We left Marina, CA and headed north to San Francisco.
Instead of going through San Francisco and over the Golden Gate Bridge, I decided to go around through Oakland. I should have researched the road a little bit better because once we got to the bridge in Oakland we came to a toll……$20.00 later we were able to cross. If we had come across the Golden Gate Bridge we would have paid nothing. But I wasn’t really in the mood to battle with traffic through San Fran with our house attached to us. So I feel the 20 dollars was well spent, plus the views from the bridge were amazing….
Now as far as campgrounds go, there aren’t to many to chose from that are close to the city but I found one that was close to the ferry and a Trader Joe’s. Ha! Welcome to Marin RV Park. I didn’t get many pictures of this campground but here is our campsite.
California weather is amazing! I guess we would stay at this campground again because of how easy it was to get to the city but laundry is expensive and the guy next to us made sure that we knew where his spot was……
So we wedged our truck in every time and just barely fit. Anyway, as I walked around a bit I realized we were close to San Quentin State Prison.
At first I felt uneasy about this but considering all the large homes that were built around the prison, I figured we would be fine. The prison sits right on the water and not that I am jealous of the prisoners but they have an amazing view!
We didn’t go into the city on Friday. Actually, we walked down the street to Trader Joe’s for groceries and then we had a family meeting. This is when Micheal told us he was ready to go home. He missed his friends, his home and his family. This kind of made me sad because Mike and I really have enjoyed this experience with him but we did understand. So we planned on sightseeing that weekend and I would make plans to get us home. Now that all that was settled we went to bed.
The next morning we got up and walked about 10 minutes to the Larkspur Ferry….
We purchased our tickets which were about 60.00 round trip ….ouch! We boarded the ferry and away we went!
Along the way we saw some houses…..which only had boat parking. I discovered the parking lot for these houses on a walk with Max on day. They had to walk down a pier and across the street to get to their cars. Pretty interesting!
We also passed San Quentin again…..
The prisoners were enjoying some outside time.
I love a good windy ride on a boat!
Next we passed, Alcatraz! So cool!! We had tickets for Sunday so more on Alcatraz later.
and then…there it was! The Golden Gate Bridge!
Although it was a sunny day, there was a haze in the air. I can’t explain it but it is the best weather for city touring!
The ferry pulled into the Ferry Building. This was such a cool place.
The Ferry Building was filled with shops, restaurants and markets.
This one caught my attention…salted pig parts! Yum! Well not all the parts sound yummy.
Another food I like is cheese….
I was regretting that we had breakfast before we left……
After looking around some we headed out for Chinatown. Along the way we saw our first cable car.
What we found interesting about San Fran was the hills….. see the one beyond the cable car. I think we just didn’t realize that we would be walking up hill around town but we did.
We finally made it to Chinatown.
We love going to Chinatown in NYC and we enjoyed this one to. We made our way up the hill and into several souvenir shops.
One place I wanted to find was the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie company.
This is where google maps led us….to an alley and there it was.
It was very crowded inside so I was the only one that went in. I would love to show you pictures but they charge you to take pictures. I don’t know how that works for them but I wasn’t going to risk owing money for a picture. Anyway, there are bags of fortune cookies on a shelf that lines the wall and they were a couple of dollars for each bag. There were also women sitting at these machines, a flat cookie would come out, they would put the fortune in, and fold them up. I didn’t purchase any cookies because the craziness of the place but they did smell good.
After all the hill climbing, we were getting hungry. Micheal wanted pizza so we walked around looking for a good pizza place. Thats when we found these…
I believe a snack is always a good idea when walking around a city but we still need to find pizza.
Finally found a pizza place and funny enough it was named after one of our favorites….
We have a happy camper on our hands. We bought three pieces and went to a park that we saw down the block.
It was pretty good pizza and gave us just enough energy to finish out our sightseeing.
My sweet boys! After lunch we were ready for a little bit more sightseeing. We decided to head over to Pier 39. Along the way we passed…
Cost Tower. We also got some pretty awesome views of the bay.
This was one of my favorite parts of San Fran. You never knew what view you would get after each block. We finally made it to Pier 39
and we went straight to the sea lions.
It was neat to see them but not so much smelling them!
This one didn’t make it long by himself and swam back over for cuddling with the others.
This one wanted his picture taken. After standing for a while to watch sea lions lay around we decided to head back to the ferry. There was a lot more to see at Pier 39 so we decided to come back on Sunday and see the rest.
We walked along The Embarcadero, which is the street that follows along the bay and led us straight to the Ferry Building.
We found the building for Alcatraz Tours on this street.
That makes tomorrow somewhat easier….I will explain later. We got back on the ferry and headed back home. What a great way to end the day!
I don’t usually get my fingers in pictures, but it has been a long day of hill climbing.
Tomorrow is the day for Alcatraz and more city exploring which we all were pretty excited about. What a great day we had.
I have really missed writing on this blog. I realized it has been almost one year since I have updated on our road trip, but I am back at it today and excited as ever to relive our little adventure. So here we go…..
Going to Big Sur was not the only reason we stopped off in Marina, CA. There are some well know golf courses in Monterey and Mike was very eager to play one of them…namely, Pebble Beach. I have watched golf with Mike plenty of times and I knew this place was special but I wasn’t prepared for the views.
Mike was able to get a tee time on a Monday afternoon and Micheal and I weren’t going to pass up a chance to ride in the cart with him. I decided to be the designated photographer and Micheal was our comic relief…..as always.
After dinner on Sunday we thought we would ride out to Pebble Beach and check things out but sadly we were stopped at the gate. Silly us! Of course this area would be gated. We were informed that we would have to pay ten dollars to ride through unless we had a tee time.We got a map of the area from the guard and left. We would return on Monday with our tee time.
The next day we head back to Pebble Beach and once inside the gate we are met with gorgeous views. Welcome to 17 Mile Drive.
17 Mile Drive is so beautiful! The California coast has views like I have never seen before…..
Because Mike had a tee time we weren’t able to stop and really see everything but we did get to slowly drive through and enjoy the water views.
The day was cloudy and a bit cold but still beautiful!
Even if you don’t play golf, you should definitely drive the 17-mile drive!
