Friday, December 31, 2021

Hot Pot, Interactive & a Show

I missed a day of blogging because we had a slow day. I must start with a photo from the night previous when the girls used my work backpack’s built in bottle opener! I love their trouble-shooting skills. 

We made another trip to a cannabis dispensary. Warning: I’m jumping on my soap box… 

A part of me is hesitant to add the dispensary visit because of the stigma around weed, but that is just silly. There is no difference with sharing our experience at a wine tasting and that of a cannabis shop. Both are legal substances that are ingested with the intent to become impaired. If your brain has a tendency to think differently I urge you to open your mind. I’m not a huge weed consumer but I have adjusted my biases over the last few years and find it is silly it is still illegal in some states. Off soap box…

We made our way to San Jose and spent some time wiggling three people’s belongings into my 450sf apartment. Anna had shaved her head the night before so she cleaned that up a bit and dyed it again. 

The girls wanted a Hot Pot dinner, so off we went. 

Afterwards they wanted to hang at home for the night so that is what they did (while I returned our Turo car and went out with a friend). It was a good day. 

The next morning I grabbed a new Turo car and dropped the girls off at The Tech Interactive (like the Science museum in Minnesota). I was so happy when they took public transit back!!! 

Later that night we walked to a Cirque de Soleil show downtown (which was amazing!) and afterwards stopped by Christmas in the Park for a hot dog and over-priced hot chocolate. 

It has been raining a fair amount since Paradis arrived so we are looking forward to the sun making a presence the next couple days. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

A Castle, Candy & Cut

Our day started with a wine tasting in a castle in Calistoga called Castello di Amorosa. Annelies can’t drink, Paradis doesn’t really like wine, and I’m no wine expert but when in Napa Valley…

I agree with Paradis when she said “if you aren’t into wine but want to do a tasting, doing it in a castle is best”. It was really cool. Paradis and I sampled six wines, along with chocolates, and the only drink we ended up buying was the grape juice Annelies was given. She loved it! 

Of course it is winter and foggy outside but the drive was beautiful. I’m looking forward to returning next summer. It is so close to my new home! 

From there we moved on to sugar and visited the Jelly Belly factory. I love factory tours. When I was a little girl I watched Mr. Rogers and my favorite episodes were when he visited factories. I would dream of working at a factory when I got old enough. 

Those are bins and bins of Jelly Bellys! As far as tours go it was really good. Very informative. Of course we were dumped into the gift shop and bought $36 worth of “belly flops” - beans that don’t make the quality cut. 

From there we drove to Berkeley and stopped at a cannabis dispensary. I’m no expert but I do need to say budtenders are some of the nicest people I have ever met. 

We made our way to San Leandro, checked into our hotel, ordered Door Dash, and shaved Annelies’ head! If you are wondering if the dispensary stop had anything to do with that decision I’ll just say…I’m not really sure.

I ended the night sitting in the hotel lobby, in front of the fire, writing my blog. It was a great day. 

Monday, December 27, 2021

Napa Christmas

I am SO so happy!! The three of us are back together! Annelies flew in a couple weeks ago for her college break (I’ll post activities after this trip) and Paradis flew in today for a week. We are going on a mini road trip to Napa. 

Today started early at 4am when I got a call from Paradis saying Sun Country cancelled every domestic flight due to a system outage. I was half asleep when I paid $628 for a one-way ticket to SFO. Ouch. But well worth it to give her a hug when she got off that plane. 

We made our way to Sausalito where we had some lunch on the Bay at Salito. 

Then we drove to Muir Woods National Monument. It has been raining here but it was truly majestic. 

We checked in to a hotel and will not be leaving tonight. We are all are a bit tired as the night was short. 

It is so nice to be with my girls. We talked non-stop today and I imagine tomorrow will be the same. 

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Final Thanksgiving Road trip

This will be my final post for my Thanksgiving road trip. It was perfect. Simple. Absolutely beautiful scenery and close to (my new) home. 

I created a short video to help me remember the sounds of this adventure (no background music added). If you like to hear the ocean, you’ll enjoy. 

Thanks for following along! I added some stats for all my stat fans. 

 -Rae Ann

Final Stats: 
  • Miles: 808
  • Gas cost: $128.79
  • Gallons of gas: 25.745
  • Miles/gallon: 31.16 (Mini-Cooper!)
  • Average cost per gallon: $5.00 (ouch!)
  • Lodging (four nights): $389.10
  • Car rental (Turo): $424.97 (insurance was $110.58, as I don’t own a car and therefore do not have insurance)
  • Breathtaking views: Too many to count
  • Views on this blog: 228,014

Saturday, November 27, 2021

A Friend and Santa Barbara

I slept great and ventured out around 8:30 toward Solvang. Solvang is located in the Santa Ynez valley with Danish-style architecture. It is as if you are being transported to Europe! Ten (10) years ago I met a woman, Tatiana, at a knitting retreat who lives in Solvang. We met for coffee and she took me to have their famous Aebleskiver, which is a donut like bunch of yumminess.

I could have visited Tatiana all day but Santa Barbara was calling my name. So I filled up with $4.60/gallon gas (so cheap!) and made my way south. I joined a walking tour of Funk Town, what used to be an art district of sorts in Santa Barbara. I love walking tours. You learn a ton, get great tips, and often meet others. 

I walked to the beach and realized why Santa Barbara attracts the wealthy. You have sun, sand, and mountains. Beautiful!

I quickly realized I only had some Danish donuts and a Diet Dew for the day! So I went to Stearns Wharf for dinner, a glass of wine and a beautiful view of the sunset.

Before heading to my Airbnb I made one last stop at McDonnell’s for their famous ice cream that is still made as it was 70 years ago. Something about 85.5% cream…blah, blah, blah. All I know is it was damn good ice cream.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Yes Sir Big Sur

I spent all day driving down highway 1 along the coast and…oh…my…beautiful! I have so many pictures! It took me nine (9) hours to drive from Carmel to Santa Maria because I stopped so often. Around 3pm I started to panic as I was still a couple hours from my Airbnb. 

Pro-tip: There are a ton of State Parks along the way so save your pass because the first will cover all. After filling up with $5.18/gallon gas (!!) my first stop was Point Lobos Natural Reserve. It took my breath away and I didn’t realize I had 8 more hours of it. 

People get on my nerves at tourist stops and Bixby Bridge was filled with idiots so I continued down the road a bit and captured it from the other side. 

Andrew Molera State Park was a nice walk to the beach with a river crossing without shoes. 

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park was my first glimpse of Redwoods. This is the most south they grow, and therefore smallest. I can’t wait to drive north at some point to see the giants. 

I stopped for lunch at Nepenthe, which had a lovely view. 

I couldn’t miss Moonstone Beach with lovely colored rocks. These pictures don’t do it justice. 

I was losing the sun but caught the sunset at Pismo Beach. 

Wow! What a day. Just…beautiful. 

I am staying at an Airbnb in Orcutt, just outside of Santa Maria. I will sleep well tonight. I can’t believe I live in this state.