road trip

Camping: Lake Powell

This is what camping on a 100 F weather in Arizona looks like. Everything is bright and clear till 8:30 p.m. Welcome to Wahweap Campground in Lake Powell, Page, Arizona! This is Lake Powell Resort’s campground area. The view is amazing & relaxing. It was a busy season. Glad we made a reservation just in time. Given some more years and the trees will grow much more, providing bigger shades and it will be perfect. lakepowell

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Here we pitched our tent carefully because it was super windy that time. We saw some flying tents around! And while it’s still 100 degrees, we went to the resort’s lounge to have dinner and avail of their wifi. How can I survive with my GPRS cellphone signal?  lakepowell2

At 9:30 p.m. we were swimming under the stars. Cool! Yes, we needed this to relax our tired bodies from the long drive. Resort amenities are also open for campers. Yay! But the problem with swimming, you have to take a shower, dry up before you go back to the tent and sleep. Complex task!
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Our first night was awesome. The night sky was clear and stars were very visible, we even saw the Milky Way! For the first time, I saw a shooting star. :) It was nice to just lie down on a beach chair under the bare sky and watch the stars till you get sleepy. Adrian was busy with his telescope that night.
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At 6 a.m. I woke up to this calm view and prepared our breakfast composed of baked salmon, pork tocino & quinoa multigrain rice mix (wow fancy! fancy leftovers 😉 )…Everybody was able to sleep well. Thank God for camping fans. It’s rare that we get to use fans in camping. Yes, because it’s summer and we’re in Arizona. :)

lakepowell5This is Lake Powell. The gorgeous Lake Powell. We went exploring the area, in the next blog coz it’s too much in one blog. See yeah!

 

Lake Tahoe Camping

As expected, we were hurrying to reach the campground before sunset. We passed by KFC to get some chicken for dinner. Thankfully, we got a bucket meal so it was less work for me to cook dinner when it’s already dark. Fast food is good food for campers. Haha! No bad chicken for dinner when everyone is hungry. :)

We reached William Kent campground with still some sun and was able to check out the area, meet some neighbor campers and set up our tent nicely. The campground was small and surrounded by residential areas. Though lacking in most essential amenities that we are looking for in a campsite, but we find it relaxing and more enjoyable than the other campsites we’ve been to. There’s no shower (it’s okay because we are checking in a hotel the following day), no light in the toilet (it’s okay, we have flashlights), not even flush (oh-em-gee) but it’s not smelly unlike other vault toilets (but it’s well maintained) probably the reason why there’s no light so you won’t see everything. It was quite a walk down to get to the toilet area. The good thing here is the proximity to the lake. It’s so close, just across the road.

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Here, the kids were playing while bringing stuff for our set up. I made sure that the food that we have are secured in that cabinet. We’ve heard that bears are common here, so better be wise not to invite them to our camp site.

tahoe8 After breakfast, which is as usual, “the trio” (spam, eggs and rice), we went to the lake. Lake Tahoe is very beautiful! So calm, and inviting! I’ve never seen such clear lake water as this one. But it’s so cold! I don’t know if this lake gets warm.
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Why so blue? So clear? I don’t know. I was too preoccupied by the beauty of the lake that I don’t want to read any more information. tahoe2 tahoe3

The area surrounding the lake is a very nice place to run or walk. I should have brought my running shoes then. :) I remember, we’ve seen a brace of ducks here that are so cute to look at!tahoe4

Family picture is a must! We had too many shots for a family picture by the lake but only a few were good enough because we were shooting against the light and just using a self timer plus the never-ending laughter. Anyway, that’s the best part, laughing all the time.
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We took a little time to check out the home of 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley.

tahoe10_edited-1 It’s been half a century since the 60’s Winter Olympics but Squaw Valley is still gorgeous up to this day. I love to hang out there!tahoe9

Playtime is part of the game at The Village, Squaw Valley. Trampoline anyone? Kuya feels he is too old for this.
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Sequoia National Park: Land of the Giants

Sequoia National Park is home to giant trees including the world’s largest, General Sherman tree. This park lies side by side with Kings Canyon National Park in Southern Sierra Nevada in California. This place is magical. It’s not ordinary to see humongous living things like what you can see here. You’ll be in awe. You’ll try to comprehend. And you won’t forget. seq2

We were already amazed at how big the Sentinel is, but it is just an average-sized tree here. Oh, well, biggie size in America is a usual thing. :)seq1

The visitor center shows how big the trees are in comparison with famous monuments and things. The giant trees here are compared to the size of the Statue of Liberty, Titanic, the great blue whale, and regular trees. People are mere dots.

