Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Road Tripp'n Days 6-8

Prior to our trip I did a little research about "must sees" along the California Coast. The two things that came up on every single website was the Monterey Bay Aquarium and driving the Pacific Coast Highway between Carmel and Morro Bay. Stopping for the night in Monterey was not ideal as it was only two hours away from San Fran and therefore 10 hours away from home....but we could not miss a "must see".  It was a good thing we did stop because Monterey ended up being one of my favorite towns! It is so cute with darling houses and a small town feel. We spent the first night exploring their fisherman's wharf and finding hermit crabs on the beach. We also stopped at the Dennis the Menace Park...because, well...why not? The next morning we visited the aquarium. This was a little foolish planning on my part because it was Saturday and it was VERY crowded....you know how feel about a crowd! But crowds aside it is a neat aquarium. We have been to a lot of aquariums and while my fave is still the one in Chicago this one was definitely the next best. The highlight was watching the open sea feeding. As silly as that sounds it was very cool as it is in a massive aquarium with a variety of sea life and they all eat in turn...Watching the little sardines stick together in a massive group in order to not be eaten by the larger fish is fascinating! After our aquarium visit we headed over to Pebble Beach. WOW! Seriously???? Who are those people? As you drive along the scenic route pass all the beautiful houses you can't help but think "who lives like this?"! Amazing. The golf course itself is gorgeous and it was pretty cool to see deer out on the greens!

The next destination was Carmel! We decided to just do a quick drive through as we had a long way to drive that day. From what I could see through the window it will definitely be a stop on my shopaholic road trip! My sister in law Ashley grew up here....Really, Ash! Wow! What a great place to grow up!

The drive along the PCH was as amazing as promised. Beautiful cliffs, bridges and beaches all along the route. I loved stopping in Big Sur. Super cute! Trent and I decided we would love to go back and camp there! The drive was very curvy and there were a few times when I thought I would lose my lunch, but all in all it was worth it. One of our favorite stops was the Ano Nuevo State Park to see the giant elephant seals passed out along the beach. They are pretty darn ugly but fun to watch as they try to move their giant bodies and flip sand all over themselves.

Because of all of our stops, we arrived at our final destination,  L.A., at 11pm! The next morning we talked about spending one more day at the beach but we decided we would rather just get home! As much as we loved our road trip we were ready to be back in our own beds! We didn't get very far on our journey home without one last stop....Camarillo Premiums Outlets! This momma got to do some shopping after all!


Monday, July 30, 2012

Road tripp'n Days 3-6

After our relaxing two days in Pismo Beach we headed off first thing the morning of July 4th to San Francisco. I have always wanted to visit San Fran and what could be better then watching fireworks over the bay! After a quick 3 hour drive we arrived at our hotel located in the Fisherman's Wharf area and immediately set off to see the sights. It was very crowded (as we expected) and although, I love the hustle bustle of a city I am not a big fan of tourists (ya I know we were one...but we aren't the annoying kind :)  Our first stop was lunch which consisted of fish and chips and clam chowder (when in Rome). It was very yummy and very expensive...we spent more money on food then anything else the entire trip :( After lunch we walked over to Pier 39 to check out the seals and cute shops. The kids and I bought a churro to enjoy while we looked out at the bay. Aiden literally took one bite before a very large seagull swooped down and stole the entire thing! It was very funny and very gross as his wing hit my head! We definitely entertained a few bystanders with that little episode! Next, we went to the wax museum and then Ripley's Believe it or Not. The wax museum was a little disappointing compared to Madame Tussaud's in Hollywood but Ripley's was cool! There are some strange people on this planet!

After a short rest it was already dinner time and then time for fireworks. Although, I had scoped out the Pier for the perfect spot we got there a little late and it was packed! Literally standing room only.  While watching firewords with 30,000 of my closest family and friends squeezed together was not ideal it was still an impressive show. I guess we were lucky to have been there on such a clear night as in years past it was so foggy you couldn't even see the fireworks. The only thing better than watching fireworks over water is watching them wearing a sweatshirt! After the show ended we fought through the crowds to get home and the kids were able to see some sights that caused a little confusion....but that's liberal San Fran for you! Always an expeirence!

