Christmas travel…Arcata 12.2007

HO! HO! HO!

WE'RE SPENDING CHRISTMAS IN CALIFORNIA WITH LUCAS AND PETER

.......OUR FIRST "COASTAL CHRISTMAS"

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we left kansas with about 6" of snow on the ground and big drifts that were exciting to drive through.....heading for the west coast: rolling hills, sand, ocean and our boys

    

we began the day, december 24th, up early and on the road to the airport.

no problems there...everything went smooth and people were in a festive mood.

below is a southwest employee...complete with blinking lights and a great hat!

you know how i love to take photos from the plane

(i have some really neat ones from over the years); this is over kansas

 (   

i was so excited to see my colorado mountains covered in snow...they are a beautiful sight!

       

then we were flying over the colorful red/orange canyons of utah.  danny and i have backpacked in the utah canyons before and they are an amazing place in spite of the fact they have few trees, anything green and sometimes not much water

     

we weren't the only ones in the beautiful blue skies...we had company

okay, here's the last of the airplane shots...i realize i may be a lot more fascinated by these views than you (when i'm flying, i always end up with a kink in my neck from spending the entire trip staring out the window!)

     

we landed at oakland airport on time and had no trouble getting the car....the airport didn't even seem all that crowded.

we got in the car (with the only complaint being from danny about the kind of car i rented) and headed out of oakland....north...well sort of

i didn't splurge for the gps unit...we're just going north right? 

well, we ended up in san franciso, a cool place to visit, but not one of danny's favorites (he's been there twice before and considers that plenty!) so we drove around in circles seeing the town

(for a person who likes to study maps, sometimes i amaze myself with my incapability to get from point a to point b, but then i usually get to see something cool that wasn't in the plan, so that's good)  phyllis had never been to SF before, so i considered us "tour guides" at that point

here are some sights of san francisco

       

our new route led us over the golden gate bridge....it's just so much fun to drive over it and see the beautiful hills and bright blue water

 

   

     

phyllis' first time in san francisco

we stopped in the small town of novoto and ate a great little italian restaurant; all of us sampling a different panini. 

before leaving town, we were looking for a starbucks ...and guess what we found? 

i promptly went in and bought more ginger cookies!

 

the drive to arcata took us several hours.  the views are amazing but the speed constantly changes because of all the curves, the hills, and narrows to some places because the giant redwoods (you don't want to accidentally hit one of those)  danny and phyllis dozed through out the drive....but i LOVE road trips and with such beauty to see, i put my ipod on and just enjoyed the ride

the best part, however, was walking into the casino, and finding luke and pete, with big smiles on their faces, dealing poker. 

i showed great restraint, not rushing to plant big hugs on them, and quietly sat until they were on a break....then the great big hugs were set free.  they look great!  (okay, i showed even greater restraint and didn't get the camera out while they were working!)

we sent sara a "Merry Christmas" text at 9pm; it was already Christmas in Florida.  she was working in the emergency room all night, but has big plans for the daytime

i wish you all the best of Christmas, time off from work, relax, eat out: don't cook anymore, and check back and share our california christmas

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Christmas day, december 25th

blue was the only one really anxious to open his presents, so we let him start things off

     

lucas built a fire this morning to warm up the room (the boys don't use any heat; they like it chilly in the house so it's a little like camping)

       

it was past noon by the time the gifts were opened, we talked to sara and we were on our way.  lucas had phoned his favorite indian restaurant yesterday to double check they would be open on Christmas...they assured him they would be.

but they weren't

this is part of humboldt bay; we stopped and got out and looked at the boats

     

we drove around eureka looking for an open restaurant and mistakenly drove by the only grocery store open in three counties.  danny suggested we go in, shop and go back to the apartment and cook.  lucas thought this was a good idea too...phyllis and i were realizing the hopes we'd had of NOT COOKING were dashed, so we all went in the store

the meal turned out good and not too much hassle...grilled steaks, baked potatoes, steamed asparagus, sugar snap peas, mac and cheese, salad, hot bread, red wine and local beer; and cream puffs for dessert

