequoia.  We started at the entrance at 400' above sea level and reached our site at Lodgepole Campground at 6700'.  The Dodge diesel pulled us up easily.  At the campground there is a bear proof food storage box for every campsite.  Bears here roam the park at night and if they smell food, a candy wrapper, or anything with odor, like a cleaning wipe, they are apt to tear the door off your car or smash a window to get in.  So, you have to keep any food, not in the refridgerater, in the bear box.
We saw the Grizzly Giant, 230' tall and 38' across, the largest tree by volume in the world.  Some branches are 6' in diameter.  We also walked 3/4 of a mile down, then back up, to the General Sherman Tree, the tallest of the Sequoias at 240'.
The Grizzly Giant
Big tree, small SUV

Our Campsite

Big tree & Me

Bear Box
Deb driving thru the Tunnel Tree

A little drizzle can't dampen our visit

Yosemite National Park

September 7-11, 2011.  All we can say is "Wow" what a beautiful national park to visit.  We stayed at the KOA in Mariposa, 36 winding miles east of Yosemite.  Each day we went to the park to be awed again.  We took a nine hour bus and tram tour on the second day.  It took us up to the trail to Glacier Point and we hiked to the top.  What a view.  We also went to the Mariposa Grove, where many of the largest Sequoia trees on earth grace the mountains. Although the Sequoias have been through many forest fires, they still stand, even if they are burned 3/4 of the way through. Many on the large trees have bark that is a foot thick.  Some of the limbs were 6' in diameter and the base of the tree was 36' across. On our visit we also saw El Capitan, Half Dome, the Merced River, Bridal Veil Fall, the upper and lower Yosemite Falls, a sandy beach at Swinging Bridge and the Cathedral Spires.  We got to see deer, chickoree (what we call squirrels) chipmunks, various birds, and even a weasel. This was a bear area, but we did not get to see any.  We took a side trip on our last day to O'Shaunessy Dam at Hetch Hetchy, we walked across the dam and gazed at beautiful Hetch Hetchy reservoir. We visited the Yosemite Lodge ($219. per night and the Awanhee Lodge($500. a night).  We couldn't even afford to eat there.  Finally, we visited the Yosemite Chapel where 300 weddings a year are held.

Bridal Veil Fall
El Capitan
Beautiful Yosemite Valley
Yosemite Falls from Glacier Point

Deb at the back of our tour bus, day 2 of 5

Deb at Glacier Point with Half Dome

Clothes Pin Tree (Sequoia(
Deb found an 18" cone

230' high, 36' in diameter
So burned we could walk through this Sequoia

Deb at Yosemite Lodge
After lunch at Wowona Hotel
Tree Hugger with twin Jeffery pines
Wowona Hotel

The water was too cold to swim
a Stellar's Jay
Narrow road

Awhanee Lodge
Inside Yosemite Chapel
Hetch Hetchy Lake at O'Shaunessy Dam
A Chickoree