0 Nature Trip at Sequoia and Yosemite National Park

Long weekends are fun especially if you’re looking forward to it because you have plans to go out-of-town with family and friends. Last July 4th, we’ve went to visit Sequoia National Park and the Yosemite National Park. It is summer and nature tripping is one of the best way to enjoy the sun and have a breath of fresh air. You might think that it was a bad idea, but surprisingly the heat was not that intense in a park full of giant trees.

Sequoia Trees

Sequoia Trees

 

Sequoia National Park is famous for the giant sequoia trees surrounding the area. You can find here the biggest tree in the world, The General Sherman Tree. It was said that this tree has the biggest volume pertaining to its trunk compared to other trees in the area.

General Sherman Tree

General Sherman Tree

 

The park entrance fee costs $20 for a single private vehicle which gives you unlimited access for 1 week. Upon entering the park you will see the park’s “Welcome Sign” which gives you an opportunity for a souvenir photo-op and also a sign that you are about to face a series of long-winding roads which lets your vehicle run for about 10-15mph. I would suggest that you bring some anti-road sick meds just in case you suddenly felt dizzy.

Sequoia Park Portrait

Photo-op!!!

 

Along the road you will pass by the intriguing Tunnel Rock not far from the entrance. I’m just amazed of these rocks on top of each other which made me curious and made me climb on top of it.

Tunnel Rock

Above the Tunnel Rock

 

The park has a large area and eventhough it is huge, parking is also scarce. I would suggest that when you find a parking space just leave your vehicle there and just ride the free shuttles the park is offering. It is also the mode of transportation to the known scenic views the place has to offer.

 

We also went to the Morro Rock Trail – accessible only via shuttle bus as no personal vehicles were allowed to go inside. If you are into hiking and adventure, this trail is a must! You will have to climb 350 steps to reach the top of the mountain which is around 6725 ft elevation. Be aware that certain parts of the stairs will only allow 1 person to pass. I needed to stop a few times as it is also tiring especially when you have a toddler climbing the mountain with you. Reaching the top is fulfilling. You can see the whole valley and makes you appreciate more the beauty of nature. The top of the Morro rock is just a two person platform protected by rails to keep you safe from falling over the ledge.

Stairs Morro Rock

Morro Rock Stairs – Let’s do this!!!

On Top Of Morro Rock2

On top of Morro Rock – Scenic View Rightside

On Top Of Morro Rock

On top of Morro Rock – Scenic View Leftside

Morro Rock Trail

If you’re planning to visit the whole park, I would suggest that you come here early and spend a few more days, as 1 day is not enough especially if you will be using the shuttles.There is also a fallen tree that was curved to make a vehicle pass through it. Since we were out of time and we finished our Morro Rock trail late, we weren’t able to stop on this place but fortunately enough to pass by it.

 

You can reach the Sequoia National Park by going thru I-5 North and for approximately 60 miles be ready to continue on CA-99 freeway. Just go on and you will see an intersection on Visalia, turn right on the 198 freeway going east. Freeway 198 will lead you to Sequoia National Forest. You will know you’re near, when you see the Lake Kaweah in Three Rivers.

Lake Kaweah Panoramic View

Lake Kaweah

 

The next day, Saturday morning, we again hit the road to go to Yosemite National Park. We were hoping to be able to see the whole park but since it’s bigger than Sequoia National Park, it is surely impossible to do that. The entrance fee to the park is $20 for a single private car and you can use it for 7 consecutive days.

 

I would say that it was really a beautiful place, the road going to the inside of the park is not as much winding compared to Sequoia National Park. Since it is weekend, I am not surprised if there were a lot of tourists, hikers and campers around. It’s really a large area and going from point A to Point B will take most of your time but it is also worth it as the road will offer you amazing scenic views that would urge you to stop and get some pictures of it. You don’t have to worry about gas as there are a few gasoline station inside the park(although it’s a bit more expensive compared to gas stations outside the park).

 

Our itinerary for our visit is to go to the Yosemite Valley to see the Yosemite Fall, Half Dome, El Capitan and Glacier Point close enough to admire its beauty. Unfortunately, since there were lots of people that day, the Rangers prohibits visitors from going inside the Yosemite Village where the Yosemite Falls is located. Here are some pictures of the places that we were able to see:

Yosemite National Park

El Capitan

El Capitan

Half Dome

Half Dome

Yosemite Valley View

Yosemite Valley

 

I would suggest that if you want to visit Yosemite National Park, you have to come early and spend a few more days to be able to visit all the places this park has to offer.

 

Going to Yosemite National Park from Visalia, driving through freeway 198-West, take exit going to CA-99 North toward Sacramento. After around 30 miles, be ready to take exit CA-41 North towards Yosemite National Park.