There were other famous golf courses along the way….I think this was part of Spy Glass….don’t quote me
Some really cool trees along the way.
We left the scenic coast for a bit and there it was…..So exciting!!
Even the views from the parking lot were amazing.This sweet man was ready to play!
We walked down from the parking lot and checked in…
Found this tribute to Bing Crosby…so cool!
Mike had a few minutes before teeing off so he decided to warm up…It was now time to meet his fellow players…. Now its time to play.
Before we start I just want to say that I took over 200 pictures. It was really hard narrowing down just a few for this post. I really hope everyone enjoys going to Pebble Beach with us.
Just one of the houses on the course.
Got to see some wildlife…these seagulls were huge!
A great time to take a picture.
Hole 7 was gorgeous!
Hole 8 was very interesting. Mike teed off and his ball landed in a great but not so great spot.
This doesn’t look so much like a steep cliff but when we got around to the other side…..
woah…..it is a steep cliff!
While on the course we saw surfers….
Big beautiful homes with gorgeous landscaped yards.
While visiting Marina, CA we decided to drive down the Pacific Coast through the Big Sur. I wasn’t sure if the scenery would live up to the hype, but boy were we surprised!
Not what you were expecting …right? Well, we drove through a wooded area and then got to a little neighborhood with great, big houses! We found our first little place to pull off and that’s when things got magical……See that road on the left….it’s actually someone’s driveway. You can’t see them but this family also has stairs that lead down into the water. I don’t know if I would get in that water but maybe they have a boat?
While we were staring at the water several really cute cars pulled in and I felt like there would possibly be a movie in the making….Not sure what kind of movie…maybe a romantic comedy. This is how dreamy I was feeling.
Anyways, we get back in the truck and continue down the road…..Once again back into the woods and then this happens……
I can’t even imagine that the sun shining would have made this better. Once again we get out and Mike finds a trail to the edge of the cliff. So down he goes….not into the water but down the trail.I love how small you can feel next to the sea. These are some of the photos Mike captured on the edge…Looking straight down…To his left….and to the right.
At this point we were trying to figure out how to live here..in the truck…on the coast:)
But we decided to continue on down the road and see if there was a better spot…..Haha.
It looks like you will be back in the hills when all of a sudden this happens….. See the cow? That is the luckiest cow ever. I was surprised to see cows living on the coast.
Beyond the cow is a bridge……We pull in for a quick photo. This is the famous Bixby Bridge.
(side note…we did a lot of staring at the water) This is the view that memorized Mike. Gorgeous!
The Bixby Bridge was named after Charles Henry Bixby. Residents would have to travel 11 miles out of the way during the winter to cross the creek and when you are traveling by horse and buggy that could mean an extra few days. So a bridge was built. We have seen a lot of “old” building and structures on this trip but it still is amazing to me that man was able to build such amazing things with no heavy equipment or iPhones. This bridge is in a lot movies and commercials. Oh look, there he goes again. This time I decide to follow him because I had the camera. Once down there it smelled like a dirty bathroom so I quickly came back up. Gross.
I know that it looks like we have been on this road all by ourselves but I assure you there were lots of other people stopping and taking pictures. There is always plenty of parking along parts of the road.
Look how happy he is to climb and explore….I am happy to not have lost him into the sea. Once he made his way back up we decided we need to get to our next destination.Winding our way up the mountain…..But not without another stop to take another picture of the bridge.
There are several places to see in the Big Sur…. We didn’t have a definite plan on where we wanted to go so we just drove….
That’s when we came to this little place on the side of the road…This was the only place we saw that had gas but we stopped mainly to pick up a souvenir. Here is the general store that made homemade burritos in the back and sold granola in the front. Camping is a big deal here. Well not like our camping but lots of tents and cabins to stay in.
There was a restaurant and a small hotel that hosted weddings and while we were there a bride and groom where getting there ideas together…..
This is one of the more cozier spots…..There were some very artsy shops as well…..this place had a real hippie vibe.
We got our Christmas ornament and kept on down the road.That’s when we happened upon this State Park….
When we pulled into this wooded area we were met with……these two cuties….this is the only wildlife we saw on our entire trip! Pretty exciting!
We made our way around to the LodgeWhich is a hotel with a restaurant. It’s a little nicer than the last place we left but it didn’t have that beautiful creek in the back. The Big Sur Lodge has these….Finally!!! This is one thing I wanted to see……I know these aren’t the biggest trees in California but still amazing!
The bark is so different…..After looking at the trees I wanted to go see Pfeiffer Beach. I thought it was here at the state park but after driving to the guard house,(and almost paying 20 dollars to get in) the ranger told us we needed to get back on Hwy 1 drive another few miles down the road.
Now if you ever get to drive through Big Sur just know this, there is no sign on the street for the beach. I almost passed it but my trusty co-pilot found it just in time.
This was the sign we saw. Well no biggie..we didn’t bring either of these…right???
We turn the sharp turn and see this….At least we know we are on the right track…..
Remember that narrow road sign? They weren’t kidding!
This was just wide enough for our big truck.
Mike was a nervous wreck…..and I was glad to be driving.Now remember from the sign, we have 2 miles.
It would have been nice to not have passed anybody but that’s not fun!
There were several times I would have to stop and back up to one of the side pulloffs to let someone go around.
Hehe…..It was kind of scary but we finally made it.You pay 10 dollars at the gate and then park.
There was probably about 20 parking spots and we came on a good day.
We walked down the path to the beachI was very excited because we have seen a lot of beaches here and they have all been so different….this one did not disappoint.I love that we have the white sandy beaches here and the beauty of mountains flowing into the sea out west. Thank you God for such a creative landscape!
There were some waves coming in but nothing to big. Here he is….beach ready…on a cold day.
One of the views to see here is the rock formation with the water flowing in and out. When the sun is out and setting, it will shine through the hole.
I encourage you to google a picture of it.
Please enjoy these pictures of the water flowing through the arch.
You can see the power of the water coming and going. I wouldn’t want to be in there! After a little more walking around and photo taking, we decide to go….we are hungry!
Love being with these two on this adventure!
