We got up nice and early as we had a way to drive – about 450 miles! We were leaving the glitz and glamour of LA and heading to San Francisco. We were travelling up Highway 1 and barely had time to stop off to see the sights, which was fine, as we’d previously driven this route before. We did however; stop at Morro Rock, which is a massive rock on the sea front. It amazed us the last time we were there so we had to see it again. As you can see from the photos, the rock hasn’t changed much in 4 years and neither has Stef!
Further up the road was an Elephant Seal colony. We stopped the last time and there were hundreds of seals. The smell was something I would never forget. As we pulled up and walked to the vantage point, we were quite disappointed. There were only a handful of seals. I don’t know if it was the time of year (there was only a few weeks between visits though) or the fact that they just don’t like chilling there any more, but it was a lot more pleasant on the nose.

The road for the rest of the drive was very windy as it followed the coastline. It was a lot easier to drive this time as we were not driving a big SUV! We did get stuck behind a very inconsiderate caravan driver who was driving very slow and refused to pull over so the line of traffic could get passed, but don’t get me started!

Coastal Bridge on Highway 1, California

I’d been driving for about 9 hours and it was dark. We had arrived at Mountain View (just to the east of San Fran) and started searching for a bed for the night. Everywhere we tried was either full OR wanted $300 for the night! After about 40 minutes of driving around, we managed to find a nice hotel called The Hotel Aria. It was a little over budget but nowhere near the top dollar mark others were asking. The room turned out to be a suite, which was an added luxury. It also included a buffet breakfast that we pigged out on in the morning. The reason everywhere was full – It turned out that it was graduation weekend and everyone was in town celebrating!

The Hotel Aria, Mountain View, California

The next day was my birthday. And what better way for a geek to spend a birthday? Yes that’s right, visiting Microsoft and Google Headquarters in Silicon Valley. We walked around the campus for a bit and were amazed at how nice it was. I even got to ride on a Google Bike. There were hundreds of these bikes just lying around. If you needed to get somewhere, you just picked one up and away you go! We even got to have our photos taken with the Android Robot statues. Sad I know, but it was my birthday! After, we stopped off for some Pinkberry frozen yogurt. Oh my god, it was the most tasty thing ever. Just pick your flavour and then choose what toppings you want. All of that for about £3!

After all the geeking out, we headed to the Mountain View Surplus Store. We had decided that instead of getting hotels every night, when out in the national forests, we would camp. In order to do that, we had to buy all the camping equipment. The store was great and the staff and owner were very helpful. After spending a small fortune in the store (everything was so cheap and we certainly got our monies worth) the owner gave us some free packs of freeze dried food for when we were out trekking. One of them was ice cream!

Mountain House freeze dried Neapolitan Ice Cream

With the car at bursting point, we headed to Yosemite National Park as we were spending the next few days at the Yosemite Pines RV camp. After checking in, we headed to our patch. We were all alone and surrounded by trees. From where we were, you couldn’t see anyone or anything else. It was like we were just in a forest. I thought it would take about an hour to set the tent up, but Stef being an expert and all, once she got her hands on it, had it erected in about 15 minutes!

We’d forgotten to get batteries for our camp lamp so I headed to the site shop. It was the only thing we needed. I’ve always told Stef to never let me go to the shops on my own. I’m such an impulse shopper. I spent a good while in there chatting to the lovely staff and a woman called Babs. It was our first experience of camping together so we had to make it memorable. I bought some Budweiser’s, marshmallows, chocolates and biscuits to make smores on the fire. I bought some fire wood but it wasn’t until I’d left that the man helping me asked how I was going to light it. D’oh. As I went back into the store, Babs said she would get some matches for me. Within a few minutes, she was back with the matches and some lighter fluid. Such a nice woman. As I’d bought so much, the man drove me back on a little golf buggy.

 

As soon as Stef saw me coming towards the camp in the buggy, straight away, she asked me what had I bought this time. She knows me all too well.

 

For my birthday dinner, Stef made a tasty beef wrap thing. It was sooo filling. But we still had room for the smores. We sat around the fire and drunk our Buds whilst toasting marshmallows.

 

It had been an excellent birthday.