Friday, June 10, 2011

California Sunshine!!!

A month behind! The story of my life these days!
Last post I told you that Kyle and I were making a trip.
We were heading here....

In this....

Yes, a tiny little car.
Well, here is the cool deal. Our friends Jenny and Regi were getting ready to move to California and had been looking for someone to take their extra car down for them so that they didn't have to drive separately. They hadn't found anyone and time was getting close when we realized that we might could make it work for Kyle and I to make the trip. Jenny, Regi and their boys had moved in with us when their stuff packed up and they would be there for several days and could watch the boys until Regi finished up work and they were ready to travel south for the big move. Our sweet friend, Mollie, was in between jobs at the time and could come watch the boys for the second half of the week after Jenny and Regi headed out. Once we figured all of that out and got an okay from my doctor to make the trip we were just ECSTATIC!!! Another trip just the two of us before Tesa and Tyce arrived! We never imagined we would get to do that. What a nice surprise in our world. And I have been wanting to make a trip to California ever since we moved here and we just haven't been able to make it happen.

We packed up, told the boys goodbye and headed out!
Our first stop was in Portland, OR for lunch.

A little Vietnamese Pho for our tummies!
It was yummy....then back on the road.
Look what we passed....

I couldn't help take a picture of this sign to show my family just how close to home I was. Sorry people in J.C. Next time we are this close, we promise to stop!
If only that would have been the right Junction City, we certainly would have stopped. Ha!

Turned out we had PERFECT weather...

Down went the top!

And on day one we made it to beautiful California.

While we were working on taking a self portrait in front of the sign, a passerby noticed us and whipped it in to help us out...

This is much better, huh?

We stopped for the day at Crescent City, CA.
Got some Subway for dinner and made it to our room to enjoy the view of the ocean while we did our fine dining.

Not a bad view.

This was the look just outside our door.

We sat on our porch and got to see lots of fun ocean stuff....

A guy catching some waves.

A bird looking for some dinner.

It was a beautiful spot!

We went for a nice long walk that evening.

Got to watch the sunset.

And Kyle took this nice picture of Tesa and Tyce on the beach.

The next morning we went for another walk on the beach before leaving.
I found these for the boys....

But after considering the tight quarters of the car we were riding in, how much of the trip we still had left, and having to fly back, we decided these probably wouldn't make the trip and remain unbroken so we just took a picture and left them for the next guest to claim.

Fog rolled in off of the ocean that morning so this was the best shot we got of the cool lighthouse that we could see clearly the night before.

It was still beautiful. Just foggy.

The plan for day two was to drive through the Redwoods.

And that is just what we did!

Saw this interesting bit of "art" along the way. Made us laugh!

And again the weather was perfect!

What better way to cruise through the redwoods than with the top down.
We could actually look up to the top of the trees that way.

And you know we HAD to do this....

Drive thru tree!

Kyle sitting outside the drive-thru tree.

It was a tight squeeze but really cool!

I seriously have a gamillion pics of trees because we just kept being amazed by them.
I'll just share some of my favorites.

Kyle inside a hollowed out tree that we spotted.

It was way BIG!

At one point we stopped and hiked in just a little way to see this....

It is called Big Tree!

Apparently it used to be the tallest tree in the world until the top broke out as the result of a storm. Here are the stats....

Yep, that is one big tree alright!

We saw some of these guys...

Elk, just hanging out on the side of the road waiting for us to stop and take their picture. Thankfully they didn't ask for a tip.

We stopped in the neat city of Eureka, CA for lunch and a look around.

We picked a restaurant with a cool view on the water.

Kyle has some pretty sushi.

And I had this very delicious prawns tempura!

We drove around the city a bit...there were some amazing places....

Glad we stopped there. I would not have wanted to miss that.

Then back to the open road....

And more BIG trees!

We just couldn't get over how big the trees were and couldn't keep ourselves from taking pictures.
Kyle insisted that we had to have "tree hugging" pictures.
So here they are....

Obviously we couldn't really hug them. Maybe one day when our four children are grown and have longer arms we can make a trip back with them and have a family hug around one of those trees.

And one final look up at those amazing trees!
We made our way out of the trees and found a place to stop for the night. I honestly don't even remember the name of the city we stopped in that night. Just that I knew it was time to get out of the car for a while.

