Saturday, July 20, 2013

Summer Vacation 2013: Our Epic Roadtrip

For about the last year I had planned to drive the West Coast for our summer vacation. However,  we spent the last several months debating if this trip would be feasible with an eleven month old and Chris working from the passenger seat (he wouldn't technically be on vacation) while I drove the 3000+ miles. We eventually decided to go for it and invited my brother Chad along to help.

First stop: Yosemite National Park. Here we are leaving our driveway-you can just see the top of Avery's head.

Here we are arriving in Yosemite Park. We spent the night at some crappy motel on the border of CA/Nevada so Chris could finish his grades for the week (which he submitted with a whopping 5 seconds to spare). We were sad that we didn't stay at the Clown Hotel down the street-apparently every room has some sort of different clown theme.

We spent two days in the park. The first day we drove through the valley for a bit...

...stopping at one of the rivers for a swim..
Avery loved the water, even though it was super cold.

...and then drove up to Gacier Point to see a view of the entire valley.
This is one of the senic overlooks on the drive.  

Here we are at the end of the drive. It was a spectacular view-you can see Half Dome behind us.
I have a lot of great memories of hiking Half Dome as a teen and
hope to bring my family back some day to hike it again.

We camped overnight-Avery loved it and did great job.

My parents, Grandma, and sister's family met us at the Park for Day 2.
We took a short hike up to Lower Yosemite Falls.

Avery refuses to wear a hat so we put her in a doo-rag.
The water level was super low and we were able to splash and
swim around in the river at the end of the hike.


Day 3 we went to San Francisco. We first dropped a car off at the Oakland Temple....

and then went to Pier 39 to do the tourist thing.
Pier 39

Alcatraz behind us
We bought a bunch of Salt Water Taffy on the Pier and had a
great time eating all of the different flavors.

We then went to China Town for an authentic dinner where I gave my niece a short lecture on "cultural experiences" while her eyes glazed over-you can see how excited  she is about her food.
Actually, she and my nephew Tyson enjoyed a lot of the food, and he even commented,
"Wow, tofu is so delicious!"

Phase 1 of our vacation was a total success. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013


During the month of June we took two trips to CA. The first trip was to Northern CA to celebrate my Grandma's 80th birthday. We stayed with my sister Cammy and her family in my hometown of Manteca.

We spent an afternoon at the Lodi Science museum.

We had a lovely visit with Chris's sister and nephew. Avery got her first taste of frozen yogurt (chocolate!) thanks to her aunt (she loved it!).

We went to a Stockon Ports baseball game. Chris found a foul ball
 behind the fence and gave it to my niece Aly. She thinks Chris is super cool.

Happy Birthday Grandma! (I'm pictured here with my two sisters Cammy and Courtnie).

Trip #2 to CA was for the wedding of Chris's cousin Ben to his lovely bride Hilary. 

The wedding took place at her childhood home in the hills of the Mohave desert just outside of Lancaster. Her family almost lost the home to a wildfire two weeks before the wedding was to take place, but it was saved in part to the clean-up that took place around the home for the wedding.

We had a great time visiting with family.
Chris with his cousin
Chris with his Dad Steve and his wife Ann
The only time Avery let Grandpy Steve hold her (she's asleep)

We also took a quick trip to San Diego where Chris visited the headquarters of Ashford University. It is an online university and he is one of their new remote Philosophy professors.

Next week we are actually going to CA again as part of our 2 week road trip. 
Wish us luck: we will have the baby with us.

Avery swimming

We took Avery swimming for the first time while we were in California. I love these series of photos. She didn't quite know what to make of the whole thing at first, but she quickly warmed up to it and then had a blast with her Dad and cousins.

This is my favorite photo. I love her squished face and she tries really hard to stay out of the water.

She is a total fish now.