Graduation trip journal (part 2): Into the West


September 22, Tuesday – our cousins had a few more goodies before we left that evening. We went to the Philadelphia Art Museum, before which are the famous “Rocky steps”—the steps the boxer Rocky (played by Sylvester Stallone) ran up in the movie series “Rocky.”IMG_2097IMG_2106

There was also a nice view of Center City, the historical part of Philly.IMG_2115

Said goodbye to our cousins, and boarded our red eye flight to Las Vegas.

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City lights from plane window

Once we landed, we embarked on another adventure as we needed to be in Idaho for my dad’s business meeting the next morning. We rented a car and my dad drove through the night to get there on time. We took a break for a few hours to sleep, but it was tiring!


September 23, Wednesday – We reached Idaho. It’s an underestimated state! It’s really pretty—green and farms everywhere, besides mountains and prairies.
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After our meeting at lunchtime, we decided on the spur of the moment to go see Yellowstone National Park. That’s the way we roll 🙂 We glimpsed the Great Tetons on the way there.IMG_2178

Once inside Yellowstone, it was great to just be surrounded by nature: the Old West kind of nature.IMG_2227

And there were buffalo. Lots of buffalo. We’d only seen buffalo once before, when we went to Utah this May. So it was real fun to see them again. Here, as there, the buffalo weren’t afraid of or spooked by humans. We’d see some grazing by the side of the road, and stop to take pictures.

IMG_2361 Buffalo grazing beside the meandering river,IMG_2331

fishers wading in knee-deep in said river,IMG_2353

beaver dams, rolling hills, glimpses of mountains behind, sun flashing behind the trees…IMG_2289IMG_2291

…it was a beautiful drive. 🙂 We didn’t go very far into the park (didn’t realize till we got there and got a map how big it is!) but we went to see Old Faithful. Unfortunately, it’s going off its steady rhythm because of all the junk people are throwing in. But about 40 minutes after the previous eruption, it erupted again. It was steaming quite a bit, then suddenly- IMG_2451

Fwoosh! The water shot up in a steaming flume. IMG_2462

It didn’t last very long, but it was so cool. Then we drove to our hotel just across the border in Nevada.


September 24, Thursday – We explored the somewhat remote Nevada town we’d stayed in the night before. It was small and quaint, the kind of place where everyone knows each other and people are friendly. At the same time, with the big open spaces, dusty roads, and mountains around, it had a very Western feel.IMG_2730

The feeling was definitely that of a small group of people who’d banded together to make a good living for themselves in the desert. Besides, of course, the couple of flashy casinos that were there ripping people off because it was, after all, Nevada. 😉 Then we drove into Utah to stay with our friends who hosted us when we visited there in May.


September 25, Friday – Spent time with our friends in the morning, then had a leisurely drive to our hotel in Las Vegas. On the way, we were treated to a veritable light show in the heavens! First came a gorgeous sunset, as the sky flashed with gold.IMG_2918

Then—we saw it farther off and soon we were driving through it—rain! That was followed by a stunning double rainbow.IMG_2951
But it wasn’t over yet! That night we were treated to a lightning storm! We could see the clouds lighting up, and sometimes the lightning flashing. There were some big bolts! I didn’t get any pictures because we were driving, but it was really spectacular! So, four sky wonders in one day—it was a magnificent day in the West. 😀


September 26, Saturday– My dad had a meeting in the morning, so I hung around the hotel. Then we had lunch in the hotel (it was one of those big deals with hotel, restaurants, and gambling in one). Vegas has cheap food to bring people in to gamble: we just come and enjoy the cheap good food 😉

And finally our trip was at an end. We got to the bus stop and the bus took us home to California. It had been an exciting trip, but we were glad to be home.

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Graduation trip journal (part 1): New York, New York


September 18, Thursday – We took a bus from southern California to Las Vegas, because we got a good deal on a flight from there.

On the bus

On the bus

My first taxi ride was that day, from the bus stop to the airport. At the Vegas airport, we had several hours till the fight so I read “The Hobbit.” We tried to sleep during our red-eye flight …it kind of worked 🙂


September 19, Friday – Reached Philadelphia in the morning and were picked up by my cousins.

