TRAVEL PHOTOS : AMERICA 2015 [ PART 3 ] SAN FRAN TO YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK VIA NAPA

 

I was heading off to America for a few weeks, partly for a business-related trip, but before we get to the work part, there was time for some fun and capturing images to make available through my print shop. I enjoy having photographic prints on my walls at home and I hope to share that joy with others. Whether you are a DIY decorator or an interior designer wanting prints for your client’s home, we have a variety of photography-based art prints that will look stunning in any home.

If you see any pictures in this photographic series you would like to hang on your walls, a selection of them can be purchased as prints. If the image isn’t in the print shop, just shout out via email and I can do a custom print on request.  Visit The Print Shop

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Road Trip! … San Francisco to Las Vegas here we come.

Next, we jump in a campervan for the next 7 days. Thank you Escape Campervans for our rad ride ‘High Noon’. The cool thing about the Escape vans is each one has different vehicle graphics. High Noon’s graphics were a sunset background with a silhouette of a cowboy on horseback and some birds. It couldn’t have been more appropriate for our big USA adventure crossing mountains, forests and deserts to get to our final destination in Las Vegas.

For the first leg of the road trip, we drove from San Francisco up to Napa.

I was the first to drive and it was my first time driving on the right side of the road (which is the wrong side of the road to us in Australia). But first a quick stop at the grocery store Safeway to stock up on supplies for the road, like the basics but also some Smores for the camp fire!

Getting out of San Fran meant driving across the Golden Gate Bridge. I don’t really remember the drive across the bridge, as I was focusing on keeping this big campervan in the lane. Once we crossed to the other side driving up the Mirin County mountains, we stopped to take photos. Basically having photographed the Golden Gate Bridge from every angle.

On the trip we were usually on the road a chunk of the day with some time for exploring, but it usually meant we were arriving into our camp sites in the dark and didn’t really get a good look at the campgrounds. As we were travelling in the American Fall (winter for us Aussies) and the temperatures overnight were below zero, it was a tad cold sleeping in the van. But what I can say, is all the campsites we came across had reasonable facilities and a hot shower was just a few dimes. I don’t know about you, but for me, the day starts on a better note if you can have a hot shower every morning.

We continued north, across to Sausalito, stopping to gas up as the van only came with a quarter of a tank. After we figured out we had to pay for the gas first, we were then on our way to Sonoma via Route 12 passing through Santa Rosa. After stopping at the Cornerstone Gardens visitor information centre (and a quick photo in the big blue chair), we headed to Sugarloaf Ridge State Park which was at the northern end of Santa Rosa to stop for our first night on the road.

We arrived at the Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in Sonoma around 4pm, enough time to figure out the van’s cooking setup in daylight – important for our first night in the van. Sugarloaf Ridge State Park is surrounded by mountains and trees in a valley, and there was even a stream beside our camp site. We stoked a fire then got dinner started. Dinner consisted of Pumpkin Soup and well-buttered crusty bread lightly toasted over the fire. It was around 2 degrees overnight so pretty chilly. Lucky we had the cosy van to sleep in. Good night from our first night sleeping in High Noon.

We woke up in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park and it was almost freezing. After a hot cuppa, scrabbled eggs and buttered bread (are you seeing a theme developing here – butter and bread) and a hot shower, we started to warm up as the sun was coming over the mountains to warm the ground, and then we saw a herd of deer eating the grass. Sadly I only had my phone camera on me and I couldn’t zoom in far enough and didn’t want to risk getting in closer and scaring them away.  We did a quick drive around the grounds before walking the bush trail down to a waterfall. A nice little brisk morning walk to start the day.

We then hit the road and it was Nicole’s first time driving on the right side of the road (or the wrong side of the road for us Aussies in America). Our first pitstop was VJB Vineyards & Cellars, a winery with an Italian heritage, for a wine tasting where we bought a bottle of Chardonnay and some deli goods for our lunch. The next stop was another winery by the name of Arrowood Vineyards where we purchased two bottles of wine to drink in front of the fire later that night. We then continued along Route 12 to Napa Valley.

Luckily we stopped in at a Walmart to grab a few goodies. Originally for the Walmart experience, as us Aussies hear about Walmart all the time in American TV shows, but the $5 Winter Jacket in XXL (only size I could get) would prove to be my best investment, ever! Plus a traveller tip, Walmart has bathrooms.

We continued our drive through the country side stopping for a late 3pm lunch at a little State Forest park where we made a salad from goodies we gathered from Safeway and the deli.

Back on the road with me at the wheel again. We passed through a massive turbine wind farm at Pacheco State Park.

As we were driving into Caswell Memorial State Park, we came across what we thought was a field of cherry blossom trees, but it turned out to be an almond tree farm, that we’re flowering way too early as California is a drought. Seeing the trees on mass was a sight any photographer would get out of the car for. We then stopped at Caswell Memorial State Park to park for the night. It certainly is nowhere near as cold as last night. No fire tonight. But we cooked a yummy pasta dish on the van’s camp stove using up the left over deli goods from lunch. And now it’s goodnight from me from Caswell Memorial State Park.

Our first stop after leaving camp was Modesto to fuel up with a full tank before heading for our next stop Yosemite. We had a good days drive ahead of us and a fare few miles to cover before hitting Yosemite. But when we stumbled on a ghost town on the main road, it was inviting us to stop and explore.  This true Gold Rush ghost town, was the Chinese Camp on Main Street off Highway 120 in Tuolumne County on the way to Yosemite. Totally worth stopping to take photos!

A little further up the road, we also passed Pedro Lake in the Stanislaus National Forest in Tuolumne County.

Next up we spend some time in Yosemite National Park. There is so many gorgeous landscape pictures to share from Yosemite National Park, Im going to dedicate an entire post to Yosemite. Stay tuned for Part Four.

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Being a photographer, I tell stories better through pictures than my ramblings of words on a page.
Visit each leg of my journey through the links below …

Part 1 Los Angeles

Part 2 San Francisco

Part 3 Napa to Yosemite National Park

Part 4 Yosemite National Park

Part 5 Sequoia National Park & Lake Isabella

Part 6 Death Valley

Part 7 Las Vegas

Part 8 New York