The Biggest Tree in the World

The Biggest Tree in the World

“Couchsurfing? It’s when you take the cushions off the couch and slide down the stairs on them isn’t it?” – Nicky the blonde dietician

On the hunt for couch cushions.

We reluctantly left Joshua Tree on Saturday morning. I liked Joshua Tree so much that I am seriously considering buying a property there. Maybe, one day. (Property isn’t too expensive there.) In fact I have fallen in love with California. Beautiful, varied terrain, lots of fruit, great people, warm weather. I do like it here. A lot.

We turned our wheels to the North, to visit friends and to ride back down the coastal highway. A final USA adventure before we start the Spanish portion of our trip.

Saturday night we couchsurfed in Tulare, California with Servesh and his mother and grandmother. Servesh’s mum fed us until we could eat no more, and then tried to feed us some more. It was wonderful.

Have some fruit, some pizza, some dahl, some rice, some chapati, okay now you can have some cookies!

Servesh took us to downtown Visalia for a couple beers, and that was when we met Nicky – the unintentionally hilarious blonde who he vaguely knew. She’d just been given a ticket for driving the wrong way down a one way road, and proceeded to talk a mile a minute for the next hour or so. I hope we were helpful ears for her to de-stress with.

The next day we decided to explore Sequoia National Park. Well after we changed Phil’s chain and sprokets that is. One of the rollers had broken off his chain!

Less roll than required

The roads in Sequoia National Park were delightfully twisty, and the trees were huge and breathtaking. I even saw two bear cubs, who ran across the road in front of me. A benefit of going slowly through the twisties. A downside to going quickly through the twisties is encountering a car going wide on a hairpin coming the other way. This happened to Phil, who ended up overcompensating too wide, clipping the far curb before he could stop, and fell over. He twisted his ankle, but no other damage done.  He didn’t tell me about it until now to avoid distracting me while I was concentrating on the corners.

Jump trees jump!

Jayne plays hide and seek in a giant tree

Jayne becomes a tree hugger

Motorcycling through the Sequoias

Phil doesn’t often seem small


We hiked down to the General Sherman tree, which is the biggest* tree in the world.

*By volume, not the tallest, not the biggest circumference, just the most wood…

Jayne and the giant tree

Phil becomes General Sherman

Awkward picture angle of biggest tree in the world and our nostrils

The clocks went back an hour, and that meant sunset is now at 5pm! We hastily set up camp and spent a nice evening around the campfire with a couple of travel nurses, Raven and Clorie. Note that they appear to be grilling rocks on their fire. That’s because they were. They gave us one each for the bottoms of our sleeping bags – toasty warm toes were the happy result!

Clorie and Raven

We woke up early in the morning and were back on the road by 8:30am. Once we left the National parks, the roads got pretty boring, and we arrived in San Francisco mid-afternoon. My friend Chris and his family moved to the US just before I left London, this was an excellent opportunity to catch up with them. His wife Jo and daughter Charlotte welcomed us to their home by taking us to the pool. A great way to settle in.

Charlotte shows off her new ski jacket

Jo and Charlotte meet Cricket

Get her hooked young!

In order to be tourists, we took the (expensive) ferry to downtown and did a walking tour of Market Street.

Where’s Phil? Just read the sign!

Our tour guide Bill in front of the Ferry building

Cable car excitement


That evening was spent with our friend Rob in the local pub while Obama won the election. It was really great to see everyone!

En route to the pub

Phil, Rob, Chris and Jayne celebrate Obama winning!

Our time in San Francisco was over all too soon, but there’s a chill in the air and we are feeling the pull to turn South for the winter!