Given the airlines' no-fly policy for (very) pregnant women we took a road trip over New Year's. First stop was Santa Barbara visiting Nathalie and her newly minted offspring Audric. The town was eerily empty on Christmas eve, but we found an Indian restaurant to have brunch with Alok and Rachel and catch up on things.
We then headed south to San Diego, for a second Christmas celebration with the Spriggs family. Good times: we got to know the kids a little better, had a day at the Zoo, sailed on the bay... a SoCal blessing.
We were running out of California going south, so we headed back north on 395. Stopping at Lone Pine, a funny little town at the foot of Mt Whitney stuck in its old western Hollywood glory days. Next stop was Mammoth and a bit of skiing with friends. This is a *big* mountain with a summit at 11,053 ft (3,369m). It is also an active volcano and you can come across some pretty pungent gases while skiing, some of these are quite toxic and have killed skiers before.
Mammoth is a ~7hrs drive from San Francisco, so we decided to spend the night in Lake Tahoe on our way back home. Luckily our local mountain man Ray was in town, so we got to hang out with him instead of spending the night in front of the TV at the Motel 6. On the way to tahoe we stopped at Mono Lake for a quick stroll. The winter landscape there is absolutely mindblowingly beautiful, so we stayed as long as the bitter cold allowed us to and took a bunch of pictures (unfortunately I only had my point&shoot camera with me). Fun trip, happy New Year!