We have finally sorted through all of the pictures from the California trip. The bad thing about digital photography is that you tend to take so many more pictures than you would if you were paying for the film.
So here is how this trip went down. We flew from Detroit to Fresno, California via Denver. The trip a bit rough as Gabbie seemed to have some trouble clearing her ears. From Fresno, we drove about 40 miles North to Coarsegold where Greta's parents have a place. Coarsegold is about 30 miles from the gates of Yosemite National Park, although a much longer trip due to mountain travel. Basically, the place is in the foothills of the Sierra mountains and very beautiful with gorgeous weather to boot. One day out of the trip, we put the kids in the rental van and took a trip through Yosemite Park. Although some roads were still closed due to snow, we got some incredible views. I haven't spent much time in the mountains, so I was fascinated by the fact that as you are climbing snow suddenly appears. There were roads that seemed to have 10 feet or more of snow on the sides, yet it felt as if it were 65 degrees out. Yosemite was awe inspiring. I felt like our pictures looked like a fake backdrop the because the scenery was just so unreal. The kids seemed to be more fascinated with "Finding Nemo" as it was during this trip we discovered how great portable DVD players are.
After about a week in Coursegold, we headed to South Lake Tahoe (About 300 miles) for the Lithuanian Ski Competition. This was a great event where Lithuanians from all over gather for some competitive skiing. We met a bunch of really cool people and spent a week in what I think might be one of the most beautiful places on the planet. The drive, however, was a bit white knuckled for me. When we hit the mountains, we encountered some rain. I don't mind driving in the mountains when it's dry, but it was wet and I had no temperature guage in the rental car to tell me if things were freezing. Eventually the rain turned into snow, but we were able to make it to our hotel before the roads started getting bad. That night the mountains got nearly 3 feet of snow, while the base got pounded with well over a foot. I had never been skiing on anything bigger than Crystal Mountain in my life, so this was quite a test of my feeble abilities.
One day of the trip we left the Triplets with Dailius and Irena in Coarsegold while we, along with Greta's sister Indre, headed to Hearst Castle near Cambria (about 140 miles). We tackled the drive in under 3 hours. Hearst Castle is the incredible mansion built by the even more amazing ego maniac, William Randolph Hearst. I decided that on the way back we should drive up Highway 1 towards Monterey. I had heard this was a beautiful drive and on the map it looked like it would only add about 1 extra hour to our trip home. What I didn't account for was driving 15 mph for a good portion of it because the road is essentially a collection of hairpin turns on the side of a mountain. In short, I turned a 2 hour and 45 minute drive home into 8 hours. Whoops. It was, as Greta and Indre would attest, completely worth it. Vistas of Big Sur would actually be an appropriate use of the word "awesome". There was a lot more to the trip, but I figure pictures are more interesting than my stories. Thanks to Irena and Dailius & Algis and Irena for the hospitality. Thanks to my Dad for picking us up from the airport at 1 a.m. on our return trip.