Saturday, May 22, 2010

Catalina Island

We've been to Catalina Island before, but this time we got to go during winter, with pretty sunsets and no tourists to crowd us. It was like our own private island. Almost alone on the streets of Avalon, we can really see how the locals live, in this small community where everyone knew everyone and everyone could tell who was just visiting. We were told to enjoy our vacation at every restaurant though we never really told anyone we were visiting. You can walk the streets and dark alleys at night without ever feeling scared. And the cold, calm atmosphere made the sunsets that much more spectacular. We realized this was the kind of lifestyle we want to live. A small community where everyone knew your name, where all you needed to do was open your door and sip a cup of coffee on your porch as the sun set over the dock, where you can catch a fish in the day and fry it up for dinner that night. Simple, relaxed, and miles away from crime. Yes, we did visit the Botanical Gardens, rent a golf cart and joyrode around the island, and hike up to The Cross to take a picture of the casino. We watched a movie in the old Casino theater, so beautiful with its hand-painted murals and original pipe organ still in use. We hung out at Gallagher's every night, local coffee shop that was the only thing left open after 5 p.m. And dined at Villa Portofino, a great french restaurant with the best steak in town. But for the most part, we enjoyed the quiet, we enjoyed the sunset, we enjoyed Avalon and made believe we walked the empty streets of our future home.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The California Coast

You never know what wonders you have in your own backyard. My family and I live in southern California, Seal Beach. So we took the opportunity to take a small vacation and drove up the coast.

Stop One: We drove up past L.A. through Santa Barbara stopping to walk through State Street and headed into Gavaiota Beach campgrounds for the night. We love to camp! We wanted to stay at Jalama, campsites right on the sand with a pretty view of Point Conception 15 miles west of PCH, furthermost point of California, the very place the Indians believed where life began. We've stayed at Jalama before but if you don't arrive before noon, campsites fill up far too fast. That's my mommy on the beach.

Stop Two: We left Gaviota early to drive up the coast to Big Sur. On the way there we stopped at Pismo Beach to do a little shopping. We had all the time in the world and the freedom to stop and go as we saw fit. Next we took a turn into Morro Bay. The sight of the old fishing community and ships along the dock amid the rolling fog was so serene we couldn't pass it up. We found the best fish and chips I've ever tasted on the pier. They were so fresh and mouthwatering I could've eaten a hundred of them! And, of course, a little more shopping. :) My mommy buys me shirts for every place we visit!

Big Sur was a little further than we thought, especially since we decided to drive up coast highway, curving along the high cliffs and stopping every so often to take some pictures. I have never been up the coast and the cliffs overlooking the Pacific was scary but real cool looking, the kind of stuff I've only seen in calendars, so blue and calming, so high up we were surrounded by the clouds. It made me shed a few me feel so happy. Finally, by late evening, we arrived at our campground in Big Sur.

Stop Three: We decided to stay in Big Sur for a couple of days; there was so much fun to enjoy. Our campsite was wonderfully secluded in the middle of all the tall redwood trees where blue jays sang, hopping around the campground. We took a small hike through Julia Pfeiffer State Park and saw the waterfall and old ruins of Waterfall House, the home of Lathrop and Helen Hooper Brown.

The fires a month earlier had charred much of the trails in Big Sur, and we were disappointed to see that many trails were closed off. But, being the adventurers my family and I are, we found a gated, abandoned trail that lead all the way down the cliffs and into the water-crashing rocks below and hopped over the warning signs to be the only people playing in the surf.

We found a local restaurant, The Nepenth, built on the tip of Big Sur's highest cliff with a balcony view that allowed you to eat your dinner underneath the full moon that lit up the ocean crashing into 50-foot boulders. Reluctantly, we had to pack up after a couple of days and move on.

Stop Four: Driving farther up the coast, we were forced to pull over to take more photos every so often. We also took a little detour through Carmel and were pleasantly surprised to make it into town in time for their local car show, classics and new luxury cars I thought I would never be able to touch in my life. We also found an old Catholic Mission that was still offering mass on Sundays, picturesque and romantic.

No time to waste, we headed into Monterey Bay to visit the animals at the Aquarium. The sight of the sea otters and penguins and fishes really brought a smile to my face. I was overwhelmed with joy. The penguins were my favorite! At the end of the night, we lay our heads down in the Bay Area.

Stop Five: We stayed at my daddy's friend's apartment for a few days. Berkeley is where he went to college so we stayed in the Bay for a while in order to visit old friends and take a proper tour around Berkeley and San Francisco. We roamed around Haight/Ashbury and played around like hippies. The next day we visited Berkeley and shopped the street vendors and local shops and pubs. There was an underground Reggae club that we visited where we could just sit and listen to music. We visited San Fransisco's golden gate bride, rode a trolley car, and watched them bake bread into fun shapes at Boudin Bakery. It was hard to say goodbye to the Bay Area.

Stop Six: We were trying to make it to The American River by nightfall but it was much further than we had anticipated. Luckily, we found a campground in Sacramento with the coziest log cabins and crashed for the night.

Very early the next morning, we had our first rafting experience. It was the funnest time. Water fights, falling off the raft, swimming along the current; an all day experience. I loved it! Even though I got really wet.

Stop Seven: We decided to end our trip with a few days in Yosemite. We toured on our own at first, visiting Sutter's Mill and Mono Lake and into the Valley. Then we took a twilight tour to take in the wonders of deer and Half Dome and El Capitan.

We did a lot of relaxing and short trails to wind down from the whirlwind that was our vacation. And on the way home we had to stop by Mammoth for a little two-hour horseback ride and to visit daddy's uncle. I love horsies!

We finally arrived home, after 11 long days. We had so much fun exploring California's coast, and I even got some souvenir teddy shirts along the way!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My Mommy Loves Me

My name is Teddy. I love to travel and spend time with my family. I have seen so much of the world, and I'm not finished. I'm a traveling bear, and I collect shirts to model for you, so you can see all of my adventures. Follow me around the world as I explore everything this Earth has to offer; for a little bear just discovering a new world, a new life, a new family.