Starting the 27th of July, Pierce and I hit the road to head North, final destination, Vancouver, BC. Our first adventure on this journey was a camping trip with my family at Arroyo Seco Campgrounds near Soladad. Getting a late start we pulled into camp after dark, set up camp, ate and fell asleep.
A lack of cell service is a great reminder and inspiration to 'unplug' with the family. Our first full day at the site was spent cleaning up the camp area (unfortunately people were very disrespectful and unhygenic), playing games and swimming in the nearby river.
Day two we drove into Soledad and up to Pinnacles National Park and did a 2.4 mile hike loop, up hillsides and through caves (completely mind blowing, but I do recommend going in the cooler months).
The third day we had a slow start having hiked in over 100 degree heat the day before, but once up and going we headed back into town to visit our first mission of the trip, Mission Soladad. The entire family enjoyed the cool breezes of the valley and the ingenious engineering on the part of those who created the missions.
Leaving camp that Thursday we caravaned with some family North West to Carmel via Carmel Valley Road, a gorgeous cut through from Soladad to Carmel through the hills.
Once arriving in Carmel we split ways with my dad and continued into Mission Carmel with my sister, brother-in-law and nieces. One of the last missions Father Junipero Serra was a part of, Carmel, had many important people not only buried there, but have visited there. At Father Serra's request he was entombed at this Mission. With tons of history and lots of care this has been one of the best to visit.
To leave Carmel and continue up the coast we hit the '17 Mile Drive' for all of the scenic overlooks and a great potential picnic spot :)
Finally pulling into Santa Cruz with the kiddos, we decided to take a walk on the pier after a quick lap through the Marine Santuary exhibit. Unfortunately for us the kids noticed the rides on the Boardwalk in a matter of moments, this is when our nieces showed us how they are master negotiators. Luckily for them, on Wednesdays and Thursdays the park had a pay one price deal, so for just $2 more (than paying for 2 rides) per kid they could ride an unlimited number of rides.
After closing down the park Rosie, Adam and the kids headed home to Santa Rosa and Pierce and I spent the night in Santa Cruz with my Uncle Jon (which was a godsend after camping for 4 days, the hot shower was incredible).
Continuing up the coast we stopped at our favorite place, Swanton Farms, and cut our own Sunflowers and tasted jam.
Arriving in Pacifica late in the afternoon we met up with our dear friends Steven and Tracy Baker and spent the next two days enjoying surf comps on the computer, delicious dinners and lots of laughs.
For some reason or another we thought this would be the quickest part of the trip, but we some how managed to take another 3 days to make it up to Eureka (via San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Sonoma and Napa).
Lucky for us this slow roll allowed us to spend two nights with my sister Rosie and her family. It also gave us a chance to meet up with a friend who happen to have to come into town from Colorado.
Me and Father Serra hanging out at the San Francisco Mission (Dolores).
Golden Gate bridge crossing.
Pierce and I were greeted by smiling faces once we finally made it to The Beard's house in Eureka. After a few moments to catch up and we celebrated Pierce's birthday and Amie and Matt's Anniversary