Yosemite Nat'l Park

Return to Yosemite

It was a bittersweet realization that our time in Fresno, CA was coming to an end. Don’t get me wrong, we are excited to get to a new location with a little more character, but the location and adventures that we took advantage of during our time in Fresno is something that might not ever happen again.

One of the biggest advantages of living in Fresno was the proximity to one of the most hallowed places in America: Yosemite National Park.

You might remember that we took a little trip here earlier in the assignment, but the draw of the granite cliffs, solitude of the enormous redwoods and the glow of the night sky is something that begs to be returned to many times over. So we packed up the Jeep and headed toward our respite and last piece of relaxation and adventure in the Southwest.

It was still a bit early in the year for backwoods camping, and the weather wasn’t looking to be in our favor, so we opted to stay in the historic “Curry Village”, where we were put up in a canvas tent for the night.

In the early years of Yosemite, the Curry family established a tented campground in order to provide the camping experience to all who wanted it. Their motto was “a good bed and clean napkin with every meal”. This is still very much the spirit of Curry Village today. For anyone wanting an affordable and memorable camping experience in Yosemite, this is about as perfect as it gets, without using your own gear.

While we were in the park, we took part in a couple hikes, climbed to some waterfalls and slept through hail/thunderstorms. It is always such a freeing feeling as you drive down and around the Yosemite Valley. The fresh air, smell of pine needles in the sun, sounds of distant waterfalls all seem to be alive and in perfect symphony.

This place… There is simply no other place like this in the world.

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Phoenix

Spring Training 2015

It’s spring in the southwest, so that means it’s time for baseball!

We flew down to Phoenix, AZ to meet up with Kayla’s dad and take in a week of baseball and sun. Ryan and Ellen and Nate met us down there a couple days later as well to truly make it a family affair.

Every single day we were in AZ, we saw a baseball game. In fact, within a couple of hours of our plane touching down, we were sitting down with a Summer Shandy in hand, watching the Brewers play the Cubs. We even left the ballpark on our last day and went straight to the airport to catch our flight later that evening. While we might not be the greatest baseball fans during the season, for this week our lives revolved around America’s favorite pastime.

While we were there, we also managed to get out a few times and do some hiking and obviously had our fair share of playing ball with Nate.

Getting down to Spring Training was a really eye-opening and crazy fun time. It was interesting to see the city embrace the influx of visitors and welcome the teams into their homes for the spring.

We’ll be looking forward to making this a potential yearly tradition!

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Big Sur

Big Sur Camping

When we were asked by a couple good friends to join them for a quick camping trip in Big Sur, it took us all of one second to mark it on the calendar. Any excuse to spend time with Seth and Monica Hines and their two dogs is a good one, and spending a couple of days in Big Sur was icing on the cake. The Hines’ lived in Seattle while we lived there and moved to San Francisco a few months before we began traveling.

Big Sur is a California staple. With nearly 90 miles of coastline, this area of the Central Coast contains some of the most incredible beaches, cliffs, groves and mountains I’ve ever seen.

Our first night was spent enjoying some incredible “camp” food that Seth meticulously put together, catching up on the past few months and planning our next day.

We slept in the next morning and headed up the road for a nice hike in the woods with the gang and the two viszlas. After a couple hours and some good elevation gains, we headed down to Pfeiffer Beach to get some sand and saltwater. We played some frisbee, threw a few many sticks for the dogs and snapped a bunch of photos.

Our second night ended a little sooner than the first and the next morning we were back on the road home.

The drive to Fresno from Big Sur should have taken around 3 hours, but with some intense fog, amazing coastline, a beach full of seals and a stop back in St Louis Obispo, we turned that into an 8-hour adventure.

A couple of days in Big Sur was a much needed getaway and spending it with an amazing couple and two rad dogs made it even better.

 
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Los Angeles

Los Angeles

Continuing our trend of exploring the areas in Central/South California, we recently took a trip to LA to experience the lifestyles of the rich and famous.

Neither of us had ever been to LA (that we remember) so planning the trip was exciting to know that we would finally be taking in all the sights and sounds that have been made famous by TV and movies.

We had two main objectives for the trip: 1: Experience the celebrity lifestyle and 2: Visit the infamous beaches and surf spots LA lays claim to.

The first stop though, was Pink’s– where we partook in true LA history by ordering hot dogs topped with more concoctions than the dog itself.

In order to hit objective number one, we stayed a couple nights in the Hollywood Hills. This offered us short proximity to Hollywood Blvd, the Sunset Strip, Beverly Hills and Universal Studios. We filled the days with the typical tourist hotspots and spent the nights on watch for celebrities in the nearby restaurants and pubs.

For the latter half of our trip, we stayed in Marina Del Rey, which was a good staging area for days in Venice Beach and Santa Monica.

Not quite ready to give up the sand and sun, we decided to postpone our drive back to Fresno long enough to meander up the coast to Malibu and spend some more time in the sand. After lunch at Neptune’s Net (made famous by Fast and the Furious) we found a little slice of beach heaven, hidden by rock formations and completely secluded from any other beach goers. We debated whether or not to building a tiki hut and moving in, but the call of “real life” rang through and we soon found ourselves back on the road to the central valley.

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CA Central Coast

Pismo Beach & SLO

We have started to get into a groove and find our way around Fresno more and more. In all honesty, the city itself could be Anytown, USA – but add some palm trees and consistently warm weather and it becomes slightly better than average.

Even the Fresnonians adhere to a strict code when it comes to finding things to do… Get out of the city and enjoy some of the great places that are merely a short drive away.

Naturally, when presented with a few days off, we headed to the coast.

Pismo Beach, CA is a short 2.5 hour drive from our place in Fresno which made it a perfect getaway for some time on the coast. It’s a small, surfer town where life slows down and flip-flops are customary.

A couple days spent lounging by the pool and exploring the beach were just what we needed to relax and reset after transitioning to life in Fresno.

Only ten minutes away from Pismo Beach is the neighboring city of San Louis Obispo or “SLO” as the in-crowd calls it.

While Pismo has the sand and surf, SLO has the art, music, local food & college town feel. We spent a day wandering down Higuera Street and popping in and out of cool stores and coffee shops.

I needed to get some work done, so I befriended a new favorite coffee shop and posted up while Kayla continued touring the city. If you ever find yourself in SLO – be sure to grab a late from Scout Coffee.

Not surprisingly, we had the camera in hand and took away some great memories and photos from the weekend.

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