Road Tripping Coast to Coast

After packing up a 4 x 8 foot trailer with all of our belongings, we hit the road and said goodbye to San Francisco after nearly three amazing years. 12 states, 3,000+ miles, four hotels, one campsite , three blow up beds and nearly two weeks later, we’ve made it all the way from San Francisco to Wilmington, North Carolina.

Our first stop was the Grand Canyon via Needles, California. We set up our campsite at the Mather campground in the heart of Grand Canyon National Park. The temperature was in the 90’s in the south rim, but at night temps dropped to nearly freezing.  It was the first time either of us has been there and it far exceeded our expectations. At times, it almost looks and feels surreal.

We spent the better part of two days hiking along the canyon rim and down into the canyon. The canyon can really get your adrenaline going, especially when you stand on the edge of a cliff looking at the ground a mile below. The sight is so breathtaking, it can make you go weak in the knees.

From the Grand Canyon, we traveled along I-40 making overnight pit stops in Albuquerque and Oklahoma City. It wasn’t until we reached Memphis that we really took our time to enjoy our surroundings again.

Memphis was lively and soulful, but most of all delicious. We ate and drank our way through the city starting with the best fried chicken we’ve ever had at Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken. We hit up multiple bars and Blues joints on Beale Street before finally calling it a night. The next morning, we stopped by the Peabody Hotel to watch the duck procession and went to find a barbeque joint for lunch. We found the Bar-B-Q Shop where we indulged in dry rub ribs and pulled pork sandwiches. It.was.amazing.

After Memphis, we stopped in Atlanta and Raleigh to visit friends, family and to unpack our trailer of belongings. As soon as we hit the North Carolina state line, we were relieved to have made it the entire way in one piece!

Although we’re both currently unemployed, our days are completely filled with wedding planning (with a little bit of trip planning sprinkled in, too). Luckily, we are able to sneak in a few hours of quality beach time as well.

T-minus ten days until the wedding and less than one month until our plane departs to Quito, Ecuador!

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So Long, San Francisco. Hello, World!

Memorial Day weekend was our last weekend in San Francisco. What better way to celebrate than by attending the Golden Gate Bridge’s 75th anniversary party? We spent some time at our neighbor’s house drinking mimosas and watching the boats in the bay before heading out with masses to watch the fireworks show in Fort Mason, one of our favorite spots in the city.

The rest of the weekend was filled with packing and cleaning. We’ve sold all of our belongings and packed everything else.  We no longer own a bed, television, microwave, grill, sofa, kitchen table, coffee table, etc. You name it, we don’t own it.  All we have are bags of clothes and some items we can’t bear to part with (read: photos, Annie’s favorite dishes and Chris’ guns). In so many ways, it is incredibly liberating. In other ways, it’s crazy scary.

So what’s next? Although we don’t embark on our RTW trip until July 10, in a small way our worldly adventure starts this Friday when leave the city and begin our ten day road trip back to the east coast. The highlights include camping at the Grand Canyon for a few nights, eating our way through barbeque joints in Memphis and visiting friends and family in Atlanta before our pre-wedding festivities begin in North Carolina.  We also have planned pit-stops at the Petrified Forest in Arizona, Albuquerque and Oklahoma City.

Wow. We cannot believe how quickly these past 2.5 years have flown by! Leaving San Francisco is so bittersweet and words cannot describe how rich our experience has been here. We have so many amazing memories we will be taking with us and are so lucky to have met new friends and such great people. We will miss our apartment, which is probably the most unique place we’ll ever live, complete with a never ending staircase (well, we may not miss the 117 steps to our front door) and wild parrots.

Thanks to everyone who made our time here so amazing, we’ll miss you all but will see you soon-ish. Until then, farewell San Francisco…it’s been a great and wild ride!

A Day Without Wine is a Day Without Sunshine

This past weekend we took a break from planning our upcoming trip and wedding to enjoy a day in wine country. Francis Ford Coppola winery has been on our Bay Area bucket list for quite awhile, so we figured it was a perfect way to spend one of our last weekends.

