Well, I'm finally back the trip through California (plus a bit of Nevada, and we even were in Arizona for one night). The weather was fine most of the time -- apart from San Francisco where it rained every evening.
We started after Further Confusion in San Jose and drove to San Diego with a one-night stop on an RV park in Los Angeles. Lying at the pool of the Campland on the Bay camp ground in S.D. at 27 °C in mid-January felt somewhat strange, but was extremely refreshing. We finally managed getting out of the jacuzzi and visited the zoo of San Diego.
Next stop was Joshua Tree National Park. Desert, trees, Cholla cacti and rocks: small rocks, large rocks, round ones, square ones, plenty of rocks. After a long drive to an RV park in Kingman we visited the Hoover Dam the next day. The dam is impressive indeed, but be warned: after 9/11 the paid tour just consists of a view into the machine room with some generators, a viewpoint with a view not much better than the one you get for free from the street as well, and some strange comparison to illustrate the amount of concrete used: the same as a two lane freeway from New York to LA, including the shoulders. Well, if you add all holes in American roads I bet you'll get a crater deep enough to fit in Manhattan. Or so.
After those $10 wasted, we drove to Vegas. With an RV on the Strip at rush hour is a great idea. OK, maybe not, but it was better and faster than the traffic jam on the freeway. We visited S&R's Secret Garden at the Mirage -- quite a well done zoo -- and the new mall at Caesar's with the even newer FAO Schwartz store. The fountain show at Caesar's (I believe) and the pirate show at PI's were quite impressive as well. I'd rather not mention that we've been to the Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas as well. Oops, seems I've just done that. Anyway, the food is good and the beer is really the same as in Munich -- and it isn't more expensive than the real thing either.
Next stop: Rosamond, somewhere in the desert with a spooky RV park and the most unfriendly camp ground landlady I've ever experienced. But why were we there at all? To visit the The Exotic Feline Breeding Compound's Feline Conservation Center (FCC), of course. If you like wild cats this is definitely the place to go.
Next on the list was Sequoya National Park with its Giant Sequoia Trees, actually a species of conifer. I fell on my back twice there as melting snow on the camp ground froze to an extremely slippery rink which was nearly invisible as well. But we were awarded by an extremely quiet and beautiful full moon night in the snow.
The weather was only slightly better in Yosemite National Park -- still lots of snow and some rain at night. We observed two coyotes in the morning and took two short hikes to the waterfalls. The main attraction of the park is the great scenery of course. I hope that at least some of my photos are presentable.
Finally, a couple days in San Francisco. I didn't believe the others when they said that city is a great place. But though they weren't able to convince me, the city did. Cable cars, trams, trolley buses, underground trains, rapid transit trains... All there is missing is a maglev train and an aerial railway to have all cool railway systems united :-). And of course the food: found the best hamburger restaurant ever at Fisherman's Wharf and the best Italian restaurant of California in Castro, a nice Sushi bar in Chinatown... Got me a pair of new Levi's, visited the Exploratorium, bought some books and DVDs, experienced cable car problems, BBQ in the rain, visited Alcatraz, drove to Twin Peaks to have a great overview over San Francisco at night, wandered around the streets for hours... What a great town! It is now officially in the list of best cities I know (the others are Aachen, Hamburg and London.)
We flew back on Saturday, unfortunately not being able to get back to the city after checking in our baggage at the air port. They canceled the flight before ours and booked all those passengers on hour machine, which took quite a while. The flight was fine as fine as a flight in economy class can get, even switching flights at Heathrow worked flawlessly. A small downer was that the foxes and Tani only got half of their baggage. I got my trains in time (in fact, with plenty of time left) and arrived tired, but safely at midnight on Sunday.
Conclusion: what damn good holiday!