     

lucas and pete live in a great apartment complex...everyone has a dog and one neighbor has a cat (it keeps all the dogs in line). he meandered into the house as we ate, and is still here, sleeping as i write

 

after dinner i was anxious to get to the beach...no one else wanted to go; it was almost dark outside.  i got there only in time for a short stroll, but then drove to an overlook, rolled down the window and just listened

 

the boys both work tonight...they're gone already, so it will be a quiet Christmas night tonight

dannys made us coffee and the fire is still blazing, so we're just going to sit back, relax and probably turn in early

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wednesday, december 26th

 danny, phyllis and i drove to the beach this morning and watched the waves

   

lucas and peter met us in downtown arcata at "golden harvest" our favorite place to eat breakfast.  after eating some great omlets, homemade biscuits, and the best fresh raspberry pancakes, we walked around the town square and did some shopping

       

the rain let up, the sun came out and we all headed for the forest.  the forest here in humboldt county is filled with giant redwoods...they are magnificent and so beautiful!  lucas brings blue here about everyday, to run and play and enjoy the park

   

     

   

 it's chilly here; about their rainiest and coldest time of the year. it was about 40 degrees today. but since the rain had stopped, after we left the park, danny, phyllis and i headed back to the beach to take a walk just as the sun was setting.  it was "brisk" down by the water, but with these views, who cares? 

     

 pete has tonight and tomorrow night off; but lucas had to work tonight.  as we got back to the apartment from our beach walk, lucas was just getting ready to leave for the casino

 

 pete had picked out a greek cafe for dinner, one of their favorite places to eat, but when we got there, we found they were closed today, still celebrating the holiday (there have been several stores and other restaurants in the area that were closed today for the same reason)...so we went to a mexican restaurant and had a nice dinner

we're back now at the apartment, both phyllis and pete have already crashed in the living room, danny is building another fire, and i'm just about ready to call it a night too

both boys are off work tomorrow...so we'll see what new adventures are waiting for us!

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thursday, december 27th

danny, phyllis and i took off from the apartment with only cloudy skies, no rain, and headed to walk on the beach...however, by the time we got there, the skies had opened up.  we decided not to go for a walk, but instead bought coffee and drove to three different beaches and looked at the views from the car

        

i was sad not to be walking on the beach, but who can complain about the view? 

this is such a gorgeous place no matter if it's raining, or cloudy skies, it's still so magnificent!

          

by the time we got back to the apartment, lucas was awake and ready to go.  we drove up (and up and up and up) one of the local roads names "fickle hill".  lucas has told us about this road and the mountain biking trails he's ridden off this road.  it's winds up next to the forest and was a really cool drive. this is one of the trails that goes straight down off the side of the road and into the forest

pete had gone to the airport to pick up shannon and then we were all going to meet up

we ordered lunch from a greek restaurant, a favorite of the boys.  but, it's so small, and all the tables were full, so we placed our order to go and went back to the igloo...i mean the boys apartment.  the food was GREAT; i had the falafel burger...ummm!

after lunch, our plan had been to drive up to the Redwood National Forest....but the rain got heavier all day long, we would have had to drive two cars, and not been able to get out and hike around once we got there....so we went to plan b.  danny suggested we go bowling, lucas suggested we rent a movie...so we did both.  we drove to eureka to the bowling alley and bowled three games...it was very competitive...lucas winning the first game (i came in 2nd); danny won both the second and third games, scoring a high of 141 for his last game

      

 we left eureka and went back to the apartment.  we ordered pizza from "big pete's" and started watching the movie,  "stranger than fiction"; a comedy with will ferrell

(these photos are blurry due to technical photo difficulties;

     

i believe this problem has now been fixed)

 

tomorrow will be our last full day here in arcata, saturday will be mostly a travel day 

we don't have any plans, as to how we'll spend our day, both boys work tomorrrow night...so we'll just wait and see (phyllis and i have a couple of "shopping" things on our list; so we want to visit the square in arcata)

i'm all tucked in my sleeping bag, next to the fire, with my favorite little dog!

check back...our christmas in california is almost over....but not quite.....

