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Willisms

« Oneworld Revolution | WILLisms.com | Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 26. »

Thanks To The Guest Blogging Crew.

As you could probably tell, I am back from vacation. It was fantastic.

Untitled-2.gif

1) We flew to Los Angeles from Houston early on September 30, retrieved Mrs. WILLisms.com's grandmother's Honda Civic from her uncle's house, hit the road on Highway 1, and were in 2) Cambria, California (near San Simeon) by afternoon.

It was quite a relief from the incessant Houston heat and humidity. Cool, even. We stayed two nights right on the beach. Got up close and personal (but not too close) to some seals. Did the Hearst Castle tour. Looked at the real estate prices. Yikes. It was a great place, but come on.

The scenery was great:

kristelhearst.gif
Apparently there was a 4.4 magnitude earthquake in Cambria the day we left.

The further up Highway One we went, the higher the gas prices seemed to get.

But Highway 1 was beautiful. And interestingly, other than the hippie VW Eurovans aplenty, there was little evidence of that good ole California liberalism on vehicles. We saw more pro-Bush stickers than left-wing stickers, by far.

En route to 3) Napa, California we stopped for a late lunch with a good friend from high school and college who lives in a fun part of San Francisco. San Francisco is the weirdest looking city I have ever seen, but it's a neat place.

Two nights in Napa, we did the whole Napa thing. Wineries. Good food. Nice weather. Walking around. Picking fruit and eating it. Art galleries. The whole deal.

Then, onto Las Vegas. Driving through the interior of California is like driving through a fruit salad. A very good salad. Almonds, melons, oranges, artichokes, avocados, cherries, strawberries, grapes, peaches, apples, not to mention milk cows and so many other crops. Even cotton. Everyone drove about 95 miles per hour or more through that stretch of highway, so we were to Vegas in a hurry.

4) Las Vegas was gaudy and tacky and extravagant and glorious. We stayed just one night at a 5-star hotel, The Venetian. We did very little gambling. We threw in 2 quarters into a slot machine and got 5 back. Las Vegas is a perpetual boom town. It had grown so much since I had been there last.

Love the Vegas.

From Vegas, onto 5) Zion National Park in Utah. Did the 18-19 mile bike ride through the park. Also hiked up the river from the "Temple of Sinawava" through "The Narrows." We got outfitted with quick-dry water gear and waded through the slow-moving river upstream through the canyon. At times, the canyon was only 15 feet or so across, and hundreds of feet straight up on both sides. The 52 degree water was mostly knee level or below, but it became a few feet deep at times.

Zion National Park was fantastic. I felt like we were in bizarro-Germany, as English was clearly the secondary language of the park. There were just so many German tourists, it was surreal. Lots of Japanese tourists snapping photos, as well, but none of them made it up the river hike.

While I was there, I kept thinking how neat it would be to be an architecture professor. I felt like I could teach an advanced course strictly by visiting National Parks and Monuments and studying the landscape.

After Zion, we drove through some of the most beautiful territory in the U.S., through Southern Utah and Northern Arizona. We only made it to 6) Winslow, Arizona for a quick night and early start the next day. We were sure to stand on a corner there, just so we could say we've done so.

Then, onto 7) Oklahoma City to stay with my grandmother (hi, Meem) for a couple of nights. The pace of Oklahoma is just so nice. Everything just seems less stressful there. And gasoline was $2.27 a gallon.

Had a great time in OKC.

Then back to Houston to drop off the car and get back to normal.

There's something about a ~3000 mile road trip that you can't quite get from flying from stop to stop. You can't help but feel that you've connected a little to the real America, the people and the cities and the land. And what a country we have.

I would love to return to every single stop we made, and several stops we didn't make.

Many thanks to the illustrious bloggers (from Wunderkraut, Am I A Pundit Now?, and File It Under) who filled in while I was gone.

Coming tomorrow: the big site news promised before.

Posted by Will Franklin · 12 October 2005 11:09 AM

Comments

What? No picture of you? I want my money back! Sure you give us some eye candy with pictures of the wife, but we are beginning to wonder if you exist.

I will even toss in a picture of Cullen and myself to get to you act.

:-)

Posted by: WunderKraut at October 12, 2005 11:18 AM

Did you catch the OU game at all? I'm still sunburned, but oh man, it was worth it.

Posted by: Ian Pittman at October 12, 2005 06:16 PM

Texas ruled! Sooners druled!... My husband was mad at me because I was cheering for Texas.

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at October 12, 2005 08:04 PM

It sounds like a great vacation. The Hearst Castle is fantastic, with its Moorish-Spanish architecture, and the wealth of antique interior. They suggest that you make a reservation, because it gets sold out. Only the major metropolitan areas (S.F., L.A. parts of Sacramento) are very liberal. Once you leave the sites, you are in a conservative heartland. S.F. has great architecture, some great art museums (except the Museum of Modern Art, which is a total waste other than the real modern art 1895-1930s), great food, fantastic opera house, and too many leftists (sigh). If you visit Vegas every month, you will find something new. It seems Vegas never stops growing. Welcome back.

Posted by: Mr. Satire at October 13, 2005 06:12 AM

It sounds like a great vacation. The Hearst Castle is fantastic, with its Moorish-Spanish architecture, and the wealth of antique interior. They suggest that you make a reservation, because it gets sold out. Only the major metropolitan areas (S.F., L.A. parts of Sacramento) are very liberal. Once you leave the sites, you are in a conservative heartland. S.F. has great architecture, some great art museums (except the Museum of Modern Art, which is a total waste other than the real modern art 1895-1930s), great food, fantastic opera house, and too many leftists (sigh). If you visit Vegas every month, you will find something new. It seems Vegas never stops growing. Welcome back.

Posted by: Mr. Satire at October 13, 2005 06:18 AM

Mrs.WILLisms.com is the cutest!

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at October 15, 2005 11:51 AM

i was at the hearst Castle last month.... Great place.... About not seeing Liberal bumper stickers... they must have been on a march or something while you were up there.... I was constantly behind a hippie with a Kerry bumper sticker or an attack on Bush sticker....

Posted by: kirbside at October 16, 2005 02:14 AM