Friday, April 7, 2017

Our First Year in California.

We're passing an anniversary here in our family.  One year ago this week we packed up everything we knew and drove down to sunny SoCal to start a new adventure.  We locked up the door to the house we called home for the last 16 years and found our way to living in a hotel.  It was definitely a memory that I am excited is just a memory at this point.

Tree Covered Backyard
We found a hotel that had a kitchen and was pet friendly.  Everything we needed to survive.  I even set the fire alarm off at 3:30 in the morning one day making breakfast for Brandan before he left for work.  There was no fire, just a little smoke from the tight kitchen.  The alarm went off about 5 seconds after it started.   Fun surprise!  If a fire alarm goes off in a hotel they call the big red truck no matter what.  That was the last time I cooked pancakes for a while.  I'm sorry random hotel neighbors,  We are early risers here.  After a while we changed hotels and the new one provided ear plugs since it was right off the freeway.  This should have been a big red flag but we stayed anyway.  Turns out we were hotel hopping during spring break season in the home town of Six Flags Magic Mountain.  From washing all of our clothes by hand, to not being able to go anywhere because of our furry pal, it was an adventure for sure.  We ate a lot of cereal.  Soon we found a house to rent.  The owner was very kind and let us move in two days after we contacted him.  We lived in an empty home with camp chairs and air mattresses for a month.  The backyard is my very favorite part.  There were even vultures living in a tree at the end of our street. This is when the exploring could really start.

In April we made a list of places we would like to see, and we have visited most of them.

We explored beaches like Harbor Cove and saw our first animal filled tide pool.

 We learned all the secrets we could about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and we went back a lot.  We love Universal Studios and its location just 30 miles from our home.  

 As Disney fanatics it was a sure bet we would spend a lot of time here.  Just 52 miles from our door, we make this drive a few times a month.  Some days its a quick hour drive.  Some days its three hours of stop and go.  Traffic here is never predictable but it is part of the whole adventure.  You learn to make the most of it, so we have.  We do a lot of studying for school in these drives.  According to the website we've used our passes 55 times so I guess wed better up our game.

In August we were able to check the Rubicon Trail off our bucket list.  We also got to explore Yosemite and get a taste of Tahoe.  We had a little time in Virginia City. We were able to spend time with some of our family from Utah and this is something we cant seem to get enough of.
We learned that you can have a huge traffic jam just about anywhere.  The one that I can never understand is the one we bump into on Sunday afternoons in Death Valley.  This adds hours to our drive from Utah to Cali.  All we can figure is that there are a lot of people in California and maybe a lot of them are coming back from weekend trips to Las Vegas.  We really have no clue but its a shocker every time.  We also learned that it gets hot here and its not a dry heat like what we were used to.  Its a melting and thick heat that I assume you get used to or learn to hide from.

  Living just 10 minutes from Six Flags Magic Mountain has been so much fun.  We have explored every little bit of this park and learned that we only thought we knew what roller coasters were.  This park can shake up the best of coaster fans.  If you love a great coaster come here.  And while your here give us a call.  We love to see our traveling friends.

This past year also had us saying goodbye to the best adventure dog ever.  Jeep was the best traveling buddy and I cant believe how much it still hurts that he isn't with us.  It was hard to watch him go but it was worse to watch him suffer.

We found little treasures like La Brea Tar Pits.  Its off our usual travel path when we are hitting the theme parks so it was a first for us.

Having a home here has given us the chance to see the things we would have liked to see but didn't have the time.  Or didn't think we had the time.  Time is a funny thing.  Time keeps ticking away no matter how we choose to use it.  While we have made a lot of memories and visited a lot of places, we have also watched a lot of time slip by.  We have learned how much we want to be with the ones we love in life.  We have learned that time isn't something you can get back.  We have learned that you can put off anything and there will always be reasons you cant go.  Make it happen!  Make spending quality time and creating life long memories a priority,  I think in the end we will look back and appreciate that we did.  I don't think we will ever wish we spent more time at work, spent more time in front of the TV, or spent more time being angry over dirty dishes.

This past year has ignited a fire under us to make the best use of the time we are given.  This past year we have learned how much we are thankful and excited to get each opportunity we have.  This next year we want to be one we will look back on with a smile and know we gave it our all.  What is on the books for this next year?  While we don't have our calendar all filled out we have some great hopes.  A new RV is on our list for sure.  We will be cruising Alaska very soon.  We would love to see more National Parks and Mount Rushmore has been calling to us for years.  We will spend more time camping and enjoying off road adventures.  Above all we will do our best to make the very most of it.

What are you looking forward to for the next year?  And what have you put off that it might be time to make happen?

Happy trails and happier memories.


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