Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Vacation 2011/2012: The Pacific Coast highway

We decided, late last week, to go on a bit of a roadtrip during this winter vacation.  I had really wanted to go and visit a friend of mine, and through the generosity of friends and family (and some amazing Christmas gifts that helped cover the cost), we were able to pull off a great 1600-mile, four day, road trip at a very minimal cost.   We had a blast exploring parts of California that we either had never seen before, or didn't remember seeing (I'd been there while very young, and didn't really remember any of it).    

This post will be pretty picture - heavy, so I apologize in advance.  Stay tuned for the "What I Learned on my Christmas Vacation" post - we took notes during the four days, just so I could make sure to relay things accurately to you!  

Don't forget - if you click on a picture, you'll be able to see a larger version of it!

A great road trip toy:  pizza pan (or cookie sheet, if you have more room than we do.  Throw in some magnets and you have an instant lap desk, race track, magnet board, etc!)

Sunrise over the desert

Picnic time!  We ate mostly picnic lunches and dinners on this trip - trying to keep costs down.  It was a lot of fun - I think we'll do it this way in the future, just because it was so much more fun and relaxed.

Joshua Tree!  (And yes, I did sing some U2 upon seeing our first ones)

Loving being at the beach again!

Elephant seals!

It was a breathtaking ride up the coast - so much so that we changed our plans and came back down the coast, instead of taking the quicker, inland route.

Chateau Julian, near Monterey, CA.

Carmel Mission, near Monterey

As we headed back home, we got to watch the fog roll off of the coast.  Brilliant views!

Bixby Bridge, one of the most photographed bridges in the world.

Fearless mountain climbers

We spotted a waterfall from the road, and had to turn around and check it out.

Breathtaking views from the highway on the way back home.

All tuckered out from a fantastic family vacation!