|Vikingsholm, Lake Tahoe, California|
The Idea Behind The Trip
Brandon and I had been planning since the beginning of summer to go on a California vacation with my immediate family. My mom and dad had a number of things planned: Monterey Bay, the Redwoods, visiting with the grandparents, Lake Tahoe, and . . . Disneyland! However, after realizing that it was impossible to fit all of those into one week, my parents decided to cut out and substitute the places that were not "on the way". Monterey Bay turned to Half Moon Bay. The Redwoods turned into San Francisco. Disneyland became California's Great America. We were still stoked.
Everyone needs to understand something about Brandon: he loves Disneyland. Besides the fact that he has been with his family to Disneyland probably over 14 times, he realizes that there is more to theme parks than thrill rides. Disneyland is likely one of the most creative man-made places on Earth. Each ride has been carefully designed or redesigned so that the participant does not only experience the ride, but they experience atmosphere and "magic". It's family and friend bonding time. In other words, it's more than just an amusement park. It's more than the yummy hot dogs, crazy coasters, and water shows. It's always looking to the future, always discovering new ways to have people experience things they never have experienced before. Disneyland is just wonderful!
Anyway, Brandon looked at our finances, realized we had enough money to stay at Disneyland for a number of days and when better to vacation at Disneyland than right after we got done in central California? It was perfect. Brandon was probably going to be quitting his job anyway to become a full-time student. I had just graduated. We could afford the time. For the next two weeks, I kept walking in on Brandon surfing the net for Disney stuff and watching YouTube videos of the rides. It was pretty cute. Like a little kid.
On Sunday, August 14, we slept over at my parent's house, woke up at 4:30 am, and started on our way.
Lake Tahoe - Day One
When we finally got to Lake Tahoe, Brandon and I could not get over how crystal blue the water was. It was beautiful and about 20 times cleaner than the Lake Powell water we had just seen (likely due to run-off). The mountains were covered in green trees and if there had been more pines, I would have thought we were back in western Oregon.
Since we got to the hotel and lake pretty late, we only had time for a hike around Upper and Lower Falls near Emerald Bay and a spendy dinner at the Bear Cafe (my cheese sandwich was eight bucks). Both hikes were very pretty. Julie had the courage to put her feet in the freezing cold water. The rest of us refrained. Part of the plan was to also hike down to Vikingsholm. While we were trying to find the trailhead, we ran into what looked like a bridge and groom having pictures done on a little ledge of rock that jutted slightly over the lake. A few of the family watched them while the rest of us looked around the particular trail we followed to see if it went down to Vikingsholm. It didn't and right when we were about to turn back, the lady taking the photos said, "We will be done in a few minutes. Vikingsholm is over there. We are trying to have a ceremony, so if you could please leave, that would be great." Awkward. Random ceremony where the photographer is also the pastor or priest or whatever . . . Anyway, we respected their privacy even though they were on very public grounds that were not reserved. Yeah, it still kind of irks me.
|Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe, California|
|Upper Waterfall, Lake Tahoe, California|
Lake Tahoe - Day Two
On Day Two, we finally found the trailhead to Vikingsholm and decided to hike down to it in the morning. The locals kept telling us that the hike was a big deal. They said that even our tennis shoes might not be good enough for the hike. Yeah. It was a longer than 6 foot wide trail on the way down and was only a mile round trip. Either the locals are playing us for fools or they need to start exercising.
The story of Vikingsholm is that this lady came to California and built a home in Emerald Bay because it resembled the fjords in Norway where she used to live. She also built little cabins around her home for guests to stay in and a little tea house on an island that she would boat guests out to. Pretty sweet, huh? Anyway, the house was exquisite. There were wooden carvings all over the place and it just had such a quaint feel. I loved it. I also love Norwegian fjords.
After hiking we rested and my dad rented a boat to take us tubing on for a few hours. The best part about the boat ride was that the tube we were using looked like a donut and didn't support a body very well because of the lack of above-water surface area. This means that we fell off of the tube multiple times without even being pulled. When we were pulled, the tube would dip back with the rider's head a few inches from the water with their feet sticking straight up. When Mom went, all I could see were her legs bouncing around on the tube and a high pitch scream. It was awesome!
After we finished boating, Dad rented one two-person kayak and we took turns going out on it. I think Brandon and I were on it the longest because we enjoyed it the most. I just really love the sound of the paddle dipping into the water and feeling a little like Pocahontas. I think I'm planning on buying a cheap kayak within the next year. We'll see.
|Julie in a tree near Vikingsholm.|
|I just loved these awesome carvings. They remind me of some of the Irish art I saw on my study abroad last summer.|
|My good-looking husband, Brandon.|
|On Vikingsholm shoreline at Emerald Bay.|
|At one of the parks, there was a viewing spot where we could look at the bottom of the river. It was sweet.|
|Julie at Vikingsholm.|
|We were thinking this tree would be a portal, like in Harry Potter.|
Lake Tahoe - Day Three
This day mainly consisted of getting ready to go, eating, and driving. We arrived in San Jose in the middle of the afternoon.
