A few days after the reunion, I headed up to see more family - my dad and his side of the family in Seattle! My dad has really gotten into gold mining in Canada, and was spending much of the summer up there, so I was happy I was able to see him for a few days! Seeing everyone and catching up was great! They had just gotten back from summer camp and mining so we were all pretty mellow, but I did manage to try out the video game Rock Band, where you play fake guitars and drums and it judges you (I was pretty miserable ha) and learned how to solve the Rubik's Cube (Thanks Haley!). After a quick few days in Seattle I headed on my next trip (I know, I know...how many trips?!). This time I was heading to The Biggest Little City in the World to visit Cassie, my great amiga from high school. If you remember from old blogs, Cassie came to visit me in Spain and so now it was my turn to visit her!
I arrived late in the evening, so we dined on McDonald's and tinto de verano (her favorite drink from Spain). You make it by adding half Sprite and half red wine. If you're feeling fancy, you can throw in a peice of fruit! We spent the evening catching up. The next morning, we woke up with a mission. When I landed Cassie asked me if I would be up for doing this 'swing thing' at one of the casinos that is kind of a mix of skydiving and bungee-jumping. Of course she knew I would say yes, so we headed off to do what we renamed the Swing of Death. We had woken up pretty early, so when we got there, there was no line. We walked in, paid, suited up and did the ride all within about 7 minutes! They put us in these weird jumpsuit thingy and then clipped some bands to it. These bands hold you horizontally to the ground and pull you up in the air 180 feet and then once you're up there, you have to pull a string and then you just drop! Cassie did the honors and on the down, she closed her eyes and I screamed my lungs out! It went so quick, that by time we were done and out of the jumpsuit we were still kind of asking ourselves what just happened! We calmed our nerves the rest of the day by checking out the hotrods at Hot August Nights events that were going on around Reno and relaxing in the warm weather.
The next Nevada day took us to Tahoe. I have always heard it was gorgeous, but this day was virtually perfect! There wasn't a cloud in the sky and the secret little beach Cassie and her boyfriend knew of was completely secluded. With water so clear you could see the smooth stones at your feet. With the sun beaming, the afernoon turned out to be the most tranquil one I had all summer. Finishing up the night with some delicious authentic Mexican food, Cassie and I packed up to get ready for our road trip! We had planned to drive home to Kelso, but go through San Francisco and up Highway 101 along the coast! We started out after a must-needed coffee and were on the road to San Fran! Since I had already been to the city a few times before, I was excited to show Cassie the sights. When we got there, it was a bit chilly and of course foggy. We didn't care though, and threw on some sweaters and scarves and headed down to the waterfront. Between testing Ghiardelli chocolate to wandering in and out of cute shops and touristy ones alike, we made our way down the Embarcadero towards the business district. After a happy hour glass of California wine we decided we should trek up the 100-something stairs to the top of the hill that houses the Coit Tower. Halfway up the stairs, we realized it wasn't the most fun activity! Once we got to the top you would figure that we would be so overwhelmed by the views and beauty of the city we couldn't have cared about the stairs, but alas it was still too foggy to see anything so we sadly turned right around and bounded down and back to the water. Filling and warming up, we stopped in at the Boudin Bakery for some bread bowls filled with delicious chili (me) and clam chowder (cassie). We got full but didn't get any warmer because we couldn't find a table, and instead sat at a small table outside the bakery where we were accosted by a drunk homless man who asked us if we were finished eating. We were not so amused, but the diners inside thought it was hilarious. Boooo! With that we decided to call it a night! The next day was a bit sunnier and we hit the town on foot, with big hills ahead. We started on the windy Lombard Street and it was even prettier than I remembered it. The houses must have planted summer-blooming flowers beacause of the resident's porches were flowering gorgeous blooms. If you look close you can see my favorite house - it is on the right towards the top and they have an amazing purple flower that covers thier deck. The rest of the day included Chinatown (my favorite one in all of the cities I have visited) where I bought an 'oragami crane inside a glass ball' Christmas ornament, the shopping district where I bought a ring that was actually made out of a fork, and a long trolley ride while singing the rice-a-roni theme song! From a friend's recommendation, we dined at a very local sushi restaurant where I actually met someone who had been to San Sebastian and then headed to a cute lounge where a friend I worked at the newspaper at Arizona State University met up with us! The lounge we ended up at served bowls of popcorn with your drinks...odd.
The next morning shocked us because there was not a single cloud in the sky. Of course the day we are leaving there would be no clouds!! We were ok with it and were even happier when we started on the 101 because we got to cross the Golden Gate Bridge and actually could see it! I found out that the bridge that I normally call red is actually painted a color called International Orange. We stopped on the other side of the bridge for the obvious photo opps and somehow saw two ladies wearing the same striped red and white shirt and white jeans. They thought it was hilarious, especially because they were from different states. I was just confused...would it make more sense if they were wearing the same thing if they were from the same state? haha. Driving on I shot this pic and love it. On the road and San Francisco in the mirror...road trip here we come!
Driving up the coast, it was so great to drive through trees trees and more trees! With the windows rolled down you could feel the coast air and couldn't help but feel like you were driving through a forest. What we actually DID drive through was the Chandelier Tree - a tree so big you can fit a car through it. A well-spent $5! A quick large tree photo-op later we were back on the road and finally arrived in Crescent City, California. A cute little beach town we dined in style of the most popular pizza in town, watched the sunset on the rocky beach and got a nice case of bedbugs in the hotel. After discovering our bedbugs and the office being closed already, it was a long, cold night and in the morning we demanded atleast half of our money back! A few dollars richer, we were happy to leave Crescent City and headed to the Trees of Mystery - a huge tree park. With carved trees, trails, oddly shaped trees and a gondola to the tops of the trees, Trees of Mystery was a hit! It was still a bit foggy but the extreme green of the trees stood out against the drab brown of thier stumps. Elephant trees shaped like elephant trunks, cathedral trees growing in a semi-circle like the pulpit, and the candelabra tree that had had vertical trees growing from the horizonal stump were among my favorite redwoods. The best of the best in the park was definitley the ride to the canopies of the massive trees. It was only about a 5 minute ride but as you ascend into the trees, you can't help but think: 1) its so beautiful and 2) gosh i hope this doesn't break! At the top there is a small look-out, but seeing as there was still the early-morning clouds, we didn't spend much time gazing out. However, I was impressed with my little Canon camera because it DID manage to take this picture of some trees through a pair of binoculars. I know it's not the most amazing shot, but the fact that its taken through binoculars impresses me highly!
Trees of Mystery was our last big stop on the road trip and the rest of the way we sped up I-5. Upon arrival we immediatley set up a 3 Amigos reunion. Many of you probably don't know, but Cassie and I became friends in Spanish class in high school and did a bunch of group projects with our friend Cody. In fact we became such a groupo that we called ourselves the Tres Amigos! We planned a reunion at a mexican restaurant and caught up over some margaritas, very fitting! The Tres Amigos were all grown up, but still silly as we were in high school!
That was just the first few weeks in August! I think that this month was my busiest month of the whole summer and can't fit it all into one blog or it might not fit hahah! I will write more soon, promise! Coming up: nighttime kite festival on the beach, Shakespeare-filled days with family in Oregon, Mt. Rainier hiking and Seattle yet again!
Off to Oktobefest in Munich this weekend, so I will update more about my summer and tales from Oktoberfest next week! Have a great weekend!