Day 14: Surf School

This was the day the kids and Matt had been waiting for and most excited about on this whole trip.  To be honest, it was the day I was kind of dreading.  Surf School.  I'm not coordinated or sporty at all.  I'm even less a fan of cold water, and the air temperatures were in the 60s.  We had put our feet in the water the evening before, and it felt icy.  Matt kept saying maybe wet suits would make enough difference that it wouldn't be too bad.

As it turned out, he was right about the wet suits.  We weren't even a little cold getting into the water.  Even more amazingly, I managed to get up on the board and surf!!!  And I had zero expectation that I would manage to surf at all -- take that Law of Attraction! ;) Matt and Maya got up, too.  Seth paddled around and coasted in on some waves on his belly on the board, and Riley just wasn't feeling it at all.  It was way more tiring (and a lot more fun) than I expected -- lots of paddling hard to catch the waves, to get back out after riding one in, and a major saline flush of the sinuses with every wipeout.  After the kids had gotten worn out and settled in at the beach, a pair SEA OTTERS came by and played and swam right next to us for the longest time!

 Surfers still in the water as we left

On our way to Venice Beach, we drove past a lot of orchards and busy farms

 We stopped at Casa de Fruta 

The kids had been wanting these for a while and were excited to find them.
Spin the wheel, take a chance on a decent flavor or disgusting flavor. 

Enjoying the grossness

Day 13: Pacific Coast Highway to Santa Cruz

Always wanted to drive this road.

Arriving in Santa Cruz

Derby Skatepark in Santa  Cruz

We spent the evening biking around Santa Cruz, checking out the town and shops, and eating some amazing veggie food at Dharma's Restaurant.


Day 12: San Francisco

We woke up to find the rest stop where we slept was in beautiful wooded surroundings along the Pacific Crest Trail in the Tahoe National Forest.  We hugged some trees, breathed in the Christmas-y smelling air and headed on for San Francisco.

Matt found a big enough parking place on the street for the RV, and we went to Portrero del Sol skatepark, which Matt and Riley both loved.  Maya and Seth played at the playground, and I hung out with Pablo.

Lots of people walking through the park had their dogs off-leash.  I was hesitant, but we finally let Pablo off as he was going nuts wanting to run around with the other dogs.  He did amazingly well.  This was the second time on the trip that we had let him off leash (the first being on our hike in Colorado, which was probably his happiest day ever, if dog eyes tell you anything).  He is like a different dog with wide open space and no leash. Relaxed.   Friendly to other people.  Friendly to other dogs.  Though he's not super social with other dogs.  He likes to sniff a bit and then be on his way -- either coming back to us or just rolling around in the grass.

From there we went to downtown San Francisco.  There was a place that makes organic wooden gauges (for ears) that Riley wanted to check out.  There are so many things we wouldn't get to do if not for Matt.  Let's be honest, there's no way I would drive that RV through downtown San Francisco and try to find street parking.  It takes finding to spaces with at least one end open to a no parking zone or something that allows extra space to get in.  And then driving up and down those steeply inclined streets the city is so famous for?  Matt did it, though.

Street parking in San Francisco

 San Francisco streets

 Brakes work!

 Cable car!


Biking across the Golden Gate Bridge

 San Francisco Bay from the Golden Gate Bridge

 Learning about how the bridge is designed to withstand earthquakes

We drove on to Pacifica, CA to an RV park that was on the beach.  We had a front row parking spot and great view of the Pacific Ocean, but no beach access.  So, we hopped on our bikes (have I mentioned how much I love all these bike-friendly places?!) and rode through town to an access area to dip our toes into the Pacific for the first time!