Friday, January 24, 2014

Roadtrip rulez!

I picked up all of my friends from their various arrival ports (German K and Hong Kong P flew in before Christmas to enjoy San Francisco, as we wouldn't be exploring this during our trip, and Churches flew in after Christmas so we picked her straight up from the airport) and took them to meet my family. Everyone was eager to meet everyone else; everyone had heard of everyone else so much and it was finally time to have everyone meet in person.

We did this over several family dinners at my parents' California home and all enjoyed the company, discussion, and especially food.

As my mom met everyone in turn and got to know more about them, it became obvious that we'd have to put down some rules so my parents wouldn't worry as we went out and explored the vast California landscape:
  • Trading of phone numbers and other contact information was necessary so in case one of my two phones failed they could still get ahold of us (and vice versa, should something have happened to me)
  • Rules about sticking together and watching out for one another while in Vegas especially
  • Correspondence should we deviate from our original plan
My parents also did the awesome thing of loading up our car (which was my dad's midsized luxury sedan, rather than us squeezing into my extremely tiny Mini...this was an exceptionally great decision as our suitcases barely fit into the sedan as it was): we had roadtrip snacks galore from the best of American goodies, chains for our tires for our explorations into the many national parks of California, several torches/flashlights, reusable metal water bottles and thermos cups, and even a very convenient configuration for cigarette-lighter adapters so multiple people could charge their phones while we were driving. Oh, and the portable navigation system/GPS from my San Diego days.

The plan was purposefully made simple since I would be the primary driver:
  • First stop in Yosemite National Park to see one of the most famous parks in California and the US
  • Sequoia National park to see the giant trees
  • A necessary stop in Barstow on our way to Vegas (I warned them about the...undesirable characteristics of this city, which I'll detail out later)
  • Vegas for new years eve 
  • Joshua Tree for the last of our national park stops
  • Bakersfield as another stop along our way to somewhere better (I also warned them about this city)
  • Paso Robles for some much needed wining and dining
  • Back up Highway 1 for a spectacularly beautiful end to our trip and completing the circle back in my home town
My dad and I had planned it so the amount of driving was kept at 3.5 hours or less per day. We would be changing location everyday, taking a solid weeklong trip for our explorations.

Our plan, minus mileage to account for various other small things we would invariably do (like stop at cafes, shopping, going out for dinner, driving to hotels, etc) was to cover 1700+ miles in that week. Solid.

We booked our first hotel in Yosemite, loaded the car, and went to sleep early to take advantage of an early start to our first destination. We were set.

California here we came!

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