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Some of the causes of death of giant trees are due to severe winter and falling down. It would be scary to witness a falling sequoia. I imagine it would be like how a cartoon show would portray that scene, flat like a card board. Seriously, don’t even imagine it.  seq6seq4

We received more than we sought. It’s not enough to read only what’s in this place or in any national parks. It’s better to experience it and enjoy being with nature. There’s more to it than just watching documentaries or reading blogs like this. We can better appreciate nature and it’s wonders by taking a break from our busy life.

Our world is big. We may be mere tiny objects compared to these natural marvels but we can help protect and preserve them.    seq7

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This is Adrian’s Lego Mindstorm robot, panoramabot which he programmed to take panorama pictures using my cellphone. That’s why we were a bit late from our schedule. Picture below shows us passing through “the tunnel log”. This tree fell down due to natural causes and was carved to let smaller cars pass through.   seq9

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We were practically running to make up for the time lost since wandering the giant forest. We had to beat the time for us to see the biggest tree before it gets dark. We highly recommend anyone going here to bring a bug spray or mosquito repellant. And expect mosquitoes and bugs to be bigger than the usual. Remember, you’re in the land of the giants.  seq13

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What can you see in Congress Trail? Not politicians but trees of course. This is a 2 mile paved trail that goes through the heart of the sequoia forest. You can see the famous House and Senate Groups, and the President, Chief Sequoyah, General Lee and McKinley Trees. Unfortunately, we don’t have much time to visit them because it’s getting dark. It was past 6PM when we were in the General Sherman area. One upside here, we get to take several photos with the General Sherman because there’s not much people left. Adrian’s panoramabot was very helpful.seq14

According to NPS (National Park Service), the General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park is the largest (by volume) tree in the world. Massive. Gigantic. Enormous. Colossal. Monster. Humongous. Approximately, this tree together with other giants in Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon live between 1,800 to 2,700 years. They’ve witnessed the unfolding of civilizations and they overcame drought & other calamities. What else? They’ve seen how the earth changes.

We salute you, General Sherman tree! You’re awesome! We hope that many more generations will see you. But even more, we salute your Maker, our Maker. :)seq11

London Bridge in the US

London bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down. London bridge is falling down, my fair lady. The rhyme dates back from the 1100s when the foundation of Old London bridge was being constructed, replacing the timber foundation. London bridge is a very important structure spanning the Thames River. It became a choice business and residential site in London. From the medieval times, there had been many calamities and repairs that undertook.

A bit of history here…

“In 1962, London Bridge was falling down. Built in 1831, the bridge couldn’t handle the ever-increasing flow of traffic across the Thames River. The British government decided to put the bridge up for sale, and Robert McCulloch, Founder of Lake Havasu City, Arizona, and Chairman of McCulloch Oil Corporation, submitted the winning bid of $2,460,000.

The bridge was dismantled, and each stone was numbered. Everything was shipped 10,000 miles to Long Beach, California, and then trucked to Lake Havasu City.” – See more at: http://www.roadtripamerica.com/places/havasu.htm#sthash.7s6Dwnzv.dpuf

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Part of one of our camping hopping trips was supposed to be an overnight camping at Lake Havasu City. We didn’t like the Lake Havasu  State Park because of the ants that made the campground their home. The lake is stinky and the weather was so hot. There are times when in camping you hit the jackpot (when you have an awesome campsite). But this one was a bummer. Though it was not nice to be here on a 100+ degrees temperature, it’s nice to have a quick tour of this part of the city and learn history. Here are some of the pictures before we drive back to California.

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UK flag waving there!
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This area of the Lake Havasu City is a haven for people who loves to hang out in bars and water sports. There’s a lot of resorts in the area.
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US flag waving here!

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There’s a European feel around London Bridge in Arizona. They maintained European style of structures. Maybe it’s nice to explore some more next time but definitely in the fall or winter.
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Camping @ Flaming Gorge

I was hoping that this year will be a year of camping since we started early. In January, we went camping with the crossroads ministry. We are looking forward to this summer to go to the wilderness but circumstances won’t allow us so I’ll just write something about our extraordinary camping experience few years ago.

It all started upon learning that we will be going to Manila, Philippines. We decided to visit the other Manila, which is in Utah. Manila is a small town in the Northern Utah and Southern Wyoming boundary. It is named after the Philippines’ capital, Manila, in honor of the US victory at the Battle of Manila Bay.

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Contrary to Manila, Philippines, this Manila which is the home of the Flaming Gorge, is a less populated area. At 5pm we can only see a few people. I can’t believe that there were only 300+ people residing in Manila, Utah according to 2000 census. Let’s say it doubled in the next 10 years, it’s only 600 compared to Manila’s million population. Anyway, we love both Manilas.

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We camped at State Line Cove Campground on the sandy shore of Flaming Gorge on the boundary of Utah and Wyoming. But before we enter the campground, we literally went in and out of Utah and Wyoming border as we drove along curve roads.

