Thursday, June 28, 2012

Vacation Recap: The Last Days

After our long day hike, we packed up to leave Yosemite and headed out to see the giant sequoias. The original plan for the day was to drive down to the Sierra National Forest to see them and then drive to Bakersfield where we would spend the night at the Padre Hotel. However, I didn't plan very well. Little did I know that the Southern tip of Yosemite, where we would be driving through anyway, held a grove of giant sequoias. So instead of driving a few hours out of our way to see the giant trees, we spent an extra thirty minutes passing them...

That's a regular sized pine cone on top of a sequoia pine cone. Yeah, pretty ridiculous. 

While convenient, the shortened trip meant an extra three hours in Bakersfield, which we learned upon arrival, was a town with not much to offer - unless you are looking for a bale bondsman, in which case you have your pick of several. 


Leaving the ghost town of Bakersfield behind, we headed into Los Angeles in the morning which meant one thing: rush hour traffic on some of the most notorious interstates in the country. Luckily, the Empress of Navigation and her iPhone got us through the city with not a minute of wait time. We got to the ferry landing in plenty of time and headed across the water to Catalina Island...

Catalina is a relatively small island off the coast of Los Angeles with only one major town: Avalon. I had visited Avalon when I was young with my parents and grandmother and since then it had changed a lot. The main street was full of new, beautiful restaurants, shops and resort hotels. They had even redone the beach area, making it less rocky and more sandy. 

Our own little boutique hotel reflected this difference with a new renovation. 

We spent out first day there just walking around Avalon, drinking cocktails, having lunch and looking at the shops. 

Look! I'm a giant! 

I think Bill was trying to imitate me in this picture. 

While absolutely beautiful, there really isn't much to do in Avalon besides walk around and sun on the beach. So after we had done both of those things for quite a while, we started looking for other amusements. We found an arcade next to our hotel where the game Big Buck World took our attention for the rest of the trip. We honestly probably played this game more than we did anything else on the island. 

Bill even got on the leader board with the title Hero Hunter. Yeah, he was pretty excited about it. 

We then went to dinner at this wonderful restaurant called Avalon Grille, which was beautifully done...

Photo courtesy of Pitch Engine

... and had some pretty tasty eats, like my chicken breast with polenta and the poached pear dessert! 


The next day, we decided to get to know the rest of the island, which is mostly wild, rugged outback. We took a tour on this great retro bus... 

Its was a three hour tour (don't worry, the story doesn't end with us stranded on an isle), which took us up some narrow dirt roads... 

... to an eagle and fox preserve...

... to the surfer's bay of Little Harbour...

... past some free-ranging buffalo and some lone bulls... 

... to the Airport in the Sky, the island's only airport... 

... and back to Avalon. 

That evening, we went on a glass bottom boat tour and got dinner at this cute shop that had a short menu of sake, sushi and the most delicious clam chowder either of us had ever had. We actually had breakfast there as well (as well as the clam chowder). 


And that was it! It was a pretty fantastic vacation and we were lucky to get to go and experience it with such great weather. 

Stay tuned for some 4th of July and weekend recaps! (Not to mention my birthday is only a week away!) 

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