Thing number 10 was to go whale watching. Here are the whales!
This whale hangs out at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The aquarium is full of beautiful living creatures, but this whale is obviously not real. And he doesn't count as whale watching.
I had been thinking about modifying this thing since whale watching season was over in the mid-atlantic states when a trip to California for work was approved. So I left it on, did some research on whale watching trips and found one that worked with my schedule. However when I went to buy the tickets before I left, the tour that I had planned on taking was no longer on the schedule. None of the other trips worked with my schedule, but I left it on the list just in case I could get the tour. I also added seeing the Redwoods to this thing, so that one way or another something would be accomplished this week.
I drove through Henry Cowell State Park on my way from Monterey to San Jose to come home. The road winded through the mountains and the huge redwoods went for miles. It was gorgeous. I met a rancher named Jim in the San Jose airport waiting for my delayed flight (picture a leathery, grampa-type wearing denim and a cowboy hat and boots). He told me that Redwoods don't burn in a forest fire beacuse of their thick bark, but actually need the heat in order to grow.
While in California, I explored Monterey (where the conference was) and Carmel-by-the-Sea. For more pictures go here.
Surplus #1: The trip allowed me to visit with a mission companion and dear friend Rachel, who was very pregnant. She and I hadn't seen each other in about 3 years. We played with her son AJ (too cute for words), helped prepare for her sister's wedding, made chocolate cover pretezels, and caught up on things. Such joy!
Surplus #2: Due to my delay in San Jose, I missed my connection in Salt Lake City. At first they wanted me to fly from SLC to LA to Atlanta to DC, arriving at 9 am. Spending the whole night on a plane didn't sound like much fun to me, so I scheduled a flight out for the next morning. Hurrah for the unexpected. I must admit I was a little frustrated in San Jose, but talking with the rancher named Jim and realizing that I could visit Temple Square helped change my attitude. Kathleen picked me up from the airport and we had dinner at Leatherby's (an old favorite) and then went to Temple Square. Oh how I've missed it! We walked around the temple and chatted with a couple of sisters - one from California and one from Mexico. We visited the new Chuch History Library (mostly just walked in and did a random search in their catalog). We sat in on the Mormon Tabernacle Choir rehearsal for a few minutes - absolutely gorgeous - and walked up where the Christus is. Such memories came flooding back and I was very grateful for the delay that made it possible. I stayed with my cousin Megyn and her family overnight. Her kids are getting so big and are lots of fun. It was great to catch up with them and my aunt Linda.
Current Tally: 22 done, 2 started, 3 to do in 42 days!