Destinations with Daughters – The Big Eastie – Day 2

Back to school this morning before we hit the road for Char – she is dedicated – I’ll give her that!!! 5am wake up call to get on her classes on time!

When we left Northern California this morning, it was raining BUCKETS – like the raining cats and dogs type rain that you hear about! It made for fast pictures, dodging rain drops, misty photos, white knuckle driving and lots of laughs! We saw amazing redwoods along the way – a drive-thru tree (maybe with a Herbie car), drove a portion of the Avenue of the Giants, saw some elk, dreamed of seeing Bigfoot, and passed through some beautiful wineries on our way to San Francisco.

We arrived in San Francisco shortly after the skies cleared – just like the Golden Gate Bridge was waiting for us!!!! It was my first time seeing it and it was everything I thought it would be!!!! A great landmark to make time to see!

We boogied over to Lombard Street – you know the one? It is the famous zig-zag street in San Francisco… the pictures I took don’t do it justice, but we walked up and down the street, then drove down it! Char videoed the whole thing from the moon roof (don’t tell).

Finally, just after dusk, we arrived in Monterey Bay. We walked around a bit before checking in to our hotel – ordered takeout from Bubba Gump’s (Char was BESIDE herself – she LOVES Forrest Gump) and hit up an old school candy shoppe!

It was 19 years ago almost to the day that I arrived back in Monterey after Christmas break (Exodus) when I was stationed here in the Army. I met up with my new beau for a couple days before we both had to sign back in after our leave was over. We got married 3 weeks later and the rest is history. Monterey is a special place – I hope Char enjoys it, too.

Total Miles = 476

States = California

Hours on the road = 10 including lots of stops and detours

Average Temperature = 55 – getting warmer

Coffees = 2 (I could’ve used one more!)

Playlist = Quite a few chapters of Twilight and Hamilton (surprise!)

Major Landmarks =Giant Redwoods, San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, our old house in Seaside, CA, Cannery Row, Monterey Bay.

People not wearing masks in public places = This is CA – people where them even in their cars…while they are alone!

Gas bought = $37.00

Extras = $80.00 – trinkets

Hotel = Holiday Inn Express Monterey Bay/Cannery Row – a nice hotel – small – but fits the area – also a little dated on the outside, but we had a room with two double beds and it looked like it has recently been renovated – we had a nice stay. $100.14/ night

Destinations with Daughters – The Big Eastie – Day 1

We departed northern Washington early – 5:41am – and started our journey south! We have a big trip ahead of us – 14 days of driving, sightseeing, and enjoying each other’s company.

On our way, we made a three hour pit stop at the Wildlife Safari in Winston, OR – we had a great drive through safari – then enjoyed some time with the animals in their small walk through park. It is really cute and they have a ton of cool animals!

We arrived in California just before dusk and drove through some massive Redwoods as the sun went down behind the rain clouds – and that road – Route 199 – harrowing in the dark and the rain – twisty and turny – but I bet it is gorgeous during the daylight!!!

This part of California smells good – like cedar and earth – we like it!

Total Miles = 643

States = Washington, Oregon and California

Hours on the road = 13 (including 3 hours at the Wildlife Safari in Winston, OR)

Average Temperature = 48

Coffees = 3

Playlist = Hamilton (this is a given), The Beatles, Paul Simon to include Sion and Garfunkel, Don Henley, Fleetwood Mac and Twilight, the book.

Major Landmarks = Grant’s Pass

Speed Traps passed = 0

Gas bought = $67.00

Extras = $25.25 for food and CA postcards (dinner for the next 8 days – we hit Chester Chicken as it was closing and they gave us about 4 pounds of chicken fingers). Wildlife Safari – $48.00 – entrance and postcards

Hotel = Holiday Inn Express, Klamath, CA – $101.14

Destinations with Daughters – What’s In My Car?

You might be wondering what on earth I packed for a trip across the country. Well, everything but the kitchen sink – almost (you should see the vehicle)!!!

  1. There are some things I couldn’t live without, like emergency equipment. Traveling across country during winter can pose some interesting potential pitfalls; cold weather, snow, ice and wind to name the biggies! I made sure we had extra gas, extra blankets, emergency fire starting gear, water, food, jumper cables, flares and an emergency battery pack.

2. Maps of all kinds. I love Google Maps, but when we left Minnesota headed towards Badlands National Park in South Dakota, all Google applications were down – including my daughter’s Google classroom! So, we opted for some old school technology – MapQuest! It worked until Google came back on line, but what will we do when there’s no internet? Even older school maps. When you are driving 3000 miles, you need Plan A, Plan B and Plan C.

3. Chargers and a set up Bluetooth connection. We have really been enjoying listening to whatever we want on our Spotify account. We have listened to Hamilton about 14 times, the 90s, the 80s, the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, the Eagles, and some 60s. We have also enjoyed listening to a couple of books via Audible. It makes the miles go by even quicker and we have a lot of shared laughs and fun! Chargers – well, for phones, Chromebooks, tablets and anything else we might need!!! What would we do without our connection to the world?

4. Activities for passengers. I’m a teacher at heart, so this opportunity opened some doors to provide Char with some cool National Park and cross country activities to do on the road. Oh, and we have had a few Travel Mad Libs that have had us rolling!

5. Food. If you know me well, you know that I get ugly when I am hangry! And I need proteins – so the sweets that Char likes just won’t cut it for me! I need yogurts, cottage cheese, baby bells, bars and lots of water!

6. Sanitizer of all sorts…..Lysol-type wipes, Lysol spray, hand sanitizer, and way too many masks to chose from!!

So far, we have had everything we’ve needed! Here’s to the homeward bound journey – full of laughs, love, coffee and witnessing the beautiful people and sights of this amazing country we live in!!!

My Christmas Vacation, by Denise Smith

Well, you read about the whole trip west – and I’m hoping you will read about the trip back east – but I wanted to tell you what we did for our two weeks in Washington!

But first – here are a few pictures I took on the way TO Bellingham, through the mountains and down the other side into a land of green wonder! Really, the pictures cannot do this justice – just the moss COVERING the trees alone was spectacular!

Vacation – I did a lot of sitting around (it is not in my nature to just sit around!!!! It is hard to be bored for those of us always on the move), eating, visiting, eating, interspersed with a few fun outings!!

To start out with, when we arrived – the same day and just about the same time as the boys arrived, we brought with us the snow! They rarely have a white Christmas in the coastal northwest – but this year, we shared the love!

We saw some gorgeous sunrises!!!

We exercised our Second Amendment rights.

Along with those granted in the First Amendment (what could be more peaceful than $600 worth of fireworks to ring in the New Year?)

We enjoyed tubing at Mount Baker as well as Axe throwing!!! Super fun for all!!!!

We met new friends/furry family members – Lucy the Bernesedoodle puppy, and Griffey the German Shepard puppy.

We kept some old traditions alive (the kids lining up to peek in the door seeing what Santa left….)

Remember I said I ate a lot? This is Rio – I feel like she looks!

The past two weeks flew by – between the food, playing cards, visiting, cooking, grocery shopping and sitting around and playing on my phone, it was a fabulous vacation with family. We are so blessed to be able to spend precious time with our loved ones knowing that, in our eyes, the quality of time we get to spend together outweighs the quantity of time. Live life to the fullest! Words to live by (and love by) in this New Year! May it bring you health, happiness, joy, and adventure!