San Fran

My memorial day weekend started a little early because we had planned a trip to California to see Zach. Unfortunately, Kyle didn't go with us. He only gets one week of vacation a year and for some reason he didn't want to spend it on a family vacation. Humm... Maybe he actually wanted to relax. We didn't do much of that, but there was no time for it. We were busy seeing where Zach spends his days and exploring the city. It was so much fun, and I am so glad we got to go. It had been far too long since we'd seen him.

The first day was a long day of travel. We were at the airport by 8 a.m., and I think we drove into Monterey sometime around 8:30 p.m. California time, 10:30 our time. Plus we hadn't eaten dinner! It was exhausting but everything went very well. Asher had never flown on an airplane before this trip. I wasn't exactly sure what I expected his reaction would be, but he did great. It was like he was oblivious to the fact that we weren't on the ground. Taking off, landing, nothing phased the boy. It really helped that Josh got an iPad before we left for the trip, so Asher had that to entertain him. He kept asking for "his" iPad, and he found the concept of headphones fascinating. "Aunt Abby, isn't it amazing that you can still hear it when it's off!"

 Strollin' through the airport. Asher had about five suckers throughout the day. 

 The sunset on the drive to Monterey. 

We hit Cannery Row for a late dinner. 

The next day Zach had school in the morning, so we checked out some of the scenery. Asher loved climbing rocks at Lover's Point and we all had fun shopping at Cannery Row. After lunch, Asher wanted to play in the sand, so we headed out on the 17-mile drive and stopped off at the beach. Although it was a little seaweedy and several of the areas were closed for seal pupping, it was still beautiful. Some day I will have to go back and take the drive to Big Sur. I hear that's even more breathtaking. Mom got a little squeamish the last time they went and Asher was getting tired of the car, so it just wasn't meant to be this trip. After the drive we headed to the base to see where Zach lives. No pictures allowed, so you'll just have to imagine a bunch of yellow houses and classroom buildings. We did get to see some baby deer, which Asher loved, and part of the Berlin Wall. We finished our time in Monterey with a lovely dinner by the bay.

 The patio at the Colton Inn. 

 Asher loved the balcony! That was his little play place in the mornings before us girls woke up. Don't worry, Josh was supervising!

 Can you tell Asher was NOT into this photo?

This was much better.

 He thought this rock was big, but he had no idea what was waiting for him. 

 There were these little squirrel-like creatures everywhere. 

 Asher liked looking at them from a distance, but they weren't shy at all and got a little too close for comfort.

 So beautiful! Zach runs around this area. I might learn to like running if this were the scenery. 

 Getting a little sun. 

 Now this is more like it!

 Asher got a little too brave and with drop-offs like this, we had to call it quits. 

 Taking in the view one last time. 

 The view from Lover's Point. It was SO beautiful. 

 There were random paintings and sculptures all over Monterey and San Francisco.

 Cannery Row

This was one of my favorite stores. I got Kyle some wacky socks there, but I think my most favorite was Little Hat Shop. If I had a child I would have bought something there. 

 The shopping was fun, but it was nothing compared to this. Mom and I were in salt water taffy heaven!  We may or may not have each purchased a $14 bag.

 This was just one of the many planters all over town, but I took a picture of it because of the snap dragons. Grandma Taylor always had them in her garden and every time we see them, they remind us of her.
 A quick picture before heading out to find the beach. 

 This was Asher's first time seeing the ocean. It wasn't warm enough to splash around in, but he had a lot of fun getting chased by the waves. 

 I wish Kyle had been there with us! He wasn't far from my heart.

 We had a little trouble with the sand castles, but managed to get a few to stick together. Until Asher crushed them that is! 

 The houses along the 17-mile drive were beautiful. They were almost as good as the scenery. 


 In front of the Lone Cypress. 

 I think this one was my favorite. Maybe Kyle and I can live here one day. Afterall, it is close to Pebble Beach...

 For our last night in Monterey we ate at the El Torito. The food was good, but it was all about the view!

After dinner, us girls needed some warmer clothes, so we went to a souvenir shop. Asher wanted one of these, but we explained that getting them on the plane might be a little challenging!

We made the trip out to San Francisco the next morning. After fighting traffic and checking into the hotel we headed off to Muir Woods to see the redwoods. It was pretty impressive. They weren't the kind that you drive through or anything, but they were tall enough to scrape the top of the sky. It was beautiful weather. A little windy, but the sky was clear as day. On the way home, I snapped, what would be my only picture of the Golden Gate Bridge (minus the fog) through the window. That night we ate a wonderful meal at an Italian place and then Mom, Dad and Asher headed back to the hotel while the big kids went to go see Hangover 3. While it had its moments, there's no beating the first one.

 Our hotel 

Our bell hop was a little more interested in posing for a picture than carrying our bags.

 The trees were SO big!

 This was the only animal we saw in the woods, and I think Asher could have watched it for hours. 

 Uncle helped Asher get a little closer to the top of the trees. 

 This tree had a big burl on it. It's basically a bunch of bud cells that could produce another tree if this one gets damaged or dies. 

 All Asher wanted to do was climb on the trees and FINALLY, there was one he was allowed to climb in!

 He loved it. 

Now it's Grandpa's turn. 

It was a long walk back to the car, but luckily, Asher provided a little entertainment. He sang the whole way. That boy loves to sing. Mom and Dad took him on his first taxi ride to the zoo and he sang the whole time. All $40 worth. I wonder what that cab driver was thinking.

