On the high road to Arizona

On the high road to Arizona

Right, so with first the Yosemite and then the Sequoia National Park mountain adventures tucked tightly under our belts, we’re ready to embark on our third road trip, one that would involve crossing the state line into Arizona, no less.

This trip would be super-exciting for several reasons: first off, we’ve never been to Arizona, and to get there from California, we’re looking at, oh, a 10-12 hour drive *faints*, and of course, the very thought of seeing the Grand Canyon is enough to send tingles of sheer excitement down anyone’s spine, right!?!

Obviously you can’t embark on a trip like this without a whole lot of planning and logistics. The North American continent is yuge so even if a place looks like it’s a fingernail away on the map, it could, in actual fact, be one lo-ong, back-breaking drive away. To train for the drive, we may or may not have run 10 miles and done 100 pushups daily lol, just sayin’. So then our plan was to see as much of the landscape as possible and have fun doing it all within the confines of time and economics.

The common route for getting to the Grand Canyon from California would be, and I’m guessing here, by way of Barstow and Las Vegas. While many swear by Las Vegas because of its casinos and razzmatazz, for me personally, it’s a case of been there, done that and quite frankly, gambling and glitz ain’t exactly my cup of tea. I mean, if you’ve been to Vegas once or twice (or more, as I have), I think that’s plenty. So we decided to take the route less traveled from Barstow to Needles (the sleepy border town where Snoopy was born) and Flagstaff instead.

Once again, the morning sees us sneaking out of town with the rising sun – you know it – driving endlessly through hills, valleys and desert (yes, the Mojave) on to Needles on the Californian border crossing over to Arizona to Kingman and finally arriving in Flagstaff after two days of driving. Did we break into loud raucous cheers of victory as we crossed the border into Arizona? Ya betcha!!! That sure was a big achievement and a very lo-ong drive indeed for the uninitiated!!

On the high road to Arizona

Next up, fun stuff in Arizona!

Inside a giant Sequoia

Inside a giant Sequoia

We were so pumped about our road trip to Yosemite we simply had to go again. To another national park, that is. Trust my two geologists and all those Earth Science classes they’ve been taking and as for me, I just couldn’t get enough of ’em trees. We just had to see more, and more doesn’t mean more of the same but more as in bigger, taller, more majestic. And the magic word is Sequoia.

Once again, taking advantage of the summer sunrise to get a super early start, we set off on the winding mountainous road taking us up and up thousands of feet to the land of the giant sequoias.

Inside a giant Sequoia

Just look at these amazing giants. Everywhere you look, there are trees this big all reaching into the clouds. I mean, forget the Coach handbags and lobster dinners. This is what you gotta see if you get the chance. Crafted by the very hands of Mother Nature and so beautiful it seriously blows your mind. I’m standing there feeling like a midget tilting my head back till I’m almost falling backwards and these trees just go on and on and on into the clouds. Amazzzzing!

Inside a giant Sequoia

And just look at the girth of that fallen tree trunk! It’s hard to imagine without actually seeing one. The fallen tree trunks are so big you can actually walk into them, which we absolutely did. We went in through the base and walked right through to the other end. Even people bigger and taller than me can stroll in without bending over, that’s how wide and tall this trunk is. In fact, during my college days, we even drove our car through one of these tree trunks!!

Okay, so to get to Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park to see the General Grant tree, the second largest tree in the world, we had to hike a short distance. At an elevation of 6350 feet (1935m), the air was cool and crisp, and the trail was fairly easy to hike. And at the end of that trail, ta-daaa…

Inside a giant Sequoia

The Grant Tree, nicknamed the “Nation’s Christmas Tree” is 3,000 years old, stands 268 feet (81.72m) tall and measures 29 feet (8.85m) around its base. Lol metric measurements are entirely too weird for me, never could wrap my head around them but I looked up the metric conversions for you metric folks.

Obviously you can’t go all the way to see the second largest sequoia in the world and not see the largest one, right? So we hopped back in the car and drove for another, oh, about a half hour to the Sequoia National Park. Climbing to 7000 feet (2200m) on narrow roads snaking along the edges of the canyon is quite the hair-raising experience. Oh man, it’s making my legs go jelly just thinking about the drive.

Inside a giant Sequoia

The hike to Sherman Creek was longer and more challenging but definitely worth the strenuous workout. So worth it. Think about it: General Sherman is 3200 years old, 274 feet (83.59m) tall and measures 27 feet (8.25m) at the base. Standing before the world’s largest living tree is truly a humbling experience.

