Monday, March 08, 2010

San Francisco, Part 1

I haven't yet figured out how many parts I'll need in order to cover my recent travels, starting with my quick visit to San Francisco.

As soon as I wrapped up on "Alice in Wonderland" (which won the box office this weekend, yay!), I took the weekend off. I picked up my cousin (younger brother of this cousin and youngest son of this uncle) from the airport on Monday night, then he, my mother, and I left for San Francisco on Tuesday morning. (On Monday night, we had dinner at Lucille's. The poor cousin- got off a long plane ride that included a layover in Taipei and we drag him to a restaurant before he even gets to go rest!)

We had to take off right away because I had plans. First of all, it was my best friend Julie's birthday on Monday, so I wanted to see her ASAP. I drove, because I am a control freak that needs to always be the driver.

The next few posts, though I don't know how many or how long they'll be, will definitely be heavy on the photos, so beware!

My Hello Kitty air freshener (with a working propeller!) kept me company when my family members started to doze. The trip up took about eight hours- we stopped a few times, took pictures, ate, had coffee, and made it a leisurely trek rather than a fast drive.
Leaving LA. We're in the mountains just on the outskirts of the Los Angeles basin, which means that up ahead, there are clearer skies with less smog. Putting a giant metropolis inside a basin was not the wisest idea anyone ever had.
Just a short while later, the sky had cleared up, other than those ominously gray clouds up ahead. It was a really nice drive, not too intensly sunny, with a crisp clarity to the air. I think it had rained not too long before we went on this roadtrip, and LA is always so nice after rain.
I love these trees. The sky is clearing up even more, and getting a bit brighter. Did I mention that we took off early in the morning? My mother is a morning person. She wanted to leave at 5:00 a.m., which I vetoed immediately. I think we ended up leaving around 6:30 or 7:00, which is still pretty dang early, in my book.
Definitely not in LA anymore! I should also mention that most of these photos were taken from inside the car by my mother. We switched off on using my camera- she wasn't going to let me snap photos while driving, of course, so she took all of these car POV pictures.
I really like the juxtaposition of telephone wires against nature- or anything else man-made against something obviously natural- but my mother really dislikes how people have spoiled nature. I think it's intriguing how we live among nature, and how nature manages to live among us, but I guess that's just me.
The sky started getting a little bit gloomy around Bakersfield, or maybe just before Bakersfield (a.k.a. the land of nothing but farms). I love rain clouds!
Bakersfield meant rain for us. I don't even know how to describe it, but the rain was very loud. The raindrops were these huge, fat globs of water that smacked against the car with a lot of force, making it hard to hear anything over it. The car took a beating, but it was pretty fast- cleared up in probably fifteen minutes or so.
It was strange how quickly the rain disappeared- it didn't even dissipate, it was just raining really hard one second and then gone the next. The stillness and the quiet after that rain was lovely. You know, other than that semi driving past.
Just a few miles later, it was like the rain had never even happened. Beautiful skies, soft-looking green grass- desert though California may be, it is deceptively green here in the winter.
Last few gray clouds in a pretty sky. This photo reminds me of England, when we went to the countryside. All that's missing are puffy white sheep.
Aaaand just like that, the clouds are back! My mom was thrilled to see that the small yellow wildflowers had begun to bloom already. She loves flowers, and they really were a sight, strewn out over the grass.
There were a ton of birds all through our drive up. They were funny, chattering merrily away, and disappearing into nooks and crannies as soon as the rain started up.
Birds can be unbelievably loud. The handful in this tree were squawking away. They're so funny and cute that I almost didn't mind- plus, birds in a tree are funny to see.
We saw small birds, hawks, crows, all kinds of winged creatures, and most of them were perched on the highest branch that they could find. They always, always did this- little specks in the sky? Birds on high branches.
The sky, acting as though it hadn't just dumped a billion gallons of water on us. I don't think I'd ever want to live in the country, but it is nice to see blue skies.
The aqueduct, snaking its way through farm country. Yup, sky decided to be menacing again.
Pastoral bliss?
Moo. I love cows, but only from afar. They're way too big in real life.
I feel the same way about electric windmills- pretty from afar, but too big in real life.
More pastoral bliss.
Seagulls! We must be near salt water...
Definitely getting close to San Francisco now.

If you can believe it, I actually edited the photos down. There were at least four times as many as this! I know I don't edit enough, and I need to pare them down even further .... but I can't.

So bear with me through my several photo-laden posts, because after the San Francisco series comes the Korea series. : )