Monday, December 28, 2009

Cali: Day 7

Our last full day in California was spent relaxing again.  We went to Ventura Beach again and got lunch at Chipotle Mexican Grill.  Dave loves that place...I like it too, it's just a little spicy for me.  Dave gave Karissa a piece of chicken and she liked it! I couldn't believe it!  We also went to the mall and Target.

Then we headed back to our resort and enjoyed relaxing on the beach, the park, and our resort for the last time.  Karissa loved to eat the sand and we saw dolphins!  (Look in the bottom center of the picture that looks really gray.)


We were so sad to see our vacation end.  We had a great time and as much as I didn't think I would, I found that I would love another chance to go to California again.  There is just so much to see and the beaches are gorgeous!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cali: Day 6

Our 6th day of vacation was time for another road trip!  We really wanted to go to Santa Monica Pier and drive the Pacific Coast Highway.  I also really wanted to hike one of the hills and see the ocean from up high.  We decided to do it all at once.  We hopped on the Pacific Coast Highway and headed south to Santa Monica.  The drive was GORGEOUS!!!! I LOVED it.  It is even better than you see on tv.  There was a campground right on the beach...I would love to stay there some day!  We kept wondering where the Biggest Loser mile was. :)  I'm sure we passed it and when watching the finale of the Biggest Loser, I'm pretty sure that mile is right near the campground...that's what it looked like.

So we got to Santa Monica and walked around the pier and of course took a ride on the Ferris Wheel.  I originally wanted Karissa to ride the historic carousel, but the ferris wheel had a better view and she liked that. 


On a side note, I guess I never realized that Santa Monica basically is L.A., just the beach area.  I always thought it was different, but it is just a part of L.A.  It's weird on the highways there because earlier in the week we were on a different highway and I saw a sign for Santa Monica and it said West and L.A. said East.  I thought...hmmm...I always thought Santa Monica was the beach, guess I was wrong.  A minute later I realized out there, to go West does go to the beach lol...the directions are backwards compared to here.

From Santa Monica, we headed north, back to Malibu to hike.  Dave's mom decided to sit in the van and wait for us.  We started the was very flat.  I knew we would not be able to see the ocean.  We got to the waterfall and saw a sign that the trail up the mountain to go back was only .3 miles longer than to go back the way we came.  We decided we'd go that way back.  Well, little did we know, it would take a LOT longer going back that way.  It was hard work climbing that mountain, but it was fun.  Soon though, the sun started to set.  I started to get a little nervous, but kept telling myself we'd soon be out of there.  By the time we got to where you could see the ocean, it was too dark. :(  Finally, we saw another sign saying the parking lot was a quarter mile away.  I felt relief.  At this point, the sun was pretty much gone.  I looked down and saw the parking lot.  A minute later, panic set in as I said, "Dave....that's not our parking lot is it?"  He quietly and very seriously replied a simple, "No."


So, I am freaking out at this point...we are in the dark on the side of a mountain and don't know where we are or where our car is.  I am trying my best to stay calm for Karissa who is sleepy and cranky at this point, but I know she can pick up on my stress and so I try to not think about it.  I hear noises in bushes and Dave keeps telling me their birds.  I try to believe him, but birds?  Seriously?  In a bush, at night, moving that much?  So my mind right now is saying, "Lord, please get us out of here soon and safely.  Lord, protect Karissa."  I'm also thinking of an action plan.  We are still following a trail and I see cars in the distance occasionally so I'm planning in my head to go flag down a car if we need to.  I'm planning on handing Karissa to Dave and yelling at him to run and get her safe in the event that a mountain lion appears.  I'm imagining his mom panicking in the van because of course, we had no cell phone reception.  It was crazy.  So we finally got to the end of the trail and knew we were close to the van.  I'll never forget how scared I was and swore I would NEVER hike again unless it was first thing in the morning! lol