Day three we were San Francisco bound!
Another perfect "top down" kind of day!

Check out our cool shadow on the highway.

We saw lots of these.
They were beautiful!

It was lunchtime before we got to San Francisco and we started spotting a place that our California friends will be happy to see....

In-N-Out Burger!
Our friends from Cali just rave about this place. Kyle had it before on a trip to California but it was my very first time to enjoy an In-N-Out Burger!

And I must say I completely understand why they rave about it!

Coming into San Francisco we happened upon this tunnel.

And much to our surprise this is what we saw coming out the other side of it...

The Golden Gate Bridge!!
We had no idea that the famous bridge would be what welcomed us to the city!

A nice surprise!

And I would say a great way to start off our visit to San Francisco.

We were also greeted with these gas prices...

Actually, not as bad as we had expected.

Got a picture of a fire engine for the boys.

We drove around a bit just getting a feel for the city we were visiting.
Here are some of the sights we saw...

Typical neighborhood look in the city.

A rocket ship???

Someone drying their shoes outside their window. Either that or they ran out of storage space inside??

Clock tower at one of the ferry terminals.

AT&T Park. Home of the San Francisco Giants.

The Transamerica Building.
Apparently it is a well known structure.

Check out this cool crew on their Segway tour. They certainly looked like they were having fun!

How could we pass up a picture of this "pirate-looking" ship for the boys?

Another shot of the ferry terminal clock tower.

And of course we had our eye out for the famous, trolleys and street cars.

This chocolate loving pregnant girl got excited when we spotted this...

Definitely made plans to come back and check this heavenly place out in person.

Found our cool hotel in downtown...

Hotel Majestic!

Kyle headed off to check us in.

The lobby.

Us in the elevator that was full of very interesting paintings.

For instance, this "bug" traveled up and down with us each trip.
Our room...

Very charming decor.
It was a great place to stay!
Good find, Kyle!

That afternoon we met up with some friends!
Much to my delight, I found out that my dear friend Rocky, whom I went to medical school with, was in town for a conference. She and her husband John picked us up and took us out for the evening.

Here is Rocky!
She is an amazing woman and I cannot even tell you how happy I was that it worked out for us to meet up!
We went to dinner at a place called the Cliff House.

This was the view from where I sat!

Here is Rocky with her hubby John.

And this, of course, is me and my fabulous hubby Kyle!

Rocky was born in San Francisco and lived there for most of her childhood.
So we got quite the tour. Definitely found out about places that we wouldn't have even know to look for. And of course they showed us the most popular tourist attractions as well.

John took us for a drive down the "crookedest" street in the world.

Lombard Street!

Yes, it is seriously crooked. Just take a look at the cars coming down the road.

Quite and experience.

A Dutch Windmill near the entrance of Golden Gate Park.

Then we took a trip up to Coit Tower.

Kyle and I had spotted this cool tower in the skyline but had no idea what it was or how to get to it. Yet again, a nice reason to have friends in the know showing us around.

We got there just before sunset and in time to make the last trip to the top to lookout.
The view was amazing.

The Oakland Bay Bridge.

Cool view of the city.

The sun setting as we came down from the tower.
It was a beautiful evening!

On our way back to the hotel, John and Rocky drove us through China town.

We saw this amazing Chinese band playing on the street.

Thanks so much Rocky and John for an amazing evening in San Francisco!!!
Made me SO happy to get to see you!

Next morning got us to day four. We were up and ready to explore.
First stop, coffee!

We went to this coffee shop, Four Barrel Coffee, that our friend Mollie...who is totally in the know about the coffee world....found out about for us.

Check out this science lab looking part of the coffee shop. This is where they prepare some fancy pour over coffee. I really don't know much about coffee but being in the northwest has taught me that there is way more to coffee than foldgers, maxwell house and even starbucks. Seriously, there is a whole different world of coffee out there. It tends to be way over my head but I am starting to appreciate it more and more.
One thing is for sure, I did appreciate this that morning...

Yummy, beautiful mocha!

A lot of other people apparently appreciated some four barrel coffee as well. Right after we arrived the line grew to this length and stayed steady at this length the entire time we were there. I told you the coffee world is a whole different creature out here!

