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


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.