Bucket List—San Francisco

Last month, I surprised my kids with a road trip to California. It was the first time my son and I had been to the “west coast.” My daughter had been to LA before but never to San Francisco. So in mid June we packed up our Toyota Yaris {Jasper} and drove out west. It was quite a drive! It took us a little over seven hours to make it to the Texas-New Mexico border. For every desolate unsightly mile driven, we encountered miles of bewitching scenery.  The west Texas mountains seen as we drove through Van Horn, Texas. Those captivating mountains trailed along side us from West Texas right into California.

I actually saw my first tumbleweed! My naivety only thought they existed in western films. #kidding #notkidding #newmexico

New Mexico was beautiful. As we drove through “The City of the Crosses” we saw the Potrillo Mountains. It was unusually hard to realize the grand depth of them. They extend from the continental US to the Chihuahua state of Mexico. As statuesque as those mountains were, the remainder of the short drive through New Mexico was slightly dull.

Arizona was not much different. The occasional stretch of mountains, the dry air, and the humid heat was not as picturesque as I had hoped for. The most awesome thing about Arizona was they had an IKEA!!! #ikearocks #ikea4life

Our drive into California caught us (my son and I) off guard. We envisioned a predominately “coastal” state, we did not realize that mountains made their home in the southeastern part of the state. As Jasper cruised Interstate 10 through Indio, California we landed in Palm Springs. I can finally say I made it to Coachella. #oneday #fornowiwilldrivethrough

Back to Palm Springs…Maybe it was all those movies I watched growing up, but I always pictured Palm Springs to be glutted with Palm trees, beaches, and lots of sand. I. was. wrong. The city was home to copious amounts of energy windmills, mountains, and yes, palm trees.

While en-route to San Francisco we detoured for a few hours into Los Angeles. We drove through Chinatown, Echo Park, Miracle Mile, and Hollywood. We spent an hour walking the strip and stopped to see the Grauman’s Chinese Theater, Dolby Theater, and of course lots and lots of Hollywood Stars.

I will admit I was a bit emotional while walking along with the kids because as a mom I have always wanted to share moments like this with them.

After about two hours, we made our way to the grand finale…San Francisco. We encountered a minor hiccup upon our arrival. Seeing as we drove in via the Oakland Bridge nowhere in my research did I find that there was a #toll to enter the city. We had our first trip #fail because I never ever carry cash. Luckily, thanks to the kindness and generosity of an elder couple in their Blue early model Nissan Altima who covered our $5 toll, we drove across the Bay.

Memories were being created this summer and the priceless look on my children’s faces as they saw the Golden Gate Bridge impregnated my heart. We. fell. in. love. We walked around Chinatown and even ate lunch there. It was awesome timing because we were in town for the Haight Street Festival. It was fun and we had a blast. We became #publictransitexperts.

Plans for a return trip are in the works…

 

**Big shout-out to the staff at The Mission Inn. It was a great Motor Lodge on the outskirts of The Mission District. It was a great place for the value. The room was spacious and clean and was turned over daily. Public transportation is a block away #14 line and is a quick 20-25 minute ride to downtown.**

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©Valerie

 

A piece of Our Bucket list marked off

This past week I surprised my lovely children with a trip to New Orleans, Louisiana. It was a milestone in itself as this was the first time we crossed state line as a family. My divorce decree with my first husband did not allow me to take my daughter pass state lines and because I did not want to exclude her from memories with her brother or I, I kept her brother from seeing the world passed our Texas state line.

New Orleans was everything everyone had stated it is. It was a bright and vibrant city. The people were kind and never hesitated once to help with directions or recommendations on a local spot to eat.

Life is all about memories and I am very glad I was able to give these two days worth of memories to my beloved kids.

Also, I would like to give a internet high praise to the motel we stayed at. The Crescent Palms was a nice place to stay. Some would state it is not in the nicest neighborhoods of NOLA nor it is in the French Quarter but the hospitality of the individuals who run it out-beat the location of it. So if any of my readers are ever in New Orleans and want a nice place to lay your head for the night think about The Crescent Palms.

©Valerie