We started November with a trip to Yuba City to see some flag football.
Jason coached while Carson played center and other positions.
A week later we watched Mikayla (#12) play basketball against
the Marsh Junior High Gators in Chico.
A few days later we decided to go see Charlie Brown and friends at the movies...
...and then take a road trip to see the back side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains on our way to L.A.
We planned for an overnight stay in Bishop with scenic stops along the way.
The sun had only been up a few hours when we crossed the Carson River and caught our first glimpse
of the Sierras and then the White Mountains covered in fresh snow.
By noon we arrived at Mountain Gate Park in the Antelope Valley where we took more pictures and had lunch:
The park had been totally restored since the Walker Canyon flooding of 1996-1997:
After lunch we were back on the road for a longer stop at Mono Lake.
From Mono Diggings, the site of gold discovery in the Eastern Sierras, we had a panoramic
view of Mono Lake and the surrounding mountains in the distance:
At the Mono Basin Visitor Center we learned about the volcanic islands and the Tufa formations.
One of the rangers encouraged us to take a short drive off of Hwy 395 to photograph the Tufa.
Flocks of photographers arrived there before us to take advantage of calm weather and crystal clear skies.
A few hours later we arrived in Bishop for the night before our next adventure: Mount Whitney.
The following morning, the sun lit up Mount Whitney and the surrounding peaks.
Driving up and down the steep road to the trailhead for Mount Whitney, we could see
Lone Tree Peak and Mount Whitney on the way up; then, Lone Pine Canyon,
Lone Pine Lake, the Owens Valley, and the Inyo Mountains on the way down.
Our next destination was LaQuinta to see Rachel's new home on the 17th green of Jack Nicklaus's golf course.
We had to speed up to reach the desert to before dark. For lunch, we took a side trip to Randsburg,
a run-down gold rush town in the Mojave desert, and talked to some of the natives.
The whole town, including Santa Barbara Church, and Austin's Antiques,
were crumbling but the natives were delighted to be living there.
As the sun was setting, we arrived in LaQuinta. We thought our only hope of getting a picture
of Rachel's new home would be from Ernie's Bar and Grill nearby, but the gate to Rachel's street
was opening just as drove up, so we followed a car into her complex. Having seen her home
on the Internet, we knew our way around, so we took pictures by the pool, in the courtyard,
by the fountain, and by the entry. We will enjoy the casita another day.
Delighted to escape unnoticed, we headed for our motel in 29 Palms.
Early Saturday morning we decided to visit nearby Joshua Tree.
The motel clerk told us not to miss her favorite attraction, Keys View.
Along the way, we took pictures of groves of Joshua Trees, incredible rock formations,
and Skull Rock. We hiked a short trail to Ryan Ranch, then marveled at the view
of the Coachella Valley, LaQuinta, and the Salton Sea in the distance from Keys View.
Leaving the desert behind, we tackled the L.A. freeways and downtown L.A.
to meet Rachel and Milan for a late lunch and a quick look at Rachel's art work in Playa del Rey.
Then it was back to the freeways for a shorter trip to Simi Valley for an early Thanksgiving on Sunday.
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