A Travellerspoint blog

National Parks

Joshua Tree, Grand Canyon & Death Valley National Parks

After seeing Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Arches and some other national parks in June 2014 in our 1999 Toyota Corolla (which, by the end of the trip, required climbing in and out of the trunk to unlock the car), we decided to see more of the US in May 2015, in the safety of our new hybrid (complete with working locks!).

Joshua Tree National Park's Chief Ranger, Jeff Ohlfs, is my third cousin. Dave and I liked meeting Jeff and his wife Deb. We planned to get the inside scoop on the Park, but instead learned about the extensive travel that the Ohlfs have done. We compared safari notes, Peruvian experiences, and dreamed of future adventures. We also got a bit of Godde gossip - while my great grandfather homesteaded in the desert for the eventual planting of almonds and pistachios, Jeff's ancestor (my great grand uncle) headed west to the ocean to Oxnard, CA. I think that was the way to go!

Here are some Joshua Park pics. (This isn't far from the Godde almond orchards - yes, the ocean might have been the way to go!)


Next Stop:



We got out of there quiick...

On to camping at Grand Canyon National Park. So happy to be there! Dave's first Grand Canyon visit! And it might as well have been my first - I forgot how awe inspiring it is!


We hiked lots...10 miles one day! I think my legs fell off for a minute, I was so tired.


At sunset.


Effort to capture the moment is best done in a panaroma. Did it come across?


It hailed when we left! Glad to pack up our tent and leave!


The Little Painted Desert County Park is such a hidden treat. This is the best of many many pictures we took of the (small) area.


Sedona, AZ is gorgeous. Though Dave was not a fan of the crystal shops...I think we counted about 10? That's 10 more than Dave ever wanted to see in his life.

Death Valley was hot...90 in the tent was warm at night (hard to sleep). But day time was even hotter!

A highlight? Wood was once converted to charcoal in these beauties...


With the sunset looming, Dave and I hoofed it up 4 miles over 3-4K of vertical. We shocked ourselves by summiting in 2 hours, and enjoyed the view. The bad part? Now what we know what our bodies can do...it seems all downhill from here (ba ba bum!)




Lowest point in N. America. Badwater Basin. The drill: get out the car, fake a smile, take a picture, and get back to the A/C.


And so our trip ended...


Posted by Equatorials 20:48 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Happy Anniversary Parents!

I am very lucky to have wonderful parents, and Alexa, Dave and I wanted to honor their 40th anniversary with a fun gift; we hosted them at a house in Gualala Point. What do I have to show for this lovely tribute? Not one single picture of my parents together in Gualala! But here are pictures from their 40th Anniversary Dinner hosted at their house, with help from their favorite Greek restaurant. Yes, that is a lobster saying hello. Opa!


As far as Gualala Point pictures, here are Alexa and Porter, who is looking longingly at the rough waves in which he was not allowed.


Dave and I, pretending it wasn't cold by the water.


Here are Dave and I revisiting the Anderson Valley spot where had discussed our around the world trip about three years prior (see our first blog entry). We love you Toulouse Vineyard!


Mom and me happy as Toulouse geese.


Posted by Equatorials 17:38 Comments (0)


sunny 93 °F

After getting back to the US, and getting a few wedding details in order, Ashley I go hit by the travel bug again. With another round the world trip out of the question (too much$$) we settled on a road trip through some of the National Parks in the Western US. Our planned itinerary took us from Sacramento to Las Vegas to Bryce NP to Arches NP to Grand Teton NP to Yellowstone NP to Boise to Bend and finally back to Sacramento.

Ashley's got Bryce covered, so I will start with our trip to Arches from Bryce. Since its about an 5 hr trek between the two parks, Ashley took to her natural road trip posture for riding shotgun.
I don't think the Wells Fargo stagecoaches will be calling with any job offers soon.

When we were at Bryce, a number of other travelers told us to check out Capitol Reef National Park on our way to Arches, since it was conveniently located between the two. Capitol Reef is another one of the beautiful geologic formations located in Utah. The different rock layers are of different composition, and more importantly strength, which creates the large monoliths that stretch up to the horizon.
We ended doing a little day hike in the park through what was supposedly one of Butch Cassidy's hiding spots.
It was a good way to break up a long car trip all the way out to Moab and burn off some energy.

Once at Arches National Park, we got lucky! Not in that way, I think we were too stinky and tired. The real issue was we didn't have a campground reservation. The Devils Garden campground inside the park only has 52 spots, which had been booked up for months. But we were able to work with the campground host who had a cancellation for that days we wanted to stay in the park.
Our first hike through the Devils Garden, made for a hot afternoon as temperatures hit the low 90's with no shade in sight. But it allowed us to see some of the notable arches in the park.
Landscape Arch, the longest arch in the park, almost 300 ft long

Double "O" Arch, you can see the scale by the person in the lower part of the pic.

Early the next morning, we set out for the parks most famous arch, Delicate Arch. It's so well known that it appears on a set of commemorative Utah licence plates. Being able to camp in the park allowed us to beat the heat and the crowds to the arch.

We explored the other features throughout the park.

"Balanced Rock"
"Cove Arch" which is a combination of arch formations, once forming from the top down in a bowl erosion fashion, and the other from the side.

After one last night in the park, we headed out early in the morning to make the drive up to Jackson, Wy.

Posted by Scatman 17:37 Archived in USA Comments (0)

California Dreamin'

semi-overcast 68 °F

During our adventure through Buenos Aires, Ashley and I made a small day trip across the river to Uruguay. We mostly made this trip, I think, to add another stamp to our passports. But, as if it were preordained, the city across the river was Sacramento, well Colonia del Sacramento. As two travelers, who were a little homesick, the city offered some remembrances of back home. (Full Disclosure: As of writing this, Ashley and I are back in the US). The city is mostly older buildings from the colonial era


Colonia del Sacramento felt like home at times.

This might have been Ashley's biggest smile in all of South America.
This brought back nostalgia for my UCSB days (with corrected grammar)
Ashley missing her old apartment at Bush and Mason.

Posted by Scatman 02:29 Archived in Uruguay Comments (0)

South and Central American Food

View 40 K Miles, 6 Months on Equatorials's travel map.

Ashley's Birthday Dinner in Cusco, Peru








Other Peruvian dishes and food.






Cocoa tea in Cusco for a bit of a jilt.


Peruvian sweets (continued!).


Meat and vegetarian casados in Costa Rica



Yes, Dave was smiling. But Ashley was beaming. Dave made her this, and every other dinner in their kitchens in Costa Rica, Cape Town, and...in fact, he is making dinner right now here in Sacramento!


Posted by Equatorials 19:31 Archived in Argentina Comments (1)

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