I’m back from my long hiatus! If you were wondering what in the world I was doing for two weeks, I did not, in fact, drop off the face of the earth or go on a super secret spy mission. Although that would be pretty cool…. I took a two-week-long trip to the lovely state of California with my family! (The title of the post is a terrible play on words–I’m reading Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne at the moment) This post will be entirely about my trip, so if you were looking for one of my normal posts on writing tips, check out my previous blog posts! I live on the eastern side of the US of A, so we had nice looooong plane rides across the country. First, we went to San Francisco, then a youth camp, then the national park, Yosemite. But why tell you when I can show you? 🙂
Alcatraz! (dun dun duuunnn!!) It’s probably the most known prison in the world, if not the country. Famous inmates included Al “Scarface” Capone, the Birdman, and “Machine Gun” Kelly, among many others. It’s really a pretty cool place, and EVERYONE (yes, even that maintenance guy in the corner) will talk to you and give you a little history about random parts of the island. For instance, we talked to a maintenance guy (are you laughing now?), and he pointed out a damp and dark hallway that Nicolas Cage and Sean Connery filmed a scene in their movie, The Rock.
This is Cell Block D: Solitary Confinement. Basically, they shut you in a pitch-black version of your 5′ by 9′ cell. For up to 19 days at a time! On our audio tour, a prisoner commented that when he was shut in Block D, he would play a game. He would take a button off of his uniform, close his eyes and throw it somewhere in the cell, then spin around a ton of times until he was disoriented, then hunt around for the button until he found it. That’s how he kept himself from going insane.
These are the guys who escaped Alcatraz! They dug through their cement walls with spoons, then somehow got out of the maintenance hallway the holes in their cells opened into and escaped. The maintenance guy I mentioned earlier in the post told us that the sister of two of the escapees was visiting San Francisco for some anniversary of their escape, and while she hasn’t been in contact with them, she believes they lived.
Now for China Town! China Town was pretty awesome. We were told by some friends to get dim-sum (dumplings) from this one bakery, and they were so delicious! I know I had a picture of my clam chowder, but I ate my dumplings so fast that I didn’t have time to take a picture of them for you! We went in a bunch of the shops, and I got an old Chinese coin (which has inspired me with currency for my book series) and a cool necklace. Below are another shot of the CT streets.
Cable cars weren’t the only things we rode in CA. Here’s a complete list: planes, trains, automobiles, cable cars, trolleys, boats, buses, ziplines (does that even count?), bikes, moving sidewalks, and escalators. 🙂
Since I took absolutely no pictures at the camp we went to (I was busy doing activities and rec games), I’ll tell you a little about my adventures there before I skip to Yosemite. I faced my fear of heights BIG TIME doing my first ropes course and the piñata, where you get clipped into a harness and swing down from really high up. The ropes course was probably one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done. But wouldn’t you rather hear about me and friends almost getting attacked by a raccoon? I was having smallgroup with a bunch of girls I hung out with all week (it was about 10pm–very dark), and two of them start screaming all of a sudden. We all run screaming into their cabin, and they tell us they saw a raccoon about 4 feet behind our group leader. We peek out of the cabin and see its head poking up over the deck and run back inside screaming again. Another raccoon sighting happened later that night, and thankfully, we weren’t eaten. 😉
I swear on my life that I took this picture! We saw a bear in a field and were taking pictures of it, along with many other people. I think it eventually got scared and darted across the road, resulting in this very blurry shot from my camera. (quick fact–it’s actually a black bear, but since it’s a young bear, its fur is brown)
And that concludes our trip to California! I didn’t get to include any pictures of Tuolumne Meadows (props to you if you can actually pronounce that) because my camera’s memory was full when we got there. It was amazing though. Green fields with grazing deer, a sparkling stream with colorful pebbles and rocks, mountains surrounding you, some still with snow on their caps. At 8600 feet above sea level, it could literally take your breath away. Yosemite was one of, if not the most, beautiful and inspirational places I’ve ever been to, and it gave me a glimpse into what the fantasy world I’m writing about actually looks like. I hope you guys enjoyed this post! 🙂
**AUTHOR’S NOTE: I took all of these pictures myself, so please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to use one, giving me credit for the picture.**