Our trip down the narrow road was just as fun as going in This time I had some help from these folks. Now I knew when another car was coming. Mike still didn’t like it…Haha.
Further on down the road is the Julia Pfieffer Burns State Park and then the Hearst Castle. I hate we missed them but when boys get hungry, they need to be fed.
We head back to Monterey and stopped at Hula’s for a delicious Ahi Tuna Sandwich…..This time we got to sit in a Tiki hut!I would say this was one of my most favorite parts of our road trip. To be able to see the creations that God has given us and see them with my husband and son….I will never be able to thank God enough!
It has been a while since my last post but I am excited to continue on this journey and recall some of the most fun we have ever had……
Welcome to Monterrey, CA. This city is amazingly gorgeous!
First things first, we left Ocean Mesa and headed north. We were actually staying in Marina, CA, which is about 8 miles north of Monterrey. So we hitched up the home and squeezed it out of our spot and off we went. Due to pulling the camper we weren’t able to take Hwy 1 but we were not disappointed by the views.Vineyards, vineyards and more vineyards!Over the hills, these grapes were growing and I was thirsty….haha.
Once we got through wine country, the hilltop scenery changed….wow! Of course I had to get a picture of the animal warning sign. This one was a bear….yikes! We didn’t see any but I made sure to look for them with the windows up and doors locked!
Once we got into Marina, we found our campground, Marina Dunes.I have mixed feelings about this campground. I loved the location, the trail to the beach and our site was ok, but some of the other amenities were lacking..I am being nice when I say that.
Once we pulled into a tight registration lane, I go in the office to check in. The girl behind the counter wasn’t unfriendly but she wasn’t going out of her way to even tell me how to get to our site. Checking into a campground, for me, is like going to someones house. I need to be shown around a bit, tell me where the bathrooms are and make me feel like I am welcomed.
Anyways, I paid, she gave me a map and we drove down to our site. After about 30 mins we finally get backed in to our site.Good job, honey! After we got our truck parked, it looked like this.
We decided not to cook tonight but before we can eat Max needs to stretch his legs. I hadn’t been told where to take him so I look on the map and at the bottom of the page it says, “Please take your pet off property.” Ok, so I get him on the leash and we go outside and a lady is walking by with her dog. God is so good about sending people my way at the right time. I ask her where she takes her dog and she directs me to the beach.
We get to the trail,and we walk….and then we walked some more….until, finally! WE ARE THERE!!! Max was so happy! I think the trail was about 1/4 of a mile long and the sand was thick and deep!The drool length is amazing after he works hard. (This was the side he was snake bit on so we think its kind of droopy and helps with the stringyness.)
After our 1/2 mile walk to the beach and back, we were starving!
We decided not to cook but to head on into Monterey for some seafood. I found a little place called Hula’s.
On our way in we passed the Fisherman’s wharf…side note….we did not eat here because I didn’t read any good reviews about the restaurants on the sea…
This is the marina next to the wharf. Look at those beautiful mountains! I could not get enough of this view!
I love the all the boats.
We got to Hula’s and had to park on the street, which was ok because it wasn’t very busy for a Sunday evening. We go in and we score a seat outside.
Notice the long sleeves…..on everybody? It was chilly! The workers came out and turned on the heaters for us after a while. So much for sunny California!
We decided after looking at the menu, that we wanted to try several things.
For appetizers we got, Bahn Mi Bao SlidersYUM! We also ordered the Kona-Style WingsDelicious!
For dinner we decided to share the Blackened Ahi Steak Sandwich.It was so good! Then I ordered Jamaican Johnny Cakes for dessert. This was like a sweet bread with little bits of banana, which made it healthy! Wow!! This was a great place to eat!
Since we were all ready in town we decided to head over to Cannery Row.
Not a bad parking spot if I do say so.
These are some of the old fishing warehouses.
Once we got past the sea views, we found this. Cannery Row is full of sardine history, shops, restaurants, and hotels.
Walking further down the street we found this small square.
On the top of this monument is the author John Steinbeck, around the side is a marine biologist, and then there are men/women who really made this town by bringing in all the sardines.
Notice the seagull on John Steinbeck’s head? Those birds are huge!! I don’t really like birds anyways and those beefy gulls flying over head were scary!
Anyways, we bought some souvenirs, walked off our dinner, and headed back to our home by the sea.
We have some great things planned this week…I can’t wait to share them with y’all.
Here is another great walk that Max and I went on….this was the only time the sun came out.Even with the sun it was still a nice 70 degrees. I love California!
The time had come to say goodbye to Anaheim, CA. We were really going to miss the weather and the fireworks but we were pretty excited about seeing more of the California coast. Originally, I had planned to go from Anaheim to Monterry but that was a really long drive so I started to look at a half way point and found Solvang.
Solvang, which means sunny field, is just a bit northwest from Santa Barbara and was settled by the Dutch back in 1911. The city is full of bakeries, restaurants and wineries. Of course after reading about this small Danish town I knew we had to go. My first choice in campgrounds was full so I called Ocean Mesa at El Capitan State Park and they had us a spot. You couldn’t beat the location of this campground. We got registered and found our spot.We like to call this “between the hedges”. It was tight but the views were pretty amazing.See the ocean? I just turned around from the camp site and this was our view. Now, when we get to a campground we like to wonder around and check out the park.This was the pool area and you can see there are more sites below us.
We were told that we could walk to the State Beach and see creatures in the tide pools. Neat, but first Max has to go check out his area.Once we got to the dog area, Max was taunted by prairie dogs. It was the funniest thing to see them pop up out of their holes and squeak at him. He really was confused!Here he is sniffing out a hole. Those little boogers were so quick I couldn’t get a picture of them, but I can promise Max won’t forget them!
We got Max settled back in the camper and headed down to the beach. We walked about 1/2 mile through a couple of trails and finally came to the beach.We saw the rocks on the beach and headed over to them to find some creatures.First one on the rocks is…….Haha…..Mike loves to climb and explore. Micheal and I were a bit more cautious about stepping on the rocks but we made it out there too. We looked all around and the only thing we saw was this.It probably isn’t anything but it looked squishy. This was a really pretty beach.It was very different than the Gulf Coast but still had it’s own beauty. Once we were done, we made the hike back up to the campground and just spent a relaxing evening looking at the stars. I didn’t get a good picture but this was the most beautiful nighttime sky! It was almost as if we were sitting in an Imax theater full of stars. It was absolutely amazing!
