Thursday morning Kt and I woke up bright and early ready to visit Joshua Tree National Park and head to San Diego. Before we left to explore the park we stopped in at the wonderfully tasty and inspiringly hippie Crossroads Cafe for breakfast. I think Kt wished she lived in Joshua Tree just so she could be a regular there. With local artwork hung on the walls, a coffeehouse/bar vibe, and nice fluffy pancakes, we were sold.
Due to the heat and our desire to get to San Diego before it got too late, we didn't hike much, but instead drove through the scenic loop and stopped for pictures. We also repeatedly expressed gratitude that we were not camping as there was NO shade and tents were literally backed up against boulders in the heat of the day. Joshua Tree is definitely a place I would like to return with more time and cooler weather. The rocks are ridiculous, looking more like giant (really giant) pebbles stacked into dirt piles, than mountains (which I guess they are), and the night sky is unbelievable. I literally watched the stars twinkle and repeatedly compared them to what I've seen only in a planetarium.
We got in to San Diego around 3 where we stayed with our friend Tommy for the next two nights. Tommy proved to be a great tour guide and had a list of fun things for us to do in the city. That night we went to the famous San Diego Zoo and saw lions and tigers and bears, oh my! (and elephants, pandas, koalas, rhinos, hippos, giraffes, gorillas, etc etc etc). I tried some of my evasive bear attack techniques and I'm happy to report I think I am now prepared for Yellowstone as I clearly escaped the zoo unscathed. We stayed until dark and then went to the Gaslamp District for dinner.
Friday we planned to go kayaking in the La Jolla caves, but due to wave heights we instead drove to another part of La Jolla to see the sea lions and then on to Ocean Beach, Mission Beach, and Pacific Beach. Once home we went to the Padres game where we stuffed ourselves, enjoyed a win, and watched fireworks. Tommy also got to meet Cheech Marin who was eating lunch where we were.
Padres game with Tommy
This morning Kt and I got back in the car to drive up the coast towards San Fran. We took the PCH most of the way up stopping for In-N-Out Burger, an Elephant Seal sighting, the Whale Watcher Cafe, and a beach along the way. We, of course, also made a quick stop to put flowers in our hair. The drive was beautiful, but different than I expected in a few ways: 1. Though I expected the road to be along the beach and with cliffs, I did not expect winding, nauseating roads reminiscent of Arizona's Coconino Forest; 2. It is COLD! 3. It was foggy/smoggy most of the way here due to the marine layer (I thought Cali was sunny); 4. IT'S COLD (highs in the 60's)! 5. It's surprisingly similar what I imagine Ireland/England to look like.
We arrived to San Fran, where it is even colder and windy, and drove around the block about 4 times before finding our hotel. After driving up the same extremely steep hills, screaming the whole way as we rolled back at each stoplight (remember Clueless when Dion gets on the highway?), but finally arrived at the beautiful Mark Hopkins InterContinental. This is by far our biggest splurge, but I have to admit, it feels nice.
I hope everyone has a wonderful 4th of July! Think of me and light a sparkler or blow something colorful up in my honor tomorrow. We are on day 14 and approximately 3500 miles from home...but still loving this moment.