Friday, August 31, 2012

Anniversary Road Trip: PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY

We woke up the morning of our anniversary in Watsonville, CA and headed straight for the Pacific Coast Highway, heading south to Monterey. Our plan for the day was simple: cruise down the PCH (loosely following this guide), see the lovely sights along the way, and end our journey in Morro Baywhere we had dinner and hotel reservations for the night. It was a gorgeous day filled with gorgeous sights. We cruised through charming towns, over bridges, and cliffs overlooking rugged beachesall the while, reminiscing about our honeymoon in Costa Rica and singing along to our wedding reception playlist.

We stopped at a roadside market and picked up some juicy peaches for snacks on our drive.

Our first stop was Lovers Point in Monterey.

Think "part of your world."

The water was so cold, but we waded a bit.
The most OBESE squirrel I have ever seen! I didn't even think he was REAL. I didn't know rodents could have love handles?

The tourists are obviously feeding this guy wayyy too much. Kinda sad. Mostly funny.

Point Pinos Lighthouse

baby deer in the cemetery

Jacob exploring the tide pools

He harassed so many  hermit crabs that day

We kept on cruisin' south down the PCH and eventually entered Big Sur. Simply breathtaking.

Bixby bridge

Just a small example of the rugged beauty that we witnessed the ENTIRE drive.

We stopped in a little settlement in Big Sur and got some lunch. Jacob found his favorite "buffalo bleu" chips. There were lots of charming little shops and restaurants in the area. I'd love to go back and spend more time exploring.

We took a short detour to the lovely Pfeiffer Beach.

we had fun telling people it was our anniversary.

Our last stop before getting to Morro Bay was San Simeon to see the elephant sealsyou know the giant ones with the weird noses? What a funny sight to behold. The pups were so cute! The adultsnot so cute. It's kind of the opposite situation of the "ugly duckling."

They kept whacking sand up on their backs.

Everything about this day was beautiful and entrancing. I felt so far away from Provo as we drove up Big Sur's misty cliffs that overlooked crashing waves (really, I felt like I was in a scenic car commercial). It was an easy breezy day, and an awesome way to spend our anniversary. Next stopMorro Bay.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Anniversary Road Trip: Santa Cruz Boardwalk

We left Yosemite right around lunchtime, picked up some IN-N-OUT (animal style) in Merced, checked into our Days Inn in Watsonville a few hours later, and headed straight for the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. This was completely Jacob's idea. I must admit, it was genius. This place is a mini-dreamland, and we had the time of our lives!

It just happened to be Pepsi night at the boardwalk, so we brought some pepsi cans and got unlimited rides for only 10 bucks!

My only disappointment about the boardwalk is that it's not made of "boards." It's more like a cement-walk. Searching for authenticity in a modern world... huff. Still. right on the beach. Just lovely.

This little coaster was waayyy more turbulent than I expected!

With all the psychotic carnival rides they had, I think I got the most scared on the Sea Swings. 
It went right over the water, and all I could think about was SHARKS.

Ridin' the sea swings

Now I know why we were the only ones riding the Logger's Revenge... It was COLD!! 
The logger definitely got his revenge on our foolishness.

Trying to stay dry

Jacob took one for the team.

Getting ready for the Giant Dipper. Best wooden roller coaster ever!

In line for The Fireball. This ride looked nuts.

Bullying Jacob into going on The Fireball probably wasn't the best idea. He warned me that rides that go back and forth make him queasy. The Fireball swings back and forth and twists at the same time. In my mind, the twisting motion would cancel out the back-and-forth motion, right? I taunted him and bribed him with garlic fries if he went on it with me. He wanted garlic fries before the Fireball. He didn't want garlic fries after The Fireball. Not anymore.

Oops. Well I feel like a jerk!

Antidote for feeling like a jerk... CHEESE-ON-A-STICK!! It makes everything better.

I was movie night out on the beach, and they were playing GOONIES. How cool is that!?

We rode the Double-Shot, the Hurricane, the Sea Swings, Cyclone, Cliff Hanger, Logger's Revenge, the Fireball, and the Giant Dipper (twice!). Add that with Cheese-on-a-stick and Goonies on the beachtry to forget about the part when Jacob got sickand you get a perfect "anniversary eve" with me and my love.

