Thursday, March 9, 2017

San Fran -our way in a lil' more then a day

Our trip to San Francisco was absolutely amazing.  Each stop was kinda surreal because of how long we have wanted to visit.  Sometimes I couldn't believe I was seeing things I've wanted to see for years! I'm not even kidding- even the "Full House" was mind blowing for me! haha- I'm such a 90's child.  If you haven't see it yet, here is the whole video of our trip: 

So we had a lot to fit in -- in one week -- so we decided to hit San Fran first!  We woke up early in our Campervan under the beautiful Redwoods at Samuel P Taylor State Park, cooked our breakfast over our open flame & started on our way to San Fransisco for the day.  

Our first stop, and in my opinion, the most important, was the different bridge viewpoints.  There are many ways to go and many different stops to make but let me share with you my favorite.
Yup, that place is real life! Kirby Cove Campground.  As we hiked up I was super pumped to swing.  Lets be honest, between pinterest & instagram I couldn't help but be inspired to find this unreal place. To my amazement, as I walked up, no one was around! The wind was out of control this day and tide was super high and the waves were crashing into the tree branches that you clearly needed to climb to reach this swing. Josh and Remy were standing a safe distance back as I climbed the branches trying to act as if I wasn't terrified for my life.  J wasn't too far back but his voice was still very distant because of the wind and waves. "Get back here!" he yelled "It's not worth it!" Just as I almost reached the swing (using my gopro selfie stick to reach it) a wave crashed into my face making me feel as if I had just done 9 bellyflops at once.  Just then Remy started crying very hard yelling "Mama!" I had to retreat. During this whole time a small crowed had gathered.   A girl went up to try and failed.  A couple girls decided to try together.  They worked together and got up.  Well, no one beats this mama! I popped off my boots and climbed the branches like a monkey. Popped up on the swing and threw all my fears away- it was incredible. You'd think a swing is just a swing.  This was so different- swinging out over the ocean while seeing the waves crashing into the mountains.  It was unbelievable! 


How to get to the swing: Park at the, hike 2 miles down the gravel road to Kirby Cove Campground and make your way out to the ocean.  Make sure you read about this place, so much cool history here!  You'll see the swing up on the tree. Make sure you don't die.  Remember as you're hiking down, you have to come back up :)
We loved all the viewpoints and someday would love to check out the other side of the bridge as well!  Such a cool experience.
Next we headed into town and asked what to do.  People gave us lots of cool suggestions but here is what we hit...
Pier 39  and all the other Piers :) :

Remy couldn't get enough of all the seals.   She was pointing and squealing every time they would 'bark'.  She loved running around and saying hi to strangers.  A kind stranger lady gave us free tickets and made her current dream came true to ride the carousel! 

Took the trolly:

To Union Square:
And Delicious Restaurants:)


The way our booth was sitting was so we were all three looking out into the restaurant.  We had the sweetest waitress who made our time so memorable.  There was a family that couldn't stop staring at Remy and played many games of peek-a-boo with her across the way.  Funny how sometimes she is so outgoing! Love seeing her giggle and enjoy herself.  The clam chowder I had was taste bud delicious and J had some perfect fish & chips. Yum.

We headed back to our campground but not without J drinking a coke on the Golden Gate Bridge- a random item written on his bucket list for whatever reason :)
The night before, we were able to see the outside of the "Full House" which we were tempted to buy!  I was dancing and clickin' away.  J kept asking if we could leave.  I also wanted to get on the steps but he said no. I guess he didn't want that to be a reason his wife goes to jail... but I feel like it would've been worth it, right? More info on this check this link out Full House
Later we hit Ghirardelli Square. You guys. You guys. Seriously people.  This place was heavenly! I want to eat this everyday for the rest of my life!  Although he won't admit it, I'm pretty sure J had a joyful tear running down his face as he ate each bite.  It was so cool to read about all the past history on the factory and house the chocolate was and is currently made. Way cool!
So many perfect memories made. Someday we shall return!
Come say hi on Instagram !

Friday, January 27, 2017

just a bit Out of Africa


It was one of those rare kinda weekends. The one where there is actually severe storms in Cali and cold and rainy in AZ! We weren't going to let it get us down. We found some awesome things you can do right around here with kids.
Sarah found this really cool thing -- Big City Hunt !

