All posts filed under: California

A collection of adventures in and stories about California.

#TBT Manhattan Beach

I have a confession to make: I am terrified of the ocean.

Stepping into a large body of water – with or without a life jacket – creates a silent kind of mind-numbing terror. Part of this is that I literally sink like a Stone – its not just my last name, it’s what I turn into in water: total dead weight.

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Diversion Averted

If you had asked me 24 hours ago where I was headed today I would have told you Seattle. After we got to Russ and Charisse’s Friday night we started talking about all the other places in the area we could see. We talked about Yosemite, Redwoods, San Francisco, the Pacific coast, the Northwest. Aunt Charisse is a California girl through and through. As she spoke about different areas in California and beyond, you could see how much she loves traveling the west coast. We originally planned for this trip to go through Washington and Oregon, but nixed it because we felt like it was too far. Imagine our excitement to realize we weren’t as far as we thought, and then our disappointment when we reality struck and we recognized that, like all good things, this trip had to come to an end. We started mapping our route during dinner at Mel’s Diner in San Francisco last night. At first count, it was something like 13 and a half hours to reach Seattle from our …

We must have lost our minds

I’m pretty sure that sight of the Pacific Ocean has made us completely lose our minds. After we got to Sacramento today, Aunt Charisse started talking about all the different things we could have done, but didn’t, and all the things we could still do. And it got us thinking. You see, waaay back when we began planning this trip, we were originally going to start out going through South Dakota, the Pacific Northwest, down through California then through the Southwest before coming home. In an attempt to keep from overdoing it on our trip, we ended up cutting out the Pacific Northwest part and gave up on it entirely. Well, we brought it back. With just a few extra hours of driving a day, we’ll be able to see the Redwoods, the coast up to Seattle and Seattle itself, while still being able to see Yosemite, San Francisco and Yellowstone. I’m throwing out the red binder and all my plans for the trip. And I’ve never felt better. 🙂

And they said Sacramento wasn’t cool

Today we made the haul from SoCal to Sacramento to visit my aunt and uncle. But before I get to everything we did, I want to share the story about how I met them. Almost 10 years ago, I met my Uncle Russ, Aunt Charisse and their daughters Charisse Ann and Carole for the first time. Uncle Russ, or Ken as he’s know by everyone else in the world, is my Grandpa’s son from a previous marriage. After Russ’s mother left my Grandpa, she took Russ to California and he didn’t know that he had even lived in Cincinnati, or even what his real name was, until he was a teenager. Russ’s mom sent pictures to Grandpa over the years, so my mom and her sisters grew up knowing they had a brother somewhere in California. Beginning when they were teenagers, they tried to find him. All during this time, Russ never knew about his family in Ohio. As Russ got older and began learning more about his early childhood, he started looking for his …

At World’s End

Finally, we made it to Manhattan Beach. The town was adorable at night, and positively stunning in the daylight. We had to make a pit stop at a McDonald’s on the way; we’ve had a bad habit of not stopping to eat on this trip. By 11 p.m. the most any of us had to eat was some peanut butter crackers and chocolate donuts. I tell you that was the best quarter pounder in the history of my life. We stayed at the Sea View Inn on Highland Avenue. It consisted of a cluster of three or four buildings surrounding a small, bean-shaped pool. We climbed a couple of steep flights of stairs to get to our room. Our front wall was solid windows, giving us a view of the pool and a glimpse of the ocean. Amanda and I were in the room long enough to change and then we headed to the beach. Now, when I think about Southern California beaches, I think of sun and the associated heat. We spent from about …

Whirlwind tour

We got the first good night of sleep of probably our entire trip in Vegas. The beds were amazing, and it probably helped that we were all worn out anyway. I woke up after a good eight hours of sleep feeling like a new woman. It was a good thing too, because we had two National Parks to hit up before visiting LA and then stopping at Manhattan Beach for the night. We briefly considered cutting out the parks to be able to sleep longer and see more of LA and the beach. But, as much as I want to be able to stay on the beach forever, I don’t want to look back on the trip and regret missing something. I’m already planning a trip for next summer to come back to spend more time in the Southwestern Colorado/Utah area. Death Valley was the first park we saw. We paused only at Zebriskie Point to reenact a scene from the 70’s film of the same name. I sincerely doubt you’ve seen this movie; I’ve …