I felt really really tiny shading my eyes staring up that endless trunk, so full of wonder and feeling really privileged to be meeting “the man” himself! How a tree grew to be so majestic and commanding is beyond me! Imagine if General Sherman could talk, what great stories he would tell about his growing years through all of those 3200 years!!!

Poke, if only it came with waterfalls

Poke, if only it came with waterfalls

So we’re on our way down from Yosemite, the land of waterfalls. Maneuvering those twists and bends can really get you light-headed, I tell ya. Not to mention the blur of the redwoods, sequoias and cold wind rushing past the slightly rolled down car windows. You tilt back your head, take a deep breath and let the mountain air permeate through your entire being. Man, this is what I’m talking about!

And now to top off that light-headedness, it’s time for some poke (pronounced po-kay). Since we found out about a seafood restaurant tucked away behind the downtown fish market last year, we’d been quietly sneaking down there for the occasional dose of raw fish goodness. They don’t serve live seafood (which makes this place all the more attractive to me) but they sure do serve a mean bowl of poke that’s bursting with fresh raw fish and robust enough to feed two. Poke for the diehard, in other words.

Then somewhere in the middle of last year, Pokiland opened not far from us and we started going there for our fix. It’s popular with the health conscious, offering less of a focus on the fish and more on greens, toppings and sauces. You pick a bit of this and that to personalize your own poke bowl.

Poke, if only it came with waterfalls

Looking at this picture, I know you’re going, but where’s the fish? Well, you can’t see it but trust me, there’s 2 generous scoops of raw salmon and tuna hidden at the bottom of the bowl. Well, that’s how they put together your order, you start by selecting your proteins so the fish goes in first and ends up hidden underneath all of those gorgeous toppings and sauces.

Okay, then, let’s mix it all up and dig in! Omg, you cannot believe how good and SPICY this tastes! One of their sauces, dabomb, is literally just that! One fiery spoonful and you totally wish you were standing underneath a waterfall with your mouth open. Oh man, where are those waterfalls when you need ’em!

Poke, if only it came with waterfalls

An early morning drive to Yosemite

An early morning drive to Yosemite

There’s good reason why summer is the best time for traveling. I mean, what else would you do when such wonderfully long days of sunshine are calling out to you, right ? So we did the only thing there was to do. Taking advantage of the 5am sunrise, we got up early one morning, threw a few peanut butter and jam sandwiches into a Ziploc bag and soon we were on our merry way to the Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite is in the Sierra Nevada mountains which means it’s literally in our backyard. Apart from the fact that the mountain road is winding for most of the way, it’s not too long a drive. Still it’s wise you want to get an early start to beat the tourist build-up because believe you me, as the day wears on, you’d be hard-pressed to find a parking spot.

I’ve been to Yosemite many times since college and in recent years but this time, a strange thing happened. As I sat in the back seat watching the endless blur of trees whiz by, I began to notice how beautiful the trees were. It’s funny how we see trees everywhere all the time and I’ve never thought of them as anything more than just plants that stick out of the ground and reach for the sky.

But now as I gazed out of the car window, I started to develop a brand new realization of the sheer number and beauty of all these trees rising high up above us. You know, there’s a saying about not seeing the forest for the trees but for me, all I could see were the trees (literally, of course *lol*) and how beautiful they are and just like that, I’m in love.

An early morning drive to Yosemite

At some point, we left the blur of the trees behind and entered a long, dark tunnel and just like the proverbial tunnel, this one opened up to an unbelievable view of hills, rocks and waterfalls. Yosemite is, of course, the land of picturesque waterfalls – big ones, little ones but every which way you turn, there’s one waiting to take your breath away.

An early morning drive to Yosemite

The waterfalls are exceptionally beautiful because of the snow melt from the substantial rain that California’s been getting this year. Seeing the deluge of water as it cascades down from a great height creating billowing clouds of mist as thick as the water itself coupled with hearing the thunderous roar as the water hits base makes this a truly amazing experience.

A word of warning though if you’re planning a trip to Yosemite this summer – the rivers are full and very fast-flowing, the slopes are slippery when wet, and many accidents have been reported this year where people have fallen into the water and gotten swept away. So be very, very careful out there!!

Of all the waterfalls we saw, the one we most wanted to see was the Bridal Veil Fall. It took us a while to find a parking spot at the trail to this amazing sight. The hike to the base of the Bridal Veil Fall is a short one along a tree-lined trail beside the rushing river that this waterfall drains into.

