We just got back from spending 5 days in California. We hadn't been there since moving to Utah on Thanksgiving day of 2010, so it was great to see family again. To be perfectly honest, I never had the desire to go back to California. When we moved, I never looked back! Many people love California...wonderful for those of you that do. I'd lived there my entire life before moving. However, the politics of the state were just getting to be too much for me. I was beyond thrilled to leave!
It was about a 14 hour drive to California. When we got to the central valley, near Turlock, where we used to live, Nick and I began noticing several differences between life in Utah and life in California.
- there are no dead deer on the side of the road; they are ALL OVER THE PLACE in Utah!
- you always know which direction you're going because freeway 99 only goes north and south!
- the MOMENT we crossed the border from Nevada into California, the freeway drivers became completely impatient and rude; it took Nick about 1 hour to revert back to a "Calfornia Driver"!
- the trees in California are BREATHTAKING and there aren't a lot of them in Utah
- I haven't found any orchards or vineyards in Utah
- there is no "spaghetti bowl" in California to confuse you, or multiple freeway changes at the same time (at least in the central valley). Most of the time in California there is 1 lane onto a freeway, and 1 lane off of a freeway!
- there aren't church houses on every corner. We actually missed seeing them!
and the biggest difference:
- there are no temples in sight, which was really sad. After living in the Salt Lake area for 4 years, and being able to see 4 temples throughout the valley, it was weird not seeing any.
We left early last Friday morning and arrived at our first destination Friday evening. Nick's aunt and uncle were kind enough to let us stay with them. Saturday they had a luncheon for us, so that family could come and see us. They have a pool, so most of the day was spent outside. I was suprised by how chilly it was....in central California....in JUNE! Apparently we'd just missed the 100+ weather; the water was FREEZING! Nick and Brandon had a blast though.
Sunday we drove up to Monterey to visit Nick's grandpa. I hadn't been to Monterey since I was a child, so this was a fun stop on our trip. We were able to spend time not only with his grandpa, but his dad, and one of his brothers'. We went out to Fisherman's Wharf and Brandon had his first experience with the beach.
Turns out Brandon is a HUGE fan of fried calamari. While waiting for our dinner, he inhaled two entree plates filled with it! Squid....my child loves squid! I tried some of it, but it was just too rubbery for me...gross. But watching him eat it was very entertaining!
Four generations of Toale men. From left to right: Great-grandpa (Jim Toale), Grandpa (Steve Toale), Daddy (Nick Toale), Uncle (Hans Toale), Son (Brandon Toale)
Monday Great-grandpa took us on a ride along the coast line. It was breath-taking.
Monday afternoon Nick's younger sister and her son came to visit. Great-grandpa took us to the beach at Carmel. I enjoyed the beach at the wharf on Sunday, but the beach at Carmel was the most amazing thing I've seen in years. Brandon kept saying, "It's so beautiful!"
We left VERY early Tuesday morning...3am! In the past, Brandon has complained of having an upset stomach during longer road trips, so this time I'd been giving him dramamine. I forgot to give it to him that morning since we left so early. We stopped to get breakfast and I gave it to him then. Unfortunately, it was too late. Luckily I had a Walmart bag that didn't have any holes in it because Brandon threw up his breakfast. It sucked, but it proved that Brandon does in fact suffer from car sickness and he wasn't just faking it. Hopefully he'll grow out of it, but it's good to know for future trips!!
It took FOREVER to get out of Nevada, and when we finally saw this...
we were BEYOND thrilled! Grateful to be back in Utah, we were greeted with a wonderful rain storm, lightning, and a fabulous rainbow!
The first thing Nick said when we walked through the door was, "It's so good to be back home. This is home!"
The only burn suffered from the beach was on my left foot!
Overall, it was a great trip! I'm so glad we had the opportunity to see family, and spend time together.