Neither Maria or Galina were in when we left this morning, so we were glad that we had bid them goodbye and thanked them the night before. After a quick breakfast, we packed up the car and headed off to our first stop of the day. Now, you may remember our reservations about taking pictures of Torrance High School during school hours, but, given the amount of things that Galina and Maria had organised for us, we had no option but to do so.

Sunnydale High!!

Parking across the street and crossing over to take pictures, we were both convinced that we were going to get into some sort of trouble for doing so. Then a school bus pulled up outside, thankfully it was empty, so we continued taking surreptitious photos, but when a second bus pulled up, it was time to leave. Staying on that side of the road, we thought we recognised a church from a Buffy episode, so wandered down to take a look at that before quickly returning to the car. We are such stalkers! Our next stop was our final Buffy destination, the ice rink that Buffy and Angel visit in What’s My Line Part 1. We didn’t have time to skate, but the somewhat bemused girl at the desk let us in to take pictures, which was very good of her.

Paramount Iceland

We were only able to spend a few minutes there before heading north to Vasquez Rocks. Our reason for visiting these particular rocks? …they feature quite prominently in Roswell High, yes, we are willing to admit that we are sad. They didn’t look quite the same in person as they do on screen, but they are so distinctive that we were definitely in the right place.

Vasquez Rocks

After a bit of a wander to try to find the best angle for a photo, we decided to climb up the rocks a little way, in flip flops no less. Lizzie climbed much higher than I did, I waited further down to take pictures. She climbed almost to the top, then went down a level and climbed to the top of that one. Suddenly, we remembered Alfred (the green blow up alien Liz bought inRoswell) and Liz ran back to the car so that he could be in the pictures too.

Liz said, "look like an alien"

We each posed for several pictures with Alfred then looking back at the rocks, recognised a particular point from the TV series so went back for a few more pictures before heading on. Before leaving, there was some necessary field surgery that had to take place in the car, after climbing barefoot on the rocks, Liz had a massive blood blister, which she operated on using a sterilised pin, a tissue and some antibacterial ointment… lovely. Back on the road, we started driving the four hours to the Sequoia National Park to see the largest trees in the world.

Me and the General Sherman Tree

The drive was uneventful for the most part, we stopped at the Sequoia National Forest visitor centre where we got all the information we needed, which meant that we didn’t have to worry that we were too late to visit the one in the park. As we neared the park entrance, the roads narrowed and became increasingly steep and windy, after the park entrance station this continued up to several thousand feet. The views were stunning, and I took lots of bad pictures from the car, and we stopped a couple of times to get some nicer ones. With Lizzie’s foot hurting, and sunset fast approaching, we headed straight for the main attraction, the General Sherman tree, which, while not the tallest or the oldest tree in the world, is the largest tree in the world by mass. As we got higher and higher, we were surprised to see snow on the ground, in May! With this in mind, we were very glad that we had decided not to camp, especially when we passed a campsite that was still under several feet of snow. As we drove deeper into the park, the trees got taller and taller, and more sequoias started to appear, towering over the car. Parking at the foot of the accessible trail to the General Sherman tree, I hiked the short, easy trail up to the tree, jumping over rivers of water created by the melting snow. Unfortunately Lizzie’s foot did not appreciate this sort of treatment so she went back to the car, content with the slightly more distant view of the tree. I continued to the base of the tree, and some helpful French tourists took my photo. It is difficult to convey the immense size of these trees, but suffice to say, that even crouching at the foot of the General Sherman tree and looking up, my camera could not get the whole of the tree into one shot.  Continuing on through the park towards Fresno, our home for the night, we were disappointed not to be able to get to the tunnel tree, a fallen sequoia that you can drive through, since it was only open until 5pm. The road down towards the northern entrance station was just as windy and steep as the one that we had followed into the park, made a little worse by the fading light. The sunset looked spectacular and we desperately looked out for a good place to watch it from. Eventually we found one and pulled over to watch and take photos. It was spectacular, although the photos do not quite do it justice.

Sunset in the Sequoias

It was a relief to hit straighter roads as we neared Fresno, since the constant winding was making us both feel slightly ill. Our home for the night was Fresno’s Motel 6, a charming establishment, where we made sure to double lock the door. Our room was on the back of the building facing the freeway, this wasn’t a problem, but the massive bushes right next to the badly lit path seemed the perfect hideout for rapists and murderers. (I have an overactive imagination) Luckily, there were no rapists and murders about and we spent a quiet evening in before heading to Yosemite and San Francisco tomorrow.

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