Monday, August 2, 2010

July Drive Vacation - Day 2

Finally on to July Vacation, Day 2. First I want to mention that we missed Chris and worried about him too... love you, Boo! {grin}

The end of Day One had us overnighting in Bridgeport. The sky was getting dark and threatening as we found a tiny motel and took one of the two rooms they had left. It poured that evening complete with thunder and lightning.

Day 2 started bright and sunny as we headed over the Sierra Nevadas on Hwy 4.

Our destinations today were Big Tree State Park and Columbia (I still wanted to see an old gold town!). Driving over Hwy 4 sure was beautiful! It's been a while since we've been to the mountains. We only saw a handful of cars/trucks/campers on Hwy 4.

I forgot to mention that we are traveling in a rented Ford Escape, 2-wheel drive cross-over. This was because the mini-van was in the shop and we wanted to leave the kids with a car each while we were gone. Jim wanted to rent a 4-wheel drive truck, but did you know that they don't rent 4-wheel drive trucks in southern California?

The Escape was a cushy ride! Jim couldn't resist the pull of all those little dirt roads off of Hwy 4... So, we went 4-wheeling with a rented 2-wheel drive truck into the backwoods of the Sierra Nevadas.

After driving a ways on some nice dirt roads, our Garmin (fondly known as Garmina) plotted a circular route back to Hwy 4. Putting our complete trust in Garmina... off we went! The dirt roads started getting smaller and less traveled. When we were within .25 miles of the highway, the trail was blocked with a fallen tree and rock slide. We turned around and Garmina plotted us a new path.

At this point it started to rain... Jim couldn't get the Escape up one muddy hill and had to back it down and out. Again Garmina dutifully plotted us a new path. Our way out involved a shallow creek crossing and a trail so narrow that the bushes scraped the Escape on both sides of the path... but we made it! Yahoo! A BIG cheer and sigh of relief, lol! Our off roading adventure took a few hours, but we finally made it to Big Tree State Park. What a treat!

We went hiking through the forest... there was hardly anyone there... it was beautiful and quiet (well, at least it was until the bus load of school kids showed up). I LOVE the redwoods! The first camping trip that I can remember was up in the coastal redwood forest with Dad, Mom and Ran.

As we were leaving Big Tree, Jim's phone beeped... voice mail? It was from Cheryl... in a very bummed out voice, she said, "Dad, call me back when you get this..." PANIC!!! There's no signal!... As Jim drove, I watched the cell phone... "I see 2-bars! Stop here!" Jim pulled over and called... Cheryl had been in an accident. She was rear ended when she was stopped at a red light. There was no more damage than a couple scratches on the bumper. No one was hurt. We were thanking God over and over that it wasn't anything more serious! {whew}

Our next stop was a place that we discovered by picking up a random flier, called Moaning Cavern. It was a hole in the ground big enough to drop the Statue of Liberty into. There was a 3 hour long tour that would take people through wonderful treasures like "The Roach Motel," "The Meat Grinder," "The Pancake Room," and finally out through "Godzilla's Nostril." We gave that one a pass and did the 45 minute tour to the cavern floor and back.

Some people were repelling the 165' down into the cavern, but we opted to take the stairs, all 234 steps! The top half of the stairs were cut into a narrow crevice in the cavern wall. The bottom half was a spiral metal staircase. Jim learned that heights are bothering him more now than when he was younger... a good thing to know, but not so good to learn it halfway down a metal staircase...

Our last stop was the old gold town of Columbia. Columbia was definitely not a ghost town. It was a town with old style buildings, selling tourist items... a total bust (we didn't even take any photos there).

After coming down from the Sierra Nevadas, we hit 110F heat in the central valley! Time to look for a motel with a POOL and cool down... So ends July road trip, Day 2!!

Stay tuned for the last day of our road trip.


Mary said...

What a nice day! I enjoyed all the photos! Thanks for sharing. It is so nice to see the two of you together in a lot of them.

Mara... said...

fun fun stuff Joni!!! I love all the photos that you took of the 2 of you. Were you using your self timer?? Glad that Cheryl is okay, too!

Mara... said...

I forgot to say that I was in Colombia, maybe 25 years ago!! We went there when I was in junior high for a Mother's Day brunch with my family. We panned for gold and went on a stagecoach ride. maybe they don't do that stuff anymore!

BethieJ said...

What GREAT photos.. looks like you had a WONDERFUL time on your get away Joni! Glad to hear no one was hurt in the accident!
Cant wait to see the last day photos!