The worst part was after we were safely back at our resort, Dave looks online about mountain lions.  He found a map that shows where they are found in red.  Where we were hiking was red.  There was a list of Do's and Don'ts for hiking in a mountain area...No. 1 was Do NOT hike at dusk or dawn when mountain lions are most active.  Oh great.  How thankful I am that we made it safely!!!! What an adventure!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cali: Day 5

So, on Thursday, we decided that even though it would be a lot, we didn't know when we'd be on the west coast again so we were going to take the 4 hour trip to see the Sequoia's.  The drive alone was worth it!  We could not believe how beautiful California was and how different it was!  One minute we are on the coast, soon we were driving through mountains, after the mountains we were in a flat, desert like area, then back into the mountains and then to the Sequoia National Park.  It was a gorgeous drive!  We were entertained with seeing all the different things that are grown there.  I loved that there were signs saying what the trees were.  We saw: strawberries, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, plums, peaches, grapes, olives, pears, etc. etc.  I can't even remember everything we saw.  It was so much fun. 


Eventually, we got to the park.  We stopped in the store to decide where to go and decided to head to General Sherman....the most famous Sequoia.  Little did we know, once you get to the park, you have about another hour to get to the Sequoias because of going up a mountain and the road winds around.  Plus, we had to keep stopping to take pics of the view. :) 


It was amazing how big those trees are.  The pictures you see and anything you've seen about them on tv, just do not do the size justice.  Karissa loved looking at the trees. There was a momma bear and two cubs at the start of the trail.  Karissa loved watching them too and learned how to growl like a bear.  She still loves bears and loves to growl even two months later.


On the way out of the park there was a deer right in the road.  We also saw a mountain lion, but couldn't get a picture of it before it ran off.  It was really cool!


It made for a long day, but we are so thankful that we decided to take that day trip!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Another break from vacation posts to say - Merry Christmas!!!!!!!

Hope everyone has a great day with family and celebrating Jesus' birth!  We have a busy day with my parents and then Dave's family...both his sister and brother flew home so we have the whole family together for the first time in a couple years!  Good times!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cali: Days 3 and 4

So back to our California much as I hate that I've waited so long to finish posting, I love that two months later I can still relive our wonderful vacation (especially the warmth considering we still have a foot of snow on the ground in some places lol).

On our third and fourth days, we pretty much just hung out at the beach and the park down the street.  The beach was gorgeous.  You could tell it was chilly for everyone there because hardly anybody was around and those that were didn't have bathing suits on and the few surfers that were in the water had the full, long-sleeve/pants type wet suits on.  The beach was warm, but the water was a little cold.  I thought for sure it would be too cold for Karissa, but she LOVED it!  The bigger the wave, the more she laughed.  I loved the scenery...seeing the beach, the Pacific Ocean, and the mountains, and islands in the distance.  It was amazing to see the hills so close to the beach because I'm so used to our area being so flat and having to go inland to see hills.

Dave and I went to Ventura Beach (the next town over from where we stayed) one night for dinner and his mom stayed with Karissa.  We also happened to be in CA when the Yankees were playing the Angels in the playoffs.  Of course we couldn't pass that up....especially the chance to see a new stadium.  The stadium was nice, but there was NO parking (it was worse than Yankee Stadium) and the game was crappy, but oh well.

So these couple days were relaxing...not much more to say about them. :)


Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Sorry I've been MIA.  Our schedules just got SO insane and then I got so far behind I dreaded having to get caught up on here.  It's my blog...I shouldn't dread it.  Then we were without our laptop because our adapter died.  I only checked e-mail during that time because I had to...if I didn't I'd be going through thousands of emails right now.  Our desktop is so slow that I hated being on the computer so I said forget it to anything other than checking e-mail.   Anyway, our laptop is back up and running now and I am so grateful.  I plan to do a few posts to get caught up and see if anybody is still reading.  If I've lost all of our readers, I may give up and  I know it's my fault for not posting anything for two months.  Sorry! But, I hope we still have some readers out there.