The next morning we get up and head to Solvang. I found a place that served Swedish pancakes and I couldn’t wait to try them. The drive to the city was gorgeous!We had the ocean to our left and the mountains in front of us.
We got to Solvang in about 30 mins and went straight for breakfast. Micheal has to have breakfast every morning…..even if its lunch before he gets up.
Welcome to Paula’s Pancake house. We waited about 20 minutes and got a seat inside. It kind of reminded us of a grandmother’s house with its pink flowered wall paper and mismatched chairs. The pancake, however, was amazing.It is a little bit thicker than a crepe and was so sweet I didn’t even eat my syrup with it. Plus I hate when the powdered sugar gets washed away! I don’t know what the guys got, I was to busy eating my breakfast and yes I ate the whole thing!
After we finished eating we began to wonder around town.Just like I read, this place is full of wineries, bakeries, and some restaurants. The wineries were little shop fronts that offered tastings and some even had club memberships. We did go into one for a tasting but it wasn’t that good and I didn’t even get a picture of it.
Now we did get our souvenir ornament from this gorgeous Christmas Shoppe.Then we walked down to the town square where the Hans Christian Anderson museum was.The museum was free and on the second story of a coffee shop. It really wasn’t a museum, it was more like a room with some pictures and a few facts.Micheal was not impressed….At least it was free.
Down the street was a replica of the Little Mermaid statue from Copenhagen.And of course no Dutch town would be complete without…….a windmill. This was really a fun town to explore and if I hadn’t eaten that big pancake I would have had some sweet treats to share with you.
After a few hours we decide to head back home. I was hoping to stop in at a couple of vineyards on the way out but sadly everything closed early that day. Oh well, I guess it gives me a reason to go back. We really took our time going back to the campground. This was the street that took us into Solvang. It was lined with grapevines on either side. I guess I was really enjoying the view because I didn’t get any pictures of the wineries or the vineyards.
Then once we were back on Hwy 1 we got the ocean view again. I saw a few cars parked on the side of the road, so we stopped (mostly because I am nosey) and we saw a trail that took you to the water.This is looking toward where we parked. We had to cross over train tracks and then down this path. Sometimes Micheal needs a little push to do new things and that’s why we were taking so long to catch up to Mike. We eventually made it to the edge of the cliff.You could never get tired of a view like that!
Mike found a trail that took you down to the water, so naturally he went.Once he got down, he realized there wasn’t much beach.Here I am making sure I don’t have to call 911 for Mike. This was looking to the right. It almost doesn’t seem like the same coastline, but it is.I would have liked to stay until sundown, but the boys got hungry.I did get Micheal to do something daring. Well for him anyways.
We had a another great starry night that night and then hooked up the next morning. We got out of our tight campsite and headed to Monterrey, CA.
If you ever find yourself stuck between L.A. and San Fran, I suggest stopping off for some pancakes and wine!
For my birthday I wanted to ride roller coasters with Micheal, see Radiator Springs, and eat my very own turkey leg. The only place to do that is at Disneyland and of course all my dreams came true.
Our campground offered a shuttle service to the park, so we hopped on the shuttle that morning and in 10 minutes we were at Disneyland. Unlike Disneyworld, both of the park entrances are facing each other. So that means doing both parks in one day is very easy.After learning this we decided to do a park hopper because you can’t go to just one park. (That is what Mike told me anyway).
We decided to go to California Adventures first because I was so excited to walk down the street of Radiator Springs. First, we had to go get our fastpass for Radiator Racers. It is the most popular ride in the park and we got a time to ride it at 2:00-3:00 that afternoon. Awesome! Now we head to Radiator Springs.I am dying!!! Micheal and I watched Cars so many times when he was little and to get to see the town with him was so much fun. Mater’s junkyard filled with……tractors, of course. Then we see….Fillmore’s fuel station. Next was…..Sarge’s Surplus. Had Micheal been a few years younger, we would have spent a lot of money in this store. Then I turn around and……it’s the Cozy cone!! Mater has made an appearance at the front door. We go on down the street and come to Luigi’s. Guess who was hanging out….Micheal was not happy about this but he humored me…. You know he is to cool for Red. Across from Luigi’s is…..and then Ramone’s next door.We were almost to the end of the street when I saw the founder….Stanley.I love his gold tooth! At the end of the street is the ride Radiator Racers. I know we got a fast pass but I can’t wait all day to ride and the lane didn’t look that long. The wait was 45 minutes and it was worth it! (this was the longest wait all day).Some of the sights along the way….a really cute fountain and then we see it……a racer! Isn’t she cute? These cars hold 6 people in them.Three in the front and three in the back. Just perfect for my sweet family. As you can tell by the seatbelts, this ride is mild but very fun.We are in line waiting for the big race. We headed out side and the Cars music is playing, we round the curve and there is the waterfall from the movie. Amazing!We go back inside and go through town where we see all the characters.We also saw Fillmore, the Sheriff, and all the tractors! But before you race, you have to stop by Luigi’s for a pitstop.We are almost ready….but first we get a pep talk from Doc. We arrive at the starting line with another car beside and 3…2…1….off we go!!!! I think we crossed the finish line first but it was close. What a great ride.
Once we left Cars Land we went to couple of stores to look around. Mike wandered off for a minute and when he came back, he gave me this.This made the day even more special! Every Disneyland worker made it a point to tell me Happy Birthday. I even passed one guy twice and he said it both times. It was really nice!
Now ever since we went to Hershey Park last year, Micheal has gotten on the “big” rides. So he was ready for a fast one. We headed down to Paradise Pier
and the boys went straight to the California Screamin. Micheal loved every minute. I was very proud of him! I was 15 before I rode anything like that.
We rode a few more rides that really just spun around in circles and then my tummy said enough! It was now time to eat a Turkey Leg!!!That’s right…you go girl! I did share some of it with Mike. Then after all that salty meat I needed something sweet…..Wow! It was the best birthday meal ever! Mike had a brownie sundae and I got a chocolate milkshake. We didn’t do a birthday cake because 1) there is only 3 of us and 2) we had no space for it in the camper. This milkshake was perfect!!
