California Dreamin’

California Dreamin’

We were only California dreamin’ for four nights, but time in this state always leaves us wondering “Why don’t we live here?” (Don’t worry, moms, we’re not serious). The weather, beaches, and laid-back vibes are awesome and we always eagerly anticipate visits to CA.

On this road trip, we prioritized seeing friends and family as we have lots of generous people up and down the coast who gave us places to stay and things to do. Here’s a peek at how we spent our time:

Southern California

From Vegas, we drove to Huntington Beach to visit my Uncle Dick and his girlfriend, Beth. They live in a cool community right on the beach and have an amazing roof deck with views of the ocean.

Our first activity was, of course, catching up over beers on the roof deck. Later that evening, we joined Dick, Beth, and a group of their friends to have dinner and see an Eagles cover band perform at the local country club. I was pleasantly surprised to find I knew many of the songs! Dinner was great and the crew welcomed us warmly. We had a really nice evening.

With Dick and Beth at the concert!

The following day, we woke up and ran a few errands (namely, trying to replace John’s iPhone 4 that drowned a tragic death in one centimeter of standing water in the cupholder… oops). With a new $20 Google phone in hand, we returned to have one more roof beer with Dick and then walked along the beach to grab some lunch before we hit the road again.

Lunch spot on the beach.

Santa Barbara

We left Huntington Beach on Tuesday evening and made a fly by stop in Santa Barbara to see my cousin Erin. We got in around dinner time and we grabbed some amazing tacos at a little place in town and then went back to Erin’s place for a night of relaxing and catching up. We don’t get to see Erin much since she lives so far away, so it’s always extra great to spend time together.

Erin is an awesome hostess (she sent an adorable video of her hiding a key so we could easily find it if we beat her there) and just a warm, welcoming person. We were lucky to get to spend some time with her when passing through her city. Only regret — we didn’t take any pictures! UGH! Guess we’ll have to go back and try again.

San Francisco

We spent two nights in SF with my friend Kegan (from my Bike and Build trip) and his awesome roommates in their amazing SF pad. They have a friend whose parents have a home in SF but are living elsewhere for the year, so Kegan and three other folks are living in this incredible house and taking care of it while the family is gone. The place has like 7 bedrooms, a massive kitchen, a backyard, a garage… basically any city dweller’s dream come true. Fun fact – one of Kegan’s roommates grew up just a few minutes from where I did in Maryland and we went to neighboring high schools. Small world!

The day we arrived, we went with Kegan and his crew to a pool party at their friend’s parents’ house across the bridge in Marin. This house was also amazing and we had a great afternoon chilling and getting to meet some of his people. We stayed for dinner and headed back into the city to crash later that evening.

The next day we made breakfast with Kegan and the roomies before heading out for a day of exploring the city with my cousin Ellie. Ellie showed us around on Sunday and took us to some tourist hot spots like the Golden Gate Bridge and the Sutro Baths. We also checked out her favorite coffee shop and she got me hooked on this bubbly coffee drink with whipped cream. So delicious.

With Ellie at the Golden Gate Bridge!
Sutro Baths, which apparently used to be a swimming pool complex but is now just an area of ruins on the beach. Very cool and funky! 
Cousin beach selfie.
Artsy pic Ellie took of us!

We returned to Kegan’s place that evening for dinner with his roommates and some of their friends again. We had lots of fun and laughed for hours.

Kegan recently went through the process of getting his pilot’s license and offered to take us on a plane tour of SF Monday morning. We woke up hopeful that we’d be able to pull this off, but the weather was too cloudy so we couldn’t make it work… this time. Just another reason to get back to California ASAP!

With that, we hit the road and spent four days driving east across the good ol’ USA. We had some really long driving days – our max was about 16 hours – but we listened to some audiobooks and podcasts to keep things interesting. Next up: July 4 in New England!

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