Tag: East Coast

From California to Oregon

“I got a golden ticket, I’m not gonna even pick it. I heard it, he said it, I heard it but then it went something like Visit. I wanna visit the world.” Visit311


Well, we said our sorrowful goodbyes to Glenda, Bob, Bobby, Chad and Troy. They were so hospitable and incredibly sweet. We couldn’t thank them enough. So thank you all for extending your home and being so kind and generous. We love you 🙂 ❤

We started our journey up Hwy 101, cut through on 199 and then took the rest of the route on Hwy 5. So we basically took the coast up to Crescent City CA and then cut over and used the interstate all the way to Washington. We were really searching for time so it was easier and more efficient to take the interstate.

Going up the coast from California to Washington is not only beautiful and really amazing, but it really gives this North Carolina girl a different perspective on beauty. I can’t stress enough how different it is out here. The scenery is wonderful. It almost looks like Big Sur going up the entire coast of California!


The sky seems to always compliment the cliffs and water creating a magnificent view of California’s coastline.




Everything is so big that you feel so little.



We saw this guy ride next to us. What a nifty thing he’s done with that little trailer!


You know, there’s just miles and miles of different things to see coming up from California and into Oregon. The scenery definitely changes from golden hills to nice green trees.



Drive-Thru Tree

Right before we decided to jump over to the interstate we decided to take a nice little detour to visit the “Drive-Thru Tree”.

“Drive-Thru Tree Park is a privately-owned grove that has been operated by the Underwood Family since 1922. Located approximately 180 miles north of the San Francisco Bay Area, the park was an ideal stopping place for overnight or week-long stays. In 1937 the Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree was added to provide a unique treat for travelers. Visitors have been taking pictures of their vehicles inside the opening ever since. With the exception of motor homes or vehicles pulling trailers most vehicles will be able to drive through the Tree. Parking is provided for larger vehicles and tour buses.” from http://drivethrutree.com

Unfortunately the van wouldn’t fit through the tree, but that didn’t stop me from getting some shots.



imageThere’s a place for people to have picnics and enjoy the scenery on the property so it’s a really nice little stop off when driving up the coast. I enjoyed it.

Bad Experiences

Every traveling story MUST have a bad experience right? LOL We decided that we would stop in Arcata California and spend the night. I looked online and did some research on moderately priced hotels with good reviews and found a Quality Inn that seemed reasonable. We have stayed at Quality Inn’s before so we thought this would be satisfactory. It was quite late when we arrived so we were EXHAUSTED when we checked in. Upon opening the door to the room, there was a very musty odor, almost a pet and cigarette smell that hit immediately. I disregarded this as I’m not that picky and a lot of places smelled odd anyway. So we walked in and set our stuff down on the bed. I noticed there were four pillows on the bed, but non of them were standard sized pillows. They looked like they were for a child. So I called the front desk clerk and said they must have put the wrong pillows on the bed because they weren’t a standard size. He said that was the only pillow size they had and there was nothing he could do about that. So, that was okay. It had to be right?

I collapsed onto the end of the bed and mom says, “Are you going to check for bed bugs?”. I immediately pulled up the sheet and was disgusted by the soiled stains on the end of the mattress. There were no bed bugs but what I DID find, when I moved the sheet back were what looked to be blood stains on the sheet!


After getting attitude from the desk clerk I felt like I would pretty much have to deal with it. I decided the best thing to do was to not look around anymore. I would just go to sleep and be done with it.

When we woke up, THAT’S when everything came into the light.

The carpet:



The walls:



The bathroom:



Enough said. I really don’t need to discuss it further. However, I did leave a pretty nasty note for the manager. I also emailed corporate headquarters. I did receive an email back from them and they told me they would contact the manager of that hotel and have that person contact me in 72 hours. I have yet to receive a call or an email and it has been 5 days. I’m not very good at math but I think we’ve passed the time frame for the manager to call. Anyway…we were happy to be on our way and decided to enjoy the rest of the journey.

Driving Up the Coast

Driving up the Pacific Coast isn’t all beaches and cliffs, there are times where you come through mountainous terrain.


I do have to say that I went through a mini panic attack to get this image. I had to step down on the edge a little bit to get the angle. At first it wasn’t too bad at all and my body wasn’t freaking out or my mind. As soon as I got the shot and went to step up I immediately froze. I realized where I was and how high up I was and everything in my body suddenly stopped and shut off, as if it were in survival mode. I didn’t know what to do. Clearly this step up wasn’t terrible because all I had to do was make a couple of steps and I would have been in the clear. It was a little steep but to someone without a fear of heights this would have been a piece of cake. When you’re afraid, like I was, your brain works in a different way. I felt as if I would certainly fall if I took a step up, or gravity would pull me backwards and I would be supper for this beautiful little river. I knew I couldn’t stand there forever, so I mustered the courage and slowly climbed up the steep edge and landed successfully on flat ground. I survived! Yay!



