No trip to San Francisco would be complete without a trip to Alcatraz. So I ordered tickets online and got us an early time to get on the Alcatraz boat.   I assumed we would be able to take the ferry into the city again but I found out that the ferry didn’t run early enough for us to make it in time to catch the boat to Alcatraz. So, we had to ride the bus into the city. This wasn’t that big of a deal because the bus stop was closer to the campground than the ferry and we would be going over the Golden Gate Bridge.


One of us was very eager so early in the morning. We only waited about 5 minutes and our bus arrived.

IMG_4849Here it is…..We got on, paid our fare and away we went.


It was a great ride and we all got to enjoy the sights.DSC_0723

There is the city. Then before I knew it we were at the Golden Gate Bridge.

DSC_0726This is the only picture I got from the bus……DSC_0728

Haha! It all happened so fast and before I knew it we were off.


I hope to be able to explore the bridge more the next time we go. Anyway, our bus stop was close to the Ferry Building and the Alcatraz building is just a short walk from there.DSC_0721

Ta-da….it took us about 5 minutes to walk to the building and after we showed our tickets we boarded the Alcatraz Flyer.DSC_0741

The ride out was gorgeous! The day was beautiful and we were excited to explore.DSC_0743

Leaving San Fran….


passing the Golden Gate….DSC_0756

and arriving at Alcatraz. We got off the boat and there was lady telling us about the different parts of the island and when Micheal heard there was a movie that’s the first place we went. Micheal loves to watch historical movies…..and youtube…Haha.DSC_0771

Along the way to the first building we saw signs welcoming the Indians. DSC_0770


I didn’t understand this until we watched the film and during the 1970’s someone came up with the bright idea to let the Indians live on the island. It didn’t last long because duh…..The buildings were all ready showing signs of wear which is why they moved the prisoners out about 10-15 years earlier. Another interesting fact was that families lived on the island with the inmates…..DSC_0779

One woman who grew up on the island said she never saw any of the prisoners, but would occasionally hear them if they got riled up.

When we finished the film, we headed towards the prison. We were quite surprised to find so many stairs and hills to climb. DSC_0783

Once we made it to the top of the stairs, we were treated to an amazing view.DSC_0786

There is a society that keeps the grounds up and there are several species of birds living  on the island.

We made our way into the prison and got our headsets for the audio tour. This is included in the price of the ticket and we were excited to hear more about this place.DSC_0788

First place is the shower room. Yikes!DSC_0790

Then, we headed into the cell halls and the audio told us to head down Michigan Avenue. All the halls are labeled so it made it very easy to get around.DSC_0792

The only problem with an audio tour was we kept losing Micheal.DSC_0797 Mike and I would stop to talk about some of the things we were hearing and the next thing you know Micheal would be gone.DSC_0815 Lost in his own audio world.

We came across the poster of the famous inmates. DSC_0808

Maybe Al Capone thought he was going to an island resort. He looked very happy in his mugshot.


Another interesting fact we learned was that the inmates kept themselves very busy by crocheting, knitting, and drawing. Several inmates were allowed instruments and would play into the night entertaining the other inmates.


The inmates could also hear the New Year’s Eve celebrations from across the bay. This was the view from a window that the prisoners could look out of.DSC_0836

We learned of two incidents in the prison. First, was a hostile takeover. This incident was so bad that the military showed up and had to cut holes in the ceiling where the prisoners were holding some of the guards hostage……

This room was gated all around….DSC_0828

and at the very top was the hole.DSC_0829

Grenades were dropped from the ceiling and landed on the floor all around the prisoners….DSC_0827

The white spots are where the grenades went off…..this is very exciting stuff for Micheal!

Then there was the time four inmates used a spoon to dig a hole through the wall. These men made paper mache heads and attached real hair from their haircuts to the fake heads. They put these dummies in the beds and fooled the guards. This is like MacGyver!DSC_0864

We didn’t get to see the real heads used for the escape but we did see a remake of one. This was one of the actual cells.DSC_0865


I could see how this worked for the men.


Here is another hole that had been dug out. Once they got through the hole they were able to climb in between the walls and out of the building. After that nobody knows what happened to them. One theory is that one of the men who had been learning Spanish possibly made it to South America.

As we headed out of the cell house….DSC_0871

we came to the kitchen and cafeteria.


You can see the knife silhouettes were painted on the wall. The inmates would help in the kitchen and this was how the cooks knew that all the knives had been replaced. We also got to see where the inmates had there dental exams….DSC_0880

and their surgeries, if needed. I don’t think they gave out free tooth brushes and stickers here!DSC_0883

After heading through the rest of the building we made it outside….and thats when I felt like this could have been a very peaceful place for these poor men.DSC_0860

I love how you can see the streets in perfect little lines. DSC_0861

I love all the sailboats. Here is a video I took….