After we came off our sugar highs we decided we needed to get to Disneyland. We did have to get back on the shuttle and take Max potty but that only took 30 minutes. So we get back and head on in.
We get through the gate and start down Main Street.Do you see it? The castle I mean? We could not get over how small it was.
Anyways, we were headed to Space Mountain. Another one of Micheal’s favorites but we stopped when we saw Star Tours.
We waited maybe 20 minutes and it went by fast because of all the entertainment inside.
C3PO was so funny.We got our 3d glasses on…..took a seat, buckled in and thats when things got fun. Well not so much for Mike, he doesn’t do really well with these rides but I think I got to laughing so hard it took his mind off it. We rode this twice. The second time we came out and Micheal was inspired to make a lightsaber.Turns out Mike knows a lot about computers but this was a bit of a challenge…haha. It turned out great and Micheal loved it. Now its time for Space Mountain.I did not ride this ride! I don’t like being tossed around in the dark. The End!
After the boys got off, we decided to walk around just a few more minutes and go back to California Adventure. We still had our fast pass and when it gets dark all the neon is lit in Radiator Springs and we were told that couldn’t be missed. So,we headed back to Paradise Pier so I could ride California Screamin with Micheal (super fun) and then we went straight back to Cars Land.
That’s when this happened…..Oh hi, Miranda. She was sweet and told me Happy Birthday too.
After my star sighting (Micheal ran to the bathroom because he was so embarrassed) we got back on Radiator Racers. It was still fun the second time around. Then the sun started to go down and thats when it got pretty.
I didn’t take my “big” camera so the neon wasn’t as crisp as I would have liked but you get the idea.
Once we rode the racers again we decided to go back to our camper to enjoy the fireworks. I know it’s not the same as being in the park but we were all pretty tired from the day.
I really, really enjoyed my birthday! Mike and Micheal made it such a special day! Here are some more pictures from the day.
Coming up….experiencing Dutch life in a “sunny meadow”.
We said goodbye to Las Vegas and headed to Los Angeles!
We stopped at the rest area (for a photo of course)
and decided that the snake warnings were just a natural thing out west. (There was one in Arizona and Nevada too).
Even Max was happy about making it all the way across the country. (This is his California Dreamin face). We get back into the truck, head down the road a bit and see a sign that states we would be stopped for inspection. Did we leave America? Nope!
So we get in line to be inspected……(Notice the other campers and motor homes) For some reason these fine folks in front of us just got waved on through, but not us. Maybe it was the Alabama tag on the front that did it. Anyway, we get stopped and we were asked if we had brought any apples, peaches or pecans from Alabama. Mike told the guy we had been traveling for 6 weeks and all our fruits were from Nevada. The inspector then looked us both and said, “Are you sure, you are from Alabama because you don’t look like it.” Mike and I looked at each other and laughed.
Once we got the third degree about our fruits and our non-southern looks, we headed on to Anaheim. We chose to stay in that part of town because surprisingly there are no campgrounds in Beverly Hills.
We went from a nice drive through the mountains, with wide lanes…..
to overcrowded interstate with transfer trucks on one side and tour buses on the other.
We finally got to Anaheim Rv Resort, alive and without any bumps! Yay!! I didn’t get any pictures of our site or the campground, sadly, but let me tell you we were very pleased. I took Max to the dog walk and there was grass!!! I know he was so happy and had it not been a dog walk I would have taken my shoes off just to have my toes in it. One of the reasons we chose this park was because of it’s closeness to Disneyland and on their website they said we could see the Disneyland fireworks from the campground. So, every night at 9:30 we watched the fireworks, it was amazing!
What an end to our first night in Cali. It made up for the horrible, terrifying driving experience.
The next morning we decided to go into L.A. to take in the sites. First on the list was the Hollywood sign. Before we left on this trip we asked Micheal what he wanted to see and this was the only thing he could think of. So, I typed Hollywood sign into the GPS and little did we know that she was taking us on an adventure. I trust google maps a little to much. As we are headed into L.A. the traffic is stop and go, stop and go, stop and go, and stop and go. It took forever to get downtown! Once we got closer, we realized we were headed to the Griffith Park Observatory. Mike is a little nervous because he thought we were going to a little park below the sign but our sweet google maps was trying to take us to the sign. Once we got into the park area I told Mike to just drive as high as we could and we would find a parking spot. We climbed up this mountain and finally found a place to pull into and park. We got out of the truck and walked back down the hill a bit and boy, was it beautiful! One thing about L.A. is the smog is always thick!
Then my sweet Sugarboog got to see the Hollywood sign…….After about 5 minutes the boys were ready to go. So we get back into the truck, did a u-turn on the mountain and headed into downtown L.A.
We didn’t actually stop and park in L.A. so all of my pictures are from the passenger side. This wasn’t one of the towns we wanted to explore but it was cool to see some of the sights in person.
The famous Capitol Records building.
Grumman’s Chinese Theater…….and then we rolled into Beverly Hills!
I kept looking for the hillbillies but they must have been busy…..I never really saw any big mansions, I guess those are on private roads.
Anyways, we were in search for Rodeo Drive and after a few wrong turns, we found it.See the sign? It’s above the you may walk now man.It is a very narrow street with the loveliest palm trees! At first it just looked like any other street until……..I see the yellow Rolls Royce and in front of us…….a really pretty Bentley. There are of course stores on this street.and…..this person’s store…..(I didn’t know most of them)…andMr. Vuitton’s. I really wanted to walk around and have that Pretty Woman moment but sadly there was no parking for the F350.
At the end of Rodeo Drive is…The Beverly Wilshire Hotel. This was cool!
Now after driving around we decided to go to Santa Monica. It was gorgeous! We parked at a bank (for 10.00) and walked straight to the pier. Well sort of to the pier. This is taken from the street in the picture above. You really can’t believe the beauty in mountains that meet the ocean. Simply breathtaking.
