Monday, October 15, 2018

Anniversary Trip: Redwoods & San Francisco

Last week we went on our 10 year anniversary trip to the Redwoods and San Francisco. Dave has wanted to go to the Redwoods for as long as I've known him so we decided what better time to check them out than on our anniversary when we don't have to take 3 kids in the car with us. As we were planning the trip we realized it only added 3 hours of total driving time to swing down and hit up San Francisco on our way home, so we decided why not?

We started the trip with an 11 hour drive to Ashland, Or where we found an AirBnB suite with bathroom, sitting area and bedroom separated from the house it was in for $40. It was an adorable, cabin in the middle of the woods feel! I couldn't see or hear any neighbors anywhere nearby. Totally worth the money and I think it was Dave's favorite place we stayed at.

The drive through the mountains was beautiful! We drove through the top part of Nevada which was desert and then headed into the bottom of Oregon which was covered in fog and infrequent drizzles. The leaves were changing as we drove through too, so it was enchanting to see everything with it's fall colors.

We decided to stop in Crescent City to see the light house and tidal pools since we were driving through anyway. We got lucky and showed up at low tide so we were able to cross to the lighthouse with minimal wading, but by the time we headed back an hour later the tide had come in and our pants got pretty soaked! But it was worth the wet.

Next up was the Klamath Overlook because we were supposed to be able to see whales eating seals or something. We didn't see any whales but we got a great view of the beach and found a mountain full of ripe blackberries. We ate our fill and talked to a guy that had been at the lookout every day that week and hadn't seen whales in 4 days. So we headed out to hit up the Redwoods.

The Redwoods were great! The woods was so tranquil and even though it drizzled off and on the whole time we were there, it made the woods smell FABULOUS! The first day we hiked it didn't rain so we didn't get to experience the smell until the second day. It was a piny smell with a hint of something citrus. Immediately upon smelling it I added Redwood essential oils to my Amazon shopping cart. Hopefully it smells as good as the real thing.

Dave had the time of his life and proclaimed the trip was totally worth the 13 hour drive. I don't know if I was more excited at the tidal pools or if he was more excited for the big trees. It's still up in the air.

We saw deer, elk, two different kinds of frogs, banana slugs and a plethora of birds while hiking. On average we clocked 14 miles of hiking a day and 60 flights of stairs. We went to bed exhausted each night and got a full 8 hours of sleep (which rarely happens for us).

We also hit up Fern Valley while in Redwoods. It this slot canyon covered in 7 different types of ferns. It was awesome to walk through two huge walls covered in green. Dave loves ferns and this was totally worth fording two rivers and getting a flat tire to see.

We were able to hike through the Redwoods to the beach and relax while watching the waves wash in. It started raining but we stayed because we saw three seals and two dolphins. The dolphins might have been sea monsters. They were hard to see because of the rain.

After two days in Redwoods State and National Park we decided to slowly meander down the coast. We had planned to spend 3 days in the park, but were ready to move on after 2 days. We asked stopped at a few souvenir shops on the beach and asked the locals where they would stop while heading down the coast. Then we stopped wherever they told us.

We ended up at the Founder's Grove which was a cool stop. What I liked is it wasn't as well maintained as the National Park so we got to see a stack of annihilated trees! It looked like one went down, taking two more with it. Dave of course had to ignore the sign that said don't climb on them and check it out up close.

We also hit up a local cheese factory!!! It had some of the best flavors of cheeses I've ever tasted (no wonder every local we talked to recommended it). We got to sample 30ish flavors before deciding on 3 bricks to take home with us. Yeah, they're already all gone. I wish we would have bought more!

We also hit up this baby light house. The cliff it was originally on had corroded and they had to move it. It's currently "in storage" and not functional until they can move it to it's new location. I still insisted we drive to the parking lot it was sitting in the middle of and take a picture.

We tried a few other beaches, looking for tidal pools but weren't able to find anything as spectacular as the ones in Crescent City. But we did get to see some beautiful beaches.

Next we headed into San Francisco! Because we were coming from the north we took the Golden Gate Bridge into town. Like the tourists we are we took tons of pictures of the bridge.

On our way into town we decided to stop at the Palace of Fine Arts. We were able to find free street parking and enjoy the scenery. I love the buildings!

It's also a preserve for several varieties of birds so did our best to spot them all.

 This is also where we were when we found out my car back at home had completed it's last adventure. My parents were using it while staying at our house and watching our kids and the transmission completely gave out. Crack down the center, cost 3 time more to fix it than the value of the car. I guess if you're going to die, you should do it with a bang!

Dave insisted we drive and walk down Lombard street (known for being one of the crookedest streets in SF). It was insane! I would absolutely hate to live on this street but it was cool to see.

We checked into our hole in the wall hotel, parked our car in a covered garage, praying it would get broken into during the 2 days we left it parked in the city with all our luggage locked inside (it didn't, pshew), and headed out to explore. We walked hiked up and down and up and down the roads to see Fisherman's Warf. We enjoyed browsing the shops, watching the street performers, ogled the sea lions, and ate some of the best sushi of our lives in Japan town.

On our way back to the hotel we walked by a few cathedrals and had to eat a few pastries in Little Italy. We had a Cannoli and a Diplomatica. The cannoli was good, as always, but the Diplomatica was heavenly!!! It was so good the next day while walking through Little Italy again we had to stop and get more pastries. This time an almond crescent and a raspberry circle. Both were fabulous but the almond crescent was the winner.

On day two we also thoroughly explored Chinatown. Many of the side streets had cool murals on the walls and I had to take a few pictures for the boys.

I love digging through all the shops in Chinatown, looking for the perfect souvineer for the kids. Dave found the boys each a Pokemon beanie that they wear every day and Brooklyn a little Chinese dress that she has already worn twice since we got home. I found kids chopsticks for the boys and a classic purple Chinese shirt and pants set which Brooklyn doesn't like as much as Dave's dress.

We had a grand time exploring but were ready to head out of town by the second day. Busy cities are fun to visit, but it's nice to head home to the suburbs. Of course before we left we had to hit up Fisherman's Warf one last time to get clam chowder, shrimp cocktail and a crab sandwich for lunch.

We spent the night in Reno and enjoyed our $50 king size suite with hot tub. In Reno you get more for your money ;) Friday we had a 7 hour drive home before going to enjoy Logan's "Night at the Museum" at school. Everyone was exhausted by bedtime.

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