WOW!! So we didn’t get to see everything at Alcatraz because it was getting late in the day and we wanted to see one more thing in San Francisco …Lombard Street. We got back on the boat, got back to San Fran and followed our google map to this famous street. Little did we realize we were headed straight up!DSC_0892

Once at the top of this first hill, we took a break.DSC_0893

We clearly weren’t done climbing.DSC_0895

Micheal told us that this street better be worth seeing after climbing all the streets…..DSC_0897

Just to give you an idea of what kind of crazy people we are. Yes we know there are cable cars but they were so packed we didn’t want to cram ourselves in. We finally made it!DSC_0900

I think someone is happy to see it! Micheal on the other hand was not as excited. Especially, after we told him we were climbing to the top of Lombard street so we could see the view up there. DSC_0899

Here is some video I shot. Traffic probably wouldn’t be so bad if the people didn’t stand in the middle of the road. But that’s just my own opinion.

He did walk up, with the promise of eating afterwards. I don’t know how the owners of the houses feel about all the foot traffic but we were happy to have the chance to explore the street. This was at the top of the street.DSC_0901

Once we got to the top, we saw the cable car. Haha, that’s when I had to confess to Micheal that we could have taken the cable car. I am pretty sure he won’t ever let me forget this afternoon.DSC_0902

After all this climbing we were hungry so we headed toward Ghirardelli Square to eat dinner. I thought the option for a chocolate sundae would be good after a long day. So down the hills we went. DSC_0904

Such a beautiful city and the views never disappointed us.


The square was filled with restaurants and shops. We chose to eat at The Pub for some BBQ. DSC_0910

It was pretty good. When we finished eating I was to full for ice cream…so sad. We were all pretty tired so we decided to head back to the ferry. No bus trip back for us. It was good but not as comfortable as the ferry. DSC_0914

Along the way we passed Fisherman’s Wharf.


There were shops and restaurants along this street. We did get to see the famous Boudin Bakery. They have been making sourdough bread since 1849 and they make delicious animal shaped bread.DSC_0916


I loved our visit to San Francisco! I hope to return and see more of this gorgeous city!



The Patricks take on Alcatraz 2015

Next up we start heading home..first stop, Nevada

San Francisco


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….DSC_0571

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.IMG_4870

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……IMG_4869

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.IMG_4794

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….DSC_0576

We purchased our tickets which were about 60.00 round trip ….ouch! We boarded the ferry and away we went!DSC_0577

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!DSC_0579

We also passed San Quentin again…..DSC_0589

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.DSC_0651


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.IMG_4840


Another food I like is cheese….IMG_4843

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.DSC_0671

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.IMG_4818

This is where google maps led us….to an alley and there it was.IMG_4819

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…IMG_4837

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.IMG_4828

It was pretty good pizza and gave us just enough energy to finish out our sightseeing.IMG_4829

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…DSC_0674

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 39DSC_0718

and we went straight to the sea lions. DSC_0692

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. DSC_0720

We found the building for Alcatraz Tours on this street. DSC_0721

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!IMG_4805

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.


Next up…Alcatraz!

Big Sur…prises!

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!

DSC_0329 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……DSC_0338See 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….IMG_4768Not 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…..DSC_0326Once again back into the woods and then this happens……

DSC_0349I 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.IMG_4776I love how small you can feel next to the sea. These are some of the photos Mike captured on the edge…DSC_0355Looking straight down…DSC_0359To his left….DSC_0356and to the right.

At this point we were trying to figure out how to live the truck…on the coast:)

But we decided to continue on down the road and see if there was a better spot…..Haha.DSC_0361

It looks like you will be back in the hills when all of a sudden this happens…..
DSC_0369See the cow? That is the luckiest cow ever. I was surprised to see cows living on the coast.

Beyond the cow is a bridge……DSC_0395We pull in for a quick photo. This is the famous Bixby Bridge.

(side note…we did a lot of staring at the water)
DSC_0392This is the view that memorized Mike.

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.
DSC_0401We 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.
DSC_0400This bridge is in a lot movies and commercials. DSC_0405Oh 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. DSC_0406

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.DSC_0409Winding our way up the mountain…..DSC_0411But not without another stop to take another picture of the bridge.

There are several places to see in the Big Sur….DSC_0426 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…DSC_0434This was the only place we saw that had gas but we stopped mainly to pick up a souvenir. DSC_0436Here 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…..DSC_0438There 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.DSC_0467That’s when we happened upon this State Park….

