Trip of a Life Time
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  1. #1
    Registered User Winkie's Avatar
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    Default Trip of a Life Time

    I have been a FV lurker for years & post only occasionally. I decided this is the place that I will chronicle my adventures.
    We live in central Ohio. We were invited to a destination wedding in Northern California for Labor Day weekend. We had nearly a year to plan & the plan evolved into something much bigger than we ever imagined. We have travelled for weddings several times & make the trip into our vacation. Last year we travelled to Denver, Colorado for a wedding & stayed two weeks. We planned to do the same for this year's Northern California trip. As we talked about the trip & all the places we would like to see out west, we realized two weeks might not be enough, but we were both working & the car rental fees would add up, etc... So I looked into shipping our car. Then my DH was notified he had a mandatory 4 weeks off work, then I ended up retiring from my job of 17 years. So here we are in a small town north of San Francisco beginning the trip of our life. We need to be back in Ohio October 3.
    Our car was picked up on August 20th & we were notified it had arrived in CA August 26. We flew out on 9/1. (We used cc points & paid $11.60 total for the two one way tickets.) We landed, took a taxi for $20.00 to the freight hub & picked up our car in less time than it usually takes to rent one. The company refunded $11.50 for the cab, not sure why they chose that amount, but didn't question. The gas station & car wash were conveniently around the corner & after gassing up & getting washed we were off. The shipping company allowed us to put 50 pounds in our car, so we chose to send a medium sized cooler & our jeans, jackets & extra shoes. We were very careful to comply with the weight restrictions, but in the end, they never looked, nor asked what we had in the car.
    Before boarding the plane, we realized I had left my cell phone (our only one) at home & the maps my DH had for the trip. I was able to instant message my daughter & she agreed to send them. Not sure what got lost in translation, but she sent usps, instead of fed ex overnight, so we are still waiting due to holiday weekend. I just checked tracking, they tried to deliver Saturday, so tomorrow we will find the PO & try to retrieve.
    We went together with three other couples (dh's brothers) & rented a house from Thursday to Tuesday. It is right on the river & kayaks are provided.
    Thursday we got in, got some groceries & crashed very early. The three hour time difference really got to me. I was pleasantly surprised to find a Dollar Tree store. We got peanut butter, jelly, eggs, real popcorn & some oil, margarine & a few other snacks to get the family started. We stopped at another store for bread & milk. We had finished our popcorn & beer & were sound asleep before the other families got in. Friday half of our group had wedding rehearsal etc, so we went with the other couple, walked all over the town & found a place to get really good burgers. Saturday we went to Armstrong Woods, a state park featuring red woods, which was about 30 minutes away. We packed a lite lunch to take along. The ride there was amazing & the forest magical. Saturday night was the wedding & it was absolutely wonderful. These young people have such wonderful friends, plus we were with family. The ceremony, plus the reception were perfect. We all had a lovely evening. Sunday morning we all met @ 11:00 am for a wine crawl. We went to wine tasting at three different vineyards. The first one was actually a closed party just for the wedding. They explained to us about the growing & harvesting & had a "stomp off" with the bride & groom. Yes, they actually stomped grapes in a barrel in their bare feet! We went to two more wineries throughout the afternoon & visited briefly @ Lake Sonoma. Beautiful scenery every inch of the way. The weather was perfect. We returned to the rental house early evening & had pizza party & much visiting. A late night soak in the hot tub finished another perfect day. Today we are on our own. Half the family went on an excursion to San Francisco, the other couple set out for Yosemite. We are going to try our luck on the river, then go to the market & get steak to cook on the grill.

  2. #2
    Registered User ilovechocolate's Avatar
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    Sounds wonderful!

  3. #3
    Registered User Winkie's Avatar
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    Today we picked up our package ,then went along highway one up the coast to Fort Ross. Absolutely beautiful. Paid $7.00 for parking. Packed a picnic. Stopped at another beach, got our chairs out & just enjoyed the sunshine & sound of the surf. Came thru San Francisco, over the Golden Gate Bridge & found a tiny out of the way motel right on the beach. Had to call Discover card & let them know I was traveling, they had put. Hold on my card... Also had to get online & pay bridge toll. Good thing I looked it up because we could have gotten fined. We are trying to keep down costs by not eating out a lot. Tomorrow is San Francisco.

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  5. #4
    Registered User nodmicks's Avatar
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    Sounds great! Enjoy!!!

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    Registered User earlybird's Avatar
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    thanks for sharing your trip with us. i love reading travelogues.

