Here is a long but quick summary of our adventures on the road. I’ll do a different post specifically on camping with baby tips at another time. This was our sixth road trip adventure, our first one together was in 2005 and now this one our first with baby. We hope to be able to take a road trip once a year with our family from now on. We shall see!
We started planning this trip last Spring in celebration of being now a family of 3 and spending our first summer together having fun and taking advantage of the fact that as a stay at home mom and as a school teacher (my hubby), we actually had the availability to make this happen. Both my husband and I were in total need of an adventure. We were craving time as a family exploring life outside of our everyday. It was much needed and we are so happy we made it happen.
We want to teach Penelope that life is about living and enjoying time together as a family creating and making memories. I want her to have a love for exploring this magical world we live in and to celebrate everyday.
We took this trip to remind ourselves that just because we have a baby now, it doesn’t mean we can’t keep adventuring and doing what we love to do. We have always been a duo that loves to explore and have fun together and now that our family is growing we want to continue our traditions. Road trips have always been on our horizon. Ever since the very beginning of us.
Things are definitely different now that’s for sure. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like everything is the same and nothing has changed. It has! It is not easy. It’s also not horrible. There is no more relaxing by the campsite with a cold drink enjoying the peace and quiet or the spontaneous hike, walk, nap or make out session without interruptions (two little eyes beaming over at us) 😉 Yes, you can still do that but later. Once baby is in bed for the night and or napping!
Everything is a lot s l o w e r and with multiple steps. We have Penelope on the Baby Wise schedule so we basically know what our day looks like with regards to when she sleeps, eats and plays (I seriously don’t know how we would stay sane without it) but even then you have to be flexible and plan your day around those naps, feedings, playtime and those diaper changes. Know that you are going to be busy. Right when you think you are ready to head out for that walk, or hike or car ride, there is a diaper change needing to take place! It is what it is I guess.
We have to remind ourselves that we can only do our best and as long as the baby is happy then mommy and daddy are happy too. We did get blessed with a very smiley content baby, so to our benefit it made this trip go smoothly. Regardless taking care of a baby – one that recently learned to crawl – is a lot of work! I am tired. I brought a stack of magazines and books for the trip thinking I would have time to read. Right! Ha! By the time we put the baby to bed and we made dinner, my body and heavy eyelids were begging me to crawl into bed too. But did I? No, thanks to my obsession to be neat, I stayed up late organizing and cleaning up from the day making me more exhausted. Why can’t I just leave a mess be?! You can’t beat the amazing feeling though as I looked around (with one eye open) and saw a fed, simi-clean sleeping healthy baby, organized car and tent and a very handsome hard working husband. What more could I ask for? Sleep and a massage? Well yeah. But back to the trip…
A total of 33 days on the road. We did about two weeks of camping with 4 hotel stays and the rest with family and friends.
The trip started in Kernville outside of Sequoia National Forest by Lake Isabella so the hubby could get in some mt. biking at the Cannel Plunge. Not the funnest way to start our trip if you ask me. Penelope and I had to wait for daddy to be done in 100 degree weather (at least there was a river and shade, but not my first choice). We did camp on a very beautiful spot with amazing western views that night off a Forest Service road so that wasn’t too bad. We then headed off to Sequoia National Park where I then felt the trip actually starting.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are stunning. Hubby and I had been there back in 2005 (9 years ago!) and had such a great time so we really wanted to bring Penelope and stomp around in the woods. Be among the trees and hike. That’s something we really miss living in San Diego, big green trees. We were even lucky enough to see two bear cubs climbing a tree and momma bear scavenging for food near by. So neat!
Next was Yosemite. We camped out at a spot an hour from the park. It wasn’t my favorite campsite. First off I have to mention the fires. Yosemite and some of the surrounding areas unfortunately were dealing with a few fires. On our way to our campground we encountered a ton of black smoke on the horizon not too far away. Honestly, it scared me and I wanted to get the heck out of there. You could see the dense black smoke making it’s way down the ridge about 10 miles away. We stopped at a gas station to inquire about fire conditions and Andy reassured me we were out of harms way. It still made me feel very nervous and uncomfortable. Once we did make it to the campground right before dusk the mosquitos were out and made it easy to want to call it a night and crawl into bed early. It was hard not to worry about the fires but I convinced sleep to let me forget.
The following morning we made our way to Yosemite. Unfortunately due to the fires they were experiencing, our plans to hike Yosemite Falls was a no go. The trail was closed due to a rock fall and fire. The valley was getting smoked out, so we ended up just hanging out for a couple of hours in the meadow and took pictures and talked to the park rangers. Good thing we had been to Yosemite a few times prior and Penelope is too young to know the difference but all in all it was a little lame due to factors we could’t control. Next time. We’ll be back Yosemite!
California has been experiencing a 3 year drought so the falls were so dry! Almost non existent. Anyway, we ended up taking a very long detour to get to Lee Vining on the east side of the park where we had reservations for our first hotel stay. We did get to see CalFire filling up their planes and helicopters with water from the river, so that was neat.
We stayed in Lee Vining outside of Yosemite in Mono Lake after 5 days of camping for our first hotel stay. Boy did that shower feel amazing! Poor Penelope though the shower didn’t come with a bath so she had to get her bath in the the tiny bathroom sink (the shower head scares her), and let’s just say she wasn’t a fan. After some crying and a completely soaked mommy, daddy and bathroom floor, we finally had her squeaky clean.
