My work sends me on trips roughly 5 times per year, with all but one being out of state. Because of this, my family has had the privilege of tagging along to some places that normally we would never go. It's been a lot of fun showing Brielle around these big cities. She is at what I consider the best age to travel with. She's open to seeing/exploring just about anything, and we don't necessarily have to find "kid attractions/rides." She'll visit museums and take tours, and doesn't ask you to carry her when her legs get tired. It's awesome, really.
My travel schedule is published years in advance so we can look ahead and identify which trips they'll accompany me on. Last year, we saw that my November meetings would be held in San Fransisco. And San Fransisco is just a few short hours from Sacramento. And Sacramento is where is our very best friends now live, since they ditched us for a job that required them to leave Utah (no offense Sadie).
After some discussion, we decided that it would be best to drive ourselves, since flights and renting a car to get us to Sacramento would be highly expensive. We realized that the drive was 12+ hours, but we'd never done a family road trip before and with a new car that gets fairly decent gas mileage, we though "why the heck not?"
Sacramento - Visit with the Pierce Family
It was weird. Being at a house that was in fact theirs, but not the house we remember them living in. But it was also as if they'd never left. Don't you find with good friends, you just pick up exactly where you left off?
We spent two days just chilling with their family, letting them show us around Sacramento and taking us to their favorite restaurants. Brielle and Lindsey enjoyed quality time playing with their American Girl dolls and we even squeezed in a traditional Cheesy Holiday Party (something both families sorely miss since living so far apart).
We spent some time at Folsom Lake, with the lake half empty, just letting the kids explore, run around and have fun.
Since Lindsey's 8th and most special birthday was approaching soon, and we wouldn't be around to celebrate, we celebrated early. The girls helped me make Red Velvet Cupcakes (Lindsey's choice) which we enjoyed with our Cheesy Holiday Party.
San Fransisco - Meetings for Me, Fun for Them
Even though it's fun to have Chris and Brielle along on these trips, it's still all business for me. I don't get to spend the amount of time I'd like to with them, but that's the trade off.
Brielle and Chris paid a visit to Alcetraz. Brielle didn't say much about, but thought it was pretty cool and of course, brought back a souvenir. My little souvenir junky.
They spent plenty of time at Fisherman's Wharf, eating seafood, shopping and just walking around.
They drove across the Golden Gate Bridge.
And ate at Bubba Gumps - one of my personal favorites that I missed out on. This photo was texted to me. Rude, don't you think?
We visited the Ghiradella store (twice) for giant ice cream sundaes. Amazing! The Salted Caramel Sundae? To die for.
And of course, watched as the Sea Lions battled each other, pushed each other, and barked at each other. But mostly we just watched them sleep and be lazy.
I will say that my sweet girl gets a dose of reality each time we step outside Utah. The homeless are certainly more creative (and crude) with their signs in San Fransisco. 9 of 10 people smoke in San Fran, us being the 1 who didn't. That seemed to bother her the most. But really, walking behind a smoker is like smoking a cigarette yourself. Why don't they get that?
Driving home from San Fransisco was our biggest challenge. 13 hours, plus losing an hour in the time change made for 3 grumpy individuals. Even with music, movies on the iPad, homework to do, it just wasn't enough to help us enjoy the ride. We hated it. We're clearly the jet-setting type. This trip confirmed to us that we are not, at all, the road-tripping type.