 

I should say that this is actually a nice experience especially if you love nature. It’s a good way to unwind and de-stress if you are living in the city. The good thing about this is you get to have an exercise while having fun and appreciating the wonders of nature.

 

0 A Look At The Space Shuttle Endeavour Upclose

A few weeks back, we went to the California Science Center to visit the Space Shuttle Endeavour which was a headline among all the news outlets last year. Just to give you a brief information, the Endeavour was the fifth NASA space shuttle orbiter to be built and it was also the first and only shuttle to be named by children. I was always fascinated by space shuttles ever since I was a kid, I even dreamt of being an astronaut because of my likings to these amazing aircrafts. So when my wife said “let’s check out the Endeavour space shuttle”, I automatically said yes and off we go because I am really excited.

Before seeing the actual space shuttle, all guests will have to begin the exhibit by entering a room filled with images and actual items and artifacts that can be found inside the Endeavour. This will give us an idea of what goes around during the astronauts stay in space, what equipments do they use to be able to live in a normal way and also to show the guests some of the space shuttle’s components that makes it inhabitable and trustworthy in going to space and returning back to Earth.

This is what you will see after entering the door, an introductory story about what you will experience on this exhibit.

Endeavour Intro

As you go on, you will see at the right side the actual tires used by the space shuttle when it landed on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Guests are allowed to touch it to feel the texture of the result of abuse the tires absorbed when it first landed on Earth.

Endeavour Tires Endeavour Tires Upclose

Across the tires to the left features the Fuel Cells used by the space shuttle to generate electricity. Chemical reactions by means of hydrogen and oxygen is the source of electricity and its leftovers which is water and heat where used by astronauts for drinking or re-hydrating inside the shuttle.
Fuel Cell Fuel Cell (Back)

Moving on you will see at the right, the Space Oven used by astronauts to cook their food. Amazing because this equipment functions by means of the Fuel Cells and it’s leftover wastes.

Space Oven

Looking at the left side is the Space Shuttle Potty. It’s amazing how this equipment functions whenever an astronaut needs to “go”. In space, wastes does not go directly into the toilet as it is on Earth. Since there is no gravity, poop tends to curl and stick and does not fall off also urine just sticks to any surface it touches. In order to deal with this problem, they used airflow to pull away the wastes going to the bag. The Space Shuttle Potty stores urine and solid wastes in different storages. The solid wastes collected shall then be exposed to thee vacuum of space to kill germs and bacteria and then stored to bring back to Earth (No littering in space, literally). The air used in pulling away wastes will then be filtered to cleanse it from bacteria and odor to be used again inside the crew cabin. Amazing isn’t it?

Space Potty Space Potty Angle

In the middle of the room you will find the actual Mission Control Equipments used to monitor every shuttle launch from 1981 to 2011.

Mission Control

There is also Simulator rides that you can ride to give and show you the feeling of astronauts experiences on their trips to space.

Simulator Simulator 2

This concludes the gallery of equipments and artifacts used by the shuttle and upon leaving the room you will be directed to the Space Shuttle Endeavour itself located in the Samuel Oschin Pavilion.

Upon entering the Pavilion, you will be greeted by an overwhelming amusement of the Endeavour. Believe me, it was really huge and the good thing is, it is just right before my eyes and I can even approach and go underneath it. I was really amazed for I only get to see this on TV when I was a kid but now it’s right in front of me. Here are some photos that I was able to collect of the Endeavour:

Tip Of The Endeavor Endeavour Wing Endeavour Tail Panoramic View Of The Endeavour

This is the detached Rocket Booster used to launch the Space Shuttle to outer space. It’s powered by liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen to give an output of over 1.5 Million pounds of thrust.

Rocket Booster Rocket Booster 3 Rocket Booster 2

Inside this big pavilion, you can also see the Space Hab – a module which was used as an extra room for astronauts to live-in or also as a workshop in space.

Space Hab

As you can see they also used the Space Hab as a storage for supplies and tools.

Inside View

Works of man that was used as a fundamental source of knowledge for the unreachable and unseen. These are the wonders that helped prove the existence of our imaginations. These are the things that helped us study and discover the wonders of space.

8 Hot Air Balloons (Citrus Classic Balloon Festival – Part 2)

As promised, here is the 2nd part of the article about the Citrus Classic Balloon Festival that was held last July 26 – July 28, 2013. If you have missed the first part of the article, you can also see “An Amazing Car Show (Citrus Classic Balloon Festival -Part 1)”, to give you an idea of what happened earlier that day.

We were really excited because the time has come for the main reason why we’re there – the Hot Air Balloons! So upon seeing that one by one the trucks that carries the different balloons were entering, we went to the center field and look for a spot where we can view the balloons from afar. We still waited for 2 more hours because the schedule says that the show will start at 8:00 PM( and it was only past 6 PM that time), so while waiting we decided to grab a couple more snacks and enjoy chatting while sitting on the grass.

