Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Dream Vacation

For the past couple of years the kids have expressed a strong desire to go to San Diego, California. At first we started a plan of driving to and from stopping at destinations along the way. After some thought, however, we decided to just fly out West and take in all we could. So we started saving way back then. In fact, the kids even gave up their weekly lunch with daddy at Subway so that they could help save money toward the trip. We sacrificed and saved for a long time.

It was their first time flying!

On July 26th we flew to Las Vegas and stayed in Henderson so that we could get to the Hoover Dam quickly the next morning. It was a must-see on my list of things go do. And with Rick being an engineer, he was thrilled to see the greatest engineering marvel in the United States. It was quite astonishing and a great way to start our vacation!

The next two nights we let the kids experience the "real" Las Vegas by staying at the Luxor on the Las Vegas strip. Actually, we just hung out in our room, swam at the pool, ate a lot, and walked for six hours straight one day to see all the neat things in the hotels. New York, New York was a favorite, especially with the new addition of the Hershey store!

On July 30th we loaded into our rental car and made the drive to San Diego, stopping at some fun sights along the way, like Alien Fresh Jerky, the largest thermometer in the United States, and Peggy Sue's Diner.

We rented a condo in San Diego, which was a smart idea! The cost was actually cheaper per night than the hotels in the same area and we were able to fix all of our meals there. We were less than a block away from the beach (that we did not have time to enjoy) and Belmont Park was just down the street.

The real reason we were there, however, was to go to Legoland! It was Eli's dream and it did not disappoint! We were there when it opened at 10 a.m. and left when it closed at 8 p.m. To say we were exhausted is an understatement, but we had so much fun!

And the highlight was getting to walk on and see the actual set for the basement scenes in the Lego Movie. We thought Eli's head was going to explode. The rest of us thought it was pretty darned awesome, too.

Our second day there we went to the San Diego Zoo for another full day of walking. It is a world-class zoo and we saw some neat animals we have never seen before. We have been regular attenders of the Tulsa Zoo and St. Louis Zoo over the past 10 years, but the San Diego Zoo definitely had some exciting things to see!

Our stay in San Diego was not long as we had a full day's driving on August 1st to get to San Francisco. This was the part of the trip that was all for Brynne. This was also my birthday and I had the pleasure of seeing some amazing views from the Pacific Coast Highway. Big Sur was breathtaking!

We rented a flat in San Francisco. Again, the savings were tremendous! Our first day of sightseeing took us to Lombard Street, the REAL Full House house, and the Painted Ladies. We were exhausted after the previous busy days, so we went back to our flat early that night, had some dinner, and watched Sharknado 2. I just enjoyed driving around through the neighborhoods. Honestly, if I was a single gal, I would move there in a minute. It is the coolest city. I am definitely a Northern Cal kind of girl.

On our last day in San Francisco we drove up to Muir Woods to see the Redwoods. We absolutely loved this! It was beautiful and informational and just an inspiring place to be as a family.

On our way back to the flat we stopped for some good views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.

We planned to go down to Fisherman's Wharf but it was so crowded and we were, again, exhausted and ready for some dinner at the flat and some down time. But we did have a cable car come up behind us!

On August 4th we started our drive back to Las Vegas. We drove through Reno so that we could have lunch with Rick's dad and stepmom. His stepmom had never seen Eli and Brynne as she has health problems and cannot travel. She follows my blog, though, so she latched onto the kids and talked with them like she has seen them every day of their lives. I think Brynne and her would be really close if she lived closer.

The drive took us forever but we finally arrived back in Las Vegas late that night, grabbed a hotel near the airport, and crashed. We had an afternoon flight the next day so were able to sleep in. Traveling home was pretty uneventful, although I thought it was funny how the kids seemed like seasoned travelers. They did such a great job flying! They even each had to sit alone on the last flight of our trip from Denver to Kansas City and they did it without any problems.

Hanging out at an outlet!

Overall this was a fabulous vacation. We were busy, busy, busy, but we saw all of the things we wanted to see and just had a fun time. We are already talking about our next vacation so that we can start saving for it. This time we want to do something with the whole family, including Collin and Taylar.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my gosh! You were right in our neck of the woods. We have similar pics near the Golden Gate Bridge. I am so glad you had a great time. San Francisco can be overwhelming in the summer (so many people). If I had to eliminate one sight, it would have been the wharf. Come back in January or February some year- the weather is usually mild in SF and the crowds thin.


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