We raced around the city doing all kinds of crazy things during our scavenger hunt!  What a random crazy fun time. 
"looking for a contact" below:
Having company always inspires you to find new things but also new places to eat! And manOman did my sis find a WINNER on Yelp! Welcome Diner was not only the cutest, coolest place, it also had absolutely delicious food!  We talked to a regular who said they can't stop ordering new things every time they come! Everything was so fresh and tasty... I could go on and on. But just know - you should check it out! Welcome Diner's IG 

Another favorite we went to this week was Culinary Dropout . They have amazing pretzel fondue and the live music was awesome!
Something J and I have been wanting to do for a long time finally came true! We headed up to Camp Verde and stopped at Out Of Africa. Wow, what a fun experience. Between the fun shows with tigers and being able to pet a snake, Remy was in her happy place! 
Everyone was so kind and we made some awesome memories. We couldn't believe how close you can get to these beautiful wild creatures. 
When we first walked in there was a giraffe which is Remy's current favorite animal (even up there with puppies! such a random kid). We were so excited to show them to her. Not expecting quite how friendly Mr. Giraffe would be he swooped in with a huge kiss right at Remy and J! The look on our faces and yells were priceless. We learned quickly these animals like people a lot! 
Remy kept yelling "com'on diger... com'on" and "don't eat me wion!" She had no fear of the snakes, however J and Tia ran backwards pretty quickly when the snake came swiftly out of the cage! We enjoyed some tasty hot cocoa together as well. 
Our favorite part was probably the safari ride!  We love hearing all the fun facts about the animals and our tour guide made it so much fun. At one point you were able to feed the giraffe.  
She said if you want a kiss to put it between your teeth.. so of course J and I had to try.  J got slobbered but mine was more like a large kitten's tongue... and I mean very large!
video
Thanks to Sarah for being such a good sport in the cold weather and making it such a fun memorable weekend! Many Blessings!
See ya over on Instagram !

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Traveling AZ (in a nutshell)

Hello world!  I have been needing to write my ideas out somewhere for quite a while now.  Thankfully some friends were visiting the area and wanted some suggestions.  So I got all my thoughts written down and thought I'd get it out here as well!

Warning: This is long and descriptive. Feel free to scroll down and read about the area you are visiting!  Blessings to all!

Phoenix is central to a lot of things but everything is very spread out.  LA / San Diego areas are about 5-6 hours from PHX.  Joshua Tree National Park in CA is about 4 hours from PHX.  If you need any suggestions on this let me know!

We mostly like to get outdoors so most of my knowledge is about hiking and viewpoints.  If you need more suggestions on restaurants, I do know some great favorites around PHX/Scottsdale areas so let me know and I can share this too!  If you haven't yet, make sure you check out the 'downtown' strip in Gilbert. Very fun!
Near PHX area:

Camelback Mountain Trails:  Almost right in PHX (technically Scottsdale). Moderate to difficult hike.  Depending on which trail you take, you are hiking 2 or 2 1/2 miles one way.  Restroom at one of the trailheads.  Right in the middle of town this hike is very accessible, but a lot of foot traffic.
http://dayslikeneverbefore.blogspot.com/2014/01/camelback-mountain.html
Canyon Lake - About 50 min from PHX area.  Viewpoints are incredible.  There are a lot of picnic areas and boat docks. There is a large marina where you can purchase tickets for a day-cruise, or rent small boats or kayaks.  So fun! The drive is very beautiful and windy.
Lost Dutchman Trail -  About 35 min from PHX. Small fee for parking. Restrooms. Trail is easy to hard depending how far you go and which trail.  Would be on your way to Canyon Lake above. http://dayslikeneverbefore.blogspot.com/2014/06/lost-dutchman.html 
Lost Dutchman Ghost Town- Very fun for the kids! There are ice cream shops, $3 dollar museum to see snakes/spiders/etc. Cheap souvenir shops and fun photo ops. There are also "mining" rides on a mini train. On the way to Canyon Lake above.   Make sure and try the "prickly pear ice cream" or Apple dumplings from the Saloon!
Saguaro Lake:  About 45 min outside of PHX area. Bathrooms. Parking is free depending on what you are doing. You can just check out the views from the dock area and also take boat tours and see beautiful Four Peaks views!
Butcher Jones Trail (Part of the Saguaro Lake area): About 45 min outside of PHX area. Bathrooms. 
IMPORTANT PARKING: You have to get your pass BEFORE you go (unless you are riding the fairy, free parking for this).  Make sure you stop at the gas station off of Highway 87 and get a pass. They are about $6.00 and very picky if you don't have one in your car!   This hike is 4 miles round trip.  You get to see some cool views of the lake that are just gorgeous.  Easy to moderate hike. Kids love this one! Highly recommend. http://dayslikeneverbefore.blogspot.com/2015/04/easter-weekend.html

Payson, AZ -- hour and a half from PHX area:
There are no towns for about an hour until you hit Payson.  Once in Payson there are a lot of fast food places/gas/etc.