 He was getting a little crazy in the car on the way back. Yes, he was being a horse and using my purse as reins.

 Maybe it was the Goldfish.

 On our way back over the bridge, there were so many sail boats out. It was so pretty to watch. 

 The Golden Gate Bridge

Sunday's agenda included brunch at the hotel, the Hop-on Hop-off Bus for the big kids and the San Francisco Zoo. This was Asher's favorite part of the trip. Which animals was  he most excited to see? The farm animals in the petting zoo. Really? That kid loves farm animals more than anyone I've ever seen in my life! After a little rest and happy hour at the hotel, it was time for dinner in Chinatown. This was by far the most fun dinner of the trip. We had to wait for a little bit but it was worth it. The food was great and our server was entertaining and attentive. If you're ever in the area, I definitely recommend Hunan Home's.

 Time for the tour! This wasn't our bus, but ours was similar. 

 I loved the windows of this church at the intersection of Taylor and Ellis. 

 Driving through the Tenderloin, a rough part of the city. 

 San Francisco City Hall

 I loved all of the Victorian architecture. I wish we could have taken a tour of one of the houses. By the way, the tour bus didn't go by the Painted Ladies (aka The Full House house). Apparently the residents complained about all the tourists. Total bummer. 

They had to move up the road signs because they kept getting stolen.

 Golden Gate Park looked so pretty. If we would have had more time, we would have spent a whole day on the tour so we could get off at places like this. 

 This used to be the Army base before it was moved to Monterey. Zach said this had to be officer housing.

 And unfortunately this was the view of the Golden Gate Bridge as we drove over it. It was a very foggy, windy, cold ride. Thank goodness for that scarf I bought in Monterey!

 But once we broke through the fog, this was the view. 

 We met up with Mom, Dad and Asher at the zoo. What a shocker, they were at the petting zoo! 

 Asher was so excited that they had a palomino. 

 We had brunch so Asher was a little hungry. He got this giant bag of popcorn and ate almost half of it!

 I think he liked climbing on this statue even more than seeing the animals. 


 The Michael Jackson store. We didn't have a chance to go in, but it looked very interesting in there!

Asher got this tiny little horse in Chinatown.

Monday was our last fun day with Zach. We started it off early with a tour of Alcatraz, then followed it up with lunch on Fisherman's Wharf and some shopping at Union Square. We were all exhausted by that afternoon, so we rested at the hotel before grabbing some pizza at Uncle Tito's. There were plenty of leftovers for Zach to take back to the guys when he left that night. It's always hard saying goodbye, but he should get to visit us this summer, so it wasn't goodbye for too long.

 The Alcatraz Ferry we took to and from the island.

 The Bay Bridge on our way to Alcatraz.

 The island.

Asher tried out all forms of transportation this trip, but boat was definitely his favorite. While I was getting sick on the ride over, he was having a blast!

 I never knew the Indians took over Alcatraz in the '60s. Just one of the interesting things you learn on the tour.

 They stopped using it as a prison partly because it was hard to keep up. The buildings are definitely starting to deteriorate.

This used to be the bowling alley for the guards and their families.

I was so surprised by how beautiful it was! The gardens, especially. There are a group of volunteers who keep them up.

 Those are some thick windows.

 It was an audio tour, which is my favorite because you can go at your own pace.

 There were "street" signs to help you navigate. D Block is where the really bad guys went.

 The view from The Rock.

The Dining Hall

The Kitchen

 Oh to have the life of a child...

 The Golden Gate Bridge was hiding from us again this day.

 On our way back from the island.

 Fisherman's Wharf was beautiful, too.

There were live performers out keeping everyone entertained.

 We never did make it to an aquarium.

This is where we escaped the rain and ate lunch.

 Luckily they had some farm books at the Container Store to entertain Asher while we shopped. He and Uncle had such a great time together!

We wanted to take a cable car, but the line was crazy! Josh waited an hour and a half to ride one and didn't really enjoy the experience, so we decided to pass.

You would think all of this activity would wear Asher out, but he still had plenty of energy every evening. His favorite activity was jumping bed to bed. I think he definitely takes after the Donahue side!

Dinner at Uncle Tito's

Asher brought his animal buddies. 

On Tuesday we made the journey back to Oklahoma. When we got to OKC, I told Asher we were finally home. He responded, "But Aunt Abby, how can we be home if we aren't even in Hennessey yet." He had a point. When I did finally make it Hennessey, Kyle was waiting on me! What a great surprise that was. It was a really fun trip, but there were definitely moments throughout each day that made me wish Kyle were with us. When I told a coworker he wasn't going, he asked if a week is the longest we've been apart since being married. I said no right away, but then I got to thinking about it, and he was right. In nearly five years, we had never spent more than a few days apart. That made it even harder for me to leave for a conference less than a week before getting back. If only he could have fit in my suitcase!

Back in Hennessey, we spent my last day of vacation visiting Jean Ann's cows. 

If you're thinking about a trip to Monterey or San Fransisco, I would definitely recommend it! However, according to Zach, you might want to wait until September. I hear that's the best weather month, although Mom and Dad really seemed to enjoy the trip they made in February as well. We kept hearing about how wonderful things were the last time they visited! :) 


  1. Your trip looks fantastic! We've been in CA a lot lately and have been on some of the same paths you took! So glad y'all had such a great time!

  2. Thanks. It was a lot of fun. I should have called you for all the inside info! I am glad to hear you're making it back the heartland. I wish you safe travels and no more blow-outs!


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