Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bigfoot or Bust

The next morning, all bright eyed and bushy tailed, the four of us grabbed breakfast from the local gas station and drove about a mile down the road to the edge of town where we found Bigfoot Rafting. We met our tour guide for the day whom Bonnie nicknamed "Jed" when she couldn't remember his name, and frankly according to her that's what he looked like.
We loaded into a jeep which took us down the road and to the river, hopped aboard our little raft for the day, and "Jed" guided us on our search for Bigfoot.
We floated down the river some, enjoyed the scenery, looked for clues of bigfoot, and busted our way through some rapids. "Jed" was a great sport and caught on quickly how into the whole Bigfoot thing Cayd was, so he would sporadically pull the boat over, and help Cayd search the area for signs of the beast.

We had some lunch on the river and then on our final stop, Cayd finally found his proof!

I must say, we were all pretty relieved. None of us girls really wanted to end the day by tramping through the forest on our own little hike trying to appease Cayd on this quest for Bigfoot.

So from all of us, thank you Jed!

We got back into town in plenty of time to continue our exciting adventures with a trip to the Bigfoot Museum.
We spent a good twenty minutes at the museum. Long enough to see some artifacts, hear some bigfoot facts, sign in the guest book, and get some amazing souveniers.

We walked back to the hotel for some clean up and down time. Then onto dinner!

Back to the gas station for some dessert, and on to the hotel for a movie.

I couldn't think of a more perfect way to end our day of Bigfoot adventure!

Welcome to Willow Creek

This is it! This is what we came for. . . the city that revolves around Bigfoot.

Willow Creek, CA
We checked into our hotel somewhere after 4 pm on Saturday. Right from check in we realized that people in this neck of the woods were a little on the odd side. But we were only going to be there for a day and a half, how bad could it possibly be?

We decided to hit the town before dinner because we weren't very hungry yet. Unfortunately, the town was only about a street long and had very little to see. Bigfoot Museum was closed for the day and according to the lady who ran our hotel, we probably should have called in advance because basically they open and close whenever they feel like it. That's small town life for you.

We hit the bigfoot-shaped pool (but come to think of it, most typical pools can be somewhat considered foot shaped) meaning it looked like a regular pool. We met some more weirdos, hung out in the hotel a bit, hiding from the before mentioned weirdos, had dinner, and went back to our hotel where the kiddos ended the evening by watching some tv. Had to be all rested up for the next day!

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Our next stop was obviously only about 63 miles north of the giant redwoods for a reason. . .
Must see # 19: World's Tallest Totem Pole - - - Mickinleyville, CA

The WTTP in all its glory, stood in the parking lot behind a grocery store. We hung around it for a while, Cayd climbed it a bit, we got some pictures, then we loaded up and headed out.

Next stop. . . Willow Creek, California. Our final destination. 3 days later and a little less than 1,000 miles up through California. It is here that we will begin our trek for the one and only Bigfoot.

Stay tuned

Tree- mendous!

It was a good thing we stopped for the night where we did, because day 3 is when we basically started driving through the foresty parts of northern California. Stops were few and far between. We had a few planned stops for the day, but you never know what you can stumble upon!
As I was planning our trip out, I saw a neat place called the one long house. . .
In case you haven't already guessed, this is a giant redwood log that's been hollowed out and furnished with a secondhand bedroom set. Since it's mounted on wheels, Famous One Log RV might be a more appropriate title.
Hmmm. . . the wheel thing is what kind of threw me off. Apparently the One Log House gets moved from place to place on occasion and I didn't have the patience to try to figure out where it is currently residing. So imagine my surprise on day three when we are driving along the road and run right into the One Log House! This became our first unofficial stop for the day.
We then continued on to our planned next two stops which were located in the same little park in Myers Flat. Little park might not be the right term for this place though, because it's a park located in the middle of the Redwood forest. So the trees were HUGE. Big enough to say maybe drive on? Or drive thru? Two things that had definitely been planned into our trip!
Must sees # 16, 17, 18: One Log House, Drive on tree, Drive thru tree-- Myers Flat
When we stopped at the One Log House we were out of the car for just a few short minutes. Long enough to take a few pictures, and to peak into the house. When we got back into the car and were driving away, we noticed a weird "handprint" on our very dusty car window. It clearly wasn't a handprint though. It looked more like a bear claw! We don't know when or how it got there, but we did attempt many pictures of our own little traveling oddity.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Good grief

With some yummy snacks in hand, we hit the road once again towards our next destination, Santa Rosa, Ca. As we neared our spot, the family wanted a clue as to what our next stop would be.
I ignored the question and instead kept asking them to "hand me" stuff from the back seat. I repeated it several times. Bonnie laughed as we drove by our next ginormous California oddity, but sadly the kids didn't get it. Cayd even complained that I didn't give him a clue. Geesh . . .
Must see # 14: Giant hand-- Santa Rosa, CA
The giant hand was located in the front of a mall entrance. So we drove around and found a spot to park and as we were walking towards the mall, we actually came across part of our next must see adventure!
Must See # 15: Peanuts statues-- Santa Rosa, CA

The city of Santa Rosa was home to Peanuts creator Charles Schulz. So now there are several statues located around town of his many different characters. We didn't visit with them all, but did find many of them.

