Friday, April 22, 2016

Over Halfway

The only thing I have to report is we've been driving...

...through New Mexico

...and Texas

...and Oklahoma.

...through Arkansas (which was perfection) and currently Tennessee. 

I'm so tired of driving! Trying to convince the husband to stay another night at Dollywood aka Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. We have 9 hours left to our new home and 3 days left of travel time. If the Marine Corps says it takes 8 days to drive from CA to NC, who are we to argue?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Eastward Bound

Yesterday was a lot of driving. A lot, a lot! I guess we were in a mood to get things done. We drove 13 hours covering who knows how many miles! We started in Flagstaff, Arizona and ended in Shawnee, Oklahoma. That's four states. In road trip speak it means big progress!

The delay in Flagstaff to repair our second car was nice and all. By the way it was an electrical problem with the engine fan if you are following along. I enjoyed some time by the fire, reading in the rocking chair. We also explored, a local road side attraction called Bearizona. It's a drive through zoo of forest animals. It was cute. The Bears were super active so that made it fun.

My daughter and I took a quick tour of Northern Arizona University as well. She is starting to think about life after high school these days. Thank you senior friends! This is what I have raised her to do. Stay focused on herself, educate herself, and then worry about the other grown up stuff after. I won't go into details, but this year, she has made me doubt my efforts were working the way I hoped ;)

Back to the road trip...our drive across country was pretty uneventful. We hit a severe thunderstorm in Texas. No surprise given their recent weather reports but a little stressful for this SoCal desert driver. We stayed ahead of the worst of it.

This morning we are headed out to new adventures. We are covering a part of the US I've never seen. I get to cross Visit Arkansas  off my bucket list. It's a weird bucket list thing (I know) but it's one of two southern states I've never visited. Can you guess the other?? My new home...North Carolina. Wouldn't you know that WASN'T on my bucket list!! Haha :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Does PCS Equal Car Trouble?

The sun has set on the first day of our cross country road trip. I admit my perspective has changed considerably now that my shoes are off and I'm in a comfy bed! Day one has been a challenge. Nothing we can't handle; however, it did slow us down. 

I'll make this short with two trouble. So, our day along oblivious to bad stuff happening, pull over on side of freeway, leave car, drive 40 miles to the first desert town, buy multiple car parts just to be sure, drive 40 miles back, temporarily fix car, pray, and drive for the next four hours. 

We finally made it to Flagstaff five hours behind "schedule". After settling into our hotel, we found a restaraunt and then crashed. Today we are going to try to find somewhere to get the car checked out. And do a touristy thing in town. We might have to stay an extra day if the car needs some major maintenance. It's ok because Flagstaff is cool! But car troubles are not :/

This little snaffoo is very reminescent of another PCS in 2008. Another driving across the desert, car breaks down, drive miles to the next desert town, and stay an extra night so car can be fixed. I'm not sure if we can blame PCSing or a certain driver in the desert?!? (Haha)

Monday, April 18, 2016

Goodbye California

This morning we are rolling out of Camp Pendleton towards our new home, North Carolina. A lot of emotions felt to get to this point. After one last night in military lodging aboard our first military adventure we ever had, I believe all five of us are as ready as we will be. 

Just a short recap (for reference when I look back), the last 7 days have been crazy. Our pack out began Wednesday and continued Thursday. The movers came to load the semi trailer with 13000 pounds of our household stuff on Friday. Our beds and bedding were left out so we could stay in our home the first two days. Friday and Saturday we stayed at our friends house. Longtime military friends we've done our West Coast gig with. Hard to say goodbye! 

We came to Camp Pendleton Sunday afternoon. We visited the beach and hung out in our hotel. Pacific Views Lodging on Camp Pendleton is the place to be! Not your typical military hotel. I think choosing to stay at a hotel was good for us because it helped adjust our minds to more positive outlook. The kids have really been struggling. All the goodbyes can't help but depress a person. Last night, the kids watched tv, laughed over Snapchat filters, and got there fitness on at the hotel gym. 

We are finally feeling future-minded". It has been a very very difficult road to get here, especially with the kids. But as military families tend to do, we adjusted. I know there are more hards than easies ahead but I think we made it over the hurdle.

I'm wrapping it up so I can eat my continental breakfast before we hit the road. Keep up with our travels on Instagram as we make this 2000+ mile road trip. Biggest adventure so far...minus Japan :) 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Vindemia Winery

 And the award for smallest winery goes to…Vindemia. 
Doesn't matter a hot dime this place is a couple of umbrella shaded stand up bars in someone's front yard. Great wine, great service. Vindemia for the win!!


Friday, April 8, 2016

Doffo Winery

 The pursuit for Temecula's best winery. Our best effort has been extended and there are a few more to share with you. Overall, I am happy with what we've discovered. I am really going to miss the convenience of a Saturday afternoon spent with amazing weather, views, and wine. 
I think you can gather from all my winery posts. It's more about the atmosphere than the wine when it all boils down.


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A Walk Across Golden Gate Bridge

Our family is all about adventure. Some of us more adventurous than others. I guess I'm sort of the ring leader or group organizer and everyone else the decision makers. Problematic to me, the remaining four are all very like-minded when it comes to daring feats. Which means I have to be very careful what adventures I find and offer to them.

The road trip up the coast was meant to end in San Francisco. When we got to Monterey we were enjoying the beach so much we were debating skipping the city all together. The main reason I wanted to go into San Fran was for an Alcatraz tour and they were sold out. I offered up the vote--San Fran or more beach outdoorsy stuff. The kids surprisingly said the city. So, I started researching teen appropriate activities they would enjoy. When I stumbled on the opportunity to walk across the Golden Gate bridge, I hesitated to share the news with my family. My brain was screaming earthquake and terrorist attack! I just stuffed it down and casually mentioned "this thing where you could, like, walk across the bridge" and everyone was like Yeah!!!

I just said my prayers and thought positive. And as you can see things turned out just fine. And now I get to have this really cool memory of that time we walked across the Golden Gate Bridge.

Thankfully, right before you walk across the bridge there is a info board regarding seismic isolation. Pretty much assuring all wimps (like me) that an earthquake will not have you falling to your death. The bridge is built to withstand lots of earth rattling movement. I felt a little better!

Aerial views from the bridge don't really help the nerves. 

The smile when you finally finish the 1.7 mile walk.

Overall, super cool thing to do in San Fran. Here are the details.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Monterey Bay Aquarium

My kids love aquariums. When we go on vacations, we have got to work in an aquarium visit. Monterey Bay Aquarium is probably the most highly praised aquarium in California. And you can't pass up those types of reviews!

While the coastal location can't be beat, I still favor the Aquarium of the Pacific. Despite my personal opinion, an aquarium is an aquarium and it's pretty fascinating to see what goes on below the ocean's surface. 

Kelp forest tank--native to California's coastline

Jellyfish tanks

Despite the grainy photo of a hammerhead, this guy was pretty cool to watch and I couldn't keep from sharing with you all!

Wave simulator

Kelp Forest tank