The Coppola Winery is located in Geyserville, Sonoma County. Coppola purchased the winery about seven years ago and is most famous for directing “The Godfather” trilogy and “Apocalypse Now.” At the winery, you can view some of his Oscars and other movie memorabilia.

Not only did we score two free wine tastings each, but we were also able to get day passes to the pool instead of paying for a reservation.  Success! More money for food and drink!

The Coppola pool provided the perfect opportunity to test our new underwater camera that we plan to use on our trip.  It also gave Annie the chance to try to make friends with little kids at the pool. She may have been overheard asking a 10 year-old “so do you come here often?”

What better way to end our last wine country trip, than to celebrate with a little bubbly at Korbel winery in Guerneville!

The winery has a real old school feel and includes four complimentary tastings. As always, we like to keep it classy…

So long wine country, you will be missed!

Camping at Joshua Tree National Park

Neither of us planned to make a trip back home for Easter so we thought it was a perfect time to take a long weekend and spend some time in the great outdoors at Joshua Tree National Park. The summers can get extremely hot so the shoulder season is a perfect time for a visit (the days were a hot and sunny 75* and the nights were in the low 50’s). 

After waking up early to make the drive down to southern California, we checked in to Black Rock campground and pitched our campsite, which was surrounded by picturesque Joshua Trees.

To take advantage of the sunlight, we set out for a seven mile hike around Black Rock Canyon trail and Panorama Loop trail, which led up to views of the Little San Bernardino Moutains. Along the way, we came across a very exciting and very quintessential desert sight!

The next morning, we drove into the main part of Joshua Tree National Park to do some more hiking and to get closer to the Wonderland of Rocks.  Our first hike was another seven mile trek that started at the Boy Scout trailhead and branched off to take us through groves of Joshua Trees and past huge rock formations.

 After eating lunch and watching the rock climbers in Hidden Valley, we headed to Ryan Mountain. The trail was three miles round trip, but was a steep climb straight up. Once at the top, we enjoyed 360 degree views of of Lost Horse, Queen, and Pleasant valleys on the 5,461 foot summit.


Back at camp that night, we relaxed and enjoyed our first trip in the desert.

Our camping adventure to southern California earned us another check on our west coast bucket list. And for those of you curious to know, yes, we did listen to a few U2 tracks while hiking amongst the Joshua Trees…

Yosemite Valley, Yes Please!

To celebrate Chris’ birthday and the arrival of Annie’s step-dad and brother back to the Bay Area, we loaded up the car for a weekend in the Yosemite Valley.

The majority of campgrounds are unavailable this time of year, so we booked a “signature tent” in Curry Village, right in the heart of Yosemite Valley. The tent had three beds, one double and two singles as well as a bear locker for food right outside the tent. There wasn’t anything very “signature” about our humble abode, except that it had a heater to keep us warm at night when temperatures dropped to the 30’s.

After dropping off our stuff, we went to find a trail head that would be good for a day hike for us to do some exploring and elected to go for a hike to Vernal Falls. Along the way, we saw countless deer that tourists must feed all the time because you can get within five feet and they still won’t be scared or run away. The trail itself weaved along rock formations, passed a few scenic overlooks and was a pretty steep climb straight up.

With the sun quickly descending, we walked down to Yosemite Village for dinner and caught amazing views of Half Dome during sunset.

The next day, we went for another hike to check out Yosemite Falls. One of Yosemite’s oldest trails (built 1873 to 1877) is the Yosemite Falls Trail which leads to the top of North America’s tallest waterfall 2,425 feet above the Valley floor. After 60 switchbacks, you are rewarded with stunning views from Columbia Rock.

Not much further from Columbia rock, you can see Yosemite Falls. At this time of year, the falls at the top start as water in its liquid form and as it loses elevation, the water turns to gas and lastly to snow.

This was our first time visiting Yosemite during the winter and although we were a bit skeptical about the weather when we booked our trip, it couldn’t have been better. Happy birthday to Chris and thanks for visiting us Steve and Dave!