My husband is self employed, which means no paid time off – which means we don’t take many vacations. In the 12 1/2 years we’ve been married, we’ve had 3, and one of those was our honeymoon. But he’s worked hard to build his business and trips will be easier to come by in the future.
We went on vacation to Southern California last week. We left super early Tuesday morning and got back super late the following Tuesday night. We rented a car for the trip – our 1991 Toyota Celica would never have made the trek. We didn’t tell the kids we were going; we just moved them to the car at 4 a.m. The idea was that they would wake up at their normal time and we’d be nearly to the border. Alas, that didn’t work. They were too awake from the move to fall back asleep right away, and within an hour we had to spill the beans because Seahawk had an anxiety-caused stomachache.
The first day, we drove 15 hours (including meal and bathroom stops). It was rough, but by pushing through so hard, we had an easier Day 2. We did, however, stop to see the Sundial Bridge in Redding, CA. That was pretty neat.
On the second day, we drove a couple of hours to Santa Monica and did the Pier and the beach. If you ever have a chance to visit there, I highly recommend it. We didn’t do the full-on amusement park (there are seasonal carnivals and amusement parks around here – we wanted the focus to be things we can’t experience at home), but we did spend the $20 for all of us to ride the world-famous Ferris wheel. We also did the carousel because it was inexpensive.
On the Pier, there was a small statue thing for kids to climb on. Actually, it was two statues – a sea dragon and a pirate ship.
There was a button in the pirate ship that makes “steam” come out of the dragon’s nostrils. It’s just a water mister, which was a nice treat from the hot weather of So Cal.
Playing in the warm waters of the Pacific was one of the biggest highlights of the trip. Until this trip, I never got why people always want to go to the beach. I live less than two hours from the coast, so I went to the beach often as a kid. But the Oregon coast is cold and drizzly most of the year. Even in the hottest part of the summer, the ocean is too cold to venture into more than ankle deep for more than a minute or two. But at Santa Monica – oh my! Definitely the best beach experience of my life. It was worth getting all sandy for that beach.
After we left Santa Monica, we drove a couple of hours inland to where Hubby’s grandma lives. The kids and I ystayed with her for the 4 days Hubby was at Comic Con. We spent most of those days in the pool.
Hubby’s time at Comic Con was pretty amazing. He met a lot of comic artists (Matt Groening, The Simpsons; Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott, Baby Blues; Berkeley Breathed, Bloom County; Greg Evans, LuAnn to name just a few) as well as Lou Ferigno (who played The Hulk in the 70′s TV show. He saw part of The Vampire Diaries panel, among others. And most importantly, built an even stronger relationship with his colleague from Canada (this was the first time they’d met in person).
The way home was the “real” vacation. We left Grandma’s house Monday morning and spent the first half of the day in LA seeing some of the sites we missed on the way down.
That’s me and Seahawk in front of the Hollywood sign! It took us a long time to find, even with GPS.
Hollywood had the most famous landmarks of what we saw. Even silly things like famous streets were exciting.
After leaving Hollywood, we got some lunch and then went to the La Brea Tar Pits. That was really fascinating.
After leaving the tar pits, we all wanted to go back to the beach before we headed north again, so we went back to Santa Monica, but did just the beach this time, not the Pier. It was even better the second time! Between La Brea and Santa Monica, I saw the most expensive gas station in my life – $5.09 for regular! My camera app didn’t start quickly enough to get a picture of it.
We spent the late afternoon and into the evening driving north.
Tuesday morning was spent in San Francisco. We did the Golden Gate Bridge and the old military fort underneath the bridge. I think it’s called Fort Point, but I don’t remember right this second.
We could see Alcatraz from our parking spot.
Crossing the Golden Gate:
We wanted to take the kids to Fisherman’s Wharf to get clam chowder in a bread bowl for lunch, but traffic around the bridge was a nightmare and we weren’t able to get back down there after we crossed it.
We busted our tails Tuesday afternoon/evening and made it home around midnight after having left San Francisco around noon.
I hope you guys had an awesome week, too!