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friday, december 28th

this morning we ate at a little mexican restaurant for breakfast...it was really good.  after that, phyllis and i did our shopping; she buy a t-shirt for bill and some goodies for the little wichita grandkids, and me, 4 pairs of some really cool socks i found (and have been hunting for everywhere!)  the boys went back to the apartment to chill for awhile

then we all went to the beach that's closest to their apartment; it's next to the mad river.  even though it'd been raining off and on, the temp was about 49 and it was dry by the time we got to the beach.  we had a great time walking around and playing with blue and taking photos

               

        

luke and pete went back to the apartment to hang out a little while before they had to get ready to go to work.  danny, phyllis and i drove north (it was raining pretty good again by this time) to just kill some time and see the beautiful winding road curving in and out of the big trees with wonderful views of the ocean and several lagoons

these photos are of the biggest waves we've seen so far at a place called "big lagoon state park"...they were so much fun to watch!

   

       

this is the coast guard helicopter flying over the beach we were at

 

we kept driving north in hopes of seeing a herd of "rosevelt" elk that are in the area....we found some girls in the field; but no bull elks were around

     

we were meeting up with the boys, before they went to work, for dinner in mckinleyville at six rivers brewery 

i had been here with them last april and had some fantastic "chile pepper" beer...made with jalapenos. it smells wonderful and tastes even better....ummm...it was great!

 

after dinner, the boys went on to the casino and we three went back to the apartment

tonight, we'll be re-packing all our stuff in anticipation of leaving early in the morning.  hopefully, we'll have a little more time to visit with guys when they get off work (sometime between 11pm and 1am), but not a lot

it's been a really nice trip...so wonderful to see lucas and peter 

they really like their jobs, their friends (they seem to know everyone), their neighbors and their life here in arcata.  it's been great having phyllis with us too and i know the boys loved seeing her as well

we've missed Christmas with sara, but we know she had a great party at her place, liked her gifts and have talked with her throughout the holidays

we arrive back in kansas city tomorrow night about midnight...we've seen on the national news here it's been snowing there.  i can't say i'm excited about going back...except for my electric blanket 

it's always so hard to leave those you love so much and miss alot, but i'm so proud of all the kids and how they've embraced new lives, new careers and new friends 

i hope that sara, luke, peter, danny and i can see each other soon; maybe in orlando, or maybe back in arcata, or perhaps someplace totally different 

until then, my heart is always with them, my hopes are that they're dreams come true, and they find happiness and joy...every day

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saturday, december 29th

we left arcata about 7:30am, with lots of hugs, a few tears and some great memories of our christmas with the boys

there's a great drive that parallels hwy. 101, south of eureka, called "avenue of the giants".  it's a narrow winding road with the biggest, tallest redwood trees; just a beautiful drive.  we didn't do the entire route, but just about 45 minutes of it.  the rain was still coming down, but we took a short trail into center of some of the trees

           

we arrived at the airport a little after 3pm with no trouble.  the flight left oakland a little after 5pm, and stopped over in LA, but fortunately we didn't even need to get off the plane.  we landed in KC about 12:20am, and got home and to bed about 3am

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this was my first time to travel through out the holidays, and i realize that good luck and great weather were on our side. everyone was friendly and the planes were mostly on time 

the weather while we were in california...well here's my opinion about the weather when you travel:  unless it's a hurricane, tornado, flood, earthquake, or some other random disaster, the weather is just what it is....it doesn't really care about your plans.  you want to visit somewhere?  you get their weather too.  it's just part of the adventure....and speaking of adventures....

this ends my travels for 2007...what a super year it's been

one of the tasks danny and i needed to get done before we head back to work on wednesday, is to pick out his vacation dates for the upcoming year (his company requires he turn them in on january 2nd)

so as my year of travel ends....our thoughts are already on future trips...and i can't wait to go

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i hope 2008 brings you joy, laughter, good times, lots of hugs, purpose, love and great adventures!

vicki


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