Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Day 8: California Here We Come!

It was 57 degrees when we headed to the van this morning for the last leg of our journey west! The expected high in Sacramento today is 80 degrees. Glory!

We left the hotel at 9:09 and only had an hour and a half drive to our first stop. We headed up into the Sierra Nevada mountains. The terrain there looked surreal. It was exactly like driving through a train diorama.

Donner Memorial State Park was our first stop.

 At 59 degrees and altitude 1819 meters, there were still large piles of snow. (Note how enthusiastic Sweetling was to pose for me.)

We headed (mostly I headed) into the visitor center and the small museum.

The kids, meanwhile, collected pinecones and the Jedi checked with the rangers to ask if they were allowed to keep them. They were.

I really liked the display cases. Each one told part of the story of the immigrant trail…from exploration to the building of the railroad. I only took a few photos, because I didn’t think they would turn out well through the glass display cases.

I also wanted to head down the trail to see the site of one of the cabins some of the Donner party had sheltered in. The trail was still pretty snow covered.

Toa of Boy found Bigfoot tracks.

The Jedi found a fresh bear track.

We turned around and headed back, some of us a bit more reluctantly than others. (And yet, I still got a chocolate milkshake at our next stop. See how spoiled I am?)

Luckily, today was not a heavy driving day, because long days and lack of sleep were beginning to take their toll. Lunch was only a little over an hour from the park, but I nabbed a few more pictures on the drive.

We stopped at In N Out Burgers. I got an animal burger, Sweetling got cheese fries, and Toa and the Jedi got double-double cheeseburgers. We all got shakes (even those of us who hadn’t been very cooperative at the park.) Toa and I sat outside on the warm sunny patio to drink our shakes.See the palm trees? It’s cause we are in California, baby!

Now all we had left was a forty-five minute drive to the Jedi’s sister’s house. There were rose bushes in bloom everywhere and more palm trees welcomed us when we finally pulled our van up to his sister’s house.

Our trip odometer read 2855 miles.

Read from Day 1
Back to Day 7
On to Day 9

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