San Francisco & Yosemite National Park

Angelina’s parents and my dad joined us on this 10-day getaway trip to the West coast. We spent 6 days in San Francisco and its vicinities and the remaining 4 days in Yosemite National Park. The weather in San Francisco was pretty cooperating. nice sunny fogless blue sky most of the time, albeit it was cold with the temperature hovering around 60 degrees. Nevertheless, I was thrilled to enjoy this fog free weather because I could take many beautiful polarized pictures.

While Angelina and I have been to San Francisco several times, we decided to bring our parents there because San Francisco has many attractions that they could relate to from what they have seen in TV, such as Golden Gate Bridge and. that’s about it. Further, we wanted to visit Yosemite National Park so badly that we made an excuse to visit San Francisco again. We also visited several places located north of San Francisco, such as Sausalito, Muir Woods, Point Reyes and Napa. San Francisco is a pretty pleasant big city to visit. There are lots of places to visit and it seems like a safe city to walk around, except the Tenderloin neighborhood. Perhaps, everyone on the street looks Chinese to me. There is certainly lots of awesome Chinese food in the Chinatown, which is the largest Chinatown in United States.

Talking about food, in one evening, we brought our parents to a sushi restaurant for dinner, and this restaurant has pretty good reviews from the online forums that I read. However, this is no ordinary sushi restaurant. Once we entered the restaurant, the loud heart thumping techno music blared through the speakers and invited us in. kind of my type of music. The waitresses wore Gothic-like black dresses while the TV showed some Japanese anime cartoon that I couldn’t comprehend. There were lots of Japanese figurines at the bar area, such as Ultraman, Godzilla and several unidentified Japanese cartoon hero figurines who love to wear an underwear outside. This sushi restaurant was jam packed with late 20s folks. In fact, our parents were probably the oldest three persons in the restaurant at that time. That being said, the sushi was awesome! It was also my first time trying out the seaweed salad, which was pretty good. As far as experience wise, it couldn’t get any more awkward than this. Our parents probably had the culture shock of their life and their blood pressures might have shot up by 20 points. Talk about trying to impress my future parents in laws, there, I totally blew it. bringing them to a techno sushi restaurant.

The drive from San Francisco to Yosemite NP wasn’t too bad. It was about 3.5 hours drive. We stopped by Wal-Mart in Oakland to do some groceries so that we can cook all our meals in the park. The view in Yosemite NP was just spectacular and breathtaking. We have been to several national parks, and this is probably the best national park scenic-wise. I would say my second most favorite national park is Olympic NP. In Yosemite NP, the El Capitan is simply an awe-inspiring sight. The largest granite monolith in the world made me feel so insignificant, small and powerless. I supposed that’s how an ant feels when it sees me stomping and going berserk around it. It rained several times during our park visit and when it rained, it poured. However, the rain never at all dampened my spirit and I usually carried on with my photo shoots because the SPF 50 made me feel waterproof, in fact, I was water resistant too.

While the Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in North America (and third highest in the world), I felt the Bridalveil Falls was much spectacular simply because its outlook point is much nearer to the waterfall. Thus, we could feel the strong waterfall mist blowing against us, which reminded me of the Niagara Falls (during the Maid of the Mist boat ride). In just a few seconds, my camera equipments and I were water drenched. Unlike my past experience, I placed several clothes and an extremely big Giotto rocket dust blower in my cargo pant’s pockets. Thankfully, no one thought I was about to blow up the waterfall.

During our park visit, my GPS screwed up one time again (Garmin – You’ve changed, mannn.. You used to be cool <sigh>). At one point, while heading back to the cabin, my GPS asked me to turn right. right into the Merced River. Surprisingly, there was also a gap between the wall barriers along the river. I could only imagine how many Garmin customers had driven into the river here. During our last day in the park, the park patrol pulled me aside and cautioned me for driving too closely to the vehicle. With the gas price at $4.71 per gallon in the park, the park ranger obviously didn’t know I was drafting to reduce the wind resistance, thus conserving the precious gas. The truth is I was following a tortoise with busted legs on a double-line lane for at least half hour. When I decided to overtake it on a single-line lane, the park patrol somehow appeared to be cruising right in front of me. Thankfully, the park ranger gave the poor rabbit a warning after the rabbit made the deer-caught-in-headlights look, like “Why blame the coffee-charged rabbit when the coffee-deprived tortoise is blocking its path?”.

San Francisco
Alcatraz Island.
Dungeness crabs at Fisherman’s Wharf.
Pacific Ocean shoreline shot near Point Reyes Lighthouse.
A winery in Napa.
Valley View in Yosemite National Park.
Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.

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