The street that runs along these houses is the Pacific Coast Hwy or Hwy 1. ( We have more adventures on Hwy 1 that will show how neat of a road it is)This is Santa Monica Pier. It was very busy!!! We opted to just look at it from afar. We did however walk down to the beach.It was a great day to fly a kite…..obviously.He has officially been from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean just like me when I was younger. Now the sand on this beach was not like the white sand on the Gulf. It was like a gritty play sand. It wasn’t my favorite but the folks hanging on the beach don’t know the difference…..poor things!It was a beautiful day at the beach!This is the bike trail that runs all the way to Venice Beach from Santa Monica. Next time we will bring our bikes and ride down that way. In California, you should just take your bike every where you go.
Well we have walked so much, according to Micheal, that it is now time to eat. I didn’t have anything researched so we went to the first place we came to. The Water Grille. It is the restaurant with the black facade. Sorry, this was all I had of the front, but once inside…..wow!This was the view from our table. Now lets get to the food.Mike ordered a fish and some cole slaw. Yummy, but my mouth is still watering over my…..drumroll please…..Buttery lobster roll…..see the butter oozing from the bread. I would brave all the traffic in L.A. just to eat this again.
Moving on…..as we walked back to the truck we came up on a shopping area that was fun. There was a lady that would read your fortune to an amish looking man singing Van Morrison and Michael Buble songs.
I have video of the amish man but once again I can’t load it. We have decided to do a Youtube page to load our videos but that is a work in progress.
As we headed back to the camper I told Mike that I had to ride my bike on one of the many bike trails. So , that what’s we will do tomorrow, after some research of course.
So I read about a place called Seal Beach. It is a quit little seaside town off Hwy 1 that didn’t require us to travel on any major interstate. Down from Seal Beach was a small state park with a bike trail that went to Huntington Beach. So we head down to the Pacific Coast Hwy in search of the bike trail.Along the way we passed an old naval base with gorgeous views.We get to the park unload our bikes and see a sign that says we are 8 miles from Huntington Beach. No biggie! We just don’t tell Micheal. He isn’t to thrilled with a long bike ride.Yes it was just chilly enough to have on a sweatshirt. One thing we noticed were all the oil rigs that you could see from the shore. It sort of took away from the wonder of the ocean but there was beauty elsewhere.The landscape changes so much in California.Here is the happy boy! Taking a break. In all honesty his bike is not fun to ride on, how do I know? Well on the way back we switched bikes. I didn’t make him go on long bike rides after that!
So we get into Huntington Beach and there is a dog beach with so many dogs running around, I wouldn’t be able to remove my shoes to walk in the sand. That’s just me getting grossed out about stuff but the dogs were loving it. I am not sure what was going on here but it seems very popular. People were renting those big bikes and geez it got crazy trying to dodge them but luckily no one got hurt.Surf lessons and food. Look at the pay phone…..that is awesome. We didn’t stay long but we saw enough to make us want to visit again. Next time by car so we could walk around the shops.
Once back at the camper we had dinner and you guessed it….fireworks at 9:30.This was from inside our camper….it makes me happy.
Today we are headed into Las Vegas but first we need breakfast. I read really good reviews about a place called The Famous Coffee Cup, so we went.
Boy was it yummy!
You know if Guy comes to eat it has to be good.
Not a bad start to my day.
Due to the high volume of food Mike and I have been consuming lately, we decide to share. I think Mike is rethinking this decision here. We ordered the F.B.L.T. with fried potatoes and Micheal got pancakes.
We actually came back for lunch one day for this sandwich. We didn’t share the next time! Now we are ready for Vegas baby!
When I think of Vegas, I think of Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Wayne Newton. Sadly, those days are gone. I have mixed feelings about visiting this city. The hotels in this city are amazing but the city streets were filled with unimaginable things. It is sad to not be able to enjoy iconic cities with your child without having to tell them to look down every 5 minutes. Anyway, I am going to focus only on the good stuff we saw.
We stopped by the office of our campground to get some tips on parking and off we went. We were only about 12 miles from Las Vegas so it didn’t take us long to get there. First, I wanted to see everything from the truck so we drove down the strip.
Then turned back around to find the parking area that we were told we could fit in. Well we realized we were headed straight for a parking garage and Mike was not about to try to squeeze us in. So I decided to see where people park with their campers when they come in for a night or two. We found that parking lot and guess what…..It was free! We pulled in behind Ballys Casino and parked. I called Ballys just to make sure we didn’t get towed and bam! FREE PARKING!! Yay! We walked two blocks and just like that we were on the strip.
There were a couple of hotels I wanted to go to and I wanted to see the fountain at the Bellagio. I didn’t know about the Paris Hotel, so that was a bonus!We went into the Paris hotel and it was so neat!The whole ceiling was painted like the sky and part of the Eiffel Tower’s legs were in the lobby. You could pay to ride the elevator to the top of the tower and walk across the bridge.The gift shops looked like chateaus. It was all so charming, you almost forgot you were in a casino.This was a theater in the back of the lobby. I loved all the silhouettes! This is were Micheal saw his first cocktail waitress. Now she was covered with a long tailed coat so it wasn’t to revealing but to a 12 year old it was embarrassing. Anyway, we decided to look for our ornament souvenir here.I didn’t get an Eiffel Tower ornament. I am saving that one for when I do go to Paris! Haha!
Once back out on the street, Micheal let us know he was getting hungry. I normally have it planned where we are going to eat so we don’t get caught at a gross place but this time we were winging it. Then we found Pinks.Paul and Betty Pink began selling hot dogs from a cart on a neighborhood street corner in 1939. The chill dogs became so popular that the Pinks decided to open a store and 75 years later Pinks can be found in many different locations. Micheal loves hot dogs, plain, of course so we go in and decide on a plain hot dog (that was 5.00! yikes!) and Mike and I shared a cheeseburger. Micheal can be very picky when it comes to his food. If he gets a taste of something then everything has to taste that way, so I told him nicely, that he was going to eat this 5.00 hot dog and love it! As you can see, he tried it and told me it was ok. Which meant he ate it but he would never want another one again….haha. Our cheeseburger was delicious!
Now that our bellies are full we decided to go down to the New York Hotel because……… duh!!!! Along the way we saw the Harley Store.