At one statue, we were attempting a self timed picture that we could all be in (I must say, our family is pretty good at getting self timed photos). A kind lady walking her dogs came by though and asked if she could take the picture for us. Great! We said. Then she kind of looked around and told us that she didn't know what to do with the dogs while she took the picture. It was a little odd I must admit, but good ol' Bon had the perfect solution, and that is why there are a few extra guests in one of the photos.

In the same area that we found some of the peanuts statues, we came across this random scissor statue as well. We think it was a slide, meaning, we all took some time to actually slide down it, but I don't know if that is technically what it was meant to be. It was a fun little addition to this very statue crazed city we were in.

We then went to the mall and had some dinner. Originally I had planned for this to be our stop for the evening. But being that it wasn't too late, we opted to drop that plan and drove about an hour north to the little city of Ukiah where we found us a hotel which oddly enough, was located right next door to the slowest McDonalds in all of California. Eventually though, we did get our desserts and headed to bed.

What's your flavor?

One of the reasons I have always wanted to visit San Francisco. . .
Must See # 13: Jelly Belly Factory - - Fairfield, CA

Not really located directly in San Francisco, but about an hour north east. They had a free sample bar as we waited in line, a free tour with our stylish new hats, and a free bag of Jelly Bellys after the tour! It was a pretty smashing deal.

Of course we spent some time in the store afterwards making some delicious purchases. YUM!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Moving on

After Brisbane, it was finally time to head into San Francisco. Though I have lived in California for most of my life, I have never traveled the 500 miles or so to visit this city. This trip was the perfect opportunity to knock it off of my list of places to go.

San Francisco was a hard city to maneuver through. There was tons of traffic, and we seriously had to go through so much of the city to get to the bridge. That was the main thing we wanted to see there. We had compiled a small list of possible sites to find, but since we were under a bit of a time constraint for our next big stop, we didn't have the freedom to play around the city as much as we hoped. Ultimately we had to cancel the other planned San Fran stop (if someone has seen the cartoons drawn on toilet seats, I would love to hear about them), and didn't get to add the few we had hoped to. But we made it to the bridge. . . finally.

Because we couldn't stay long, and the bridge had a toll to drive over, we decided to park the car on the San Francisco side, take some pictures, and walk a bit over it. Unfortunately, communication between navigator and driver failed at a critical point and we ended up going over the bridge after all. So we enjoyed our mistake, and eventually made it to the other side, searched out a parking spot with the many other cars that were trying to do the same, and squeezed through the crowds to find our perfect picture spot.
Must see # 12: Golden Gate Bridge - - San Francisco, CA

Since we mistakenly drove over the bridge, we had to cross it again just to come back. So back over the bridge we went and then on to our next destination, with high hopes that we make it on time!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Serious? Another cemetery?

Yup, as if one cemetery wasn't enough for a trip like this, I thought another one would complete the adventure. This was a cemetery like none other though, no tiptoeing around people's long lost pets, just their long lost, ripped out, fire hydrants that happened to be painted as people.
Must See # 12: Fire hydrant cemetery -- Brisbane, CA

The city of Brisbane actually paints all their fire hydrants that are located around the city. Once they need to be replaced however, they relocate them to this small grassy corner. It wasn't very big, and didn't have a ton of them. . . maybe 7 or 8? I guess they have pretty long life spans and don't have to be replaced very often.

So we parked, huddled around a few hydrants. . . definitely got a stare or two (brisbane was full of some interesting looking people), snapped some pictures, and were off!

Monday, July 11, 2011


On day two, we didn't have to wake up too bright and early. Our next stop wasn't opened until ten o'clock and was only about 35 minutes away. So we grabbed some breakfast and headed on out.
Throughout the drive, the kids (and Bonnie) would ask for clues about the next stop. We kind of played 20 questions with it. I think this was one of two stops that was guessed ahead of time. Somehow Cayd knew that the only Pez museum is located in California and he sure was hoping he would get the chance to go. Because every time we would head to a new place, he would always guess the Pez museum, even if it didn't match the stinkin clues I was giving him! So of course, this was one of his first guesses that morning.