San Jose - Mazy
One of the best additions to my grandparents' home is a little Chihuahua Rat Terrier named Mazy. Mazy is a good dog. She doesn't bark out of turn and she even stops at street corners to wait for cars to pass by. During our stay in San Jose, Brandon and I walked Mazy twice. I love when she starts running because her legs go a little sideways. My brother, Josh, thinks she was the runt of the group. I have to agree. We love her to death though.
|Brandon loves Mazy, especially since he's not allergic to her.|
|Poppy, me, and Grandma with Mazy.|
|Poppy, Brandon, and Grandma with Mazy.|
San Jose - BBQ
On the third day in San Jose, Josh made a BBQ for the family and his girlfriend. It was really fun and the burgers were great. We ate out on the patio where Grandma and Josh have been redesigning the look and feel of the backyard. There were these amazing lights, blue pottery, and pretty flowers everywhere! We even had a mini canteloupe from her garden.
San Jose - Good Memories
One of my favorite memories during the San Jose trip was talking on the patio with my family a few hours before they left for Utah. The sun was shining gold and Grandma pulled out some cookies. We smiled and joked. It was nice.
While we were in California, my parents took us to California's Great America in Santa Clara. We hadn't been there since I was very little, but we had a fun time trying out the rides and enjoying our time. Jessica and I remembered how the last time we went here, we had gone to a booth where you did karoke and they recorded it on a CD. We didn't know that they also blasted it around the park for everyone else to hear. Needless to say, it was a fun thing to remember.
|Our favorite ride: The Tiki Twirl|
|I did a cool move.|
|And then everyone tried copying me.|
|Hey Dad is finally in a picture!|
Half Moon Bay
Half Moon Bay was one of the most beautiful coastal beaches I have been too. It's mostly free from tourists and when we were there at 8 am, there was a very long beach with light brown sand. There weren't many rock formations like there are in Oregon (Cannon Beach, for example), but it looked pretty similar. We were ultimately there for shells, but we didn't come early enough. All the pickings were gone. Instead, we walked along the shore and watched the horizon for seals, which we saw in abundance. I felt like I had made friends with one and referred to him as "Sea-Bobber." We also saw a large group of brown- or grey-winged heron. They would skim the crests of the waves with their giant wings all stretched out.
After about an hour in Half Moon Bay, we made our way down the coast to look at some tide pools. They were so fun and we tried our best not to play with the sea urchins. Jessica accidentally did because she could not overcome her curiosity. We think that might be illegal, but all she did was lightly touch it with her flip flop in her hand.
We were pretty much starving after this, so we found a coffee/breakfast shop. I got french toast and a mug of hot chocolate. It felt perfect for the climate and occasion.
|Can I just say that I'm such a Pacific Northwest kind of girl? I miss the ocean!|
|The awesome herons skimming the wakes.|
|My little Sea Bobber.|
|Brandon and Me (8 month anniversary pic)|
|Mom the Mysterious, Julie the Jovial, Jessica the Jammer (music-wise), Jazlyn the Jumpy, and Brandon the Brutal. Dad the Dancer is taking the picture.|
|It looks like we're watching Jessica sing.|
We went to San Francisco the same day as Half Moon Bay. We walked along Fisherman's Wharf and visited some of the shops. Mom made sure that she got salt water taffy and Dad was nice enough to get me these lavender, emerald-cut CZ earrings that I thought were very classy. We also visited the Rainforest Cafe, but didn't eat there since it was so expensive. I loved the atmosphere. Someday I would actually like to go back and eat there. Maybe for our anniversary.
|San Franciscan sea lion.|
|Brandon, Spongebob, and me. Love you guys!|
|A disgusting looking cheeseburger at McDonalds.|
|Brandon, me, and Little Brandon/Jazlyn|
|This boring photo is actually us traveling down Lombard street. Super steep!|
On the day my parents left, Brandon and I went to the Oakland temple to do an endowment session. My parents were married there on February 21, 1987 and it was awesome to walk around the grounds that they took their wedding pictures on. What a beautiful place to be! It was definitely a highlight of the trip.
|The Latter-day Saint Oakland Temple. (P.S. They just dedicated the Payson temple on Saturday!)|
Trip to Anaheim
The family left on Saturday afternoon to return to home, but Brandon and I stayed with Grandma and Poppy since we were leaving to Disneyland the next day. Later on Saturday night, Grandma came home with a paper bag from Trader Joe's full of treats for us! I loved them and I especially liked the packaging. Brandon and I were grateful to have them on our trip south.