  7. #6
    Registered User Winkie's Avatar
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    On Monday, we did kayak up & down the Russian river, then hiked at a local park, then we did get our steak & potatoes & went back to the rental & cooked it $10.00 for dinner for both of us.
    The Tuesday night hotel, I was pretty leery of, it was really old fashioned. But, I know we will never again sleep with the Pacific Ocean lapping at the shore right out our window. So it was worth not having a "fancy" place. We sat on the rocks & watched the sunset over the ocean. It was magical. It worked out great. Walked across the street to the gas station for milk for DH for breakfast. I had a banana & a muffin that we already had. When we cleared out of the rental on Tuesday, I volunteered to take everything edible. ( they were going to throw it out!). I ended up with a giant muffin, two bananas, about two or three ounces of procuttio, about the same of cheese ( expensive stuff!) two pieces of leftover pizza, crackers, two full bottles of wine & about a third of a bottle of really expensive wine. I am frugal to the core, so I took everything.
    Today we went to San Francisco. We parked & pier 23, walked all over, starting with pier 39. We walked UP Lombard street. It was really cool & a place DH wanted to visit. We took a cable car twice. The first time we were hanging on the outside & so was another older couple. I joked that they hung the senior citizens out on the edge, since we already lived a long time!
    We ate lunch @ Bubba Gumps which was $45.00 & we paid $20.00 for parking. We got lots of steps in ( fit bit counted 15000, plus 64 flights of stairs). Traffic out of SF was slow & stop. After about 2 hours, we pulled off & got a motel. Enjoying beverages & snacks from the car & will call it a night. Tomorrow we are headed for Yosemite.

  8. #7
    Registered User Winkie's Avatar
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    I totally underestimated the Yosemite trip. Wow, wow, wow! First of all it took almost two hours on winding mountain roads to even get to the park. The ride was of course part of the experience, but I did not realize how long it would take. Good news was DH was eligible for senior life time pass for $10.00 rather than pay $30.00. I thought I would still have to pay, but they said no, as long as I was with him, i got in on his pass. We walked all over on pedestrian walk ways & took a free shuttle ride, then decided we had to leave since. We were not driving that mountain road at night. It took an hour & a half to get back to civilization & get a hotel. We decided to go back the next day, which we did. We hiked a trail up to a point we could see in every direction. Registered 130 flights of stairs on fit bit. It was truly a work out. We were out on the trails for several hours. Going uphill, I had to rest frequently, but I made it. Now I know why people want to stay in the park itself, so they don't have to spend half the day coming & going. I am so glad we went back, that is the experience we were going for. That night back at the hotel, we went to the pool &'hot tub & met a lovely young family that just moved to the US from Denmark.The next day we went to sequoia national park. Got in free with dh's pass. We did not hike so much, because we were both sore. We did see some enormous trees! We drove about 5-6 hours today to get to Lake Tahoe where we will stay two nights & celebrate our anniversary. We walked around, got something to eat & hung out to listen to a band. We also walked to the Nevada side & went in a casino, but did not stay long. We also walked to the beach & watched the sun set. Lake Tahoe is the second largest lake in the US according to the literature in our room.
    We do not have a smart phone & just bought a TomTom before we left. About the fifth day I figured out we could mount it to the window. A couple days later we figured out how to look for hotels & find their phone numbers. DH has named it Betty. I am very glad to have Betty helping us along our way.

  9. #8
    Registered User Winkie's Avatar
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    My writing is so chopped up because DH cannot leave me alone long enough to have complete thoughts. He is constantly asking who am I writing to, what am I saying. Other than using my ipad we are really enjoying each other's company.

  10. #9
    Registered User earlybird's Avatar
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    Winkie - excellent travelogue. you describe your adventure well and it really does sound
    like the trip of a lifetime. are you taking pictures? glad "Betty" is being a good friend.

  11. #10
    Registered User Winkie's Avatar
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    EB- I have taken 187 pictures on my camera & just a few with iPad. I am not normally a picture taker, so this is a big accomplishment for me. I try to take a picture of a sign when we get somewhere, so I can distinguish where the pics were taken. We have seen A LOT of mountains, rocks & big trees.
    We enjoyed a much needed "day off" yesterday in Lake Tahoe. We enjoyed a complimentary made to order breakfast in a restaurant, compliments of our motel. Laid around the pool, & read a book, then got fixed up a little & went out to eat. Had the waitress take our picture! I guess my comments to DH about not wanting to see any more rocks, were taken seriously, because when we changed course for Tahoe, he forfeited the trip to the Grand Canyon. I feel a little bad, but we really wouldn't have been able hike as he wanted without reservations to overnight down in the canyon. We may have to come back for that one. We drove all day today & the temp dropped to 46 degrees. We are headed to Salt Lake City tomorrow.

  12. #11
    Registered User earlybird's Avatar
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    winkie - is the trip over? hope all is well

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