Last time, I shared the first four days of our vacation to the great state of California. Today, I’m going to share about the next couple days of our visit and let the photos do most of the talking.
Day 5: Pebble Beach, 17-Mile Drive (Christmas Day!)
I would say today was one of the less traditional Christmases we’ve ever celebrated. Maybe it just felt that way because we were in such a different place and not doing traditional things, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a great day. It was actually one of my favorite days of the trip. We drove south again on Hwy 1, this time stopping just south of Monterey at the famous Pebble Beach. There’s a road that loops and winds around inside the Del Monte Forest and then takes you along the Pacific coastline. Called the 17-Mile Drive, it is widely recognized as one of the world’s most scenic drives and I would have to agree. We spent almost two hours at Pebble Beach, with all the stops and traffic. I’ll never forget what a super windy and cold day this was, either.
Day 6: Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
After yesterday’s time spent in the car, we continued with our tactic of sticking around the apartment so that our son could take a solid nap. The morning was fairly uneventful (it likely involved yet another coffee run, this time to Peet’s) and we planned the state park adventure for the mid-afternoon. We saw redwood trees driving in from San Jose, over the Santa Cruz mountain range en route to Santa Cruz on the day we arrived. We knew there would be some parks in the area where we could see even more of these majestic trees. Granted, they’re nothing like the ones in northern California but we were still impressed nonetheless. It was really hard for me to capture the sheer height and expanse of the redwoods since I don’t have a wide angle lens, but what an experience to just stand and feel so incredibly tiny under these massive 300+ feet, 1000+ year old trees. Fun fact: we got to go inside a redwood tree, which was lived in by someone named John C. Fremont back in the days.
Day 7: San Francisco
Today, we left right after breakfast because we knew it would take a while to get to San Francisco. With the holiday weekend traffic, it ended up taking us at 2 hours to finally get to and across the bay. The main objective was to hit up a few of the popular sites, as quickly as possible. I could spend more time writing in detail about our experience but I’ll just say we did a lot of walking, a lot of waiting in lines, and weren’t adequately prepared with food or water. Plus, it was even harder because our toddler took a mid-morning car nap (only about 45 minutes long) and then was up until we headed back home around 6:30pm so he was rightfully getting cranky by mid-afternoon. In hindsight, it would’ve probably been better if we went on a weekday not during a holiday and maybe even planned to spend the night there but regardless, we had a mostly enjoyable time seeing what we saw of the city. After a long, tiring day we got back close to 8pm.
Two random things I want to write down, so I don’t forget:
1. By this point of our trip, we had pretty much established a good routine. One day, we would venture out further and let our son nap on the go. The trick here was to be in the car, driving. Otherwise, no nap. On the alternate days, we would stick around closer to the apartment and let him nap in the crib. Our strategy seemed to work pretty well and despite his early morning wake-ups, he did better than we expected. Don’t get me wrong, we had our fair share of whining in the car seat but when it got really bad, if it was convenient (i.e. a vista point off the highway) we would just stop the car and let him run around for a few minutes.
2. It’s still so weird to me sometimes how different traveling is now than it used to be, before having a child. I definitely see other vacationing families with young children in a totally new light now. I GET IT. Traveling can still be fun, it’s just a lot harder on many levels. While it would be amazing to take a trip with just my husband, we’re not going to completely stop traveling just because we have children. It’s just too important to us and we also want to instill a love of traveling and having new, different experiences in our children.
Anyhow, stay tuned for my final post on how we spent the last few days in California! You don’t want to miss this last set of photos, especially since they involve wildlife and stunning scenery.