. Large sections of this drive North were through all sorts of farmland. The dominant crops appeared to be oranges, but we also saw blocks of macadamia nut trees, pistachio trees, grapefruit, cherry, squash and tomatoes. We also passed and were passed by numerous twin trailer semis loaded with carrots, oranges and grapefruit. It was enough to make our mouths water and our eyes hunger for some fresh fruit. It also brought back to mind the last time we had been in this section of the country when we, as a family, had gone to visit Uncle Pete in Davis, California. He, at that time, had been living in a large two story house that was plonked right in the middle of sunflower, watermelon and tomato fields. Anyway, after driving through this terrain and landscape for a couple of hours, we turned East and just as we did, we stopped at a farm stand and purchased fresh nectarines, apricots, two kinds of oranges, cucumbers and ice creams for the kids. It was a perfect afternoon tea.
All the time that we were driving towards Sequoia National Park we were wondering and hoping if we would manage to get a campsite: a) in the park and b) up in the trees at high elevation. This cause was also made a little more anxious by the one hour delay that we had to endure partway through the park due to the major roadwork projects that were going on at high altitudes as they strove to repave and widen the twisting roads through the park and into the Sierra Nevada mountains
. It was a great drive as we had started the day at sea level and by the time we made it deep into the park, we were over 5000 feet high. Nevertheless, we made it through the roadworks and into the stands of magnificent sequoia trees. Despite the awe-inspiring trees, we pushed straight through determined to find a campsite for two nights. Well, we succeeded and found a stunning site at Lodgepole Campground high up amongst the tall alpine trees. Our tent is across (20 feet away) from an alpine stream, the tall trees are all around us and as I write this, I can hear the sound of the water coursing over the rocks and a light breeze is keeping the mosquitoes away. We had a lovely dinner of carbonara and packed into the provided bear storage area all of our food, pots and even toiletries. Apparently there are several black bears in the area and every single campsite has its own metal, food storage locker. The air temperature is quickly dropping, the light is fading and it feels like a perfect sleeping temperature. We will go for many walks amongst the magnificent trees tomorrow and enjoy a second relaxing night in this amazing setting. This campsite and National Park certainly reinforces our previous statements and beliefs, we are mountain and coastal people as being in the trees high in the mountains is so comforting and inspiring (not to mention cool).
It was goodbye Extended Stay San Diego and hello Sierra Nevada Mountains today. Odie (sparkling, shiny clean and with new oil and topped up fluids) was loaded up and we were on our way by 8:30 this morning. The first challenge of the day was navigating our way through and around Los Angeles. Despite the numerous warnings from Bob regarding impending traffic delays, we managed to skirt Los Angeles on the Pacific Ocean side of the city, having only to slow to a crawl about 10 times. However, none of the slowdowns lasted for more than a couple of minutes. While Tim was concentrating on fighting traffic and remaining in his lane despite lane markers that veered in and out and which seemed determined never to be straight, the kids were kind enough to munch on their snack boxes while listening to their ipods, and Jess, ever the most considerate co-pilot, snoozed quietly in order to minimize the distractions. It seemed only to take an hour to get through and north of Los Angeles and then we were on smaller roads, continuing to travel North, until we finally turned right and headed to the Sierra Nevada mountains