ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
[personal profile] ilanarama
(Look! A post that's not about running!)

Britt had driven our Sportsmobile camper van out to Bakersfield CA just after Thanksgiving, to do some work on a solar project his company has out there, so our plan after CIM was to road-trip home over the next week and a half. As it happened, both of us came down with bad colds in Death Valley, so we high-tailed it directly home from there after only a half-day of exploring. But we had a lovely micro-vacation up until then!

We started our drive with a visit to Wellington Vineyards in Sonoma. We discovered them some years ago through Wine Woot, and were so impressed we joined their wine club. We tasted a bunch of their latest wines, and bought two mixed cases plus a bottle of their flagship "Victory" blend as a gift for one of Britt's business partners. We also got to meet Peter Wellington, the winemaker, and walk around the vineyard, which - let's just say, December, winter, stark beauty, okay?

wine barrels Victory

From there we drove to my brother's place in Santa Clara, to spend the night with him and his family, and the next day we headed south. We had lunch in Monterey, then drove down the Big Sur coast. I'd never been there before and so I was happy that Britt was driving, so I could gawk out the window! We pulled in to the (tiny, spectacular) Kirk Creek forest service campground shortly before sunset.

campsite

The next day we continued down the coast, stopping to hike along the boardwalk where one can view the Elephant Seals on the beach at Piedras Blancas. They were pretty nifty! The females and juveniles flopped around in the sand, and the males swam amongst the rocks and made weird noises.

elephant seals

We turned inland at Cambria and had lunch at the Firestone Walker brewery in Paso Robles. We stopped in Bakersfield to drop off the bottle of wine, bought some groceries, and then continued up and over the pass at Tehachapi to a spot north of Mojave where Britt had camped before, along the California Aqueduct. Interestingly, when I looked at our photos - he'd taken a few work-related ones in Bakersfield, and we'd stopped to take a leak in an...interesting spot in central CA, and Britt had taken a picture from our desert camp spot, and (days later) he took a photo as we headed through Page (Arizona) - I noticed a bit of a theme:

solar panels Page power plant plumes

oil rigs windmills

We had a lovely and interesting drive up to Death Valley, and stopped to hike Mosaic Canyon and poke around the sand dunes on our way to the Furnace Creek Inn, where we had splurged on a room (even at a deep discount it was still stupid expensive).

mosaic canyon mosaic canyon slot

mosaic canyon mosaic canyon stripes

mosaic canyon conglomerate sand dunes in Death Valley

Alas, we could feel that the head colds we were both fighting were about to win, so the next morning we checked out early, had a "picnic breakfast" at Zabriskie Point, a scenic overlook on the east side of Death Valley, and then drove out of California and through Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Arizona, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, not counting the four different tribal reservations, and in eleven and a half hours we were home in Durango!

Zabriskie Point view

(no subject)

Date: 2014-01-03 01:43 am (UTC)
mrkinch: Ian behind Patrick, hands on his shoulders (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrkinch
Hee! Power on the brain? Gorgeous pictures, though. I'm going down to see the elephant seals in a couple of weeks myself.

But you were so close! If you do the trip again, I hope we can meet.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-01-05 12:36 am (UTC)
mrkinch: You're a mean one mr kinch (mrkinch)
From: [personal profile] mrkinch
I'm glad the icon amuses you. I'm very fond of it and will be sad to put it away for another year in a couple of days. I tend to be too serious.

As it turned out, I got a cold anyway, so. Hope you've fully recovered.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-01-03 05:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zebra363.livejournal.com
Stunning colors in that last one!

Interesting to see the big solar panels.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-01-03 08:30 am (UTC)
skuf: Sue Storm Civil War (Sue Storm Civil War)
From: [personal profile] skuf
Gahh, so pretty - how sucky about the head colds >:[

(no subject)

Date: 2014-01-03 06:50 pm (UTC)
riverlight: A rainbow and birds. (Default)
From: [personal profile] riverlight
Oh, man, what a fun trip that sounds like! Gorgeous photos, too, as always. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-01-06 04:42 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Next time you guys should spend a few hours at Point Lobos (just south of Carmel). One of our very favorite spots in California!

Eric W.

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ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
Ilana

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