That evening we got to meet up with one of our dearest friends Ruth and her adorable little baby bump for dinner. It was awesome seeing her. Ruth and her husband Ben recently moved to Mammoth only a short distance away. I love this whole area. The Sierra are stunning. We need to return and visit these two soon to be three hopefully in the near future.
After Mono Lake, we headed to Lake Tahoe where we stayed at Meeks Bay campground. Have you ever been to Tahoe? Wow. It was stunning. My first time there. I would say it was a blend of Crater Lake meets the PNW Sunshine Coast meets Greece. I’ve been to all those places and I can truly say Tahoe was a beautiful blend of such beauty. It was unreal. Our campsite was steps away from the beach and the clear blue water.
We did 3 nights before heading through Carson City, Nevada and after a hotel stay there, we made our way towards Boise, Idaho. Originally we were going to come in the mountains before Boise, but due to thunderstorms and flash flood alerts, we quickly skipped that plan. The hotel felt amazing! We like to use priceline.com for last minute deals when we are on the road. It’s the way to go. Or sometimes we use Hotwire. Thank goodness for them because hotel this days are so pricy.
Penelope got to meet her only and last great grandma Patty in Boise. It was so special for all of us. It was really important and worth the drive to spend some quality time with my husbands grandma and awesome aunt and uncle Kevin and Sarah. They are such great host and have a very welcoming home (and beautiful garden).
Next was Eastern Washington where were stayed with my husbands cousin Ian and his beautiful wife Vanessa and their two adorable, smart and very polite 2 and 4 year olds. It was so great spending time with them. It was the first time that we didn’t have to share them with the rest of the family and were able to connect on a more personal level. We really enjoyed it. Visits like these remind you how important family is, even if you don’t get to see each other that often, but to know that you are in each others lives is a pretty neat feeling.
We then finally made it to Redmond where my husbands parents live. We spent time with my sister-n-law and her adorable family in Bothel too! They threw a delicious BBQ and invited family and fiends we were eager to see. It was great mingling with everyone that came. I hope we do it again soon! Our niece and nephew are so cute! I love how much they love Penelope. It was so great to spend quality time with them. It made me wish we lived closer so we could see them grow up together. I hope they come visit us next. The kids are growing up so fast. We love them!
After a few nights then we stayed with my brother and sister-n-law in Snoqualmie. They live in a beautiful home. They are the cutest couple and are so loving and giving and always do such an awesome job hosting our family. We got to celebrate my sister-n-laws 30th birthday, so that was great. Couldn’t of picked a better time to visit. Have I mentioned how happy we were to spend this time visiting our family and friends? It was much needed and I am so happy that we did!
With that said, it’s also exhausting! ha! After days spent with our families we were in need of some time to recharge. We had plans to visit our friend who lives out on Blakely Island out in the San Juans, but due to her sickness those plans were canceled. It was a bummer for all of us. We hope to make it happened and see her next time. Alternatively, we spent a few days camping at Fort Ebey State Park on Whidbey Island. Such a pretty place! Penelope got to take her first ferry ride and we got to do some great hiking (so many trails) and mt. biking for the hubby and jogging for myself. It was perfect. Just what we needed. Some PNW island time.
We did have a bump in the road. Our sweet P had a rough day teething. Poor thing she was just miserable. She tried putting anything and everything in her mouth but nothing would help. Chew beads, chew toys and teething rings etc. Finally after mommy and daddy went nuts from seeing our poor baby in such discomfort, we left the camp site and thank goodness not too far away was a pharmacy. The first time we turned to baby Tylenol and thank goodness we did because like a switch she was cured! And that was it. It lasted a day. Not sure what exactly happened but we were glad she was feeling better asap. It’s never fun to see someone you love especially your little baby in pain. No bueno 😦
Towards the end of the journey we were definitely feeling the fact that we had been on the road for a few weeks. We finally made it to Bellingham! It was a blur! I don’t even remember. I have to look back at pictures to remember. I know there was a beautiful wedding and a sick baby and mingling with some friends and family. And then we had to rush to get back to San Diego.
When we got to Bellingham, we stayed with my cousin Tanya and her family the first night. She’s had her baby by now, but at the time she was a week away from giving birth. It was awesome spending time with her as well as a few of my other cousins that I hadn’t seen in years! We ate dinner at their new restaurant out in Sudden Valley, EL Agave 2. That night was so much fun to spend time with my family. It was way over due.
Once in Bellingham we stayed with our dear friends Anika and Micah. They are amazing host! So giving and such genuine great people. We are so lucky to call them friends. They recently bought their first home. Their property is amazing! We are so happy for them. We originally met in San Diego but being the small world that it is, we connected on the fact that we both knew a close friend, were from the PNW, and graduated from Western. They are no longer in San Diego but we are so happy that they are in Bellingham because I know that we will keep seeing each other.
That weekend we had all these high hopes of doing all these fun things like hiking in the Chuckanuts and Mt. Baker to name a couple, but unfortunately those plans were not accomplished due to a packed bridesmaid schedule but mainly due to a sick baby with some sort of stomach bug. Poor thing she spent just about all weekend vomiting and with diarrhea. So Bellingham and friends we will be back! There was so much we wanted to do and people to see, so I look forward to our next visit so much.
Overall it was a special time because we got to witness one of my best friends walk down the aisle and marry the love of her life. It was beyond amazing to see the love that those two have for each other and to see a room full of family and friends in full support and love for them. I love weddings! And simply wonderful to have spent such a special time just the three of us camping in the woods and road tripping across a few states. Penelope saw so many sights and sounds and grew a ton that month. Such a special memory for our family.