Monday, August 29, 2011

Still thirsty?

Worlds biggest "paper cup."

Need I say more?

Riverside, CA

Back to our childhood

As our trip neared an end, we headed into Norco, Ca. Just a mere hour from home! If I had only known these old friends were there this whole time, I would have made my way up there sooner!

The kiddos actually had never even heard of Gumby or Pokey. So sad. So this stop was definitely more for Bonnie and I. They were actually located right in the front yard of just a typical house. Weird. Though this is what inspired the conversation for almost the rest of the ride home. What can we put in the front of OUR houses, to put them on the map of odd places to see??

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe. . .

We woke up on our final day in Bakersfield, Ca. Originally, Bakersfield wasn't on our list of stops. But we had to side track there to find our "fireworks show" the night before. Bonnie didn't want to waste being in a city and not seeing a great site, so I played around on google a little bit. . . and this is what we found.

It's a building, shaped like a shoe. Originally a shoe repair? Now it's an old decrepid nothing building.

Now I remember why Bakersfield didn't originally make our list of stops.

Moving on. . .

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Happy Birthday America

One of the hardest things about planning a trip like this was the timing. We could map out a route and easily figure out how many miles away something was, but how long it would take to get there, and how long the actual stop would be was harder to calculate. We ended some days much later than anticipated while other days we got through things a lot quicker than expected. . . and July 4th was a prime example of that.

I can't say we actually got through things quicker than expected, I just gave us more time for this stop because it was something we didn't want to be late for. On almost every other night, we drove about as far as we wanted to, then just found us a hotel when we were done for the night. The stops weren't really planned out. But July 4th was different because I had to find us a city that was putting on a fireworks show that we could stop at to watch. Those typically end late, meaning we would sleep near the city that put on the show. So when I planned the trip, I had to guess where we would be about an hour or so before fireworks started. So I found a little city called Gustine, Ca that was putting on a show at the local high school. Sounded just like the type of thing good ole Escondido High used to do every year. Hopefully there would be booths selling some food and glow sticks, some music playing, and a nice grassy area for us to set out our blankets and relax for a little bit.

Well, we got to Gustine a bit earlier than I thought we would. You have probably never heard about Gustine, CA either, because basically it was nothing. It was in the middle of some kind of farming community which was basically the middle of nowhere. When we arrived, the high school had nothing going on yet, and it seemed like the whole town was camped out in the local McDonalds because it was SO hot outside. We joined the town in McDonalds but were kind of at a loss as of what to do next. We surely did not want to stick around for another 3 hours just to watch some fireworks that honestly usually aren't that exciting anyway.

So Bonnie finally made the executive decision to keep driving. Hopefully we could get a bit further and then kind of stumble upon a city a few hours south that was hosting a fireworks show. So while she drove, I fidgeted with her phone and tried to find us an alternate plan. We came up with one, and at about dusk (the typical fireworks start time) we rolled into Bakersfield, Ca for the night. I had found that something was going on at a local ballpark, so after driving up and down a road, continually missing the street we were looking for, we frantically stopped at a gas station to ask for directions. By the time we actually found the ballpark, Bonnie was officially annoyed with me because apparently every part of this bad night was MY fault.

And maybe she was right because somehow I misread stuff and the ballpark was NOT where fireworks were being put on afterall. It was a place however, that they open up to the public for whoever wants to go set off their own fireworks. They had some flags raised, a snack bar open, and some music playing and a little bit after we arrived and wandered around confused for a while (did we MISS the fireworks show?) random people went onto the field and began putting on their own shows.

This was definitely a new experience for us all. I've seen the "professional" shows. . . and I've set off my own little fireworks. . . but have never watched a bunch of strangers set off their own. I must say, it was not my favorite activity. Maybe it was the fact that most of the hillbillyish people of Bakersfield, Ca did not look like they could even read the caution signs displayed all over their fireworks let alone should be playing with fire! So I spent most of the night fearful of some stray firework coming and getting us. It just seemed a little too chaotic and unsupervised to me, but Cayd seemed to love it and I guess it was neat to try something new for this particular holiday. After about an hour or shorter of watching our fireworks, we found us Dennys to eat at and a nice hotel to sleep at. The day ended well and we all happily slept in our FINAL hotel of the trip.

Tractor, or building, or. . .

Just a wee bit south in Turlock, Ca we discovered a building shaped as a tractor, or bulldozer, or whatever it is. It was pretty cool. But outside was still super hot. So we captured a few pictures and were off.
Cayds got a hold of the camera on this trip as well. Quite the photographer I must say.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Besides the capital building, there were two other sites to see in Sacramento, Ca. Both of them got the same clue.
(which of course. . . we were!)

Our first site was located in a hotel right near the Capital building. We found a parking spot a ways away, then walked around the corner to the hotel. After we wandered the hotel for a while (which we didn't mind too much because it was nice and cool), we finally had to ask someone about our next site. And sadly we learned that it had been removed.

Apparently since bottled water became a hit, people don't use fountains much anymore so the hotel no longer found them necessary. Though I'm not sure if 9 fountains in a row were ever necessary!

Sadly, we were getting ready to leave the hotel when I realized that I needed some quick directions to our next exit. Now the hotel man thought we were really weird! We came in looking for a bunch of water fountains, which they no longer had, we then refused his kind offer of some free water bottles for our apparently thirsty little family, and then we ask him if he has ever heard of our next site, and how we were to get there. No- he had no clue what we were talking about, but he took the address and gave us the directions we needed. We thanked him prefusely. . . as he wished us luck finding our odd destination, and we headed out. And about 15 minutes later. . . we arrived!

Good ole Coke . . . didn't let us down!

Now the turnaround

Some people might think we lucked out on this next day just a bit, but I just say that it was all very excellent planning! Because on Monday, July 4, we dressed in our matching 4th of July apparel (courtesy of Bonnie) and began our drive towards home. Because there were so many more sites to see, we decided to take a different route home so that we could continue on our adventures. And wouldn't you know that our excellent planning this July 4th holiday took us right to our state capital of California! Going to Sacramento on 4th of July seemed perfect. I pictured flags and banners along the city streets as well as maybe some patriotic music lightly blasting from the capital building. Perhaps a small marching band or a little all day fair to attend?

But sadly, I was mistaken. We made it to the capital building (which was not swarmed with people as I had somewhat expected) and took a few pictures. It was so hot, that we practically had to drag grumpus Cayden out of the car, and often found him wandering away towards the shade of a tree rather than enjoying the kodak opportunities. The only thing that kept him moving at times was the promise of an ice cream run after we were done.
Being July 4th though. . . everything was closed. No ice cream for Cayd :(