When we pulled into this wooded area we were met with……DSC_0447these two cuties….this is the only wildlife we saw on our entire trip! Pretty exciting!

We made our way around to the LodgeDSC_0453Which 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….DSC_0457Finally!!! This is one thing I wanted to see……I know these aren’t the biggest trees in California but still amazing!DSC_0459

The bark is so different…..DSC_0461After 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???DSC_0543

We turn the sharp turn and see this….DSC_0468At least we know we are on the right track…..

Remember that narrow road sign? They weren’t kidding!

DSC_0534This was just wide enough for our big truck.

Mike was a nervous wreck…..and I was glad to be driving.DSC_0531Now remember from the sign, we have 2 miles.

It would have been nice to not have passed anybody but that’s not fun!

DSC_0539There 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.DSC_0470You 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 beachDSC_0472I was very excited because we have seen a lot of beaches here and they have all been so different….this one did not disappoint.DSC_0513I 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!

DSC_0481There were some waves coming in but nothing to big. DSC_0486Here 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.DSC_0488

Please enjoy these pictures of the water flowing through the arch.DSC_0495



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!DSC_0512

Love being with these two on this adventure!

Our trip down the narrow road was just as fun as going in DSC_0541This 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…..IMG_4789This time we got to sit in a Tiki hut!IMG_4788I 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!

Next up…a little golf outing on the beach.


Welcome to Sardine City

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.DSC_0601Vineyards, vineyards and more vineyards!DSC_0611Over the hills, these grapes were growing and I was thirsty….haha.

Once we got through wine country, the hilltop scenery changed….wow! DSC_0613Of course I had to get a picture of the animal warning sign. This one was a bear….yikes!
DSC_0617We 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.DSC_0619I 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.IMG_4722Good job, honey! After we got our truck parked, it looked like this.IMG_4719

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,IMG_4763and we walk….IMG_4764and then we walked some more….IMG_4754until, 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!IMG_4725The 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…DSC_0620side note….we did not eat here because I didn’t read any good reviews about the restaurants on the sea…

DSC_0622This 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.

IMG_4698Notice 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 SlidersIMG_4694YUM! We also ordered the Kona-Style WingsIMG_4695Delicious!

For dinner we decided to share the Blackened Ahi Steak Sandwich.IMG_4699It was so good! Then I ordered Jamaican Johnny Cakes for dessert.IMG_4696 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. DSC_0635

Not a bad parking spot if I do say so.

DSC_0637These are some of the old fishing warehouses.

Once we got past the sea views, we found this.
IMG_4718Cannery Row is full of sardine history, shops, restaurants, and hotels.

Walking further down the street we found this small square.

IMG_4706 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.IMG_4793Even with the sun it was still a nice 70 degrees. I love California!IMG_4792

Next adventure….Pebble Beach!!!

Pancakes and Wine in a Sunny Field

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. DSC_0600You couldn’t beat the location of this campground. We got registered and found our spot.IMG_4660We like to call this “between the hedges”. It was tight but the views were pretty amazing.DSC_0453See 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.DSC_0454This 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.IMG_4664Once 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!IMG_4666Here 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. DSC_0456We walked about 1/2 mile through a couple of trails and finally came to the beach.DSC_0458We saw the rocks on the beach and headed over to them to find some creatures.DSC_0460First one on the rocks is…….DSC_0464Haha…..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.DSC_0468 We looked all around and the only thing we saw was this.DSC_0476It probably isn’t anything but it looked squishy. This was a really pretty beach.DSC_0475It 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!DSC_0489We had the ocean to our left and DSC_0490the 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.

DSC_0510Welcome 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.IMG_4674It 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.DSC_0503Just 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.DSC_0519Then we walked down to the town square where the Hans Christian Anderson museum was.DSC_0520The 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.DSC_0522Micheal was not impressed….DSC_0524At least it was free.

Down the street was a replica of the Little Mermaid statue from Copenhagen.DSC_0537And of course no Dutch town would be complete without…….DSC_0530a 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. DSC_0550We 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. DSC_0558I 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.DSC_0560This 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.DSC_0561You could never get tired of a view like that!

Mike found a trail that took you down to the water, so naturally he went.DSC_0563Once he got down, he realized there wasn’t much beach.DSC_0573Here I am making sure I don’t have to call 911 for Mike. DSC_0577This was looking to the right. It almost doesn’t seem like the same coastline, but it is.DSC_0566I would have liked to stay until sundown, but the boys got hungry.DSC_0580I 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!DSC_0534


Magical Birthday

DSC_0380For 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.IMG_4577After 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).

I think he has forgotten about that long bike ride from yesterday.

