California is the place to be 2018 vacation part one of three

A year or so ago my hubby said that he would have the month of July off and wanted to go on a vacation someplace. Well, where can we go? Oh gosh the heck if I know. You want to do a whole month? Oh my gosh I will have to spend a whole month someplace. Not home on my comfy couch.

The rotten thing is he was leaving it up to me to figure out. Then I tell him and he says sounds good or does not sound good. It is his vacation too. Why does he not put his input into it. I looked on websites. I read so much on different places. My head was spinning. I ask questions of other people and places they went. Still not coming to any idea of what to do. He kept coming back to me saying. Have you figured out anything yet? No I have not. Getting a little frustration here. On my part because I really didn’t know what he wanted and the fact that I did not want to be away for four weeks. Way too long.

Finally after a couple of months of looking I came up with one week to do something. A carnival cruise. Either of us had never been on a cruise. I showed it to him. He said send me a link to his email. So instead of just sitting down with me and looking at what I had come up with he wanted to look at it himself. Okay so I sent it to him. He looked at it. Reads everything then says why not go a bit higher in price. Get this balcony instead of this. A little more room. Okay, but why would you want to pay more money for something the same but just a little bigger when we probably will not spend that much time in the cabin. Should be out enjoying our time on the deck. Hanging at the pool. Playing some games. Well little did I know, but will tell you about that later. So all booked and we have a start.,p

So now we have a cruise booked. The cruise went from Long Beach, California, down to Mexico and back to Long Beach. One week of enjoying a cruise. The thing is it is only one week. Still want four weeks. What can we do for the other four weeks. Well had to start looking again. How about a train trip down to California? Looking at that. It would get us to California, but there would be transfers to hotels in the middle of the night. Are the areas of these train stations in a good area or a bad area.

I kept thinking it would be ideal to do. We would see allot of country and the big thing hubby would not be driving. The other thing though you would not be able to get out where you wanted to and look around the area. So kept looking. Time was getting closer and still had not figured out what to do. I got comments of get it done there is not much time left. The heat is on and he is not thinking of anything. Just telling me that I should figure it out.

I know one thing though. I am not getting on the bike and ride down there. My butt would not take it. The cruise would be relaxing afterwards, but the butt would have to get back on and ride back home.

Then a hiccup came along in April. I went for the mail and there was a letter in there for me. I opened this official letter. I have jury duty. Comes right in the middle of this month off. I could be in jury for the two days, or could be told they don’t want me or I could be doing jury duty for a month or longer. Dang what a way to ruin a holiday. I put in a request to be exempted. That was denied. They said I can state my case on the day. For now though everything is up in the air. If I do jury duty it may go into the cruise. Too late to cancel if I have to go. If I do cancel the cruise now and get my money back. Then jury duty I won’t have to do then will be a month and no holiday. He would for sure get me on the back of the bike and we would be heading wherever. I would not look forward to that. Neither would my butt.

June came along. Getting closer and still up in the air. Then I got an email. Not a letter but and email. Saying was not needed for jury duty. So happy that I did not cancel the cruise.

So now! A couple of weeks to go before July I had to get crackin. Okay I am not going to figure this out myself. So I ask around to my friends for a great travel agent. The best place was Maritine travel in Abbotsford. So I drove into Abbotsford the next day. Met up with Mickey. She was talking with a new puppy she had just gotten. Darling little thing. I sat down and told her about my dilemma.

We talked for about an hour. I gave her info on what was planned so far. Dates we had available. She said not much time to figure this all out, but we will give it our best shot. I left on a happy note.

Over the next week we talked back and forth. I sent her emails on things I found that would be interesting. Things started coming together. I was looking through the internet as well as she was. Came across a caravan tour. Would take us a week to do. So there is another week filled

We start out in San Francisco. We spend a day there on our own touring and walking around. The next day on the bus and head to Muir woods and then to a wine tour. Back to hotel and spend the rest of the day in San Francisco. Next day moving to a different location gradually making our way down the coast with a last stop in Los Angeles. So another week is now booked.

Now what do we do in the middle.. could stay in Los Angeles and wander the area. Go down to San Diego We have a week yet

So now a beginning and an end. Flights can now be booked. It is also down to three weeks instead of four. Works for me a little shorter. Not in California in the heat for four weeks. So we now have our flights booked. I look at the flights the next day and something is wrong. The date for us coming back is one day sooner then we get of the ship. Quick call coming up. Emails being sent. This has got to be fixed. My boo-boo. I said the wrong day. Mickey booked the days I had said. The prices where good and I never checked right away. So she booked it. Now Mickey has to be on the phone seeing if she can get it changed. She said would be no problem. So I left her office and worried for the day. Dumb, dumb I is. Anyways the days was changed. No extra cost to us. So thankful for Mickey and her hard work.