Then we saw this big Coke bottle.
We also saw Elvis (the skinny one), Michael Jackson, and Johnny Depp. I didn’t take pictures because I knew y’all would believe me!
One thing I think Vegas has right are all the escalators and pedestrian walkways over the streets.
It is official! I have seen been to Lady Liberty on the East and West coasts!
As we came to the door, I noticed the handles.Awesome!
Inside wasn’t romantic like the Paris Hotel….Haha.
We were greeted by this amazingly yummy statue. Nobody licked it! I promise!
Then once in the lobby, we were greeted by a shopping area. Complete with….you guessed it, a Starbucks.Around the corner was a crepe shop, an Irish pub and a deli.Look, it even has cobble stone streets and a fake sewer. There was also an apartment building. I loved all the details in these hotels!
By this time Micheal is getting restless so we head down to the Bellagio fountain. We didn’t have to wait long before we hear this Italian man singing opera and then the water was moving to the music!It was fun to watch!
I did enjoy some of Las Vegas, I just hate that Micheal was exposed to certain things. Lesson learned!
After rolling down I-40 west the past few weeks we take a turn North to Las Vegas. The scenery changed a bit on the way. We lost sight of trees and grass…sadly…but every place has beauty in it.
Mike wasn’t able to get many pictures due to work but this was about what we saw the whole trip. In my original plans I was going to get us a spot in Las Vegas. Now where do you park a camper in Las Vegas? Let me tell you, no where! Just kidding. There are several campgrounds in Vegas but after asking a few folks on the road, we were told to stay outside of Vegas. So I found a place in Boulder City, NV.
This is Canyon Trail RV Park. Look at the dirt. It makes me wonder if people get tired of looking at grass when they come visit Alabama. I can’t imagine they could but anyways, this was a very nice campground. We had plenty of room and met some very nice people.
Normally, we would put out our rug but the wind was so fierce that we couldn’t keep anything to stay put. As a matter of fact one night I was up until 4:00 in the morning listening to the wind knock the camper around like we were in a boxing match. We did win and by that I mean we didn’t get blown over.
I was really happy with Boulder City. I love history and this city did not disappoint! I found a museum for this town in the historic hotel, Boulder Dam Hotel.
This is a great museum and cost us 3 dollars to get in, so that was another bonus! So, after the decision was made to build the Hoover Dam, during the great depression, people from all over came looking for work. These men and their families set up tents in the desert until the work began. Then the workers were moved into Boulder City. Boulder City was a government town. So to get in you had to stop by the gate and you would get a pass.
After stopping by the gate and getting permission to enter, you would then see the City Manager to let him know what kind of business you had there. If that was approved and you had to stay over for the night that would have to be approved to.
Note the scavenger hunt. Micheal loves these so that was another bonus. I might have gotten a few answers from him at the end.
What I love the most is learning how people lived during this time. I feel like I know what she is talking about. What would you take? We have been on the road for 8 weeks now and I certainly have a better understanding of this question. Of course these people weren’t dragging their house behind them nor did they have a travel app to tell you how far the next gas station was. So I really would not want to travel as these people had to.
As we are looking at this exhibit there was a lady talking about how she brought her ironing board. Once she got out in the desert and it was hot and windy they realized that the ironing board was better used as a bench. (bottom right)
So the story goes that the wind would blow the dirt into the house and cupboards. Then every morning the woman would shovel the dirt off the floor and then clean all the dishes that were in the cupboard. I opened that cabinet and the dishes inside were filled with dirt. Yikes! I can’t imagine what that would have been like.
This poor child was playing in a forbidden yard. While running across the tar barrel tops, she fell in. Luckily most of the tar got on her clothes, the tar on her skin was removed by a gasoline bath. Ouch!
There were 5,ooo men who worked on the Hoover Dam. Blasting and chipping away at the rock.Not one of them had a hard hat. So one man took two baseball caps, placed them together and dipped them into tar. Once the company got wind that the men were doing this they ordered hard hats for all the men and thats how hard hats became a part of construction work.On a side note. If you read our ticket to get into the city. One of the questions was how many men were buried in the wall. The answer is none. Oh sure there were men that would fall into the cement and die, but the workers were given strict orders to remove the body. So when the men scaled down the wall and came to a hand or foot sticking out of the wall, they chipped away at the cement and removed the body.
I love this picture. It took five years to build this dam. I think that is amazing considering it takes that long to repave sections of our interstates and highways.
After leaving the museum, Micheal and I decided to wonder around a bit. This town is lovely and if you love little antique shops, this is your place.
This was a really fun shop! Just filled with knick knacks and antiques from the 1980’s. Yikes! You could spend an hour in this store looking around but when you have a 12 year old boy with you 20 minutes was enough for him. I bet you didn’t know this even existed! I didn’t.
Once inside the owner was encouraging us to touch everything. Micheal was loving it. There were hats, rugs, and capes. Just to name a few things. Before we left the owner showed us a picture of an alpaca before being shaved and after. Poor thing looked pitiful!
There are quite a few statues around town but this one was the most interesting.
This is Alabam. That wasn’t his name, its just what everybody called him. He was hired to clean the outhouses. That meant keeping them swept out, throwing limes down the holes and restocking the toilet paper. This was his only job. I can imagine he stayed very busy!
There was another site to behold in Boulder City. That was Lake Mead.
The Neveda welcome center was closed so we visited the Lake Mead visitors center.
These palm trees were out side the center. Once inside we were told about a film about life on the lake and in the back of the building was more information about Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. (We did watch the film because Micheal likes that sort of thing)
These ringbolts are still along the canyon walls. The rings were used as a pulley system to pull boats with supplies up the river. There was also a section on the wildlife that we could see around Boulder City. I was so disappointed! This is a roadrunner? That means all my life Looney Tunes has lied! I still can’t believe they are this small.
After talking with the park rangers we discovered a bike trail that would take you to the Hoover Dam. It runs through the tunnels that were used by the old railway to take supplies to the dam for building. It was only 3.3 miles one way. I didn’t think that was to bad, but I would soon see how bad it could be.
