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S: California 2011: An RV, a little girl, grandparents and a whole lotta fun!

BC: This trip was so much fun and went so well. We really enjoyed our time together and all of the great things we saw and did. We really only saw a portion of California and we were continually amazed at how fast the scenery and weather would change in just an hours drive. San Francisco was a fun city. The endless vineyards are postcard perfect. The drive up Rt1 along the coast was breath taking. The redwoods were simply magestic and truly awesome. Yosemite was vast and beautiful. Renting the RV was the way to go. We saw so much, enjoyed the space and the simple fun of it.

FC: California Dreamin' 2011

1: June 2011 A family trip to celebrate Brian's graduation from Elizabethtown College. We flew from Washington Dulles to San Francisco. Lauren was so excited to go with Nene and Poppy. We spent the first three days in San Francisco then rented an RV to head up the coast. | Bledsoe Family

2: Rainforest Cafe

3: Checked into the La Luna Inn then took the bus here for supper. | Lauren was not crazy about the thunderstorms that happened every 15 minutes but this was a fun restaurant.

5: We ate breakfast on Saturday at the crepe restaurant and spent time looking at the sea lions and shops. The sea lions are very fun to watch. Some people came too close in kayaks and were chased back out by the sea lions!

6: We took an antique car tour of San Francisco. It was a great way to see a lot of different areas of the city in a short time. Above Left: Getting out of the car on such a steep incline would be interesting...wonder how many car doors hit? There are no sidewalks on the hills...just steps! Above Right: Lombard Street...a famous crooked street in SF.

8: Pacific Heights and Nob Hill are two of the richer neighborhoods. The houses had a lot of beautiful and unique architectural elements to them. The colorful Victorians are called the "Painted Ladies". | In 1848, the California Gold Rush increased the population from 1000 to 25000 in one year.

9: The 1906 earthquake and fire destroyed 3/4 of the city. Most of the damage was caused by fire from erupted gas lines. Many old buildings were lost but the city was quickly rebuilt.

10: Built in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge is the second longest suspension bridge in the US. It was cold and windy and a little foggy but still awesome to see!

11: Saturday was our first full day of vacation and we really packed the day! We started with a city tour in a 1929 Model A at Fisherman's Wharf. In the afternoon we went to Alcatraz and then finished the day with a cable car ride and ice cream at Ghirardelli Square. A 12 hour day that was LOADS of fun!

12: Top: Shower room; entry point for inmates Center: The Rock Bottom: Famous inmates! | This was a fun tour. We took a ferry to "The Rock" as they call it and got some great views of the city. There was an audio tour that gave view points of the guards, former prisoners, and families that had lived on the island. Linford saw sand sharks by the ferry dock!

13: Left: View of SF from Alcatraz Below: View of cells and solitary confinement

15: You can't leave SF without a cable car ride! We also took a streetcar ride. A bumpy, crowded, fun way to go!

16: We finished our long but fun day at Ghirardelli Square. The chocolate sauce was out of this world! The chocolate factory imported 450,000 pounds of cocoa beans by 1885. The factory is no longer here but the store at Ghirardelli Square has incredible ice cream treats!

17: After a jam packed weekend in SF, we headed by taxi to the El Monte RV dealer in Dublin, CA. We really enjoyed the city; loved seeing all the sites it's famous for. We were really excited to pick up the RV and drive north. We made a stop at a Walmart for supplies for the week including all our bedding and cooking items. Check out ALL those bags!

18: Jelly Belly Factory Tour! Carol keeps Jelly Bellys in her purse so we had to see the factory! The outlet was called Belly Flops. Jelly Belly became popular when Ronald Reagan kept them stocked in Air Force One and the White House. The flavor Blueberry was made for his inauguration. The pics below were made entirely of jelly beans!

19: Benzinger Winery in Sonoma This was a great winery to tour. Lauren loved the tractor ride. The Winery is entirely organic. They grow plants from all over the world in small gardens throughout the vineyard and use the compost from plants that have the needed minerals.

