Wedding In Yosemite

MRS. & MRS.

September 13th, 2014

Kelli and I exchanged our vows with family and friends among one of natures most beautiful creations, Yosemite National Park. It was my childhood favorite vacation trip. Camping in Housekeeping, climbing on rocks the size of our house, and swinging on a rope over the Merced River. It was an obvious choice for our wedding venue. Kelli had never been and it then became my life mission to get her there. 

The wedding was small with a perfect 80 people. Surrounded by our nearest and dearest. It is quite the trek to get out there so we are grateful for the turnout. Our photographer was my college roommate who I knew would do a phenomenal job. We chose to take pictures by ourselves the day before. We knew we wanted to take photos in multiple places and wouldn't have time to see it all the day of the wedding. 

Kelli and I also chose to not see each other the day of the wedding, and I couldn't have been happier for that decision. Seeing her for the first time was like a slow motion movie scene. I completely disregard my parents holding my hands, the guests in the chairs, and my brother as the officiant. She was all I could look at, she looked so incredibly beautiful. But ill let you take a look for yourself :)

Photography by: Nam-Chi Van

Barcelona, Spain

Selma and her Hostel

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We experienced our first hiccup, and it was mother natures fault. When we took a high speed train from Paris headed towards Barcelona. Ms. Nature decided to flood a bridge so all passengers had to get off at Perpignan, France. We then all waited outside the train station as they sent 5 charter buses. Thinking they were going to take us to the next train station they actually drove us the rest of the way. 2 1/2 hours later we arrived in Barcelona. 

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We have this habit of not having a planned place to sleep, and since we ditched our camping gear we are relying on cafes with wifi to try and find a place to stay. But first, we tried the walk in approach and everyone turned us away. We gave up that route and decided to find the good ole wifi. Which was a lot harder here than Ireland, and France. Right when I wanted to give up, I turned around and found a glorious wifi logo on the window of the cafe. Life sometimes just works out. Thats pretty much been the moral of our trip so far, no time to worry it will all work out.

the yellow door we were told to look for our hostel. A lady asked if we needed help and we said no this is our hostel, and she gave a look like "that's never been a hostel you're gonna die" and strolled away with her kids.

the yellow door we were told to look for our hostel. A lady asked if we needed help and we said no this is our hostel, and she gave a look like "that's never been a hostel you're gonna die" and strolled away with her kids.

We ate some weird pizza thing called a Coque, it was gross. Drank Estrella, also gross. We used hostelworld.com to search a place and saw that there are a ton. Even the ones that turned us away said they have availability. We found a lot that would have been a normal run of the mill hostel but we chose the cheapest option and the location as absolutely perfect. We received an e-mail with instructions on how to find it and their house rules. They don't have a sign above their bright yellow door with graffiti all over it so it seemed a little sketchy. But we went with it. We were told to call when outside of the hostel at the door, or use their wifi to email them. Instead I knocked on the door for a long time. Finally someone opens the door and we meet Selma. Selma is from India and her whole family lives in the hostel as well.

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That's when we realized the name of the hostel, My Home In Barcelona, was literal. They had 4 rooms available  as well as their living space. They have only been open for a couple months but the experience was irreplaceable. She gave us two keys, one for the front door, and one for our room, The rooms were colorful and the furnishings looked brand new. She offered us the larger room for one night because it had a jacuzzi tub. Yes we used it. The room also had a balcony so we could feel like a local and hang outside and watch people. They let us use their laundry machine (for 5€) and we hung our clothes in our room to dry and truly felt the Barcelona experience. After we realized we totally scored on this hostel find we decided to mosey around. 

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We grabbed some cervesa at a nearby cafe with seating outside and watched the nightlife begin. We stayed in a much quieter neighborhood than downtown Barcelona, so the activity was light but not scary. Did some shopping and I finally found my digital watch that I had been searching for. Its a casio, its gold, and its perfect! Why digital? Because I don't have time to read analog and military time is just easier when digital. Also it has an alarm, a stop watch, and that feature that beeps every hour. I love that last feature. 

I found my watch at an Asian run store full of all sorts of great goods. We left with two pairs of sunglasses as well. They even sold Roy Bons sunglasses.... 

I found my watch at an Asian run store full of all sorts of great goods. We left with two pairs of sunglasses as well. They even sold Roy Bons sunglasses.... 

I got to use my Spanish skills which was fun and I now want to pursue that language much more. I helped an old lady find the bathroom and I even gave her .50 cents to use the bathroom (yes, the charge you at the train station) I was so stoked that I was able to communicate with her. 

My new favorite brew. Brutus, we think it's German. It has Spanish on the front English on the back and then manufactured in Germany on back really small.