The next day we loaded up the bikes and headed out! The trail starts by the Lake Mead Visitors Center. It starts out as a paved path and becomes a dirt path.
The view on the trail was really nice.
We knew there would be tunnels but we were not prepared for how amazing they would be.There is timber at the entrance and exit of the tunnels for support. There are also bats that live in the tunnels but fortunately they were all on vacation!
The inside was one big rock! I know it is a mountain but to see inside is incredible!
On a side note, I know that my bike isn’t exactly what you would call a dirt trail bike but with a seat that big to protect from the bumps and a basket to hold sunscreen and water, I think it was perfect for this trip!
We got to this sign and had to make a decision. We decided to take the shortcut back and go see the boneyard exhibit. Well we didn’t see the boneyard anywhere but Mike did spot this guy.If you ever get the story about seeing the lizard on the trail from Micheal, he will probably talk more about how his leg was almost severed off when Mike yelled excitedly at him to stop and look to his left, no your other left. Fortunately, Micheal didn’t loose his leg and the lizard probably thought we were crazy!
We got to a point where we couldn’t take our bikes, so we parked them. You could hear the electricity buzzing through the lines here.Then we continued to walk down the trail and then got to some steps which took us to the parking garage of the dam. For any of you planning on going to the dam, it is 10.00 to park. I preferred the free ride on my bike!
Everything is done in 1930’s art deco which is one of my favorites. I love the passion and spirit people had back in those days.
So on one side of the dam you are in Arizona and then we are standing on the Nevada side.
You can almost see the size by looking at the tiny trucks parked on the bottom.This is the interstate and bridge. I will show you that in a bit. Let’s face it, this is very impressive for the 1930’s and built in the desert with no air conditioning!
Now we also decided not to take the Hoover Dam tour. As I stated before we knew some things we really wanted to do and the tour wasn’t on the list. Maybe some other time.
After walking around a bit we head into the gift shop and find our ornament. Then we convinced Micheal that he could eat the snacks we brought and we would promise to feed him when we got back. We got back on our bikes.
Some of the trail was up hill going back and that wasn’t the problem. The problem was the 20-30 mph winds that The Weather Channel had warned us about earlier that morning. The winds weren’t blowing from behind either, we were pedaling straight into them. I would pedal so hard and I would barely move. I took some video but I can’t get it to load.
Let me tell you, my bike was a champ!
I think everyone enjoyed the ride. Even though this one told me multiply times, he wasn’t going to make it. Well he probably surprised himself because he made it!
After a few days of rest for the bikers we decided to go see the dam from the bridge that runs along the interstate. This time we drove because the parking lot was fairly big, well big enough anyway and it is separate from the Hoover Dam parking garage.
Once we got there, we had to walk up several flights of stairs and then we got to the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge.
I did learn the white part of the rock shows when the river is at its fullest. There is a pretty bad drought going on out here and I think it is only going to get worse.
This is what happens when you ask someone that probably was foreign and a little older to take your families picture with your iPhone. You hand it to him and he asks if he just has to press the white button. Yes, press the white button. He pressed the white button, the home button. I know he pressed it 3 times. So we took a selfie. It’s a really nice picture of the road below us! Haha!
I am feeling a little bit behind in my blog. It is hard to get caught up with the internet being so slow in the campgrounds. Sometimes I can only load about 3 pictures a day. So I have tried staying up late and that doesn’t work either. So I have to hit the Barnes and Noble or Starbucks in town to load pictures. I consider it a win either way. Plus it’s always fun to people watch!
While we were in Williams we realized that we were a day trip away from Sedona, AZ. I had heard that the drive was beautiful and I love a good drive, so off we went. We were not disappointed, the drive on 89A is spectacular!
You start at the top and go all the way down. It drops a thousand feet. Our water bottles were collapsing on themselves due to the pressure. It was pretty cool!
On 89A, you can stop to hike, play at Sliding Rock State Park, go camping, or just stop and take pictures.
When we get into these towns we never know if we are going to find any parking. Parking garages scare Mike and frankly we never know if we are really going to fit. Today God had us a spot right as we pulled into town and it was FREE! Free parking is hard to come by we are finding.
In my own opinion, Sedona is very touristy! There are a lot of shops that sell Indian stuff and t-shirts. It really reminded me of Gatlinburg. But it’s the scenery behind the shops that makes Sedona a really cool place.
Every time you walked out of a store this is what you would see. I loved it! Of course there is the Pink Jeep Plaza. The Pink Jeep tours take you through the Red Rock Park and you can climb rocks in pink Jeeps.
We are being picky about what kind of tours we spend our money on and nobody really wanted to do it, so we didn’t do it. Sometimes just getting into town and sightseeing is plenty.
Well we couldn’t come all this way and not eat, right? If you look past the pink Jeep, you will see the Cowboy Club. I read that they had some different types of food and I thought it would be fun to try it. Not everybody shares my enthusiasm!
This place was full of cowboys.
Anyways, all the waiters had holsters with guns, cowboy hats and tight jeans. (Not the sparkly kind that Luke Bryan wears though). Our cowboy was named John and he recommended the rattlesnake sausage. They had a sampler platter so we just decided to go with that and a few other things, just in case the sampler didn’t work out.So here we have onion rings, chicken wings, and our sampler. In the bucket are cactus fries, with the rattlesnake beside it, and buffalo skewers in a cilantro flatbread. First I am not a big fan of sausage but I really liked the flavor of this. It came with a tangy dipping sauce and wow, it was yummy. The cactus fries were not so good though. My favorite was the cilantro flatbread and Thai peanut dipping sauce. ( I bet you didn’t know cowboys ate Thai peanut sauce). I was proud of Micheal for eating rattlesnake that day!
After our snack, that’s what the boys called it, we headed back down the other side of the street to look at more Indian stuff and decided to head back to Williams.
It isn’t a long distance from Sedona to Williams but because the road is so curvy it takes longer. So by the time we got back the boys were hungry, that’s where Mike always come to the rescue!
The next morning we decided to lay low and hang around Williams. We heard about a really nice golf course so we went.
This was a beautiful course! Not really busy either, so it made for a relaxing afternoon.
Our time in Williams was great! I think it is a great home base for the Grand Canyon.