Our next idea. What do we do for the week in between. Well let’s go see Mickey Mouse. Have not been there since Rob was four or five. Got to see Mickey then so since we are that close let’s do it again. Things have changed since we have been there.

So Mickey at maritine travel went to work for us again. She was on the phone. On the computer. So much stuff that just confused me to no end. It is two weeks in counting til our flight takes off. Have to get this together. We have a hotel, the passes to Disney and all the is coming together.

So on the first of July we drive over the border to the holiday inn at the bellingham airport. Early flight in the morning. Sigh I do not like mornings, but that is when we fly so we fly. We wander a little around the bellingham airport. Hubby wanted to get the feel and where to go. Well there is only one place to go in Bellingham. Have been there before. One security, one way to go to the four or five gates that are on the other side. Not very big. Flight into Seattle and then onto San Francisco. Hubby being tickety boo about some things and wanting everything running right with out missing anything or things going wrong. Always asking questions because I have traveled a little more then him. Sometimes drive me nuts because I don’t know anymore then he does about a different airport. At least he noticed something I did not. They changed the gate of our flight to San Francisco. So up we get and start making our way to another gate. Get there about the time they are loading. Well we did make it and on our way. You know this is the first time he has let me sit by the window and he took the centre seat. I know he wasn’t happy with it. Being squished in the centre of three seats. Well I could do what I like to do. Watch the clouds and the land below. I love watching out the window.

In San Francisco now. We have shuttle to find. Easy easy after we got our luggage. Shuttle drops off at a few hotels around San Francisco. Well a way to see a bit of the city finally being the the last to get off the shuttle. A very nice boutique hotel down by water. Close to pier 39. A great place to walk down along the water. A view of the Golden Gate Bridge. There is an aquarium and the pier to walk on. Lots a views and lots of places to eat.

We went out for a walk along the water. A few pictures from our walk

kinda of a foggy day. We came in on a Saturday and boy was the walk busy. People people everywhere. We didn’t walk too long. It was a long day on the plane and flying places. So we went back to the hotel had a bite to eat and then headed to the room. It was a very warm California day.

That evening we where to meet down in the meeting room to give us an idea of what would be happening on our tour. We went to the room for 6 o’clock. They handed out papers with everyone’s name on it. The thing was ours was not on it. There were a another couple with their name not on the list. So trying to check with the travel director to find out why. Seems that there was suppose to be another session after this one that we are suppose to be at. Not this one. Well it would have been nice if they had said that there was a group a and a group b. Well anyways came back an hour later and joined the second group. It was smaller then the first group and the tour director sounded an little more joyful then the last on. So a big bus with less people makes for more room. We can spread out a little if we want to. We got to know some of the other people going on the tour with us.

So next morning, way too early for me, we are on a bus and heading to the Muir woods. Over the Golden Gate Bridge through the Robin Williams tunnels and up we go. Come to a parking lot and hop on another bus. The big bus is not allowed in the area of the Muir. The bus is too big for the drive into the Muir.

It is a beautiful place. So serine and quiet. I love walking around here. A great place to meditate. And just sit and think.

Aren’t these pictures beautiful. I took pictures of some burls as well. They look interesting some I could even see something in.

Our next stop was back on our regular bus and then we headed north to Sonoma and did a wine tour. We went through the wine barrel cellar. Was told about their process of making wine. We then headed up to the patio and enjoyed some of the different flavours they had.

Oops caught a little friend following me around. Isn’t he cute. I am an animal person. Not much of a wine person. Enjoyed it but liked the little squirrel better.

After Sonoma we headed back to the city. We stopped at the park for a view of the bridge. She was a little fogged over that day but got to look at her for awhile.

After the bridge we had a bit of tour around the city. That big bus on small street, lots of cars. Driving the streets we saw little Italy, China town, nob hill, up and down. The streets are not even. Need some work. Very rough and bumpy. We saw allot of the city from a bus point of view.

We where then dropped off at the hotel in the afternoon. One more night in San Francisco. We went for another walk down along the water. Not as many people there today. We made it down to pier 39 again, had a bite to eat. Checked out a few of the gift shops and then headed back to the hotel. Didn’t go as far as I did the when I was there a couple of years ago. This time is was just a bit warm for walking too much

Next morning up early down to breakfast. We had a room for the two bus tours for our breakfast. So much food, so delish. We then gather on our respected bus. Our luggage was already in the hold. Caravan tours picks up your luggage from outside our rooms and takes them to the bus. Loads them on so we have a easier time on a holiday.

We are on our way. No more San Francisco. We drove down to Monterey and walked around the shops a bit. Some went into the aquarium there. Nice little spot with boutique stores. All along canary row. Drove down to Big Sur. Wow is the ocean just gorgeous. You ever have a chance to go down along highway 1 it is breathtaking.

