We’re baaack! I thought I’d better get this up on the blog before the pictures (so many pictures) collected too much dust. TL;DR version: the trip was a solid 6/10 and we all survived and managed to have some fun while mom tried in vain to bring the tide pool and redwoods library books full circle. Definitely not a vacation but still worth it! Details of the journey below (which at this point I’m assuming only grandparents are reading)…
It comes as no surprise that we kicked off our journey and headed for the open road an hour late of our targeted departure. All three kids were excited, parents’ coffee cups full, WE WERE READY! Unfortunately google maps (or the navigator?) steered us wrong and we missed a turn and it took about an hour to just get out of the LA metro but we cruised on into San Luis Obispo for lunch and to stretch our legs at a local park.
I think we were all surprised to arrive at our first destination, Pacific Grove (adjacent to Monterey) pretty much on time and in good spirits. We stopped for a whale sighting and an ice cream break in Big Sur.
We threw dinner together pretty quickly, did a lap of the town, and the kids managed to pass out around 9.
The rest of our stay there included a trip to the aquarium, checking out Carmel (we will be back for you, without kids), the 17 mile drive, and generally nature-ly outings. Onslaught of pictures below.
I will humbly admit I was wrong about the aquarium visit. I was in camp “if you’ve seen one aquarium, you’ve seen them all…waste of time, etc”. It was the perfect outing for our kiddos and just small enough that we didn’t feel like we had to run around like crazy people to see it all. So, if you’re in town and on the fence, GO!
After three days, it was onward and upward! We had grand plans of a little pit stop at the Golden Gate Bridge for lunch but behind schedule by an hour and half (always!) made for a dicey stop and declarations of “you are ruining this kids!” like the v.v.fun parents we are.
We rallied and made into Ferndale by 9 pm exhausted but thrilled to BE IN THE FOREST!
I plan to do another post just about this charming little town. It was SO SO cute, if it wasn’t 6 hours away from anywhere I’d be packing our bags and moving right in. Seriously adorable. The forest didn’t disappoint and we were all thoroughly impressed with the big giants. I think we’ll come back for a visit when the kids are in more hiking state as we were sort of stuck on the accessible routes. Another low point of the trip was discovering that my camera had decided to crash and was stuck in video mode. Canon customer service was surprisingly helpful but could not get me a new camera until we made it home and mailed mine in for service. So photos from here on out were mostly iPhone and pretty brutal still movie captures.
After a fun few days taking in all of the sights it was time to turn it around with a quick overnight stop in Santa Cruz before heading home. At this point we had pretty much all had it with in the car time. We broke down and pulled out the DVD player for the first time ever and Hudson smugly announced that he knew there was a TV in the van. Consider Santa Cruz another place we’d love to come back to if we weren’t on the tail end of vacation and wishing we were all in our own beds. The little downtown is really cute (it reminds me of Iowa City but you know, on the ocean) and I’m still regretting not stopping into this shop before jetting out of there.
So we hopped on the anything but scenic 5 and made home just in time to tuck everyone in for bed. Whew! What a fun week and a half. As crazy town as it sounds, we can’t wait to take the kids around the country and discover and see new things together.