Finally, the long wait is over, the announcer at the stage announced that the event will start. I was really very curious on how they will set-up the balloons and would like to see it up-close so I told my wife that I would get near the balloons and take some photos of it. So upon reaching the balloons, here are some photos of what I have seen:

 

Balloon Festival 3

 

 

Deflated and scattered on the grass, making sure everything was in place.

 

 

 

Balloon Cockpit

 

 

This is the big basket for the passenger laying on the ground beside a big fan. The fan will be used to blow air inside the balloon initially before using the blow torch.

 

 

Getting Ready

 

 

Two ladies holding both ends while the fan is being used to blow air inside the balloon.

 

 

 

 

Inflating the Balloon Inflating the Balloon 2

Slowly the balloon is filled with air. Good thing the persons responsible for the balloons were kind enough to let us get near as long as you don’t hinder what they are doing.

 

 

Inside the Balloon

 

 

But I still managed to sneak my camera inside the balloon and took a photo when I had the chance.

 

 

 

 

 

Flame On Flame On 2

Flame On 3 Flame On 4

 

And it’s time for the “Blow Torch” to do its job. It was really nice to see the happenings this up close because of the excitement it brings.

 

 

 

 

Balloon Festival 4

 

 

I have decided to go back to where my family’s at and see the other balloons from there.

 

 

 

 

Balloon Festival Balloon Festival 2

It was really fun and nice to see the different colors and designs of the balloons especially when they blew their blow torches at the same time. It was already dark and you can see the sky filled with colorful lights as the blow torches emits their flames.

We were really satisfied and thankful to be here in this festival. My son was so amazed and you can see his face light up while watching the balloons. Since this is a yearly event, we might return and do this again next year, as we know, we don’t get to experience this everyday.

1 An Amazing Car Show (Citrus Classic Balloon Festival -Part 1)

Summertime is Festival Time! Last weekend, after eating at the oldest restaurant in Los Angeles, we traveled to Santa Paula, CA to attend the 6th Annual Citrus Classic Balloon Festival. This is a 3-day event which started last July 26 – July 28,2013. We decided to go on a Saturday since most of the activities will be held on this day including the Glow N’ Show Car Show aside from the main event which is the Hot Air Balloon Show. This is going to be a 2-part article so that I will be able to share with you the details of each event.

We arrived at the venue around 2:00 PM (since it was a 1.5 hr road trip from LA with traffic) just in time for the Car Show. The weather was great, it was sunny and yet the cool wind breeze balances the heat. Upon checking in at the ticket booth, we went on right ahead to the entrance and you can already see the line of cars being showcased at the festival. I was so overwhelmed because of the different models and makes of the cars shown, there were vintage cars and even modern cars. I was actually surprised because I did not expect that a lot of cars will be participating in this event, I think approximately 100 cars were present.

.

The venue was remarkable, it’s a big open field that can accommodate lots of stalls for food, bazaars, kiddie rides and playground and also a stage for live performances.

Open FieldOpen Field 2 Kid's Corner Kid's Corner 2Kid's Corner 3 Bubble RollerLive Act

One filler for the whole day festival is the sky dive, my son was actually amazed to see a man landing on the ground with a parachute. It was a first time for him to see one, seeing him smile made my day, it was totally worth it.

Sky Dive
It’s so nice to see everyone having fun, especially the kids playing on the kid’s corner. It was really a family fun-filled event and we are glad to be a part of it.

By 6:00 PM they concluded the car show and started clearing off the field. My guess was, this is where they are going to set-up the balloons and I was right since one by one the crews responsible for balloon set-ups were slowly entering the gate. I shall share with you the Hot Air Balloon Show on the part 2 of this article this week. I do hope that you will look forward to it because I am also excited to share the photos and things I have experienced to you guys.

0 Golden Gate Bridge – A Giant Harp of Ellegance

Today was a great and active day for me and since it’s Sunday I want to lighten it up a bit and just share with you guys this picture of the Golden Gate Bridge that I took when we went to San Francisco last July, 2011.

There were lots of things to do in San Francisco and we’ve decided to try the boat excursion which offers a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Just a brief history of the bridge for your info –

Golden Gate Bridge2The bridge was built over four years which started from January 5, 1933 and ended April,1937. Vehicles were allowed to use it on May 28, 1937 although pedestrians were first allowed the day before. Unfortunately, 11 men died during the construction period but I do give them the honor for their sacrifices to be a part of this amazing structure. The name “Golden Gate” originated from U.S Army Captain John C. Fremont who looked steadily at the strait that is an entrance to the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean and said “it is a golden gate to trade with the Orient”. As of May 30, 2012, it was stated that a total of 1,970,331,117 vehicles passed the Golden Gate Bridge since it’s opening on May 28, 1937.