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.DSC_0416I 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. DSC_0392Mater’s junkyard filled with……IMG_4554tractors, of course. Then we see….DSC_0391Fillmore’s fuel station. Next was…..DSC_0393Sarge’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……DSC_0398it’s the Cozy cone!! Mater has made an appearance at the front door. We go on down the street and come to DSC_0402Luigi’s. Guess who was hanging out….DSC_0404Micheal was not happy about this but he humored me…. You know he is to cool for Red. Across from Luigi’s is…..DSC_0399and then Ramone’s next door.DSC_0403We were almost to the end of the street when I saw the founder….Stanley.IMG_4619I 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. IMG_4543The wait was 45 minutes and it was worth it! (this was the longest wait all day).DSC_0407Some of the sights along the way….DSC_0409a really cute fountain and then we see it……DSC_0413a racer! Isn’t she cute? These cars hold 6 people in them.IMG_4532Three 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.IMG_4535We 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!IMG_4949We go back inside and go through town where we see all the characters.IMG_4540We also saw Fillmore, the Sheriff, and all the tractors! But before you race, you have to stop by Luigi’s for a pitstop.IMG_4950We are almost ready….IMG_4951but first we get a pep talk from Doc. IMG_4952We 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. IMG_4617
What a great ride. IMG_4542

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.IMG_4954This 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 PierDSC_0421

and the boys went straight to the California Screamin. DSC_0424Micheal 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!!!IMG_1176That’s right…you go girl! I did share some of it with Mike. Then after all that salty meat I needed something sweet…..IMG_4553Wow! 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.

IMG_4613We get through the gate and start down Main Street.IMG_4578Do you see it? The castle I mean? IMG_4591We 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.IMG_4582

We waited maybe 20 minutes and it went by fast because of all the entertainment inside.

C3PO was so funny.IMG_4584We got our 3d glasses on…..IMG_4585took 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.IMG_4586Turns 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.IMG_4588I 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…..IMG_4626Oh 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.IMG_1192





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”.

Everything’s just beachy.

DSC_0164We said goodbye to Las Vegas and headed to Los Angeles!

We stopped at the rest area (for a photo of course)DSC_0174

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……DSC_0179(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…..DSC_0186

to overcrowded interstate with transfer trucks on one side and tour buses on the other.

Yes, I took this picture while driving.  Don't be a photographer and drive!
Yes, I took this picture while driving but we were coming to a stop.


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!

This is not our camper. We are standing in front of ours.
This is not our camper. We are standing in front of ours.

IMG_4650What 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! IMG_4486 One thing about L.A. is the smog is always thick!

Then my sweet Sugarboog got to see the Hollywood sign…….IMG_4489After 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.DSC_0277

Grumman’s Chinese Theater…….and then we rolled into Beverly Hills!DSC_0284

DSC_0289I 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.DSC_0290See the sign? It’s above the you may walk now man.DSC_0292It is a very narrow street with the loveliest palm trees! At first it just looked like any other street until……..DSC_0294I see the yellow Rolls Royce and in front of us…….DSC_0293a really pretty Bentley.  There are of course stores on this street.DSC_0295and…..DSC_0296this person’s store…..(I didn’t know most of them)…andDSC_0297Mr. 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…DSC_0298The Beverly Wilshire Hotel. This was cool!

Now after driving around we decided to go to Santa Monica. DSC_0303It was gorgeous! We parked at a bank (for 10.00) and walked straight to the pier. Well sort of to the pier. DSC_0305This 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)DSC_0307This 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.DSC_0314It was a great day to fly a kite…..obviously.DSC_0320He 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!DSC_0324It was a beautiful day at the beach!DSC_0329This 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. DSC_0304The Water Grille. It is the restaurant with the black facade. Sorry, this was all I had of the front, but once inside…!IMG_4496This was the view from our table. Now lets get to the food.IMG_4493Mike ordered a fish and some cole slaw. Yummy, but my mouth is still watering over my…..drumroll please…..IMG_4492Buttery 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… 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.

IMG_4500I 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.DSC_0376Along the way we passed an old naval base with gorgeous views.DSC_0351We 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.IMG_4515Yes it was just chilly enough to have on a sweatshirt. IMG_4517One 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.IMG_4523IMG_4522The landscape changes so much in California.IMG_4524Here 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. IMG_4525I am not sure what was going on here but it seems very popular. IMG_4526People were renting those big bikes and geez it got crazy trying to dodge them but luckily no one got hurt.IMG_4527Surf 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.IMG_4510This was from inside our camper….it makes me happy.

Tomorrow we celebrate my birthday…at Disneyland.