Thursday, September 25, 2014

Final Post

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do.

So throw off the bowlines.

Sail away from safe harbor.

Catch the trade winds in your sails.

Explore. Dream. Discover". -Mark Twain

"Why not," I say.

Why not step out of your comfort zone and do something daring. It may be difficult, it may be a struggle, but it will probably be amazing.

I am having a hard time realizing that this trip is over, it seems like we have been traveling forever and yet it also feels like it was just yesterday that we sold everything and hit the road.

This life change we made, this leap into the has transformed us. It has given us courage to step out of the norm, to look at our world differently and to continually reevaluate our lives.

It has given us so much appreciation for family, friends and church. Most of all this trip has given us a deeper understanding of God's love for us, that He takes care of our every need. We know we are blessed beyond measure.

The past two weeks were spent traveling from Pismo Beach to Carlsbad...

Pismo was amazing, while So Cal suffered from a heat wave we were enjoying the nice cool ocean breezes. I loved every minute of our time there, knowing it would be our last stop before we head home.

Avila Beach near Pismo.

We all enjoyed the RV park we stayed at, lot's of activities for the kids.

Duck feedings everyday.

We celebrated my birthday while in Pismo. I had the perfect day, I was able to have some alone time to go shopping, and we had a yummy dinner overlooking the Pacific.

Pismo was the perfect stop to make before we headed back to "reality".

On the drive south, toward home, it felt surreal. It was nice to know our way, we loved not having to look at our Google maps and navigation.

Familiarity can be so comforting.

The best part of the drive was when we saw this sign.

Coming home meant lot's of family and friend reunions and that's just what we have been doing this past week.

Cousin love.

Thankfully the kids were able to get right back into the charter school where they go two days a week, supporting the home schooling I do the other three days. Such a perfect combo.

Blake was excited about his first day back.

While the kids went to school Justin and I were able to spend some quality time alone at our favorite beach.

Currently we are staying at Paradise by the Sea RV Resort in Oceanside. Since our return we have had many busy days...we had to purchase another car, housing still needs to fall in place. Justin starts work in a few weeks and we need to sell our RV. So much to do, but it's all good. We are grateful, it was all worth it.

In closing this chapter of my life I will always remember the struggles and tears, joys and highs, knowing fully that I embraced life and all the Lord had in store for my family and me. I am excited about the future, I don't know what's next but I do know the Lord has prepared us for something and we are open to whatever that may be.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Northern California

Vacaville was a perfect central location to park our bus and discover Sacramento, Napa and San Francisco.

Pulling into the RV park we were exhausted from a long day. The kids were out of sorts, we had recently had a few late nights, so they were acting up. I was craving some alone time and I think we all just needed some space.

Our plans were to visit Sacramento the next day, but I just did not have the energy to herd all five of us around a big city in 90 degree heat. So we decided Justin would take the older two and I would stay home with Layne.

It was just the break we all needed. I was able to get laundry done and help Layne with her school. There were no sibling arguments all day, no fighting over who's turn it was to dry the dishes or who get's to sit next to who when we eat.

It was peaceful.

Not only was it peaceful it was productive. I was happy my older two were learning so much about California history in Sacramento and Justin was glad to take them.

They toured the Capitol.

Had lunch in Old Sacramento and learned about the gold rush.

Both kids said the train museum was their favorite.

They visited Sutter's Fort and got to see Patty Reed's doll.

It was a successful visit to Sacramento, Justin and the kids enjoyed exploring and learning about the history of California and I enjoyed my time alone with Layne.

The next day we drove an hour northwest to Napa and had a full day planned.

We toured the beautiful Castello di Armorosa Winery.

Castello di Amorosa was super kid friendly, they even had animals.

After the castle we had a beautiful picnic lunch with deli sandwiches and pasta salad shaded by large oak trees at V. Sattui Winery. It was lovely. The kids enjoyed the Napa train that came through while we were eating. Napa was beautiful.

On our way back home we stopped by the Jelly Belly Factory.

I highly recommend the Jelly Belly tour. It is free and they give you tons of samples. Happily we left with the best sugar high.

We spent the next day relaxing around camp since down day's are a must.

Our last day in the area was spent in San Francisco, which is not a city I really cared to see. We have been there before and every time it has been freezing and windy, even in the summer. I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived, that the weather was warm, making it so much more enjoyable.

If you look back at most of my post's I mention the weather often, to me it can make or break the kind of day we have. In fact Justin planned this whole road trip around the good weather with a spread sheet of when the weather was best at the many places we wanted to see. He know's me so well, or maybe he's just a lover of spread sheets. Either way that's how we planned our trip, deciding to leave in February and it's worked out fairly well.

Since we have been to San Fran before we decided to spend a little time at Alamo park with a picnic lunch. We wanted to relax, take in the view and enjoy the experience of being somewhere we don't get to very often.

The Painted Ladies, right across from Alamo park.

Afterwards, we drove down Lombard Street...

and walked around Pier 39.

We loved our time in San Fran, I have a new appreciation and love for the city.

During our stay in Vacaville we had some decisions to make. Originally our plans were to head to Utah and Colorado after the Napa area planting us back home in November sometime. We have always kept the option open to head home early after Napa and save Utah and Colorado for a future trip.

We do miss home. So our decision is to slowly make our way South.

Currently we are parked in Pismo Beach, we are enjoying it here knowing that our time on the road will soon come to an end.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Chico and Quincy

There are many things that we've missed and craved since leaving California back in February and In-N-Out is very near the top of that list. So naturally when we arrived in Chico we headed straight there for dinner.

Animal fries and burgers never tasted so good.

We were really looking forward to the next few day's exploring Chico, and what made it even more special is that we had our own personal tour guides.

Justin's cousin Jamie, along with her family, showed us around town. My girls were so happy to spend time with their 2nd cousins and Justin and I were excited to spend time with family we don't get to see very often.

Not only is Chico incredibly beautiful with it's tall oak trees that canopy sidewalks and streets, but it has a lovely downtown filled with restaurants and boutique shopping.

We visited Madison Bear Garden for dinner, popular with Chico State college students.

Super eclectic and fun. Justin had their famous Jiffy burger, a burger with peanut butter. I had a bite and it was surprisingly really good.

Since dinner was downtown we were able to walk their local Farmer's Market afterwards.

The next day we toured Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and had lunch at their restaurant.

So yummy!

After lunch we took in a little California history with a tour through the Bidwell Mansion, which is a State Historic Park in Chico. The mansion was home of John Bidwell, who was one of the first pioneers to cross the Sierra Nevada into California in the 1840's. He became deeply involved in the development of California, it's agriculture and the city of Chico. It was neat to tour this historic mansion and relive a part of California's rich early history.

Since we were not far from Justin's aunt in Quincy we were able to drive out for a visit on the last day of our stay.

Quincy is a small town North East of Chico, about a two hour drive through a beautiful canyon full of tunnels, bridges and amazing scenery.

We visited Greenhorn Ranch where cousin Jamie and her husband, Wes, got married. So beautiful.

The kids were able to fish while I enjoyed time chatting with Justin's Aunt Cathy and Cousin Jamie.

Layne with the largest pine cone I have ever seen.

It was such a relaxing and enjoyable day...

we played pool

and went for quad rides through the forest. Blake was so excited to take his mama.

The girls had a blast hanging out together.

Overall we had the best time, we felt welcomed and loved. The areas of Quincy and Chico were amazingly beautiful, both unique in their own ways.

We finished off our trip to Quincy with the Poka Dot ice cream and shakes. It was the perfect end to an amazing week.