S: The Ball Men RV Road Trip - 2011
FC: California RV Trip - The Ball Men 2011 | Yosemite | Big Basin Redwoods State Park | Hearst Castle | Sequoia National Forest
1: We flew into the Fresno Yosemite Airport and picked up our RV in Fresno. Our first stop was to load up on supplies and food which took two shopping carts.
2: CAMPING | Sequoia National Forest The Sequoia is home to the world's largest living thing. In their natural range, old sequoias tower above the forestÂ’s canopy, where their conical crowns easily reach heights of 250 feet or more and weigh more than 600 tons. SequoiaÂ’s massive trunks grow to an average of 15 feet across, shielded by thick, cinnamon-colored bark. These giants owe their colossal size to a rapid growth rate that lasts their entire life long Â– a span that ranges from 2,000 to 3,000 years or more.
3: These pictures illustrate the tremendous size of these trees. Look at the picture on the left, Jackson is standing at the right hand side of the tree and appears as an orange speck. The picture on the lower right side shows a close-up of the same tree.
4: It is inspiring to come and stand among these trees and realize that they sprouted hundreds of years before Christ was born. | Explorers crossed into California years before the Gold Rush, but the world didn’t hear about the giants until 1852. That's when A.T. Dowd stumbled across a grove during a hunting trip. No one believed his tale of giant trees, but he later told a story about killing an enormous bear. When others went to see his "kill," he led them to the grove, now Calaveras Big Trees State Park, located north of Yosemite National Park.
5: Yosemite National Park One of the first wilderness parks in the US is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows and ancient giant sequoias. Our camp site view is on the top left.
7: - Many of these photos were taken during our Ansel Adams walking photo tour - The waterfalls this year were fantastic due to the large amount of snowfall
8: The Ahwahnee Hotel (in Yosemite) is shown above where we ate a fantastic lunch in their dining room. We also spotted a bear and went horseback riding.
9: The waterfall on the bottom right is generating spray over 200 feet high
14: We went rafting on the Merced river just outside of Yosemite. The water was fast due to the large amount of snow runoff which also caused it to be 49 degrees so we had to wear wet suits. Jackson was in the front left and Steve in the front right. For some reason Steve kept getting hit with the water while Jackson did not (like the photo on the bottom left). | White Water Rafting on the Merced River
15: The holes were so deep in the rapids that you cannot see us in some pictures at all. We had to pass a swimming test to qualify for the trip due to the intense conditions. On the bottom left you can see where we are so high out of the water we can't even reach the water with our paddles. You can see the water running off the boat as we rise up out of a hole in the top right.
16: Big Basin Redwood State Park was the first state park in California. It is located 20 miles south of Silicon Valley but seems very remote since you cannot see over the 350 foot tall redwood trees. Home to the largest continuous stand of ancient coastal redwoods south of San Francisco, the park consists of over 18,000 acres of old growth and recovering redwood forest. | Big Basin Redwoods State Park
17: We did a hike and Jackson wanted to get to the top of the mountain but it was getting late. Jackson beat his Dad up the mountain for the first time and wanted to show we could make it by dusk.
18: We took the Pacific Coast Highway (A.K.A. Highway 1) from just south of Silicon Valley to San Simeon. The roads were challenging (winding and steep incline changes) yet beautiful. The highway had just reopened from repairs. Portions of the road keep collapsing down the cliffs into the Pacific Ocean because the grade is so steep. The picture in the top middle shows a naval outpost. | Pacific Coast Highway
19: Monterey & Big Sur | We drove down the Coast and stopped at Monterey and Big Sur. We had some great seafood on the Monterey pier and saw some beautiful scenery on our way to San Simeon where the Hurst Castle is.
20: Elephant Seals | We saw a large colony of Elephant Seals on our way to the Hearst Castle. They spend eight to ten months a year in the open ocean, diving 1000 to 5000 feet deep for periods of fifteen minutes to two hours, and migrating thousands of miles, twice a year, to its land based rookery for birthing, breeding, molting and rest. The Piedras Blancas rookery, on Highway 1 seven miles north of San Simeon on the California Central Coast, is home to about 15,000 animals.
21: The Hearst Castle | The castle sits on top of a hill 1,600 feet above the pacific ocean with the main house measuring 60,645 and another 30,000 SF of guest houses and other buildings. The two Jacks are standing outside one of the guest houses.