Thursday, August 16, 2012

Greetings from . . . Our Northern California Road Trip

We are taking a late family trip this summer, and we have been driving all around northern California.  We are from south Orange County--about 20 miles inland of Laguna Beach and Dana Point, so we've done all the Southern California spots many times.   Instead of paying for a flight somewhere, we decided to do a road trip north.  We drove almost 12 hours (counting stops) to get up to Redding our first night.

After a night in Redding and temps around 105, we stopped by the Shasta Lake and Dam and walked across the famous Sundial Bridge. 

It was in Redding that we found out the usefulness of the TripAdvisor app on our phones for restaurants in unfamiliar places.  We typed in cheap and casual and found a BBQ place called Fat Daddy's BBQ.  It was GREAT!  We've had several yummy meals on this trip thanks to TripAdvisor app--Renata's Creperie in Arcada, St. John's Grille in Santa Clara, and Pedro's Mexican in Santa Clara.  Add it to your phone before any trips you take!

We then drove from Redding to Arcada and 55 degree temps, which is on the coast and where Humbolt college is located.  It happened to be smack in the middle of the Giant Redwood forests, which is why we visited.  The boys loved the "tree forests" and got squirrel sticks to help with their hikes.  We drove WAY north--10 minutes from Oregon--during our Redwood drives.

After Arcada, we drove to Fort Bragg and stayed on a beachfront hotel.  This allowed us a stopping place and a little beach fun with the boys.  Northern California beaches are beautiful.  I am partial to Southern California beaches for actual swimming and beach days, but the beaches in the north are BREATHTAKING with wild waves and rocky shores.

From Fort Bragg, we drove through the Russian River Valley and Jenner to San Francisco.  We stayed a couple of nights there and did a whirlwind tour of all the top spots with the boys.  Both Ryan and I had been there several times, but it is SUCH a unique, beautiful city.  It was great to introduce it to the boys.

Finally, we drove to Santa Clara to spend a couple days in Great America, a Northern California amusement park, and stop by Santa Cruz.  That is where we are now. 

Here are some top pics from our trip.  I think we already have about 500 pictures!  I can't help myself with all the beautiful things we have seen . . .


Shasta Dam

The Redwoods and the infamous squirrel hiking sticks

Beautiful Northern California coast near Arcata

Founders Tree near Avenue of the Giants

Mini golf with my boys in Fort Bragg--the fog means jackets!

The view from our hotel room in Fort Bragg (morning)
A morning beach walk in Fort Bragg

Splashing in the Russian River Valley

The amazing architecture in San Francisco . . . GORGEOUS

Of course

Trolley ride up the hills of San Fracisco

A very foggy Alcatraz Island in the background

Coit Tower, San Francisco

Chinatown for dinner

The Golden Gate bridge in the morning

The San Francisco Zoo--(and a giraffe above my head)

Great America in Santa Clara

Who has started school already and who is still on vacation?

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