Remember when I said I went on an impromptu road-trip with my family back in July? Yes well, I did and I am now (finally) ready to post about it. Baby G and I had just left J for The Farm a couple of weeks earlier, so I had decided not to join my family (including, of course, the T-bo fam) on this vacation. I called my mom the morning they were supposed to have left to ask her where they were and she said they hadn't even left yet. My husband had just informed me that his plans for the next five days included nothing but eating and studying for finals, and I was feeling lonely just thinking about it. So imagine my jittery excitement when I learn that my family hadn't left yet! I threw some stuff in a couple of bags for the baby and me and we met up with the motorhome in a parking lot and crammed in. Some people (names not mentioned) weren't pleased to have to share the already cramped quarters with two more people (there were 9 adult sized people and 4 child sized ones), but whatever. I knew they'd be glad to have us in the long run :).
We headed west toward Nevada first. Baby G was most helpful in driving the motorhome.
He was also pretty happy about taking showers and baths whenever he wanted. This picture makes me laugh because he looks like a tiny adult taking a shower and washing himself.
Our first main stop was Lake Tahoe.
The little kids had so much fun playing in the water, throwing sand and rocks. I can't get over how universally appealing things like that are to kids. Baby G loved the water and demanded that his shorts be removed as soon as he got wet.
Most of the crew rented bikes and went for a ride around the lake. There wasn't a bike carriage for Baby G so a few of us stayed behind. The bikes were fun, I'm sure, but the highlight of our time in Lake Tahoe was definitely when Josh impaled himself (mostly just his shins) on a sharp cinder block wall and my mom got the whole thing on camera. It was so painful to watch-- we actually had to stop watching because our horrified reactions made my tender little boy just sob.
Next stop was Yosemite. We were only there long enough to see some of the main sites (most of us had been fairly recently), but we figured since we were so close we should at least drive through.
This picture is a good representation of the trip for me. It is so nice to travel with people who take care of your baby like he is theirs. Baby G has SO many people that love him and want him. With the exception of nights, I really didn't even feel like I had a baby-- he was always with someone else having fun and being cared for. I never had to ask, someone just always took him.
Two pretty girls in a pretty place.
The real adults in front of El Capitan.
After a glorious night in a hotel (our only non-camping night of the trip), we drove into San Francisco. We were greeted by some lovely fog and some not so lovely nudity (let's just say that driving in a motorhome provides you with a helicopter view into the privacy of dirty men alone in their cars--my poor little sisters).
Love the fog.
You know we had to go get a hot fudge sundae.
The whole group except me 'cause I'm always the responsible one who brings her camera.
Jake and my boy with Alcatraz in the background. Jake and Baby G were best friends.
Baby G working the equipment on a U.S. submarine from WWII (I think).
Oh, this picture is funny. Josh bough some "Fart Bombs" in China Town and decided to break one open right as we were getting into an elevator. He threw it outside, but the smell was seriously so, SO bad. This poor Chinese woman entered the elevator on the next floor, and oh my gosh, her reaction was the most hysterical thing ever. We were all laughing so hard we couldn't breathe and she was dying trying not to inhale and covering her face with her hands. Poor thing, we are bad people.
Then we headed north and stopped in some forests to see the giant Redwoods.
Those forests are so incredible because they are thick and lush, and then the size of some of the trunks just blows you away.
Baby G playing in a rotted out tree trunk hole.
A bunch of the kids.
Jake balancing on a fallen trunk. Our family got lots of mileage out of this particular trunk. We played on it for a good thirty minutes.
This is the game we were playing. We were all jumping and the trunk was moving up and down and Ken was pushing on it trying to get us to lose our balance and fall.
Baby G wanted in on the action, too.
See Ken pushing? It was harder to stay on than it looks.
We kept heading further north to the Oregon Coast. We camped at a few cool places near beaches and had fun playing in the sand and water.
Rach wouldn't have actually gotten this far in on her own, I don't think (the water is COLD!). A wave took her down though, and she was all smiles.
Baby G is so much braver around the ocean now than he was at the beach this past Christmas. He loved getting wet and didn't mind the freezing temperatures.
I love his cute little body in this one, exploring the feel of the wet sand on his feet, hand up in the air for balance.
Let me just say that sleeping in a tent with a two-year old by myself every night (not to mention setting up and taking down the tent daily) was not my favorite part of the trip. We did, however, get to go to so many beautiful places and spend time with people we love so it was worth it. Next time I'll be bringing my husband, though. Here are some pictures from the various campground adventures.
Baby G is quite the marshmallow roaster. Check out how he is totally focused on trying to blow the flame out.
Nothing like a good s'more to end the evening with. I think Baby G ate at least two every night.
Ken doing what he does best-- wielding an ax.
Many hot dogs were roasted and consumed.
And isn't this the quintessential camping picture? S'more in one hand, can of root beer in the other, face covered in combination of dirt and sticky marshmallows, undone hair, and the filthiest hands in the history of earth.
These brave ones slept out under the stars one night. Ken couldn't quite muster the gumption to do it again even though the girls were game.
When I was in high school my family took this same road trip. One of the highlights for us all was going on the Mail Boats up the Rogue River in Oregon, so we made sure to get there again this time.
Some of the kids on the boat.
We loved it again this time, and even saw a black bear again!
Towards the upper sections of the river you get to go through some rapids and get wet, so life jackets are required. At first Baby G wasn't pleased about his life jacket, but as soon as we started spinning around and getting splashed with water he was in heaven. He loves getting wet.
Our last day before we started the long drive home we went back down to the coast. It was unbelievably windy, but so beautiful.
Baby G kept grabbing my legs and holding on to me for dear life because the wind was so strong. I'm so glad I thought to hold the camera out and get this picture because I love it.
We pretty much had the beach and tide pools to ourselves. Maybe because no one else was dumb enough to be out in the whipping wind.
We found lots of starfish.
Rach and Emma trying to get warm in their towels.
Baby G wasn't wanting to get wet this day because it was so cold. He would run down to the edge of the water and then run back up as fast as he could when the waves would come in.
Walking back towards the campsite. Baby G was unsuccessful in one of his attempts to avoid the waves and again, demanded his wet shorts be removed.
You know the prayer you say before you leave on a big road-trip about being safe and the car running well? We said that prayer. And it was answered. Right at the end of the trip (the last day, I believe) we pulled into our campsite. We hadn't even been stopped for a minute when we heard a loud bang (sounded like a gunshot, actually), and we went out to discover a back tire had blown out. A man from AAA came to fix it and discovered that both right back tires had blown out. Can you even imagine how dangerous that could have been if we would've been driving when it happened? We feel very grateful that we were blessed with safety.
Here is the man (who brought his pet wolf along) and my dad fixing the tire.
The drive home wasn't as long or miserable as you might expect. Ice cream and movies always help to pass the time quickly :).
P.S. About the subject... the WHOLE dang trip was filled with an incessant chorus of "knickety knack I call my seat back!" that could be heard at any given time. I don't know which of the kids came up with it, but EVERYONE started saying it to claim their spot back when they would get up (and in a motorhome with 13 people you better bet than when anyone moved someone was looking for a more comfortable seat). We started saying it just to say it, and by the end we were all pretty sick of hearing it. I won't be sad if I never hear/say it again.