After driving for a few hours down the coast through quaint, seaside towns and cliffy stretches of highway, we saw a sign welcoming us to California. We were frankly a little sad to leave so much of Oregon unexplored, but we were excited for the Redwoods, and especially to hang out with more family.
Neither of us had been to the redwoods before, so we enjoyed driving through miles and miles of massive trees, and jumping out to take the occasional picture. We saw lots of wildlife and enjoyed the cool, shadowy woods.
I thought I had a pretty good handle on US geography, but neither of us had realized that the redwoods butted up against the west coast. So we enjoyed seeing views like these:
As we continued south passed the redwoods we were still surprised by the things we saw. We're not sure what these animals were, but it was pretty amazing to see a herd of them (elk? deer?) crossing the beach like this.
We stayed the night in Eureka (thanks, airbnb) and then headed out pretty early the next morning to drive the last leg of our trip. We drove through more Redwoods (Avenue of the Giants), took more obligatory pictures,
and then made it to our final destination, San Francisco.We had such a great time with Abe, Klarissa, and Mariah. We took a tour of the Cable Car Museum which is free(!) and houses the cable car power house. And it's just up the street from K&A's apartment.
We also hiked (walked, rather) Land's End, which I have been hoping to do the last several times I've visited SF. It was beautifully foggy and we really enjoyed the landscape and scenery the hike afforded.
We backtracked a bit, and headed north to Santa Rosa to visit my grandma. We had a lovely brunch and visited a few of her favorite dives,
and then headed south again, past SF, to Palo Alto. We walked around Stanford's beautiful campus, had the best (and cheapest) Mexican food of the trip, and then headed back to the city.
The next day, we headed down south again, but this time to the Mission San Juan Bautista (where Vertigo was filmed), some outlets, and In n' Out.
And THEN we headed even further south, to Carmel-by-the-Sea, a beautiful coastal town with lots of high-end shops and fun architecture. We watched some surfing, and then headed south again to Big Sur.
The views were stunning (a theme of the trip). And the houses were incredible. Let's just hope there aren't any tsunamis any time soon. We then made our way back up to SF, just in time to have a great late dinner at the Cheesecake Factory to celebrate Mariah's 16th birthday.
On Mariah's last day, we hit the farmers' market at the Embarcadero, the wharf, and Ghirardelli. A nice foody way to end the trip.
We loved the west coast, and we really enjoyed spending time with family we don't get to see too often. And now we get to hunker down for the next few years, while Jordan does his pediatric dentistry program and while I try to get a PhD. There won't be too many opportunities to travel, but a trip to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup may just be the perfect way to end our travel drought! As always, we'll keep you posted.