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The scenic views and geological sites are plentiful. As the sky changes color from blue to gray then to bright sunny yellow, the views change as well as we drive along winding roads, from lush green to red/brown rock formations. flame4

I love trees! Any place that has beautiful trees such as this is a paradise for me. There is no entrance guard or staff here to check in so you’re on your own to find your reserved spot.
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I’m glad that my men know what to do. My husband is such detail-minded and good in logistics, so we just let them do their job while Mich and I explore and take photos everywhere.

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My husband checked the weather and it will be raining at night. We have to prepare for the challenge. Unfortunately, our camp spot was very open so this is the best location to pitch our tent. As usual the boys pitched the tent and the girls took charge of the kitchen to prepare our very fancy dinner, Spam. Haha! 😛flame6

These two young trees have proven themselves to be strong, resilient and dependable. I admit, I laughed and questioned their ability to withstand strong winds but I was reminded of the verse in the bible that says, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Tim. 4:12. I should have not looked down on these skinny trees because God used them to protect us from calamity. flame2

This tent was not only a room for us but also a refuge. It shielded us enough and didn’t make us wet even under very strong winds and rain. It didn’t even get damaged or suffered any broken part. This tent has served us many camping trips until this day.  flame12

I don’t know if we should be glad that these friendly antelopes here were not intimidated by humans or should we be sorry that we were “intruding” their somewhat commercialized habitat. We didn’t know that there’s a lot of pronghorns and other types of deer and antelopes roaming around here.

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There’s plenty of them around the campground. And Mich tried to follow them. flame9

This was the last picture taken before we sleep. Dark clouds gave us warning about the coming rain. We were joking and laughing. We even played bingo and watched a movie inside the tent. Would you believe that? We were just so secured that God will not let any harm to go near us. Psalm 4:8 says “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Thankfully, God allowed us to have a good night sleep and let the storm pass in the morning. That night we kept our belongings inside the car and left only what’s needed inside the tent. A tray of Red Ribbon ensaimada (so every time I see this bread, I am reminded of manna from heaven) given by a friend and some bottled water saved us from hunger during the raging storm. As far as I can remember, we were the only tent in that area of the campground. The nearest to us was a small RV camper that left earlier than us. Around 8 AM, the storm was gone. The sky was clear and the sun shone brightly as if nothing happened. We prayed and thanked God for His covering, protection and provision.

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Four Corners USA

Interestingly, there’s a place in the US where you could be in four different states at one point. It’s called Four Corners. Since we love to explore and we love geography, we took the time to visit this place. There’s not much to see but to feed your curiosity and experience how it’s like to be there is enough.
4corners6 Most of the Four Corner regions belong to native Americans like this one, Navajo Nation. So when we entered this area, we are in a semi-autonomous native American governed territory. According to wikipedia, The Navajo Nation has one of the largest and most involved North American tribal governments, with organic institutions that include a judicial system, and large law enforcement and social service agencies.

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To support the native American businesses, we bought some souvenirs and the necklace Mich is wearing in the picture above. It took us a lot of time for her to pick what she likes best. That has always been the hard part every time we ask her to choose. She has a lot of things that she wants to buy including an archery set. No Hunger Games that time yet but she wants a bow and arrows. 4corners1

So when you visit a native American territory be sure to follow the rules. As long as you don’t violate their rules and you are kind and sensitive to their beliefs and culture you’re welcome to enjoy their land. Visitors are always welcome. navajonation 4corners2 This is the most important photo op. Adrian’s left leg is in New Mexico, right leg in Arizona, right hand/arm in Utah and left hand/arm in Colorado. How cool is that? :) We got here earlier than most visitors so we had the chance to have photos one by one.

4corners4But when it’s about time for family picture, there’s a lot of photo bombers.

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This rock formation is one of my favorite sight in our road trip that day. I remember after taking this photo, we saw a McDonalds in the middle of nowhere and we were surprised. It was time to recharge our bodies with fast-food and use our cellphones because mostly there were weak signals or none at all.

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Pier 39

A multitude of bees can tell the time of day, calculate the geometry of the sun’s position, argue about the best location for the next swarm. Bees do a lot of close observing of other bees; maybe they know what follows stinging and do it anyway.” – Lewis Thomas

A quick visit to Pier 39 includes people watching. We, or I in particular, love to see diverse people and observe what they do, what they buy, what they eat and many more. I love to see colors and life in every stores and things sold everywhere from souvenirs to candies at Pier 39.

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I would encourage our kids to buy local fruits than candies. But kids are kids. They’re attracted to candies especially the weird ones.

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Funny as it seems, the main reason why I want to go here was to see sea lions but we only saw one. A lazy looking sea lion. Looks like they all walked out. :) Maybe we missed the right time to see them here.

Anyway, to compensate the missing sea lions, here’s one of the best sunsets in the Bay Area. Dining to a very dramatic sunset was a treat!

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Yummy food from Pier Market. It was a long wait because of too much people that time…

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(2 years ago from the time of posting)