Must See # 11: Pez Museum-- Burlingame, CA
When we first drove by the tiny little shop in the middle of a little shopping center, I thought that this was going to be a bust. We parked, stuck one quarter in the meter (cuz 20 minutes would be plenty of time) and headed on in. The room we walked in to was very small, and filled with, you know it, PEZ. This apparently was the store. But for $2 a person, we could get into the museum, and have a personal tour. Yes! So we forked over the $8 to the weird Pez man and he led us into the museum. . . which frankly was another tiny room separated from the store by some little Pez curtains.
I must admit, the "tour" was quite interesting. We learned about the history of Pez, saw the original packaging of it, and then saw every pez dispenser that has ever been made. He told us which dispensers to keep our eyes out for (that's my new plan A for striking it rich) then had random other old toys that had nothing to do with Pez, but were from the same pez era? but honestly, I'm still not too sure what the other toys were really for.
We snapped some photos in the museum, then of course we had to get one by the world's biggest Pez dispenser (created by Mr. Pez museum tour guide himself)
Cayd and Aubs (and yes- even Bon) then had ample time to souvenier shop and find the perfect Pez dispensers to take home.
Bags and photos in hand, we finally left the museum and realized that we had definitely exceeded our parking meter time. Who would've thought? Luckily for us, the Pez parking men didn't ticket us and we were happily on our way.

Giant fun!

Our last stop of the day was in Dad's hometown of San Jose, Ca. We had our choice of seeing the famous Winchester Mystery House (which I have been wanting to see for a while now) or a giant playable Monopoly game in the middle of a park.

Isn't there an obvious choice here?
Must see # 10: Giant Monopoly Board-- San Jose, CA
You can actually reserve the game board and wear giant goofy monopoly pieces on your head! Would've been awesome, but sadly, it had been a pretty long day already, and playing a giant game of Monopoly is not how we chose to end it. Instead, we found some of our favorite places on the board, shot a couple of pictures, and headed to our first pit stop (hotel) in our adventures through California.

We started day one at around 7:30 in the morning, and made it to our hotel in Santa Clara at about 9 at night. It made for one very long day. Luckily enough, it was going to be our longest day by far, and it didn't even feel like we had spent over 13 hours and about 550 miles traveling.

A is for artichoke. . .

I am not one for really liking artichokes . . .
but this one can be my exception!

Must see # 9: Giant Artichoke - - Castroville, CA

I have never driven up the coast of California. The scenery was much different than traveling north towards Las Vegas or Utah. There were miles and miles and miles of different trees, and plants, and orchards. Apparently, Castroville is the artichoke capital of the world. Pretty crazy! We also happened to pass through "Split pea soup capital of the world" as well. . but didn't capture a photo of it.
The giant artichoke is located at a restaurant which menu features a variety of artichoke foods. Bon and the kids enjoyed some deep fried artichokes, while I just waited for our next Jack n the Box stop instead.

Now that's what we call ART

Now that we got several of our sites out of the way, our first big chunk of driving had approached. Luckily, I knew, that there was going to be something fabulous waiting at the end of this next 3 hour portion of our drive.

No one else knew what we had in store, but I am happy to announce that it did not disappoint!
Must see # 8: Bubble Gum Alley - - San Luis Obispo, CA
We write our epitaphs on walls with gum, And though it may be meaning less to some, We have a symbol of our gummy youth, Whose walls may not tell some glorious truth, But eloquently speak of better times, Of cruising, shopping sprees, and nursery rhymes. If gum is all you see upon our wall, Your mind is closed, your spirit shrunk and small, Though memories of youth may never last, Gum Alley is our present to our past.
I guess this just goes to show, that anything can be considered a work of art!
We came, we chewed, we created, we captured, and then. . . we left.


Half an hour later. . . we finally made it to our first rather disappointing stop. . .
Must (not) see # 7: Dead pets of the stars - - Calabasas, CA

Yup, on our fun road trip through California, we went to a pet cemetery. It wasn't supposed to be just any pet cemetery though, rumor has it that many famous people's pets are buried here, as well as some famous little pups from the movies. Unfortunately, I didn't read the information very well, and we discovered that this cemetery is quite large. 10 acres large that is. And 10 acres of dogs and cats and horses and lions (yes, there was a lion) and bird tombstones made for a lot of searching. We never did come across any of those famous pets, afterall, it was rather hot outside and the whole thing was rather odd. We did come across some fun names for future pets though and also discovered that many people have pets named Bonnie. Weird.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A pleasant surprise

As we were driving down the road, almost to cube tree, we passed a little bakery with signs hanging up claiming the bakery to be a winner of Food Channels tv show "Cupcake Wars." As we passed by, Bonnie asked if we should stop, and honestly, I said no. Sorry Molly! I just knew that we had a lot of stops to make, and it was going to be a long day, and for some reason, cube tree was just one of the stops I was really looking forward to. I know. . . weird. Bonnie was persistent however and I agreed that since we were coming back this way to get back on the freeway, we could stop after cube tree. So we did.
(Unplanned but surprise) must see # 6: Hotcakes Bakery-- Culver City, CA

We parked and went into the bakery, which honestly was a little disappointing. They had one of the "winning" cupcakes labeled to try, but was a flavor that did not interest me in the least. But that was it! No pictures or signs or any form of memorabilia from being on, and winning a tv show contest! Seems so silly to me. The bonus though as you can all guess. . . a yummy, or more like 6, yummy snacks for the road!