We arrived in Oregon and…I fell in LOVE! I could, quite possibly, live here. The scenery is SO gorgeous! Everything turned from golden hills to luscious greenery! Everything looked so alive and thriving! Flowers popped up everywhere along the road. Daisies and Hemlock are plentiful along the road and on the sides of hills. Even though Hemlock is poisonous, I think it’s beautiful.

We found a Holiday Inn Express in Roseburg Oregon that seemed to be nice so we decided to stay there for the evening and it was FANTASTIC! We told them what had happened to us with the Quality Inn so they gave us the nicest room with the best view. And it really was the best view!


We were so happy to have a CLEAN room and CLEAN sheets and a CLEAN bathroom to occupy! That may have been the most restful sleep I have had on this entire trip thus far. So thank you Holiday Inn Express for providing a wonderful comfort for us. Everyone was so hospitable and friendly, we couldn’t have asked for more. And the only way to top off a great night of sleep was with a great cup of coffee the next morning!


I’m in love with Dutch Brothers Coffee. We don’t have them on the east coast so I suppose I will get my fill while I’m here!

We decided that we would just take the interstate all the way to WA so we could arrive sooner. My sister and nieces were VERY ready to see us so and we were ready as well. So we booked it. I caught a glimpse of the city of Portland.


If we had more time I would have liked to go into the city and explore but we were hungry and in a hurry! We stopped to eat lunch and what better place than, “Bannings Restaurant Pie House” in Portland. I’ve never been to a little place like this but have always seen them in movies. It was a really neat little diner :).



Did I mention that in the state of Oregon you do not pump your own gas?! They have gas station attendants to pump it for you! This guy was of such an attendant and posed nicely for me.

imageI thought that was the neatest and also craziest thing! But you know, it’s cool just like Oregon and I could DEFINITELY have seen myself living there. It’s such a beautiful place (what I saw) and I now know why everyone talks about it so fondly and are interested in living there.

I might be in the business of moving there. Anyone want to be roommates? 😉

New Experiences

“This ain’t no funky reggae party, five dollars at the door.” Garden GroveSublime

That song lyric might have been more appropriate for the last post HA! But you know, Sublime is always a band I think of when I think of California along with No Doubt and a slew of others.

So at this point everyone should know that we are staying with our cousins Bob and Glenda in Penryn. Well, their grandson Chad, who is my second cousin once removed, has been showing me, “around town” and it’s been really great!

We went by his house for minute or two, then ran over to his mother’s house, Lynnette who is my 2nd cousin and talked with her for a bit. That was really wonderful because I have always heard of these people but had never met them! I can’t explain the feeling you get when you meet another family member for the first time. I think this feeling starts when you get older and can appreciate it more. It’s finding others that are part of your blood in some way and so you’re automatically connected and I think that is what I like so much about it.

Touring Homes

We then went and toured some model homes. WOW. These buildings were quite large but some not so large. One thing I noticed were the bathrooms and they were like a room all in themselves.

image image

After home touring, we hit up Nordstrom Rack. I’ve never been to one and we don’t have them in NC and if we do they’re either in Raleigh or Charlotte. I purchased a shirt for a very decent price and then we scampered over to the mall.

Tiffany & Co.

Before I begin this it should be addressed that I do love diamonds. It’s my birthstone and even though it’s not very rare, I still love the sparkle and shine. So I saw the Tiffany store and told Chad I had never been into one. He immediately grabbed my hand and pulled me in there. The first thing he said to the salesman was, “We’re not buying anything, but we’re just looking. She has never been into a Tiffany’s before and I want her to experience that.” At this point I was thinking, “Well, he can either say okay and turn around and walk away, or he could tell us he doesn’t have time for us at all that only paying customers were worth his time.” I think all of this because this IS the mentality of most salesman. It wouldn’t be inaccurate to think what I did because that’s how the world works. Well…imagine my surprise when he presented a sophisticated half-smile and said, “Please feel free to take a look. Anything you would like to try, let me know.” I disregarded this as I wasnt sure if I heard him right. I saw a princess cut diamond ring. The salesman came over and chad said, “She likes that one.” The man opened the glass door and set it on the counter for me to look at. It priced at around $24,000. The price wasn’t shocking as I know it can be expensive. I looked at it and he said, “Go ahead and try it on.” I responded, “I can’t because it won’t fit my finger.” He just responded in a very non assuming way that, “it doesn’t have to fit, it fits no ones finger, it’s just there for you to try it on the part that it will fit on.” So I hesitantly picked up the dainty little $24,000 ring and place it on the thinnest part of my ring finger. Hello love. Where have you been all my life. That feeling was wonderful. It was so dainty and shiny. I thought, “This must be what it feels like for other women.”