Good morning, Philly!

Good morning, Philly!

Stopped at Dunkin Donuts to get breakfast. The day was spent relaxing, chatting, playing a Lord of the Rings game with my cousin, cooking, and shopping for an outfit as a gift (thank you Victors!).


September 20, Saturday – Graduation day! In the morning, we attended a ceremony for an award I got, and then after a light lunch, the Thomas Edison State College 2014 graduation ceremony in the afternoon. IMG_0601 IMG_0688 We were also able to visit the college nearby and take pictures. IMG_0830 IMG_0836Since my idea of a great evening is pizza and a movie, we ordered veggie pizzas from Papa John’s and watched a cool futuristic movie called “Day After Tomorrow” 8)


September 21, Sunday – First day ever in NYC!! My oldest cousin treated us to a showing of the “Les Miserables” musical on Broadway. Thank you Sarah!! IMG_0937 IMG_0957I’d seen a couple movie versions, and I like the story, so to see the stage production was really neat! It was a wonderful performance! I love the songs and the actors were great! Afterwards we met some of the actors and got autographs.

Javert

Javert

Student

Student

Enjolras

Enjolras

Marius

Marius

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Thenardier

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Times Square

Next we walked to and around Times Square, and spent time walking lower Manhattan. It was so busy! Cars and people shared the road. Truth be told, I didn’t expect it to be quite so chaotic, but it was all good. A different pace altogether, from Los Angeles. IMG_1152 IMG_1151Stopped for dinner at a restaurant that sold several kinds of food and did a little shopping. IMG_1145 IMG_1176The night was pretty warm. The lights and number of people still moving about the street and sidewalks made it seem not quite so late. IMG_1219IMG_1235IMG_1237 IMG_1294We planned to come back the next day, so we left around midnight. I was already anticipating tomorrow 😀


September 22, Monday – Having driven the day before, this time we took the bus from our cousins’ place in Philly to NYC. First stop: Wall St. There was a protest going on over global warming; environmentalists were intending to #FloodWallSt, many were sitting around, the Bull was unreachable, Wall St. was closed off, and there were police everywhere. IMG_1483 IMG_1517 IMG_1496It was kind of disappointing to not get to see the Bull up close, but this was an interesting experience. We walked around more…IMG_1464 Then, the highlight of the day (well, kind of the whole trip 😉 ): the Statue of Liberty! We took the Staten Island ferry which travelled to the Island, and on the way gave a view of the Statue, Ellis Island, the Brooklyn Bridge, and more. The ride back I spent on the deck of the ferry, instead of inside, which was fun. My new zoom lens came in handy as I was able to get quite good close-up shots with it. 😀 And then the Statue against the backdrop of the city looked awesome!IMG_1643 IMG_1662 Next we headed to Ground Zero. There were two huge holes in the ground, where the Twin Towers once stood. They’d been turned into fountains and water kept running down the holes. Forever down. The holes were ringed with the names of all who perished. It was sobering. IMG_1898 But directly behind was the new World Trade Center, the tallest building in New York; quite a demonstration of overcoming.IMG_1895 We rode the subway back up to mid Manhatten, and our last stop was Hershey World at Times Square. We looked around and bought a few souvenirs for the chocolate-lovers in our family 🙂IMG_1980 And to cap the day off…we took a taxi to the bus station! That New York City taxi ride was way cool. You really have to know your stuff to drive down there…with pedestrians all around, squeezing and streaming though…in the dark…on wet streets.IMG_1228 And that was the end of our time in NYC. I thank God for this amazing experience! And, one day, I want to go back 😀


Look for a more detailed and picture-heavy version of this post, coming soon on This Is Our Father’s World.

A most epic trip!


Earlier this week, my dad and I returned from a trip to the East Coast for my college graduation. I attended online and graduated from Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey. So, while there for TESC’s graduation ceremony, we decided to make the most of the trip and see New York City, which I’d wanted to do for a long while! Then on the way back, we travelled the West for my dad’s business, and more sightseeing! So that’s why my blogs have been silent for a while 🙂

I’ll be posting about our trip soon, both here and on my photography blog. Stay tuned!

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