Wednesday, September 14, 2016

California Love

We had so much fun in California, but it went way too fast.  After two awesome days in San Francisco we got up early and decided to go see the Golden Gate Bridge up close before we picked up our rental car.  It was such an unbelievably gorgeous day, which was awesome, but it was also Saturday and it felt like all of San Francisco was out and about and the traffic was insane.  What we thought would be a quick trip to the bridge and back turned into a multiple hour affair.  I had wanted to meet up with some cousins of mine who were out there as well and it just didn't happen and I was so bummed!  In hindsight we should've skipped the bridge, but as we all know, that's not how life works.  We got an Uber car to take us to the bridge and I really wanted to see the view that's more famous, you might know what I mean, it's from the other side of the city and there's a park there.  Anyway, our driver dropped us on the other side of the bridge but after we got out and walked to where we could see we realized it wasn't the famous view.  It was still amazing though, don't get me wrong.  We took some pics and then we were ready to go, but the driver had already left us and now we needed to get back to the city and we didn't want to pay for another Uber ride back because the ride there was much more expensive than we thought.  So, we decided we'd walk across the bridge and catch a bus on the other side.  Walking across the bridge all the way wasn't really part of the plan.  I did want to walk out on it to get a feel for how big it was, but yeah, we got the whole experience for sure!  It took a lot longer than we thought but thankfully it was such a beautiful day.  Then we got to the other side and found the bus stop only to find out that the bus route we needed would make like 2 transfers and it didn't come anytime soon and it was all super, super confusing and would've taken over an hour to get back to the hotel.  So we ended up getting an Uber after all only the first 2 drivers could not find us!  We were standing at a bus stop at a super busy spot that should've been no problem but I guess not.  It was so frustrating because the whole time we were thinking if all this nonsense hadn't happened we could be having lunch with my cousins right now.  Ugh, I'm frustrated thinking about it again.  Anyway, the 3rd driver found us and after the horrendous traffic we had to sit through to get back it was time to get our car and head out of the city.  

After all the business of that, I was ready for a nice drive and we were headed to Pacific Grove to meet up with a friend of mine.  When we were planning our trip I saw on Facebook that she was moving from Minnesota to California and I mistakenly thought she was moving to a suburb of San Francisco so I messaged her to see if she wanted to meet up for lunch or something while we were there.  Turns out Pacific Grove is right near Monterey, which is where we wanted to stay because we wanted to take the Pacific Coast Highway down the coast to LA.  When she found out our plans, she graciously offered to host us for a night at their new home!  I was so excited because 1. I hadn't seen her in about 13 years and we were really good friends (I was in her wedding!) so I wanted to catch up and meet her two little girls and 2. the hotels in that part of California weren't exactly in our budget. God always surprises me with how he works things out for us and I love that.  We had plans to meet them and go see a bagpiper on the beach and then head to dinner, but with all the craziness of our morning we missed the bagpiper.  They had gotten a sitter (no small feat considering they'd only lived there for like 2 weeks) so we could go out and we had the best time catching up over a delicious dinner followed by a walk to the beach for sunset.  After that we headed to Pebble Beach where we had drinks at Roy's outside by the fire pits.  They seriously could not have planned a more perfect night for us.  

The next day we went to Monterey to the aquarium.  They had just gotten season passes so they were able to get us in for free (God's hand again, because we would never have sprung for tickets to do that).  It was such a cool place and it was literally right on the water.  Later when I saw Finding Dory I couldn't stop thinking about it!  It is just so beautiful in that part of California.  I think that might be the only place in America I'd consider moving besides Florida, but don't worry, it's probably never happening.  I'm glad we have friends there to visit though!  We had lunch with them by the beach in Pacific Grove and it was just gorgeous there.  After that we headed out for LA to see more friends.  

We headed down the Pacific Coast Highway which is supposed to be the most beautiful drive in America. It did not disappoint.  It really is some of the most amazing scenery I have ever seen.  Only thing is though, I sort of have this irrational fear of driving off a cliff. I'm fine if I'm walking near a cliff, I'm not scared of heights at all, but if I'm in a car, I just freak out.  I didn't really think about that when we decided to take that route.  And when you are going south like we were the passenger is literally on the edge of the cliff.  It was so terrifying!  I was white knuckling it the whole time.  I loved the view, but the drive was so windy and high up that we were both ready to find a new route about an hour into the 5ish hour drive.  But, there is no other route.  Once you are on it you're stuck.  And there's hardly any place to stop either.  We did find a random campsite type place where we stopped and I took 2 pictures.  That's it.  All that gorgeous scenery and I have a total of 4 photos, 2 taken from a moving car.  Oh well, I'll just have to remember it in my mind...or google it to see other people's photos whose are probably better than mine anyway!  

After the long drive we headed to our hotel in Seal Beach.  Our friends live in Downey, but we we wanted to be by the beach because, why not?  We got in late, but the next morning we were able to walk to a coffee shop and then to all the cute shops and on to the pier at the beach.  We headed over to see our friends and spent the rest of the day with them.  This is our friend who we saw last year in Orlando who has ALS, so any time spent with them is truly precious.  He had just celebrated his and his wife's 40th birthdays a couple days before we got there so some of their family was still in town so it was nice to see them as well. We also got to see other friends who were in town from Dallas to visit as well. These guys and their wives are all such amazing people and we just don't get to see each other enough.  It seems like there is never enough time in our busy lives, and now with our friend having such a limited amount of time, period, it's magnified.  I really wish we had taken more photos together. All I have is one really grainy iPhone pic, but I'm so glad we have that.  I will definitely treasure the memories.  Leaving them is always so hard because the reality of their situation hits you and it's heartbreaking.  And that's all I'm going to say because otherwise I'll become a teary mess as I type this.  I hope to see them all again soon.

I can't wait to visit California again. Maybe with the kids next time.  I really love it there! 

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