Tag Archives: National Park

Thanksgiving 2017

Bit of a last minute arrangement this year, decided to go visited my Czech friend this year in the Bay Area (California) for Thanksgiving. Starting off with a typical American turkey, stuffing, bacon and beans, raspberries and gravy. Great cooking! The weather during the Thanksgiving weekend was lower 60ies to higher 70ies. Perfect for some hiking and sightseeing.

Friday we visited the Golden Gate Bridge, which was cool. Followed by Muir Woods National Monument, where they have the famous Redwood trees. Many Redwoods in this national park area are 900-1300 years old, and among the oldest living things on this planet. Where their cousins the Sequoia are growing wide, Redwoods grow tall. Very tall. The Cathedrals of trees.

Then Saturday we drove to Napa Valley. Visited the Sterling vineyard. Some of the best white wines I ever had there. Also took some pictures of the 10 year old historic castle.

10 year old historic castle

To conclude the Thanksgiving weekend, on Sunday we went whale watching in Monterrey. It was awesome. We saw hundreds of seals, all kinds of birds and 2 types of whales. In total we estimate there were between 12 and 16 whales. With a total of ~50 sightings, if not more. We saw several whales breaching, hunting for food. Saw magnificent tails in the water. A good 3 hour boat trip was not the most pleasant for everyone on board, but the trips was well worth it!


Big Bend National Park

This Memorial Day weekend we took the trip from Dallas, TX to the far South of the state; to the Big Bend National Park. An 10 hour drive, including some gas & food stops, through the heart of Texas oil country and through largest Texas wind farm. 380 miles straight on highway I-20. Its the type of road trip I really like.

The Big Bend National Park is an amazing place. Desert land, mountains, cliffs, valleys, some rivers (including the Rio Grande, the boarder with Mexico), sand, rocks,… On top of that, plants and wildlife are amazing. Cactus in the wild. It is still something amazing for me. But the cherry on the cake is without doubt the wild snakes we saw (and a crazy Texan pulling the Rattlesnake out of a hole, and his teenage son playing with it using a stick (WTF?!), the wild Black Bear passing by our car (I lack webspace to load the really cool video I made) and the Vultures, eating the roadkill rabbits in the morning. Certainly worth a visit!

Tip for immigrants: Having just your US drivers license/ID with you is apparently not sufficient. Going to Big Bend national park, chances are nearly 100% for you to be stopped by the US boarder patrol on your way out. You will need your official ID’s (passports, I-94,…) to show them. I speak from experience, they did not like the fact I only had my Texas drivers license with me. “This shows me you are allowed to drive in Texas, but it does not prove you are allowed to be here”, the officer told me.

I was taken apart and had to read a paragraph of the law that basically said that the officer in charge could fine me up to 100 USD, put me in jail for up to 30 days and even deport me if he wanted to. Thankfully I got off with a warning, and have now printed my I-94 and take it with me at all times. Just so you all know…