The first leg of our summer back in the US started in California. With the trip East across the International Date Line we had left around 9 AM on Sunday in Taiwan and arrived around 10 AM on Sunday in California. Everything went smoothly as our flight from Kaohsiung to Los Angeles was on time, we were able to get our bags, and found my parents outside the terminal as they drove in to pick us up. That afternoon we were able to have lunch with my uncle and cousin as we drove back to Tulare.
On Monday we were able to relax as we got re-acquainted with America. This included a trip to Target and the joys of consumerism, washing and drying clothes in a washer and dryer we could understand, and understanding what people were saying. Later that week we enjoyed eating some of the most delicious Mexican food we've had in a very long time. There's a lot we've been missing.
Tuesday found my parents, Erin and I driving up to the mountains where my family has always spent summers. Cedar Grove in Kings Canyon National Park is like a narrow version of Yosemite, but with a fraction of the visitors. It has always been a place of beauty and peace for me and I was glad to share it with Erin.
For the rest of the week we enjoyed the relaxing nature of the park and it's breath-taking views. After collecting plenty of firewood we had fires each morning and evening since it was colder than usual. It was nice to relax in camp, eat some snacks, and read a book during the day. When we got energetic, Erin and I would hike through the canyon and take in the sights. On our last day my Dad and I went out fishing, though we didn't catch anything. It was a very nice trip.
For the following weekend we took a trip out to the coast to see my friends who live in Pismo Beach. We arrived somewhat late on Saturday night and ended up having some amazing BBQ before ironically sitting around a campfire roasting marshmallows (like Erin and I had done all week in the mountains).
Erin and I stayed at the coast on Monday enjoying the delicious seafood and some beautiful trails along the cliffs above the beaches. However, by Tuesday we had to say goodbye and head on back to Tulare. We were able to get one last hike in and enjoy a picnic lunch in Paso Robles on our way back though. It may not have been Colorado, but by the end of our trip I think Erin was starting consider what it would be like to live in California.
By Wednesday it was time to pack up, finish some last minute details, and head back to LA for our flight the next morning. My parents were kind enough to treat us to one of their favorite restaurants, Lowry's, for a wonderful prime rib dinner. Even the vegetarian plate that Erin was delicious. Early next morning Erin and I caught a shuttle over to the airport and we were off to our next destination: Georgia. After such a wonderful trip we're looking forward to the next time we're able to visit California.