Kodak fun continues. . .

Someone cut a tree on their front lawn in the shape of a cube. It's pretty cool.
That's the only information we needed to add this destination to our list of stops! And for a bonus? Only 10 minutes from the donut shop!
Must See # 5: Cube Tree-- Culver City, CA

. . . And they were right, it was pretty cool!

Friday, July 8, 2011


Recognize this?
Must see #4: Big Donut-- Inglewood, CA

Though on the list of California odditites, there seemed to be several titled "Big Donut," we knew that Randy's was the one not to miss! Afterall. . .

Randy's is a destination with Hollywood star status. It appears over and over as a movie backdrop or in obliquely angled atmospheric LA montages.

Yup, who would've guessed that this trip would lead us to seeing probably one of the most famous donuts ever seen on tv?! Obviously we couldn't get the donut's autograph, but the owners (who happened to be working at the time) kindly signed a postcard for Cayden.

And since this stop was so cleverly planned only 120 miles into the trip, we were able to hit it somewhere around 10:30 in the morning. Perfect time for breakfast!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Little biddy part 2

I thought I had done such a good job of mapping everything out, but we happened to completely miss the exit for biddy biddy church, then as we neared the next mystery spot, we discovered that this exit was closed. We didn't really have maps of the cities we were hitting, we were going almost completely off written directions. Bonnie started getting a bit crabby when we realized that for the second time in a row, we were going to have to pull over to find directions. I tried to keep everyone chipper, but of course the same thought was going through my head. . . are we going to get lost and search for directions for all our stops?

Well, after making a few circles, we ended up at our next location. . .

Must see # 3- America's skinniest house-- Long Beach, CA
If I do recall, Bonnie's mood was completely lifted after finding skinny house! It was so worth all those turn arounds! We felt a little silly hopping out of the car to take pictures, especially with the neighbor outside. But he was so nice, and told us that people are always stopping for pictures. He even gave us permission to move the garbage cans for a better kodak picture!

Now on to something a little bit bigger. . .

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Little biddy

When our trip first started getting planned, I told Bonnie of some of the stops we would be making, the kids however, were kept in the dark on everything.

The night before departure though, I did come across a few more must see places, which ended up making some of our destinations a surprise for everyone afterall.

So 70 miles into our trip (plus a few extra for turnaround purposes when we got lost), we pulled into a small random shopping center to find our next exciting picture op.
Must see # 2: Tiny Church in Parking Lot -- Tustin, Ca

It claims to be a 6 person church. We didn't get the opportunity to see inside of it, so I am not really sure if there are just 6 seats in it or what, but it seems rather silly to have a whole church for that few amount of people. However, it definitely served a purpose for our random trip, so we shot a few pictures, and moved on!

Crazy California. . . the beginning of our adventure!

A few weeks ago, Bonnie (my anti road trip sister) made some big announcement over facebook about a random roadtrip she was taking with her kids. weird. In search of Bigfoot. Ok. . . but where was my invite? She said she was taking a friend of hers, with his kids too, but I was welcome to come along. Me, in the back seat with four kids? No way! So I convinced her that I would make a much better travel buddy than he ever could and I was in! Bonnie had plans for a six day trip which would take us up the coast of California, to end up in a dinky little town to go white water rafting and to find bigfoot. That sounded like a decent start, but I was sure we could do much better than that.

So the planning began!

Soon enough. . . our "Bigfoot or Bust" road trip, turned into our "Crazy Caravan through California (with a stop to find Bigfoot)" trip instead. It was going to be awesome!

I undertook the planning for this adventure, which made me the navigator. With no other options, that left Bonnie to be our driver, and the kids in the back, to be just that, the kids in the back!

The goal of the trip was to see the most odd, the most interesting, the most weird, and a few important sites of the good ole state of California. So I scoured the internet for just that! I picked our stops, I created a travel plan, and on Thursday morning, we loaded into the car and were off!

And who would've guessed that our very first stop would land us smack in the middle of where we started?

Must see # 1: Grape Slide - - Escondido, CA
A grape-themed park, with a Fruit-of-the-loom zoom! Who knows what inspired the artist to associate fruit with children's amusement, but the result is a bunch of grapes with a slide and "twigs" for climbing.

We came, we saw, we kodaked it, and were off! Now the adventure begins. . . for real!