S: Summer Vacation 2013
BC: If I had a day that I could give you, I'd give to you a day just | like today. ~John Denver | We hope you enjoyed your vacation! Love, Mom and Dad
FC: My 2013 Summer Vacation...
1: ...was 2,563 miles in Planes, 2,819 miles in Trains, and 702 miles in Automobiles, lots of Hiking and lots of Fun!
2: Go West - Where the Skies are Blue Go West - This is What We're Gonna Do! ~Pet Shop Boys | Go West - Life is Peaceful There Go West - In the Open Air
3: We boarded the California Zephyr at the front of the line in Chicago, Illinois | then crossed | and Iowa. | the Mississippi River
4: From soybean and corn fields to hay fields and feed lots,
5: there is never "nothing to see" in Nebraska!
6: When the farmlands changed to rocks and mountains, we knew we were in Colorado. | These trees are growing out of the rail cars that are full of rocks to shield passing trains from high winds on the ridge.
7: The switchbacks zig-zagged our train high into the Rocky Mountains.
8: Precipitation on the east side of the Continental Divide here flows toward the Atlantic Ocean and precipitation on the west side flows toward the Pacific Ocean. | We went through 29 tunnels in the Rockies. Cutting through the Continental Divide in the Moffet Tunnel, we reached our highest point of 9,239 feet above sea level.
9: This schoolhouse in Tolland (now a ghost town) was abandoned a few days after it was built because it didn't hold heat. | An Eaglet perched near its nest on the Colorado River. | We were caught in a huge dust storm just outside of Glenwood Springs.
10: It took 8 hours to pass through 273 miles of the Rockies. | Though we travel...to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
11: The next morning we zipped through Utah and Nevada
12: and by early afternoon we were in the Sierra Nevada. | Lake Tahoe
13: Finally, we arrived at the end of the line in Emeryville, California | and our vacation was just beginning!
14: Yosemite National Park Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias | The Fallen Monarch fell more than 300 years ago. Only when rain and snow have leached the tannin from the wood can Sequoias begin to decay.
15: Fire from lightning reduces competition from other trees and leaves nutrient-rich ash over the soil. Heat from the fire dries the green cones, causing fresh seeds to fall. In the spring, sunlight and moisture from the winter snow combine with these ingredients to create a sequoia nursery.
16: California Tunnel Tree | Bachelor & Three Graces | Cut in 1895 for horse-drawn coaches to pass through.
17: The Grizzly Giant is 210 feet tall and 96 feet in circumference. It is about 2,000 years old! Which means it was living during the time of Jesus. | Let that sink in...
19: Yosemite Valley
20: It was like lying in a great solemn cathedral, far vaster and more beautiful than any built by the hand of man. ~Theodore Roosevelt
22: Bridalveil Falls drops 617 feet. The Ahwahneechee Tribe called it Pohono "Spirit of the Puffing Wind" because wind often prevents the water from reaching the ground.
23: Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in North America with a total drop of 2,425 feet over three sections. | Very slowly we climbed the massive piles of talus to the icy water and granite cliffs to Lower Yosemite Falls.
25: Who knew those slippery rocks weren't going to be the only dangerous part of our valley exploration?! | We crossed paths with this female bear on Mirror Lake Trail. | She split the bark from a tree with her huge claws so she could eat what she found inside. | Then she disappeared into the woods and left us looking over our shoulders the rest of the day!
26: In Tenaya Canyon, this is all that remains of Mirror Lake. A once great lake created by rock avalanches. Due to sediment accumulation, the area will soon be known as Mirror Meadow.
27: We ended our day 7,214 above sea level on Glacier Point watching the sunset and learning about stars.
28: We couldn't come this far without saying goodbye.
30: Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't. ~Jerry Rice
31: Silas found gold! It was the locker room door!
32: Silas shared his Frank Gore impression | Ana had an emotional moment when she found out she was in Vernon Davis's locker. | when he found out he was in #21's locker. | Ready for an X-Ray!
33: We saw the old 49er locker room and we saw the visitor's locker room, and we were standing right where the Beatles stood, and we were standing right where Pope John Paul II stood, and then we went through the players' tunnel and there we stood... | ...on the home field of the 49ers.
35: One day they'll be telling their grandchildren all about the time they played football on Bill Walsh Field.
36: The first thing we had to do in San Francisco was to visit the Farmer's Market at the Ferry Building to make a picnic lunch for China Beach.
37: We settled on honeycomb, olive oil, Mt. Tam, St. Pat and Wagon Wheel cheeses and sourdough bread. Yum! | Silas found a rock to climb and Ana found a rock with a view.
38: After lunch, we made our way to Lombard Street and Ana and Silas experienced walking the city hills. | The next stop was on the horizon. More walking!
39: Coit Tower's city views are as gorgeous as the murals on its walls.
40: What if you were told that from this day forward, your life would be everything that happens on this island? | Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary
41: From 1969-1971 the "Indians of All Tribes" occupied Alcatraz with dreams of turning it into a university and cultural center. | The Officer's Club had a bowling alley, dance hall, library | and other amenities for social use. It burned during the occupation because there was no water to the island. | Later, apartments were demolished by the General Services Administration to prevent them from being occupied again.
42: The Warden's House was a 15-room mansion that once hosted lavish parties. It also burned during the Indian Occupation.
43: At any given time from 1933-1963, the island was home to about 300 men, women and children. During that span, it was also home to 1,545 prisoners. | A 5'x9' cell had a sink, toilet, and cot. | In The Treatment Unit, also called "the hole", an inmate's only form of recreation was flipping a button torn from his shirt then hunting for it in the total darkness.
44: We learned about infamous inmates, daily life, and escape attempts.
45: In 1946, Ernest Lageson's father was taken hostage during an escape attempt later known as the Battle of Alcatraz that was planned by Bernard Coy, a bank robber from Kentucky. Ernie's father was not killed because he had always been kind to the prisoners. | The key to the Gun Gallery that hung from a second floor guard post was crucial to the takeover. | Marines dropped grenades through the ceiling to regain control of the situation.
46: Industry Building | Alcatraz Lighthouse | Guard Tower | Prison Library | Power Plant | Bachelor Quarters
47: When you get tired from walking the streets of San Francisco, you can lean against them. | When we left The Rock for the city, the sun started to shine and Karl the Fog lifted.
48: At Pier 39 we stopped for lunch and at Pier 45, we played antique arcade games at Musee Mecanique and toured the USS Pampanito, a WW II submarine.
49: We walked to the Golden Gate Bridge from Crissy Field. | Karl was waiting for us. | Hot chocolate from the Warming Hut was waiting for us too!
50: This city is a point upon a map of fog. ~Ambrose Bierce
52: We met new people, had a National Parks guide through the Rocky Mountains, | Our cross-country journey on the California Zephyr was amazing. | and may or may not have locked Silas between cars! | enjoyed our favorite wine, pulled a vintage California Zephyr car,
53: We saw trees with bark 3 feet thick and granite cliffs that touched heaven, | Our visit to Yosemite National Park was awe-inspiring. | we hiked in the shadows of a valley that has taken 10 million years to create, | and may or may not have pushed Ana and Silas off the edge of Glacier Point!
54: We ate dinner in an alley, and rode in street cars and cable cars, | Our stay in San Francisco was breathtaking. | we visited the past and wrote in our vacation journals every night, | and Silas may or may not still be at Candlestick trying to buy garlic fries!
55: We finally settled down for the long flight back home.