From big sur we backtracked back up to Monterey. To our hotel for the night. We went into hotel where our tour guide got our keys. He set them all out according to name. We picked the key for us us and headed to our room. We went and had our supper at the hotel. Took a bit of a walk to stretch out after sitting in the bus most of the day. Later on back in our room our luggage was there. We where defiantly ready for sleep. Did not stay up too late watching any tv. Next morning would be another early day.

That’s right up and out of the room around 6:30 and over to have breakfast. Our bus group was the only bus tour there. The other group was doing what we did yesterday and we were doing what they did yesterday. Just so not in the same place at same time and hopping all over each other to see something. It is nice to have the smaller amount of people. You are not so crowded.

As I was saying up and Adam. We are on our way. Heading today to Yosemite national park. The further inland we go the hotter it gets. We got out a couple of times stretch our legs and have a pee break. Boy was it warm. Dripping sweat warm.

We came into the park and had to change to a different bus again. Smaller so it is easier to manoeuvre on the tight corners. Into the park we go. The bus can not stay there so they drop us off. Give us directions to see a little of the park. Just catch this bus and it will take you to here and then you walk over here see these things. Then get on another bus that will take you back to this spot and we will pick you up here again.

Okay that is a huh? Well we walked a little. Found a restaurant sat down and had a bite to eat in the cool air. Walked out and promptly went the wrong way. Ended up behind all the buildings and looking for a way out. Finally got ourselves back to the road and saw a ranger sitting at a desk. So we asked him about seeing a few things before we got back on the bus. Well he gave us a map and said just go over by the restaurant , take the trail over to the left and you will have a nice walk back to the falls. Then flow the other way on the trail and will get another view of El Capitan. Sounds good so off we go.

Isn’t this just beautiful. I know I am saying this about every place we have been. As you can see I find the little critters as well.

It was really hot there so we headed in to sit in the restaurant again. Had to cool off. Was just sweating so much. Really too hot. As we where heading towards the bus pickup seen a couple of people who passed out from the heat. Very nice place but not a place to be if you can not take the heat.

Aw! Back on an air conditioned bus. And onto our hotel. The tour guide told us about being stuck in the park with a fire on both roads going in and out. So happy nothing like that was happening this time.

At the hotel for the night. Our luggage is taken care of. We have our room key and time to go relax a bit. We are at a casino. So entertainment for the night. About five restaurants in there so have our Choice of what we can eat. Well we did gamble a little. Played the slots for a bit. Was up and then back down. Not up much. Just a couple of dollars, but we did enjoy our night.

On the road again this morning. Yes bright and early. Breakfast at the casino and then on the road.

This was the fountain out front of the casino. Then the next picture is of Lewis loading the bus and the last picture is of a sacred tree in California. It is a big no no to cut them down. They are very old.

So now on the road again. Heading south. I kinda fell asleep during some of this. I was one tired camper. Woke up at a pit stop. A small wine place and store. Had a carousel and a couple of other rides. Also had pets there that asked to you. Some parrots.

We came down out of the mountains and back over towards the ocean. Aw! A little cooler weather. Our stop here was Hearst castle first. Oh wow is that something to see. It was not finished as mr Hearst had ran out of money, but what he did do I would say just wow! This house is up on the hill. Way up. You drive about half a mile to get up to the property. The view from there is spectacular. All ocean below. We had a tour of part of the house. You walked in and woven carpets on the walls. Gold flake on items. A hug swimming pool outside plus another indoor swimming pool that actually has flecked gold in the til. saw his dining room. That seat at least twenty people. He had towers and the land that was around this property was his for miles and miles and miles. At one time he had exotic animals there. His own zoo you would say. If you look over the fields you will still see zebra roaming the land. It was amazing

After Hearst castle we drove a little way north and saw all the sea wolves out on the rock. Barking away and playing around.

Next stop heading south again. We went to the mission in the area. There are a few of these Spanish missions still around the area

Down the highway again and we are heading through Malibu. The ocean is beautiful some walked down to Coney Island and others headed up to the mall walk up two streets. We spent time there doing some shopping and then back on bus for another night.

so now we are in Los Angeles. The Hilton in Los Angeles. We certainly had some very nice hotels along the way. We spend two nights here and then our first our is finished.

Last day of our first tour. Saw rodeo drive, Sony studios and groomed Chinese theatre. Busy places so you could not get too close to see much. I did get to see the Hollywood sign and a few names in the sidewalk. We got to play a game of jeopardy and hold a Emmy and an Oscar.

so up this morning to say goodbye to everyone. We had a great week together. Now onto Mickey Mouse. This blog is long enough so will start another with the second part of our vacation.. talk to you again tomorrow with my Disney adventure

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