Sometimes we have to be adults. But that night we were just kids.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Anniversary Road Trip: YOSEMITE

Next stop on the road was Yosemite. This may have been my most anticipated destination on the trip. Yosemite (along with Disneyland) is kind of the magical place of my childhood. We camped here almost every summer, and as a youngster, I was completely mesmerized by its beauty. It had been about 11 years since I had last been in the park, and I was curious to see if it would still be the Yosemite that I remembered.

Everything was stunning. The sights and smells still so familiar. It was like being transported back in timeand the six-year-old inside of me was happy.

I forgot how striking these huge granite monuments are right when you drive into the park. El Capitan on the left, the Three Brothers on the right, and Half Dome hovering in the distance.

We spied on a baby buck!

Lunch in Yosemite Village. Camping without sushi?!?! It isn't camping!

One of the things that was on my "must-do" list was the Nature Center. This was literally my favorite place in the WORLD when I was little. It's basically like the Bean Museum at BYUlots of dead stuffed animalsexcept exclusively creatures that live in Yosemite. My grandma used to follow me around the center with a big, analog video camera and film me giving a tour of all the animals on display. It was preciousand about an hour long.

They seriously had all the same ol' stuffed critters that they did years and years ago, and I remembered all of them! I had them all memorized.

Since we were only staying in Yosemite for a short time, no big hikes for us. 
Still, we took an afternoon hike up the mist trail to Vernal Falls.

On the bridge with Vernal Falls in the background.

these guys were all over the place!

Jacob broke the rules and went swimming in the Emerald Pool. It's right above the waterfall!! Really though, he was completely safe. The water was so low that he would've hit several large boulders before ever making it over the falls. Still scary to think about.

Jacob sliding down the Silver Apron. 
He was brave. The water was much too cold for me.

We visited the beautiful Awahnee Hotel. It's seriously our dream to someday hike Half Dome and then stay HERE afterwards. That would be neat. Being rich doesn't seem so bad...

So the big bummer of our day was that we didn't get into a campsite in the valley. After waiting in line, we were literally the cut-off after they filled up. We were the first people they sent away. Instead, we found a campsite right outside of the park along the Merced River. In hindsight, I honestly think this worked out a lot better for us. We didn't have to share a small campsite with a bunch of hippie rock climbers. Instead we had some quiet and privacy, and even took a moonlight dip in the river. Plus, there was a HUGE bundle of firewood waiting for us! It kinda made up for our bad luck earlier.

Jacob used his eagle scout powers to build us a roaring fire.

Our friendly neighbors let us have one of their tiki torches! AWESOME.
The next day we basically just took it easy and played. 
We started at the Indian Village, another childhood fav of mine.

Just like when I was a kid, we played in the Merced River. 
Except this time I didn't stuff rocks in my swimsuit.

I decided that water can be scary sometimes. Shark week didn't help, but for some reason
 I kept having this irrational fear that there was an octopus in the river. Sounds dumb. I know.

Jacob taught me how to skip stones, but I still suck at it.

The majestic Half Domesomeone cue the Jurassic Park theme.

So when we first drove into the park, I was getting so buzzed out over all the trees and rocks and river, etc. I was just getting super stoked. And then I saw this big boulder in the river, and I was like "I WANNA CLIMB THAT BOULDER!" Jacob took this very seriously, and on our way out, we found the very same boulder and made it our mission to climb it. It was a little harder than it looked, but we did it. No pic of me on top because Jacob had to climb with me so he could pull me to the top!

Me and my boulder.

Yosemite was beautiful and we were happy to make it out alive. Jacob's dad texted us the next day and told us that he saw in the news that 3 people had died in Yosemite while we were there. 2 boys drowned in the river and one lady died of a virus she got in Curry Villageanother woman was in critical condition because of the same virus. Luckily, we ate all our food in Yosemite Village. whew!

After this trip, Jacob kept talking about how he wants a nice backpack and camping gear for his birthday. "I really wanna go backpacking out there," he kept saying. I have a feeling we'll be back.