My new favorite brew. Brutus, we think it's German. It has Spanish on the front English on the back and then manufactured in Germany on back really small.

I love the color of all the buildings with people Landry or shades, it gives the city character

I love the color of all the buildings with people Landry or shades, it gives the city character

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The next day we had planned on taking the city bus tour, I know thats so lame of us to do but we had one day to see Barcelona and this place is massive so it only made sense. From here on out we do plan on skipping the major cities and finding the small towns near them. Cities smell, they are crowded and thats the exact opposite of what we want to see and do. The bus was fun, we had hop on and off privileges and got see the city from a birds eye view. Massive, doesn't even begin to describe how big it is. Once we  finished our tour we decided to bar hop back to our hostel. We ran into Selma, our hostel owner, and chatted for a bit while the cafe brought out beers. He also brought out snacks every time we ordered. It was awesome. The beer got cheaper and cheaper the more we were in smaller neighborhoods. All in all Barcelona is rich with history and culture but far too big for me. We are off to Nice, France. 

Where the family we stayed with dried their clothes and did their laundry. I really liked this room.

Where the family we stayed with dried their clothes and did their laundry. I really liked this room.

Europeans stare at me a lot. Can't be certain why. I also got asked for help by three different people. I have no idea what they said or wanted and that mystery will haunt me forever. 

A selfie In the lobby of our "hostel" notice the playboy and comic book curtains... We thought this was a two sided mirror and someone was spying on us. We still think that might be true...

A selfie In the lobby of our "hostel" notice the playboy and comic book curtains... We thought this was a two sided mirror and someone was spying on us. We still think that might be true...

Barcelona train station, about 7 minute walk from were we stay at with Selma and her family.

Barcelona train station, about 7 minute walk from were we stay at with Selma and her family.

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Truckee, CA

Boca Campground

During the popular California droughts, most lakes are very dry allowing you to explore in rare places. Photo: Ciera. A. Lagges - August 2014.

During the popular California droughts, most lakes are very dry allowing you to explore in rare places. Photo: Ciera. A. Lagges - August 2014.

Boca Campground - Truckee, CA (Near Lake Tahoe on the Boca Reservoir)

Going camping doesn't seem as easy as I remember as a child. Planning in advance can be crucial when it comes to reservations, and finding a noteworthy spot. Usually most websites and travel books don't do it justice. I'm a very visual person, so I hope to intrigue you as much as this place intrigued us. 

During the summer the lake is so low that most boats aren't on the water making a quite experience, also allows you to wake to the lake and see some of it dried up. If you're lucky you might see the local Shepard, his four dogs and his herd of sheep. Be sure to call in your reservation and avoid online. Typically will say the campsite is full when it isn't. 

The storms can be deceiving in the summer months, visual across the lake you can see lighting and thunder heads but fear not, other than wind nothing makes it's across the lake. Making it a very unique experience.

TIP: Use recreation.gov and reserveamerica.com to find your campsite but be sure to call to book, I found that online isn't as accurate with reservations as talking to a human is. Most sites had openings that were not available online.

Directions: Take I-80E toward Reno. Exit Hirachdale. Follow signs for Boca-Stampede Resevoir. If you need cash be sure to get it in Truckee before you head to camp. We found that most general stores ATM's were out of order. Truckee is only a 20 minute drive but it can ruin the nature of the trip.

Animals: No real big threats. Bear warnings but very rare chances of actually seeing one. Chipmunks, black bird, flies and red ants will be annoying especially the chipmunk family of 8 that made it a nightly routine to scavenge our campsite at night.

Campsite #22: For small groups up to 6-8 people max, or two big tents. Overlooks the reservoir in a 180 degree view. Walk in only, park a little farther than your average campsite. Have to walk through campsite #21 to get to campgrounds.

Campsite #22 + #21: Perfect for large groups who some space to spread out. Great if you have a rowdy crowd due to being so secluded. About 3 possible locations for Hammocks and even more space for tents. No RV Spots.

Campsite #19: always first come first serve. Not so private of a spot but beach access all to yourself!

Activities:

  • Dirt bikes
  • Quads
  • Boating
  • Wake boarding
  • Water skiing
  • Jet skis
  • Paddle Boarding
  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Kayaking
  • Tubing
  • Fishing (with permit)

Pros:

  • Day use or Overnight
  • Amazing view
  • Great for all outdoor activities
  • Vault toilets 
  • Hidden yet easy to find
  • Fire pit with rack
  • Picnic tables
  • The friendliest Host (Dennis, tell him we sent you)

Cons:

  • No running water
  • Firewood is expensive
  • Cash only
  • Surrounding stores lack supplies also very expensive