|These cookies made me want to have a hot chocolate/cookie party.|
Disneyland - Day One
What an adventure! We spent the whole day in Magic Kingdom and then watched the fireworks and Fantasmic. I could not believe how exciting it was. We rode Indiana Jones about three times. I think Brandon's favorite ride on this day (and maybe all of the days) was Star Tours. It was really fun for him. I think mine was Indiana Jones. We rode on Space Mountain a few times as well and of course hit the most of the park we could. We also ate dinner at the Blue Bayou. It is an expensive restaurant that is part of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. I loved the crickets chirping and the twinkling lights. For anyone knew, we could've been outside.
|Brandon and Jazlyn at Disneyland!|
|Winnie-the-Pooh in the background.|
|Tigger and Eeyore in the background.|
|Trying to pick up some weights at Toon Town. Not working! :)|
|Brandon is in Donald Duck's ship at Toon Town.|
|Minnie at the Soundsational Parade.|
|Pluto is awesome!|
|Princesses on parade. (This is a subtle hint).|
|Snow White and Sleeping Beauty!!|
|Brandon and Adult Simba|
|Peter Pan and Mr. Schmee|
|The restaurant we ate at.|
|In the twinkling Blue Bayou|
The one above is supposed to be a film of the Fantasmic... oh well!
Disneyland/California Adventure - Day Two
We spent about half the time in Disneyland and half the time in California Adventure. I had never been to California adventure before and absolutely loved Screamin' and Hollywood Tower of Terror (especially when my bag flew up toward my knees)! I was also awed again by the magnificent scenery depicted in Soarin' Over California. It's just jaw dropping. I think my parents would really enjoy that ride. This night we also saw World Of Color. It was hard to see, but I liked it. We went back to Thunder Mountain in the Magic Kingdom that night. I discovered that my favorite ride is Thunder Mountain in the back seat at night when the fireworks are going off. You can really see a good show from there.
By the end of the second day, my feet definitely fell like they were going to fall off. We had spent almost a total of 32 hours in the parks already. Having flat feet doesn't help. I seriously contemplated purchasing a wheel chair for the next day.
|The beautiful, Rose-Pony I rode on King Arthur's Carousel.|
|Wearing the earrings Brandon picked out for me from Macy's a few weeks beforehand.|
|My dolphin ride on King Triton's Carousel at California Adventure.|
|Found these at Fisherman's Wharf.|
|What can I say? They're right.|
|Brandon before World of Color started.|
|Home to the best roller coaster ever (besides Buffalo Bill's): Screamin'|
|Creepiest ferris wheel ever.|
Disneyland/California Adventure - Day Three
On this day, we went to IHOP for a special breakfast and then stood in line to get into the park. While we were waiting I noticed that there were two families in front of us. One family had two young, chubby blonde girls at about the age of four. I think they were twins. Totally adorable. The other family also had a small blonde girl who seemed like she had just turned about three. The small girl was spending her time running past her parents in a large loop and then coming back. Whenever she would come back, one of the twins would cry as the little girl hurdled past, "Wanna be my friend? Do y'wanna be my friend?" When the little girl got out of ear shot, the twin would stop asking, but as soon as she came back, the twin would ask the little girl to be her friend again.
This was the day we did all the rides that we hadn't done before. We also went to Ursula's Grotto and had fun with the acting segment of it. We went to the Future Land Cafe that night and I heard a girl cry to her mom, "Hey mom! My tooth is all shakey." She waggled her tooth at her mom. It reminded me of the little kid in Emperor's New Groove.
That night as I watched the fireworks, I almost cried. I was so sad to leave Disneyland.
|This was all the people behind us waiting for the guy to move the rope so we could head on into Disneyland. In other words, we were at the very FRONT of the line on Main Street. Loved it.|
|Beat Brandon twice at the Toy Story Game Ride.|
|On a raft to Tom Sawyer's Island.|
|Brandon looking studly on the raft.|
|In front of Mickey.|
|I got the junior burger. BIG mistake!|
|My blurry burger is on the left and Brandon's nice, normal burger is on the right.|
After we got back, Brandon surprised me with a candle lit dinner. I think it was macaroni and cheese.
|Se how there is a candle in the middle and I have a napkin cut out like a heart? :)|
Just Some News
My brother, Justin, who is serving a mission for the LDS church in Hungary recently had his birthday and turned 21. This past month he also broke his wrist in two places while playing basketball. Don't worry! He will be all right. Haha, it's just part of the work, I guess. :)
|Hotel at Lake Tahoe drinking the best chocolate milk.|
|Half Moon Bay|
|Whale bones at Half Moon Bay|
|A house I really want on Lombard Street in SF, CA.|
|Oakland Temple spire.|
|My cute, skinny husband at the temple.|
|Me resting on Minnie's bed in Toon Town.|
|Goofy and either Chip or Dale at the Soundsational Parade.|
|Ariel the Little Mermaid|