Friday, February 20, 2009

Our Valentines Day/President's Day Weekend Trip

Beware: This is a travel log and it's kind of long.

Last weekend was full of excitement and ... not so much excitement.

We took off from work a little early to miss southbound traffic and we made it to Beaver Dam, Arizona around 8:30pm Utah time, but don't think we were sick of driving yet so we went the extra 15 miles to Mesquite, Nevada and met up with my dad, grandma, and aunts to eat at an absolutely delicious seafood buffet.

(this is the buffet we ate at)

It was delectable. And what made it even better is that Dad paid (thanks again Dad it was so yummy). It was my first taste of lobster and clams straight from the shell. The clams were a little ... squishy but the lobster tasted good - like butter. (mmm I love butter).

Well, we headed back to my grandma's house in Beaver Dam after eating and sat around just long enough to realize we were gonna be really tired the next day if we didn't get to bed soon. So to bed we went.

Saturday morning we got up bright and early and started our 7 hour adventure to Santa Barbara. We made our way through the desert and saw some cacti and weeds and sand and then we made it to the pretty part of California. It was a gorgeous day outside (we could even roll our windows down) and it was fun to just be driving and seeing all the cities we passed through as well as just spending some fun time talking with each other and being completely dumb.

(Ben hates it when I take pictures of him driving. I think we have a total of 1 million Ben Driving shots ... oh well!)

We spent the late afternoon on Stearns Warf, the beach and walking around on the main street in Santa Barbara. They have a lot of fun little shops. Then for Valentine's day dinner we decided that we should just go eat back at our hotel restaurant (because we didn't want to go to our car after dark cause there was a guy who was outside just staring at it when we parked).

So back we went. We realized it was still a little too early to eat dinner so we jumped in the hot tub (oh man I miss those) before dinner and just relaxed.

Our dinner was absolutely fantastic. Hamburger for Ben and chicken sandwich for myself - we were told we ate our meals backwards - Seafood in Nevada and Hamburgers on the coast. Oh well. Our bill after our awesome $5 off coupon was a total of $13.00. Not bad for a romantic evening alone - we were the only people in the restaurant until about 5 minutes before we left.

We spent the night watching movies on TV and just enjoying the life you have when you aren't at home.

On Sunday we drove for a good long time but it was probably the prettiest drive of our trip so I didn't mind one bit.

We drove up highway 1 which goes all along the coast and the funnest part for me was seeing the vineyards and the hidden towns. We came to one such town - Cambria and decided to get gas there to make sure we'd make it all the way up to Palo Alto without any problems.

The road to Cambria starts going through hills and you feel like it's leading you to the middle of nowhere and then, all of a sudden, there is a quaint little town with shops and bed and breakfasts and little restaurants. It was a really neat place. I wish we could have spent more time there and I also wish it hadn't been Sunday so I could have gone and looked through the shops and bought some souvenirs, but oh well.

So we continued along the coast and we stopped at a "Vista Point" and were able to see a bunch (and I mean A BUNCH) of elephant seals. They were squaking and trying to get out of the water/or into it and there were several just laying around. It looked like quite the life. So good in fact, that Ben has decided that he would very much enjoy being an elephant seal if given the opportunity.

After that stop we drove around the hearst mansion and decided we probably shouldn't get out cause we would just get to our destination even later so we headed on our way and enjoyed the windy road along the mountainside. It was absolutely gorgeous. I don't know how else to explain it. Even with the rain pouring down I couldn't help but fall in love with it all.

We got to Palo Alto around 5? We were able to eat dinner with Kelsey, Bill, Will, and Miss T. Will did a wonderful job at keeping us all entertained and it made me really wish we were able to see all of them more often. Then at around 9pm we went to a Compline service at Memorial Church on Stanford Campus. The campus is absolutely beautiful and I probably could have spent days walking around there (unfortunately we only had about an hour).

Well, we came back to Kelsey and Bill's and played some Would you Rather then we got to bed so we could be prepared for our long, long, LONG drive home.

Monday was not my favorite day. The first hour was good. Rainy, but good. We drove through San Fransico and I made myself not think about how an earthquake could crush me as we were driving on the Bay Bridge. Then we made it to the mountains. Can I just say, californians must really not be used to snow. Yes, it was snowing in the mountains but there wasn't a speck of the stuff on the roads and everyone was "required" to put snow chains on. But we didn't because, well, we are from Utah/Idaho.

We made it through just fine and saved ourself a good 45 minutes. Then we drove through blah nothingness for the next 1o hours. It was absolutely dreadful but we made it home safe and sound and I discovered what northeastern Utah looks like and that I-80 in Utah had 19 deaths in 2008 and has had 0 deaths so far in 2009.

(Now, below you will see all the pictures that I couldn't find a good place for above).

We spent a lot of time in construction zones but we didn't see much traffic as a result. I'm guessing we just hit these areas at the right time of day.

For entertainment we listened to the Screwtape letters (which I really liked) and Ben read to me from his Anatomy book. We practiced moving the muscles the book talked about.

Why we didn't try seafood on the coast, I'm not quite sure but I wish we would have stopped at this place:

On our trip I found the "Home of Split Pea Soup"
Thanks to everyone who let us stay with you, or visit with you, or bought us a meal, or showed us around or made us a meal or just let us eat your food. It was a very exciting and eventful 3 days and I am so glad we did it.


christy said...

fun! you should have stopped at Solvang too...maybe more time next time around and less weather
we will have to make the trip again sometime. my kids hardly remember living there.

Rachel said...

How fun! It looks like you had that beach practically to yourselves. I would have loved to stop by that sign and get some large, local avocados.