Tonto State Park Natural Bridge: 20 min outside of Payson.  $10.00 for one car.  Bathrooms. A BEAUTIFUL place!  There are about 4 viewpoints and a 2 1/2 mile hike if you are feeling adventurous.  Otherwise just take the .50 mile hike down to see. There is a waterfall and you can climb on the rocks (Most of the time.  At times the water level is too high and you can only go to the view points).  Love this park! http://dayslikeneverbefore.blogspot.com/2014/01/creation-of-love.html
Waterwheel Hike: about 15 min outside of Payson (on the way to Tonto above). Free Parking. No bathrooms. 4 mile round trip easy to moderate hike.  A bunch of water falls and a FUN hike! When water levels are high you may get wet. Done it twice, one time I had to wade in water up to my stomach and the other time I didn't even get wet at all! 
http://dayslikeneverbefore.blogspot.com/2016/04/roaches-wont-get-us-down.htm
Horton Creek Trail: 6 miles roundtrip -- easy to hard. Free parking. Bathrooms at the beginning. Very beautiful hike but only a few viewpoints of the creek even though you can hear it the whole time! 
http://dayslikeneverbefore.blogspot.com/2015/08/7-p-r-o-m-i-s-e-s.html
The Mogollon Rim: 35 min outside of Payson.  Gorgeous drive! Free Parking. You can hike "The Rim" which is mostly paved walkway and there are a bunch of viewpoints from the rim. Or you can just drive and stop at each viewpoint.  Very gorgeous views!
http://dayslikeneverbefore.blogspot.com/2015/07/7-fourth.html 
Painted Desert: 3 1/2 hours from PHX area... Another 2 hours past Payson. You'd drive through Mogollon Rim, but once you get past that, there's not much to see or do until you get to the Painted Desert. Check out their info here: https://www.nps.gov/pefo/index.htm
http://dayslikeneverbefore.blogspot.com/2014/02/petrified-forest.html
Lets take another highway! Points of interest along I-17
Sedona, AZ (one of my FAVORITE PLACES OF ALL TIME!): About 2 1/2 hours from PHX area.  Please see link for all info I got.... 
Prescott, AZ area:  About 2 hours north of PHX.  I would rather just drive a bit further to Sedona (above) but Prescott is very pretty! I have a few more ideas but the best thing in Prescott...

Watson Lake Trail: 4.8 miles around, easy to moderate. AMAZING views.  Kinda hard to keep on the trail but even just driving out to see it is worth it! http://dayslikeneverbefore.blogspot.com/2015/11/alone-time.html
Keep going up I-17!Flagstaff, AZAbout 3 hours from PHX area:

Downtown Flagstaff is the coolest ever.  Very 'old school' and just about anything for anyone.  Lots of cool pubs and restaurants.

A few of our favorites:
"Macy's" (Chai Tea is amazing and the fruit waffles are to die for!)
"Diablo Burger" (Best burgers you have ever had!)
"Pizzicletta" (Authentic Italian pizza!)
Buffalo Park:  Right outside of Flagstaff, AZ.  Free Parking. Bathrooms. Easy 2 mile walk/hike.  Gorgeous views!
There are a lot of other hikes around Flagstaff to check out here:
 http://www.flagstaffarizona.org/things-to-do/outdoor-adventure/hiking-camping/?gclid=CNS_0LLD6tACFUqSfgodbrUBmw

Grand Canyon: 3 hours and 15 min from PHX area. 1 & 15 from Flagstaff, AZ.  https://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm is all the info you can handle!  Very amazing place. http://dayslikeneverbefore.blogspot.com/2013/11/grand-weekend-part-3.html
Page, AZ:  4 Hours from PHX. 2 hours from Flagstaff. Nothing to this town itself. A couple fast food places and a hotel or two but you are miles from anything else. So gas up and be ready for a beautiful but long drive!  Would be cheaper and nicer to drive to Flagstaff to stay.

That Dam: Cool to see :)
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60834-d7267957-Reviews-Glen_Canyon_Dam_Overlook-Page_Arizona.html

Horseshoe Bend: About 15 min outside of Page. Free Parking. No bathrooms (this could've changed now). A easy .25 mile hike.  When you get to the the viewpoint ledge there are no railings VERY dangerous but so very worth it. Watch the kiddos! http://dayslikeneverbefore.blogspot.com/2014/05/small-eyes.html
Antelope Canyon: About 20 min outside of Page.  The whole process is very confusing but worth it so stick it out! When we went it was pretty cheap for tickets but it looks like they have upped the price probably due to popularity.  We drove out to this little tent on the side of the road where they had dune buggies and tour guides.  We bought our tickets right at the tent. They take you on about a 10 min ride out to the canyon and walk your group through. There are no self-guided tours to my knowledge. It is on native american land and they require you to go through them for tours. Here is the info I found online:
http://antelopeslotcanyon.com/guided-tours/antelope-slot-canyon-scenic-tour



http://dayslikeneverbefore.blogspot.com/2014/04/antelope-canyon.html

Like I said, I'm not sure if they have just changed the rules or not but we just got our tickets right at the tent.  


Haven't done Lower Antelope but I have heard it is the same kind of set up.

The Wave: A dream of ours... haven't done but here is the info:
http://www.thewavehome.com/

If you are looking at a specific area I didn't talk about let me know and I'll share if I know anything!  Places to stay: we use Airbnb and Hotwire mostly if we aren't camping. If you want recommendations on campgrounds let me know!

Hope this all helps a bit and you guys have an AWESOME TIME!

Care