Snow fight, geothermal action and a salt storm!

On the way from Jackson (not the Jackson in the Johnny Cash songs) to Utah we went from the nice green rolling hills to the higher mountain areas to find … SNOW!!! A snow fight was inevitable!
snow
snow
snow
snow
Bec hurled a curve ball at their camera and nailed it in the lens!
snow
Jez introduced Oz to the snow mountains and walked barefoot in the snow. Simply hardcore.

Later down the road we passed some thermal springs
geothermal

The finish the day off, we ended up in the middle of a sand/salt storm. We pulled over to get petrol and nearly ended up on my ass!

A lion, a tiger … nah, just 4 bears! Welcome to Yosemite!

May 1st we left San Fran – bound for Yosemite National Park!
yosemite
If you can get there it is definitely worth the trip. It’s beautiful!
yosemite
Jeremy insisted we test the water in the river – i reckon it had to be just over freezing.

yoesemite
yosemite
yoesmite
yosemite
We even managed to see 4 bears! We thought we were lucky enough to just catch just one bear, but as went went afew more k’s down the road we caught a mumma bear with 2 cubs!

We spent the night in a lttle town called Jackson and sampled the fine authentic Mexican cuisine “Taco Bell”. That’s some pretty average food…

higher res pics are on my flickr site

Single man, Sushi and a sad Smalls…

All good things come to an end.
I am now a single dude again – but i’ll save that for another entry 🙂

Anyway…

The girl I call Smalls wouldn’t give in to our urges for her to stay in the US another week or two. 🙁

So we all went out for Sushi in San Francisco. Lisa had been dying to have it for weeks – we were both meant to be flying back via Japan and staying there 2 nights but I decided to stay over in the US with Bec & Jez another 2 weeks because it is such a cool trip!

At 5.30am on May 1st 2007, Lisa “Smalls” Downs was pronounced “departed for Sydney via Tokyo via LA via San Fran”.

Babe it is really weird not having someone to share the back seat in the Matrix-mobile!
I hope you have a great time in Melbourne and with your new/old dude!

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popov_love
smallsdeparts

Twin peaks, Muir Woods, Inn-n-out burger & Chris Crowell

Yesterday was full of coolness.

After a quick look at the street where “Full House” was meant to be set, we headed up to Twin Peaks and had a bit of a look – unfortunately it was really foggy & freezing!

Next we crossed the Golden Gate bridge to check out Muir woods – home to some massive Redwood trees – some over 140ft high!

muir woods

Afterwards we headed back to Fisherman’s wharf to finally get a taste of … Inn-n-out burger!!!
Wow! Tasty burgers! We all got a double burger – even Lisa who is meant to be a vegetarian!! THat’s how amazing they were.

inn n out burger

double burgers

We cruised back to our hotel and then I got a call from Chris Crowell – top fella who I worked with on 300 back in Animal Logic last year. He was returning from LA and after 8 hours of driving needed a Popov! We told Chris about our visit to Inn-n-out burger and he asked if we asked about the “Secret Menu”. Secret menu? Well it turns out the place offers more than the 3 things on the menu. Check it out

chris crowell

Then to top off the night we went to see “Blades of Glory

San Francisco bay blues

I don’t have the blues about my girl leaving me by San Francisco bay, like Jesse Fuller sung about in “San Francisco bay blues”, but I am going to be sad to leave here, The US, and Bec & Jeremy!
This trip has been fantastic fun!

So what did we get upto yesterday?

We woke up to the tune of popov vodka and after a unanimous decision headed to Chinatown for Yum Cha.
popov vodka
We shared a table with some women from South California – nice ladies and liked our $.02 on the US so far. Luckily they laughed when I said they were all fat (talking about the general population). Phew!
yumcha sanfran

We took a walk along the Fisherman’s wharf and tried to track down a Beer festival.
fishermanswharf
Along the way we saw more Seals! Hundreds lazing on some floats right on Pier 39. Apparently they’ve been coming here since 1989 when the last big earthquake happened.
seals pier 39
We also got a good view of the Alcatraz prison which we are going to check out tonight.
alcatraz
We eventually found the beer festival – $55USD for 3 hours of unlimted beer and food. But we decided against it and headed back to the motel for more Popov. We finished of the night down in Little Italy with some Pizza and some drinks.

Today we are going to hit up the sites – Golden Gate Bridge, so ancient Redwood forest and more.