I looked at the next ring that was clearly covered in diamonds. Chad said, “Can we look at this one”. He said, “Absolutely but we must go into the room over there to do so.” Apparently this ring cost a bit more. We walked eagerly to the room and he pulled out the ring. I placed it on my finger…and then looked at the price.



$127,000 sitting on my undeserving finger. Wow.


I honestly didn’t know how to pose for the photo. I felt very out-of-place trying it on because I will never have money like that to spend on such a beautiful ring. I feel like such a simple woman in the things I own that I almost felt uncomfortable walking into Tiffany’s to start with. I felt like maybe I should have been dressed up to do this.

The coolest thing about that whole experience, I think, was the salesman. He was so very nice and completely sweet. He was never assuming or bothered. He seemed to enjoy talking and loved his job. I would love to give him a wonderful review. I never for a minute thought he would give us the time of day. It was very sweet and I’ll always remember that. :’)

Buca Di Beppo


So after all of the stuff we did, Chad took me to one of his favorite restaurants in the area which is, “Buca Di Beppo”. It’s an Italian restaurant located near the mall. He told me he reserved us the VIP seating. I didn’t think much of this because of the VIP seating style back home. When you get a VIP seat, it’s usually just a dark corner that’s somewhat private. It’s not anything to really write home to mom about but THIS was something to write to y’all about!

The VIP booth is IN THE KITCHEN!


Talk about private! This is uber private! It was just an amazing thing! So you get:

A private booth in the Kitchen

Whenever your bread or water are low a server immediately fills it up for you whether they’re your server or not.

If an order is messed up in the main part of the restaurant, they will bring that order to the VIP table and let you have it.

Sometimes they will let you try different sauces (though I think that might have actually just been Chad’s doing since he frequents there a lot).


I was surprised to say the least. Behind the booth, located on the wall were pictures of famous celebrities who had eaten there, either at that locations or others across the country. There are very few Buca restaurants in the whole of the U.S.


We ordered the Spicy Rigatonni and for dessert a Tiramisu (El, it was amazing!) I didn’t eat too much beccause that wasn’t going to be good for anyone! Hands down, that was another experience I will put down in the books. Thank you so much Chad 🙂 Now I just have to work off these calories! Yikes!

After all is said and done, you can call me, “Experience Lady”. HA!

The Perfect Little Home

“You could travel the world but nothing comes close to the Golden Coast.” California GurlsKaty Perry – feat. Snoop Dogg

I am in love! And we haven’t REALLY explored everywhere. But I must say that Northern California is beautiful!

Penryn is about 30 minutes northeast of Sacramento. The population is roughly  2700 and everyone seems very friendly. Bob and Glenda (our cousins we are staying with) have lived here since the 70’s and have really made an amazing home for themselves.

Glenda has around 30 chickens and owns two goats named, “Cookie” and “Oreo”. http://youtu.be/EKkZ8vdF42o


If she had some ducks I would be in farm heaven (I think I may love animals more than the average person). I have developed a bond with Cookie and am just falling in love with her. Check out the video here:http://youtu.be/H4xgPI1PAVc

Besides my love for animals I have a deep, deep love for music. So imagine how my heart soared when I was introduced to their 1958 Seeburg jukebox.


As you would guess, this jukebox is not filled with modern music, it is filled with oldies music. Now, depending on your generation the term, “oldies” may mean something completly different to you than it does to me. For me, and in this jukebox, the oldies consist of: Elvis, The Carpenters, Bill Hayley and His Comets, Brenda Lee, Bobby Darren, Perry Como and so many others. For me there is something so awesome about this! Maybe it’s nostalgia for the old soul in me or maybe it’s just something so different that I find it intriguing. Either way, I was thoroughly entertained and so we sat and listened. 🙂 http://youtu.be/eXGjynmEFV0


Something I wasn’t particularly shocked about, but did take notice of was the gas price difference.


This is California’s price and our’s is around $2.54. That’s quite a difference but it’s relative.

As if the animals and jukebox weren’t cool enough, Glenda and Bob had to go ahead and have a grove filled with orange, lemon, mandarine and cherry trees! The oranges and lemons should have been picked in December but since they hadn’t, we went ahead and picked what we could yesterday.


