Adventure to California, Part 2

It was sunny and relatively warm as we headed from Sacramento to Santa Rosa. Rick and I both felt giddy from seeing all the green, the palm trees, and the sunshine. We made a quick stop at the Jelly Belly Factory, but opted to just buy some jelly beans instead of waiting over an hour in line for the tour. As Rick said, “What are we really here for, anyway?” So we filled up a few bags with the gourmet jelly beans, and we got back into the car, with only about an hour left to our trip.

We arrived in Santa Rosa and waited where my parents were staying until they got back from tux fittings. After they came back, everyone except for Epiphany, Rick, and I took a dip in the outdoor, heated pool. It was a lot warmer than what we were used to in Idaho, but I wasn’t quite warm enough to commit to swimming. Everyone else had a blast, though.

Soon, it was time to get ready for Isaiah & Amy’s dress rehearsal. We arrived a little early and hung around outside until the doors to the church were opened. The Tuckers were there, too, and the cousins played together while waiting.

I did some test shots during the rehearsal, since I would be taking pictures of the wedding the following day.

Then it was off to In-N-Out Burger, then back to our resort in Windsor, which is just a few minutes past Santa Rosa. It isn’t really OUR resort. Rick’s mom has WorldMark points and let us use some in order to stay there. It was really nice!

The morning of the wedding, there was a beautiful sunrise. I snuck out while everyone else was still sleeping and snapped a couple shots.

We spent most of our day with the Tuckers and my family. We had lunch together, then headed to the pool and hot tub. This time, I braved the waters because Epiphany really wanted to go in. It was actually not as bad as I thought, and everyone had a lot of fun. We swam until it was time to go back and get ready for the wedding.

I got there early to take some pictures of Amy getting ready.

And then, my brother got married! I am so happy for him.

I’ve learned a few things after taking pictures at a wedding. 1. Don’t wear high heels. 2. Don’t wear a dress that constricts your ability to get from place to place quickly. 3. Don’t take your kids with you. Of course, this was my brother’s wedding, so I wanted to be all dressed up, and of course my kids were going to be there. But if I ever photograph a wedding again, at least I will have an idea as to what to wear. No heels. I was pretty tired by the end of the evening, but it was well worth it.

The next day, we headed towards the California coast. We’re a bit landlocked here in Idaho, so I was craving the sight of the ocean. It was pretty beautiful. The kids loved playing in the sand and exploring for hours.

On Sunday, we headed back home. Thankfully, our trip back was much smoother than our trip there. All the roads were clear, and there was no requirement for chains on the pass. We made it as far as Winnemucca on Sunday night. Isaiah and Amy were driving back in the same direction, and they stopped in Winnemucca as well. We were able to have breakfast with them on Monday morning before heading back home. This was the view from our motel door on Monday morning.

We got back in Boise by mid-afternoon on New Year’s Eve. It was a tiring, but good trip. I wish it could have been a little longer! I hope to go back to California again someday. It is beautiful there.

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Our Adventure to California, Part 1

Last month, we drove down to Santa Rosa, California, for my brother’s wedding. We started our trip the morning after Christmas, at 6:00 am. If that wasn’t already early enough, Rick was called into work at 3:45 am, and got back just in time to wake the rest of the family up to get ready and head out the door. It had snowed on Christmas day (yay for a white Christmas!), so the roads were slick and snowy (not so much yay). It was still dark when we headed out. In fact, it was dark for about the first 2 hours of our driving, which was slow and windy.

At first, Rick was doing fine, probably fueled from adrenaline. Eventually, he became almost too tired to keep his eyes open, but we planned to switch places in McDermitt, NV where I would take over with the driving. We laughed like maniacs, both sleep-deprived, and finally pulled into the little store where we’d take bathroom breaks and switch off on driving. The roads weren’t getting any better, so as painful as it was, I had to drive around 40 miles an hour on a 70 mph highway. I saw other people putting chains on, but chains are stupid and dumb and I hate them (except when I absolutely need them), so with gritted teeth, I kept driving through the slushy and slippery roads until we finally made it to Winnemucca, where we’d get onto Interstate 80.

At that point, Rick had gotten enough rest to take over again, so he drove the rest of the way. I-80 was pretty smooth, and the speed limit was 75, so we were finally really getting somewhere. We stopped just outside of Reno for another break and to get gas before heading up the Donner Pass. While Rick was filling up the tank, someone pointed out that our rear passenger tire was low. We went to put some air in it, but as we did, we just heard the air hissing right back out of the tire. Greeeat. Time to go to a tire shop.

We found a tire shop that was able to get it patched up and get us on our way before sunset. We spent about an hour waiting in the lobby before everything was done, and were happy that the damage was only $15. With sighs of relief, we started heading toward the pass. Unfortunately, chains were required for vehicles without 4WD, and yay for us, our car isn’t 4WD. So, about 30 minutes of struggling to get those dang chains on, we were finally on our way. The chains made it almost unbearably loud to drive. We both felt like we were going crazy. Chains are NOT supposed to drive on clear roads, but we would not have been allowed to pass without them (and they had a checkpoint), so we had no way out of it. When we reached Donner Summit, there was only a small amount of snow on the road. It was so much less than what we’d already driven in—we would have been fine without the chains. But, rules are rules. We eagerly looked for where we could take the chains off, and were happy that not long past the summit, we were allowed to. So, we quickly took them off (so much easier to take off than put on) and were on our way. I was so happy and relieved! But only five minutes later, traffic came to a complete standstill.

We weren’t sure what was up, but seeing as how traffic had been severely backed up at the beginning of the pass, we thought that maybe things would start moving soon. But over an hour passed with absolutely NO movement. The kids, who had done exceedingly well thus far (especially Epiphany, who had not fussed ONCE in the 12+ hour journey) were starting to get antsy, so we went outside and let them play in the dark, along the highway, in the snow. Lots of other people were out walking around, walking their dogs, or just pacing back and forth. Some ran up ahead to see if they could figure out what was causing the delay. (We heard that it was a pileup, but nobody we talked to saw any evidence of it). Finally, 1 hour and 15 minutes after waiting, the cars began to move. We quickly and excitedly buckled the kids back in their seats, started the car, and started moving. Within seconds, we realized something was terribly wrong. It was the tire. No, not the one that had been patched up in Reno. It was another one. The front driver’s side tire. It was completely flat.

I am surprised that instead of crying, or yelling, or just sitting silently, numb with frustration, I ran to the back of the car, grabbed the jack, a spare tire, and started pumping the car up. Rick was on the phone with AAA, thinking that we wouldn’t be able to change the tire ourselves, but I was not willing to sit and wait any longer than we already had. So, he started helping me. Within 20 minutes, the tire was changed, and we were on our way again.

It took probably another hour to reach Sacramento, which was our intended stop for the night. A hotel bed never felt so good. We all got to sleep fairly early (for us).

The next morning, we had a nice continental breakfast at the hotel, then headed to our next stop at a friend’s house. This is a friend I’ve known for several years, but had never met in person before. We all had a great visit together, and our kids had lots of fun playing with each other.

At around noon, we headed from their house to our final destination: Santa Rosa.

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