Hearst, Seals and welcome to San Francisco!

A long drive up the 101 and 1 highways has got us to San Francisco! It was a really really beautiful drive

We left Morro bay in the morning and stoped by the William Randolph Hearst Ranch – better known as Hearst castle. Such opulence! Only the photos will do this justice. He bought a lot of art and ancient pieces from Europe after being inspired on a trip to Europe as a child. What he put together over 20 years is amazing. It sits on top of a mountain and surrounded by thousands of hectares of green countryside. My only knowledge of Hearst came from watching Citizen Kane at my Grandma’s house and during a boring communications session at university! It’s really worth the $20 to go on the Experience A tour and see.

hearst pool

A little while later we stopped by the beach at some place called Elephant Seal cove to see the Elephant Seals. What a bunch of fatties! For a kilometre or so layed thousands of these guys. Some huge ones, some smaller, some fighting and some with a hard on!

seals

We continued up the Highway 1 and 101 towards San Fran, stopping in a Monteray for a late lunch at “Chili’s” for a steak sandwich and bottomless coke cola (that is custom in the US i think).

cali coast

Then we hit San Francisco!

This place is so cool. On the drive in we got a glimpse of the Golden Gate bridge and the “Trolleys” (trams). This place is immensly more beautiful than any of the other cities I have seen in the US. Colourful buildings and less wide streets. Looking forward to seeing what else it has to offer!

Hollywood and en route to San Francisco

This blog entry is coming you live from the new car that Jez & bec picked up from Hertz – a Toyota Corolla.

I just can’t say enough how grateful I am that Jez & Bec are doing all the driving and getting good guidance/directions from Lisa & the GPS setup in Jez’s HP ipaq. We had a moment yesterday when the GPS had a brain fade and we had no idea what to do! Luckily Lisa got onto the Lonely Planet for USA and got us out of there.
Oh yes, what did we get up to?

We left Anaheim in the morning after paying tax upon tax for the hotel – some retarded tax like “City tax”, “hotel tax”, “room tax”, “bed tax” etc… No shit!
Travelling in the US makes me appreciate a lot about Australia and other cool countries around the world. But one thing the US has going for it is that all the toilets are A+ standard. No squats or lack of dunny roll! I guess they really need them here though. The amount of food that the folks eat here is astounding. If you are from any other part of the world and are thinking of ordering a meal here, and are traveling with a friend, GO HALVES or order a side instead of a main! Saves cash and you won’t end up a fat ass! 🙂

So we left Anaheim, and made our way into the centre of LA, checked out Melrose. The girls bought some things from the plethora of clothe shops along there, we took a bite to eat at a themed diner called Johnny Rockets – and went on our way. Bec mentioned that she knew of some tar pits in Los Angeles that might be worth checking out. AMAZING! There are over 1 million bones they have pulled out of the tar pits just from the past 100 years. Incredible to see. The tar pits are still bubbling away.

We next headed towards the Hollywood hills – the guys wanted to check out some celebrity houses and some famous bars. Along the way we went down Rodeo drive – the only thing I’d ever heard of the place was from Rage Against the Machine’s “Down Rodeo” so what i expected ended up pretty accurate!

Later in the arvo we headed to the Hollywood strip and checked out all the signatures out the front of Graumann’s theatre. The earliest i could find was from 1922. My hand is bigger than the new governor’s and not as big as Samuel L. Jackson’s. Shirley Temple has little feet. We finished the night off with dinner at Mel’s diner and a walk down the strip looking at he star’s names on the ground.

Today we left LA after a quick visit to the Playboy mansion. We couldn’t see very much except a tiny bit of the roof and we think we saw a playboy bunny entering the place. Hot chick either way. We are now heading to San Francisco. We just took a bite to eat at Santa Barbara – cool little place and quite pretty.

***Update
We just arrived at Morro Bay – 20 minutes from Hearst Castle! We are going to check it out tomorrow morning on a tour

Dude, where’s your phone?

Errrrr… i lost my phone yesterday at Disneyland!
Jez tried all afternoon to call it and track it down, but some disney character has done the runner with it!
$10 says it’s Mary Poppins

We have moved on from Anaheim and are now in East LA – about to check out Gaumann’s Theatre and the road where all the famous signatures are.

Another sad note, Ang has departed for Oz. She left yesterday bound for Washington DC.
Ang let us know when you make it home!