Monday, September 29, 2008

Recap of the entire trip

Scroll down to the bottom of the page to turn off the playlist so you can hear this song.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sat, September 27

We left Santa Maria and headed up El Camino Real, the same road the priests used many years ago to establish missions up the coast of California.  Today it is known as Highway 101.

Upon arriving in Morro Bay, a beautiful little coastal fishing village and a very special place to us, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast at Dorn's Restaurant with a view of the harbor below.

The Morro Bay harbor was completely packed in by fog.  It was eerie to see the boats bobbing in the water with the swirling mists around their masts.  We couldn't even see the rock or the three huge smoke stacks rising from the PG & E plant, which is the typical "you have arrived" landmark for the town.

The kids posed by Morro Rock, barely visible behind them in the fog.

We were serenaded by a group of sea lions who had taken over one of the local tug boats down in the harbor.  They were loud and very much out of tune!

Before heading out to Hwy 101 again, we stopped at the cemetery just outside Cayucos to visit Grandpa John Miller's grave site.

After driving up to the crest of the coastal mountains and into the shining sunlight, we could see the fog bank that had completely covered Morro Bay and the coast below.  It stretched for miles out to sea and looked like a field of snow.

The golden--scratch that--brown hills of California!

The kids were so exited about finally being home.  Hurray!

After 260 miles, we finally found ourselves at home, sweet home!  Our entire trip took us over 8,000 miles in 29 days.  Stay tuned until tomorrow for a very special treat, a review of our trip of sorts.

Fri, September 26

After morning devotions, the Tanksley and FitzGerald kids posed for a group photo and then headed off to the kitchen to prepare breakfast.  

We made a stop in Brea where Liz's dad Carl lives.  Joshua made a bee line for Grandpa's piano where he treated us to a couple of his original compositions.

The drive this morning tuckered out John who paused for a brief cat nap before lunch.

After a great lunch at the Home Town Buffet, the kids and Liz posed with Grandpa in front of the gazebo in his backyard.

Back on the road, we found something we haven't experienced in quite a while--traffic!

Continuing down the freeway, we prepared to enter Los Angeles.

Shannon could barely contain herself with excitement as she prepared to enter the American Girl Place in Los Angeles.  She has been waiting for over a year to go here, and we finally got the chance.  She and her doll Elizabeth (from the Felicity series of 1774) paused long enough for a picture before walking through the doors.

Our first stop was the beauty salon where Elizabeth got a special pony tail flip hairstyle.

Shannon had so much fun looking at all the outfits.  In the end she decided on matching outfits for both Elizabeth and herself.

The boys hung out with their Star Wars books while Shannon and Mom shopped.

A very happy American Girl was finally ready to leave with her packages.  Notice Elizabeth hanging out in the tree house with Kit Kittredge?  (She's the one with the red dress.)

While Liz drove, the kids took turns playing on her laptop computer.  Shannon enjoyed playing on the Webkinz web site since she was able to get internet reception even on the highway.

We felt it was only appropriate that we would enjoy an In-N-Out burger since this was our last night on the road.  After all, that's what we had on our first night, right?

In all we traveled 270 miles up the California coast today.  Since it was Friday, we had a hard time finding a motel that was open for drop-ins late in the evening, but the Lord provided us a comfortable room in Santa Maria.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thurs, September 25

Mary (another SWR Trainer) and Liz spent the morning comparing notes, talking about Spell to Write and Read and homeschooling high schoolers, and just having fun catching up.  

The kids worked together to make lunch.

Karis, the Enchantress, prepared to meet the crusaders who were playing outside.

The battle-ready warriors came in for a water break only to be caught in her spell.

Later in the day we drove toward the Oceanside pier for some fun in the sun.

We caught a lovely mermaid--okay, it's really Shannon under all that sand.

The sand monster crawled out of the ocean and onto the beach!

The boys built a sand castle while Karis provided structural advice.  The sun was beginning to set and provided a gorgeous golden glow on the scene.

The kids washed off most of the sand.  Since the FitzGeralds aren't used to playing at the beach (Northern CA beaches are cold!), this was a new experience for them.

We left the beach just as the sun was setting.  Ah, the beautiful sight of the palm trees and the ocean.  We're back in California, all right!

The kids all kicked back and enjoyed a movie & popcorn after a hard day of play.

Bill and Mary Tanksley posed for a photo op this evening after Bill got home from collecting a huge hive of over 15,000 bees over in Vista, CA.  (Bill owns a pest control company and works with four of his sons.)  We watched the video of the segment on the local news broadcast where he was interviewed about the hive relocation.

The tired college student came home after a loooong day at Mira Costa Community College.  We surely missed her today.

Wed, September 24

Leaving the Flagstaff area, we were amazed at the lush pine forest landscape of the northern Arizona area.  This wasn't anything like what we expected the Arizona desert to look like.  It reminded us a lot of the mountain area of Arnold, CA.  

Once we were out of the pine forests, we saw more of the desert terrain we were expecting. The saguaro cacti were everywhere.  Did you know that these cacti take many, many years to grow to the height of the one pictured here?  This one is probably 125-150 years old.  

Driving into California at sunset, we were so happy to be back in our "Golden State!"

With over 8 hours of driving today, we covered more than 500 miles!  We are now at the home of our friends, the Tanksleys, in Oceanside.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tues, September 23

We ventured north to the Grand Canyon today.  The view was spectacular, and the weather was refreshing.  September is definitely a great time to visit these National Parks!

At the Desert View point, there is the Watch Tower.  It provides a great view of the eastern end of the South Rim, but it is also a fascinating place in and of itself.

John & Shannon enjoyed the view from the top of the tower.

Inside the building were pictographs and more petroglyphs--beautiful ancient art work.

How nice to see that someone acknowledges the Creator in this awesome place.

Bunny was speechless over the sight.

The crew posed for a photo op.

The drive back to Flagstaff was alive with colorful fields of flowers.  

We drove 187 miles in all today.