This summer, I drove out to California in order to complete my final summer of masters classes. I completed the drive in record time, driving from Baltimore, MD to Lancaster, CA starting on Sunday morning at 5AM and arriving on Monday evening at 11:30PM. It was some intense driving.
After one week, Dan flew out to join me. We celebrated his birthday on Catalina Island, off the coast of California. Neither of us had ever been, so it was an adventure.
We rode a ferry boat to the island, rented a tandem bicycle, and proceeded to bicycle the whole city part of the island, which is not very big.
The sky was very cloudy at first, but it got sunny after just a bit, and we both got sunburnt badly.
It's hard to see, but in this picture, I am pointing to HUGE goldfish- looking fish in the ocean.
We visited the Wrigley botanical garden, which was nice, but very dusty.
The highlight of our day was going parasailing. It was a first for both of us! I was pretty scared at first, but I began to enjoy it just when we were ready to be pulled back in! :) I would definitely do it again.
Our boat driver took this picture of us as we were in the air.
The last two weeks of school went by very quickly, and soon it was time for us to head home. We had already planned to make a big trip out of our roadrip home. Since this could possibly be the last time we do a cross country roadtrip, and it was our first one together.
Our first stop was Yosemite National Park. I took so many pictures, there was no way they would all be posted, so I picked out the best ones.
This is looking out over the park (it took us about an hour to get to this lookout spot because of how steep the mountain was). If you look closely at this picture, you can spot three different waterfalls.
Here we are, with the waterfall behind us.
We decided that we wanted to save money and not stay at hotels or go out to eat on this trip. So we went grocery shopping and kept a cooler packed with ice at all times. We also became very familiar with freecampsites.net, a wonderful website that shares free camping spots.
Heading out of Yosemite, we absolutely could not find a free camping spot however. These free sites are not available INSIDE the parks, so we had to splurge and pay a few dollars to set up camp in an actual campground.
The next morning, we left bright and early and were able to get a few good photos of these grazing deer/antelope. I think they are deer, Dan thought they were antelope.
Outside of Yosemite, we saw some beautiful spots along the way! This is Lake Tenaya.
A bit further on that road, we came to Mono Lake. We stopped there and I got this photo of Dan, who was photographing a pelican, or some bird similar. I enjoyed the view of this lake, but the stagnant water was enough to nearly make me gag. It smelled horrendous.
Our next stop was definitely the highlight for me. I've been wanting to visit Bodie since I heard about it four years ago. We only were able to stay for about two hours, but I'm just glad that I was able to go! Bodie is the largest ghost town, and it is in such good condition! When the land was donated to be a state park, the agreement was that the buildings would be kept up as best they could with absolutely no changes. The upkeep had to be historically accurate as well. I loved it!
This is the school.
After leaving Bodie, we drove straight without stopping to see sights until we were in Nevada and it was dark. We found a free campsite, and drove WAY off the highway. We saw coyotes and jackrabbits and I was quite worried that we wouldn't survive the night, but we woke up the next morning to this!
I have to admit, it was quite the experience to sleep out under the stars with no amenities at all. This was one of the few spots that had a toilet.
We continued driving, and went to Idaho to visit Dan's family there. We tented with them at a campground for two nights and then said our goodbyes. We drove to Wyoming to Grand Teton National Park. This picture is of the three peaks. We drove through the park, looking for buffalo and bears and moose, but did not see any that evening. We attended church that Wednesday evening at the nicest, friendliest church! The pastor and his wife took us out to eat at a nice restaurant.
We found our free campsite, which could not have been more perfect location.
Apparently, the park was having problems with bears, so I was again, worried that we wouldn't live to see daylight. But we did, and we awoke to a BEAUTIFUL view.
That morning, we began the drive out of the Grand Teton National Park and saw this herd of Antelope. We were able to catch a picture before they completely ran off.
Next, we saw this moose down in the river, eating.
We saw one buffalo, but it ambled away before we got a good picture. You should have seen us. We looked like such tourists, driving 10 miles per hour in order to hopefully see animals. One of us would drive and look straight, while the other would scan both sides of the road, looking for animals.
We continued out of Grand Teton and soon came to Yellowstone National Park. We did not have much time to spend there, so we made it a point to see Old Faithful, and we sat, waiting for it to explode.
This is Old Faithful, as she was exploding.
We drove out of Yellowstone and realized that we were on a crunch for time and that we needed move. We drove until we saw a field full of buffalo. We stopped, took a photo and then kept going.
That night, we made it to Mount Rushmore right before dusk. We found a free campsite RIGHT behind the faces of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln. That was my favorite campsite of them all. We set up our camp and settled in for the night.
The next morning, we woke up bright and early and headed to the Crazy Horse Monument, which is still not completed yet. It was wonderful! I remember loving Crazy Horse as a child when I read about him in history books. So it was great to visit the museum there and see what they have finished of the monument.
When it is completed, the Crazy Horse monument will be the largest of its kind in the world! And compared to Mt. Rushmore, the head of Crazy Horse is 27 feet taller than the heads on Mt. Rushmore, so it is HUGE.
After being a Crazy Horse, we drove over to Mount Rushmore, where we decided we would be cheap and not pay to park our car and walk closer. We decided to just take pictures from a side road.
After Mount Rushmore, we drove straight for hours without stopping except for gas. We made it to Niagara Falls in New York because Dan drove straight through the night.
It was Sunday morning, and we walked out to Niagara Falls and were planning to wait around and get on the first Maid of The Mist boat ride, but while we were waiting in line for a ticket (along with about 100 other people), it started to rain pretty hard. We decided that we'd use that money for something else and just enjoy the falls from up top.
We went to church that morning and then continued driving, up to Maine, where I was going to meet the rest of Dan's family. We drove through most of the new England states and went to church at another nice Baptist church in New York that evening. We found a fun, exciting place to stay that night. It DID cost us $25 for a cabin, but that was a wonderful price compared to some of the tent sites we saw!
We loved the place. It was very rustic.
We had a wonderful time in Maine with Dan's family. On our way back down to Baltimore, We stopped to see this lighthouse.
We had quite the adventure as we were driving cross country. We loved it, it was one of the most fun vacations I've ever been on. I certainly hope that we will be able to do it again someday!