20: Poppy just loves old cars! | Olive Tree | They used to irrigate the grapes in dry weather but they found that made the roots grow horizontally and shallow. They ripped them all out and replanted and now only water when they are about to die. It has made the roots grow very deep.

22: Spent Monday night at Green Acres Campground in Ft. Bragg. Short walk to the Pacific with beautiful sea cliffs, wildlife and Laurie's "treasures."

23: The water was so cold, it turned your skin red! We absolutely loved the time spent here.

24: MacKerricher State Park in Ft. Bragg is incredible. There are tide pools to explore. There is a lot of sea glass or "agates" that are fun to search for. The blue and green ones are really rare. Lauren LOVED this stop and did not want to leave. We almost passed this stop up but I'm so glad we didn't!

26: A ride on the Skunk! We took a scenic ride through the redwoods in Ft. Bragg on the Skunk Train. Later in the day we headed up Rt. 1 North to Garberville. VERY beautiful, twisty, narrow and steep drive...loads of fun in an RV!

27: When a redwood dies, new trees grow around the dead tree and draw nutrients from it. The loggers called these "angel rings". Redwoods must have cool water to grow. The closer they are to the water, the larger they are. When the air cools, inland, the redwoods stop!

28: What a day of beautiful driving! Each turn brought another beautiful picture. The Avenue of the Giants is a 31 mile scenic drive through redwood groves.

30: We all LOVED the redwoods. They were incredible to see. Lauren loved all the "holes" that she called treehouses and had so much fun discovering them.

33: Lauren insisted that we play "Berenstain Bears" in the tree houses and most of the day. We all had to go by our "Berenstain Bear" character...including "Grams and Gramps!" | Redwoods are a fast growning tree, up to a foot per year and can live for over 2000 years. They can grow as tall as a 30 story building with trunks more than 24 feet in diameter.

34: It was so quiet, still and cool walking among the redwoods. I loved how huge the ferns were and just the absolute stillness. | Humboldt Redwoods State Park

36: r | This redwood is in Yosemite. I love the wildflowers next to it. Usually, redwood sorrel (right) is around the base.

37: On the road again, just can't wait to get on the road again.... | Our LONG driving day from the coast to Yosemite...9 hours. We took Rt 20 around Clear Lake which was a beautiful drive in some very rugged country. We passed a lot of rice fields and almond groves. Lauren did so well!

38: Woke up early Thursday to head to Yosemite National Park. The drive there was along the Merced River. Yosemite, best known for it's waterfalls, is 1200 square miles and was one of the first wilderness parks in the nation. We decided to rent bikes to tour the valley floor instead of using the shuttle. It was about 10 miles long and was a GREAT way to take in the scenery at a slower pace. Lauren really liked the bike trailer....we called her bumblebee because it was black and yellow. I'm glad we got there early because the park filled up later in the day and it was not as much fun to ride with all the people around. We really enjoyed the scenery here but hated all the people...it felt more like an amusement park instead of a national wilderness park! We biked to Mirror Lake and then hiked up to the Vernal Falls Bridge. It was straight up for a little less than a mile. Huge granite cliffs and waterfalls....BEAUTIFUL!

41: M I R R O R L A K E

42: Just finished a bike ride and getting ready to hike! | Looking at butterflies!

43: We were sooooo tired by this point but the views just got better and better and everyone coming back said the waterfall was worth seeing...and it was! | Lauren saw so many people with walking sticks and had to have some!

48: Relax

49: We spent our last day at French Creek RV Park in Manteca instead of going back to Yosemite for a second day. It was INCREDIBLY relaxing. Perfect after a busy, busy week!

50: Lauren LOVED the pool. We spent three hours jumping, swimming and playing!

51: Lauren wanted a campfire SO badly but most places didn't allow them. SO...our last night had to at least have a firering for s'mores!

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