With only 3 days in San Fran we decided the best way to see the entire city would be to hop on and off a double decker bus, and we were right. We saw everything we wanted to see and learned a lot from the tour guide. I was so impressed with the kids! They listened and learned a ton! They also kept up with us as we walked around and then ran to catch buses in between stops! They really are amazing travelers! Their favorite part was probably riding around the city on the Go Cars. While it was a fun and zippy way to get around I was terrified driving that tiny little car down those crazy city streets. Trent was a little upset with me that I refused to drive down Lombard Street (the crooked road) but he paid me back by taking me down a very long steep road that literally went straight down! Thank goodness for good brakes! The last outing of the trip was a bay cruise around Alcatraz and under the Golden Gate Bridge. One thing we did not realize was that if you want to visit Alcatraz you have to get tickets weeks in advance. We were so bummed we didn't get to go inside the prison but at least the boat cruised around it!

On the way home we drove over the bridge and into the town of Sausalito. It is such a great town! Trent and I decided that if you have to live in the Bay area that would be the best location! Overall, we saw a ton of stuff and it was a great expeirence. I will say that personally, it wasn't my favorite big city (Chicago still has my heart) but it was interesting. Someday I will have to go back to see if it can change my mind!

Next stop....Monterey Bay!

Pier 39

2 seconds later and that churro became bird food

Ripley's Believe it or not....the kids are trying to swallow their own nose...not as easy as he makes it look!


here was our first spot for watching the fireworks....literally between two poles :(

Thank goodness Trent found this spot....much better!

China Town

This was Trent's #1 must see...the Full House house...to bad the show was actually filmed in Canada!

Quick cat nap in Union Square

had the best chocolate chip cookie ever at Ghirardelli

Bye bye San Fran

Monday, July 23, 2012

Road Tripp'n.....Days 1-3

This summer we decided to do something different for our family vacation. Although, I could easily spend every holiday parked on a beach in San Diego, there is a great big world out there and this family is going to do its darnedest to see every inch of it! So we packed up the minivan and headed off for a drive along the California coast....San Diego to San Francisco! This was a very last minute and fly by the seat of your pants kind of trip, making it all that more fun and adventurous! Since we have seen so much of San Diego, it really was just a starting point for us. After a quick night there, we headed for Pismo Beach, about two hours north of LA. It's a good thing we weren't in a hurry because, in typical LA fashion, we were stuck in traffic for about 2 hours! I could tell Trent was really losing his patience but thank goodness for modern technology, because the kids were perfectly entertained! In fact, the only person asking "are we there yet?" the entire trip was me! During this leg of the journey we kept noticing a sulfur type smell. You can only blame a sewer leak for so long before you deduce that the smell must be coming from you. When we finally arrived at our hotel in Pismo Beach, Trent turned off the car and popped the hood. Sure enough the smell was coming from the smoking battery....not good. Then just like a light switched was flip the car died! My very first thought was THANK YOU Heavenly Father! I couldn't believe that after driving for over 5 hours, we made it safely to our final destination just in time to have the car stop working! He's always watching out for us (or maybe it was our guardian angels Clint and Granny :). The most fortunate part was we were near a city and we had planned to stay for 2 days anyway, giving us enough time to have the car fixed while we spent the day at the beach.

Pismo Beach is really nice! There was a lot to explore and funky little shops nearby. The water was absolutely freezing but the kids didn't mind. After spending most of the day soaking up the sun, our car was ready to be picked up. It was at a shop in San Luis Obispo, so after taking a $50 cab ride we picked up our car and then explored the little college town! It is soooooo stink'n cute, with blocks full of darling shops and restaurants. I love a cute town! There was a very cool candy shop, where Trent and the kids bought old fashioned sodas and my favorite shop which was called Batch where you pick out a cookie flavor and ice cream flavor and make a custom ice cream sandwich! Love! A highlight of the town is one of the world's strangest tourist attraction....Bubblegum Alley! Literally, it's an alley where people stick thier bubblegum (some people even made designs with it). Really it's quite disgusting but fascinating all at the same time! It has become such a tradition in this town that there are bubble gum machines in almost every store! The kids and I decided to leave our mark and somewhere on that wall our bubble gum sticks! I could have stayed and explored the town all day long, but Trent and the kids aren't much for boutique shopping. I will definitely be going back with fellow shopaholics. The following day we were off for our next destination....San Francisco here we come.........

Leaving our gum in Bubble Gum Alley