You’re wondering if they’re still good? YES! They were delicious! We’re going to make some lemonade today (mine with splenda).

*yawns* I’m still exhausted. When will that stop?


“Goodbye to all my friends at home, goodbye to people I’ve trusted.” Jet AirlinerSteve Miller Band


We set off for what was an EXTREMELY smooth ride! Starting from the beginning, everything came into place and even though we were very tired, we were not letting that get us down. The weather was absolutely beautiful in North Carolina so it wasn’t hard to enjoy mother nature’s gift.

imageOur friends Beth and her husband Roy drove us to the airport and we couldn’t have been more thankful. For those of you who are not aware, Raleigh is about 3.5 hours from our home so it’s a bit of a stretch. So thank you Beth and Roy 🙂

We arrived a bit early at RDU. I should mention I was a bit taken aback by the complimentary luggage check-in that was stationed directly outside of the terminal. I thought, “Oh sweet! Delta is uping their checki-in game by making it faster.” We assumed they were employed by Delta and before we could even make a decision as to whether or not we would utilize that service, a gentleman came over and started check our luggage. So we just went with the flow and before you know it the guy says, “We are not employed by Delta. We are contracted to do this work.” Which then it dawned on me that they were looking for a tip. So the thought I came away with was how much and how fast things change or I must not notice a lot through my experiences. *note to self, notice your surroundings*

Security and Cary On was a bit wild. The line moved entirely too fast and, as usual, I always feel like I never know how they want me to go about this process; which items go in what containers etc. I began sympathizing with those individuals that feel the 360 x-ray machine (not sure of the term) is a bit invasive. Still, I would rather be invaded in that way than to be a victim from lack of security. So I’m appreciative.


After such stress we finally settled down for a nice lunch at one of the airport pubs. Our food was decent and we got out of there in great time.

Check out a little video update from the Minneapolis Airport: http://youtu.be/UGWn406plu8

Dad ordering some food from this cool techy restaurant


We had a 2.5 hour layover in Minneapolis. Our flight ended up changing and our arrival time into Sacramento went from 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Mom and dad trying to catch a nap on the plane


But as you can see we were super exhausted because in California it was 10:00 p.m. but in North Carolina it was 1:00 a.m.

Imagine our relief when we finally got to California! We were so tired but so happy to be here.

Baggage Claim in the Sacramento airport. How cool is this?

Our cousins, Bob and Glenda picked us up from the airport in the Nissan Quest we purchased from them. The weather was really cool, around 50 degrees which is extremely abnormal for this area of California.

By the time we actually went to bed it was around 1 a.m.


Two More Days

“You’re callin’ my name, but I gotta make it clear – I can’t say, baby, where I’ll be in a year.” Sweet EmotionAerosmith

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 11.53.57 PM

AIN’T THAT THE TRUTH! Wow! We’ve come a long way and now we’re coming up on Two more days to get everything together.

Things that have been settled:

  • Talked with Advisor and registered for fall classes
  • Paid bills
  • Stocked up on prescriptions
  • Graded projects
  • Purchased travel gear

Things I still have to do:

  1. Talk with our animal caretakers (prepping them for what to do)
  2. Settle some loose ends (medical and school stuff)
  3. Enter grades
  4. Clean
  5. Wash clothes
  6. Unload images off phone to computer
  7. Charge iProducts
  8. Pack

It feels like there are so many things to do. I’m having a hard time sleeping at night! The last two nights in specific I had a hard time falling asleep. I will say that there is an element of stress, apprehension, and nervousness to what I am feeling currently. Though, the overall feeling is very much excitement! If I can steal away a few minutes tomorrow I’m going to make a, “California Bound” playlist on Spotify. I WILL need something to listen to on the plane and on the ride to the airport! I’m seriously getting excited the more I think about actually being IN the vehicle driving to RDU.

Video Clips:

Hey I want you all to know that I will be linking video footage to this blog. You can click on the links and watch the videos on YouTube. They will be short little captures of what we’re currently doing and where we are. I will have one up on Thursday, May 14th (departure day) when we’re on the way to the airport. So check those out in addition to the blog!

It REALLY IS hard to leave your belongings and animals behind while you go off on a trip for two months. I think the older we get the more the feeling settles into you. Or maybe it’s just me?

What do you think? Could you, would you or HAVE you left your animals and belongings for two or more months to travel? (It kind of sounds like a Dr. Seuss rhyme). I want to hear your stories. Let me know in the comment section below. I’d like to know what gave you comfort, or what you told yourself to feel comfortable doing this. *LOL* I may be having a hard time with it.