An early morning drive to Yosemite

As we got closer, we could feel the mist raining on us. We did get a little wet but we didn’t mind. It was a welcome shower on a hot day. Actually it felt more like we were getting a generous sprinkling of holy water and we were quite happy about that lol!

If we’d wanted to go further up the trail, we would’ve needed raincoats which we didn’t have but which many folks seemed to have come prepared with. We had umbrellas in the car but we wouldn’t have been able to use them because of how narrow and crowded the trail was. Still it was amazing that we not only got to see and hear this mighty waterfall but to actually feel it too!

My new eyeglasses from the Glasses Shop

My new eyeglasses from the Glasses Shop

It has arrived – my brand new pair of eyeglasses from the kind folks over at the Glasses Shop. The timing couldn’t have been better. You see, I’ve been carelessly throwing my glasses into my handbag and allowing it to bounce around until it finally snapped in two! Bah humbug!

But guess what, I found a great selection of trendy glasses frames at the Glasses Shop. There are so many trendy frames to choose from that deciding on one took me longer than I expected. I would spot a frame I fancied, then use the website’s virtual ‘try them on’ feature to see how they would look on me. I was like, oh this one looks cute, I like it but I like those 5 other ones too, so what do I do?

After going back and forth, this was the frame I finally chose. When my glasses finally arrived and I popped them on, I just went wow! I love how sturdy but light the frame is and I love how cute the glasses look on me. Definitely worth the hours I spent picking it out.

The handy plastic case my glasses arrived in is just the thing to prevent my glasses from bouncing around in my giant handbag. Now I won’t have to worry about breaking them (like I did with my last pair).

Am I happy with my new glasses? The answer is: Very. They fit me perfectly and the frame is exactly what I wanted. I’m wearing them now as I’m typing this post. Don’t want to take them off. When I was out this morning, I got some compliments too from my friends saying the frames make me look cute AND smart. Smart?! Wow! *rolls on the floor laughing*

Here are my glasses again on my bedside table. Even in the dark, they look super cute. Yup, they totally go everywhere with me now, day and night.

And guess what? I notice the Glasses Shop also has prescription sunglasses which is exactly what I need. Now I have to swap my glasses for my sunglasses when I go out in this blazing sun! With prescription sunglasses, I’ll have the best of both worlds. Hmm, definitely going to get myself a pair.

You too can get a new pair of eyeglasses or sunglasses now because I’ve got an exciting offer especially for you, my loyal readers, courtesy of the Glasses Shop. Use the special coupon code – GSHOT50 – to enjoy 50% off all eyeglasses and sunglasses with free lenses online at GlassesShop.com. Go ahead, you know you want to!

I was not compensated in any way for this review. These glasses were sent to me for free by GlassesShop.com. All opinions are entirely my own.

Only words

First there were the Wordless Wednesdays and I think many of us had fun with it. I have to admit it’s an ingenious way to ‘write’ a blog post without actually writing it! But now I’ve decided on going in the opposite direction – pictureless posts, something that few may embrace though it sounds like fun to me.

For too long, we’ve given in to our photo-snapping obsession and allowed our pictures to tell our stories for us. Some folks have even gone so far as to trade in their blogs for insta’s. Nothing wrong with that but there’s a reason why I never bothered setting up an account!

Personally, I’m not a fan of using my photos to do the talking, or blogging, for me. I’m someone who rarely pulls out my cellphone to show people my pictures or plaster them all over the internet. I actually prefer to describe stuff to folks whether they like it or not.

We-ell, it could be because in real life, I’m a nerd lol. So yeah, it’s all very well that technology has made it so much easier for our pictures to paint a thousand words but for me, I still prefer to write a thousand words.

I think half the fun of blogging is the writing itself. To some, a post without pictures is like driving without a steering wheel. I get that! But somehow, that’s not me! Sure, photos add a nice backdrop but ultimately, I think it’s the words themselves that speak the loudest.

More power to the written word! Hear, hear!

In search of good eats

Lately in our travel agenda, we’ve made it a point to not only visit interesting places, see amazing sights but also discover new eats. It’s really fun trying out new food and new restaurants.

Our favorites are eateries that are not too crowded, play good music and we’re even happier when we find a great deal here! On many occasions, our little food adventures have taken us out of our local area into nearby neighborhoods. Gas is cheaper in the summer so why not?

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