So I want to move to California. No, that's not really all that random. This past Thursday, July 3, our family got home from a road trip out to California and back. DH had a conference in Anaheim, so we decided we’d make a vacation out of it. (No, we didn’t go to Disneyland. Well, not the paying part. We did go to Downtown Disney, so we can honestly say we’ve been to the original Disneyland. ☺) I’ll be perfectly honest. Anaheim was just ok. It was a lot like Orlando, but with uglier palm trees and a much better climate (no spirit crushing humidity to take the fun out of “the happiest place on earth”). DH had some time off in the evenings, so we went with friends south to a quaint, historic town called Temecula. Hot during the afternoon, but the evening was lovely. We had dinner outside, and it was breezy and cool, turning colder as the sun began to set. When they lit a fire in a fire pit right by our table, it was very welcome. LOVED it.

Spent another evening with the same friends walking down Hollywood Boulevard. Meh. The company was great, and it was kinda neat to see some of the things there, to say we’d been to Hollywood, but I was not very impressed. In a place that’s supposed to be so glamorous and rich, it was dirty, smelly, and with not a few homeless people to show the realities of such a place.

We also took an afternoon to go to Rodeo Drive. Meh. Again, it was mostly to say we’d been there. It was a lot cleaner than Hollywood, and not smelly, but I was definitely not in my element. Pretty sad to walk down a row of stores where shoes sell for $2,995.00, and just a block away sits a dirty man in a dirty business suit who has no place to live. And he is just one of many. Again, the amount of homeless people in the area was staggering.

Conference over, the real fun began. Oh, yeah. Get me OUT of the city for real fun. We decided to drive up the coast en route to San Francisco. Nothing ugly about the California coast. It was so gorgeous, I didn’t want to leave. Being a person who hates summer because she hates to sweat, I loved the Cali coast even more because of the cool weather. Did I say cool? In some places it was downright cold! LOVED it. Had to wear a sweater and closed shoes. Purr-fect summer weather, if you ask me. Fell into bed each night deliciously exhausted and slept like a baby. (Well, not a newborn. They wake up a lot, and I didn’t.) We drove through the Big Sur area, and I could have set up camp there and lived happily ever after. Trees, mountains, ocean. What more could one want?

Of course, I could have given up mountaineering for the likes of Monterey. A cute little coastal town where the temps stay relatively cool, between 55 and 75 for most of the year. Ideal, imho. Colder than that is too cold, and warmer than that is, well, too warm. There was so much more we could have done there, and some day I might go back and do it, but just spending one evening at Louie Linguini’s restaurant with night views of the ocean and that lovely sweater weather was enough to hook me. (I don’t even remember what I ate, but I loved the atmosphere.)

San Francisco was a delight. (Especially since DH did all the driving on those steep hills.) Still a big, dirty (in some places) city, but nothing like the LA area. We got a lot of cool pictures, drove down windy Lombard Street, and had clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls by the bay.

I don’t think the temps got past 70. LOVED it. The following day we went to Muir Woods near San Francisco to see the redwoods. I love trees. I would have hugged some of those giants, but we had to stay on the designated path. Perfectly cool temperatures, even as we climbed the trail up the hill to try to see the ocean view. We didn’t make it all the way to the end of the trail, but it was a fun hike.

We stopped at different lighthouses along the way for pictures, and that, for me, is always enjoyable. But…we had to leave the coast at some point, so we headed inland toward Yosemite. We met up with friends at Muir Woods and decided to travel to Yosemite together.

Another great day with awe inspiring views of God’s majesty. Well, I’m sure the grandness of Yosemite pales to nothingness compared to God’s real majesty, but what beautiful glimpses we got at Yosemite. Made saying good-bye to the coast a little more bearable. After Yosemite we went to see more giant trees at Sequoia National Park. Couldn’t have hugged one of those even if we had been allowed to get off of the trails. They might not be as tall as the Redwoods, but they still are pretty tall and, boy, are they thick. The one thing that impressed me the most while we were there was, no, not the climate this time (although it was perfect) but the smell. A lovely piney smell permeated the air, but not so strongly as to be annoying. Shame you can’t capture smells with a camera. But the views were, again, spectacular.

Overall, California was a pleasant surprise. I expected more superficiality in the people around the LA area, but we were all surprised at how nice the people were in all the parts of California that we visited. Courteous and friendly, and though you can’t always tell from such casual encounters with strangers, they seemed mostly sincere. Even the drivers were more courteous than we expected. The only time we got rudely cut off in traffic, the license plate on the car was from…where else but south Florida! Go figure. We got a good laugh out of that one. ☺

I hope we will make it back again, some day, but if not, that’s all right. It was a gift from God and DH that we made it at all, and I’m grateful. I will treasure the pictures and the memories (oh yeah, and the pinecones!) forever.


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