Maybe one of the reasons that people like this shop so much is because of this....

They roast their own beans right there in the back of the shop. You can actually see it all happen.

We didn't spend our entire day sipping coffee. There was a lot more to see and do.
First of all, we had to get on one of those trolleys!
So we did...

The one we hopped on was full on the inside but thankfully a kind gentleman offered me (the big pregnant girl) his seat so I didn't have to hang on to the outside.
Of course, Kyle wanted to hang on to the outside!

He leaned in for a nice self-portrait of our trolley ride.

More trolleys all lined up.

After our trolley ride we saw a little bit of the waterfront on our way to here....

Kyle got online and found us some cheap tickets to a Giants game.

Cheap means this was our view. But it was way cool to be in the park and just experiencing the baseball world.

It was an absolutely beautiful day to be at the ballpark.

And a quick pose on our way out.

Kyle got to go to the baseball game, so I got to go here....

chocolate heaven!
And eat this....

Who even knew that Ghirardelli made ice cream????
I didn't until then. But. oh. my. it. was. some. kind. of. good!!

Can't believe how big Tesa and Tyce are. But what better picture to have of a pregnant woman than her eating ice cream, right?

Saw this again and had to take another pic....

Arrg matey!

And in keeping with the pirate theme...

We saw this guy performing on the boardwalk.
Pretty entertaining.

And Kyle got is pic made with this pirate.
Can you tell we were totally thinking of our boys while we were away??

I tried on a cool hat...

Decided it was probably a little too big for me.

After a lot of walking, tired me decided it was time for dinner and back to the hotel.
That's what we did!
Kyle even went out and picked us up some dessert in little Italy.

Day 5 was the conclusion of our adventure. We were planning on meeting up with Jenny and Regi down in San Jose that afternoon so we got up early to get in one last bit of fun.

We hopped on a boat to cruise the bay.

Went right under the Golden Gate Bridge.

It was great fun!

And right past Alcatraz.

Who doesn't want their picture taken with Alcatraz?

Crazy to me that this former prison looks so pretty in pictures.

Me watching Alcatraz as we cruise back to shore.

A nice picture of the city from the bay.

As we came back into port we saw all of these people with their cameras out...

But they weren't waiting to take pictures of us.
They were watching these guys....

There were lots of these sea lions just hanging out on the docks. That was our last fun sight of San Francisco!
Had to hit the road, there was a family going to be wanting their car back that afternoon.
We made it to our hotel in San Jose and met up with Jenny and Regi. Gave them their car back and gave them GREAT BIG THANK YOUs for allowing us to pleasure of seeing California.
It was a sad exchange because it was the last time we would see them for some time. Maybe next summer we can plan a trip to visit them. We know now that we like California.

Had the evening to spend in San Jose before catching our flight back to Washington the next morning.
So do you think we wasted it by napping in our hotel room???
Oh no, not us!
Caught the light rail and went downtown to see some sights.

Here we are in downtown San Jose. Really neat city!
We found some food to eat.
Wanted Mexican food and some people sent us in the direction of a place called Iguana's.
It is right of the campus of San Jose State and from what we heard it is quite a popular destination.
I think I figured out why.

The meals they serve are ginormous!!!
This was my bowl of nachos!

And Kyle's burrito was as big as his head!
Yes, it was delicious. But we totally should have shared.
I guess we will know that next time we happen to be stopping in for Mexican food in San Jose. Ha!

We slept a few hours and headed to the airport bright and early the next morning. Time to get back to our little guys!
It was an amazing trip and I cannot even say how thankful I was to get to spend another bit of time with just the two of us before Tesa and Tyce arrive.

I only have ONE regret! And I'm still trying to get over it. Our Ryne was wearing big boy underwear and having very few accidents before we left. Six days later, upon our return, we had a little boy who pretty much refused to use the potty any more. Oh well, I guess it was worth it! I'm convincing myself that it was anyway. Almost a month later we are still in diapers and he picks and chooses when he wants to use the potty. If you want to pray about that for me, I'd certainly appreciate it!!

Now, you know about our trip to Cali! But I am nowhere near caught up. We have been QUITE busy since then. Thus the reason it has taken me so long to catch up. So, be looking for more to come!

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