Thursday, 5 January 2012

NorCal Pt 1

Leaving the magnificence of Yosemite behind, 7 tired bodies continued north. We came down the north side of the Yosemite Valley and the landscape changed to a grim, more barren one. Lots of loose, rocky terrain with brown and wasted looking grass sticking up everywhere. Still pretty cool though! Once down and out of the valley we happened upon a petrol station ("Gas station"). The bodies weary and the pockets starting to feel considerably lighter it was here that we happened upon our first hiccough and the first disagreement of the trip came about. As it was regarding the unfair distribution of hamburgers it was nothing too sinister and all was well 3 hours up the road. This was the only bit of friction on the whole trip which I think is testament to everyone considering we were living out of a car for two weeks straight!

Anyway, we drove on for the rest of the day and seeing as it was late when we were leaving Yosemite due to afformentioned hike we found some dodgy little backwater (Gardenerville I think it was called) and had our first (of many) stays in a dodgy motel! Parked up in some backwater on the California/Nevada border we pulled in, got the room and a couple of cans, as natural. As the night aged we toyed with the idea of going into one of the local saloon type bars and seeing what happened however one or two people passed out in the meantime and we said we would give our bodies a rest...

We woke up in the morning and went across the road to the Walmart to stack up on some breakfast and supplies for the road ahead. While everyone else was munching on, myself and Blake realised that Cork were playing the dubs in the semi final of the football. Because of the time difference we managed to most of the first half however we didnt exactly have anywhere to watch it either! As we had nowhere to access the internet either we decided to take turns sneaking into the office of the motel and jumping onto the proprietors computer while he was in the back. Each time after about 15-20 minutes he would come in and kick one of us out but we eventually got to see the result! A narrow and, apparently, undeserved Cork win. Who cares, we'll take it!

So we loaded up the van yet again and off we went. Leaving Gardnerville someone managed to spot a group of very attractive girls in slightly wet t-shirts advertising a car wash. Our thoughts..... HAPPY DAYS! We swung the car around and passed by the same girls advertising it and somebody commented on the fact that the girls looked a tad young. We pulled into this kind of parking lot where the car washing was taking place we realised those suspicions were well and truly correct. One look at the even younger looking girls washing the cars confirmed it for us. And the sign saying girls u-17 soccer fund-raiser really drove it home! While we were parked up (of course we werent still thinking of getting the car washed, we were just stopped..... trying to tune the radio) we noticed our big white van had attracted a few stares. These stares were not of the Gardnerville u-17 soccer team but their hell's angels type biker looking fathers. That was dis-invitation enough for us. Scoot.

A pretty good marketing ploy it must be said, putting the tallest, oldest looking girls of the team out in the middle of a main road wearing wet t-shirts however maybe they should have made the u-17 section of the sign a bit bigger. No pictures of this incident fortunately (or unfortunately, depends who's reading!)

Leaving Gardnerville with a bit of a bitter taste in our mouth we tore on up the mountain ahead to see what all the fuss was about this Lake Tahoe spot. Scotty managed to grab a couple of snaps out the window on the way, and just as well. Yet again, serious landscape!

-This photo is just as we were approaching the ascent to Tahoe

-Here was looking back on where we had just come from!

Once we arrived in Tahoe, like Yosemite, the scenery was absolutely stunning. Nature at its finest! Deciduous trees, crime fighting squirrels all that jazz. However a lot of the place has been ruined with massive signs selling you this, that and the other thing. Kind of took away from the place a small bit, especially after being in Yosemite where there was only one licensed shop in the whole one thousand odd square miles! Meh, troop on regardless!..

We stopped at a shop so a certain somebody could make a couple of "quick" phone calls to his nearest and dearest. 2 hours later we were absolutely fuming and getting a bit impatient as the cigarettes were starting to run out. We did happen to chance upon an absolute lunatic however who gave us his business idea for a kids toy. I wont say anymore on it just in case he has a patent on it however I will say for it that it was an absolutely terrible idea with no appeal to anybody... anywhere. Phone call finished we went off to find the booze cruise that the girls we had met in Yosemite had told us about..

Before you get any ideas of an inbetweeners style magaluf booze cruise I will stop you right there. This cruise involved us bringing a case of our own beer onto a rented raft and doing a whitewater style journey down the river. I will say however that the rafting wasnt very extreme. Hence why we were drinking. Midway down the river we needed to pull in to the side to relieve ourselves while families with young children and couples swanned past us. Inappropriate? Yes, but that was beginning to become a common trend.

Here's an idea of what we were up to... Add beer

Once we drunkenly found the end point there was a bus back to the start so we hooked up with the lads there and tore west for San Fran. Not before we could get a picture with the token fat chick however...

(apparently she used that stick to kill her prey)


  1. Only in America would you get all those signs everywhere! Sounds like a cool place nonetheless though!

    1. Yeah they really have a tendency to exploit anything once people can see some use of it. I still cant get over the fact that my phone while in the states charged me to receive texts!

  2. Your photos are class! sounds like so much fun! :)

    1. That it was! Lake Tahoe is class aswell because it becomes a fully fledged ski resort in the winter. What I would do to own a summer house there....

  3. photos are class, and it sounds like an epic trip. Wish i had done it

  4. Can you go ski ing in lake tahoe in the winter time in lake tahoe?
    What months does it snow there?