Sunday, June 08, 2014

In that Warm California Sun

When we finally chose to move to California, the Riviera’s song California Sun popped into Mike’s head and has remained there as a frequent earworm. Over the last few weeks, the song’s catchy tune and lyrics have served as his personal theme song for the whole process of packing up the old house, taking to the road, and planting stakes back in the Golden State. And now, here we are!

Monday, June 2 – Hallie, Eliza, Riley, and Porter ran errands and took Breanne lunch while Mike and Landon played. Later on, Mike taught his Wayne State class while the rest of the fam vegged.

We decided we should take three days and spend some time going down the coast rather than two by taking the more inland route.

Fergus has an interloper on his sheepskin perch, . . . 

but that’s OK because he’s taken over her cozy nook.  

Tuesday, June 3 – Riley and Breanne drove us out to the coast today. We stopped first in Tillamook, where we took a tour of the Tillamook Cheese Factory

The Love Loaf Tour, AKA the Owens Family Road Trip

Taking on the bumpy, windy roads! 

After the tour, we continued on along the coast to Cannon Beach, home of Haystack Rock and the Needles, made famous in the movie The Goonies

After spending time exploring the tidal pools and playing in the sand, we went to town and window shopped downtown before finally heading back home by way of Carl’s Jr.

Wednesday, June 4 – We left Riley and Breanne’s in the late morning and traveled from Vancouver to IKEA Portland to get a couple of items for the new house before heading west to the coast near Lincoln City. The day started overcast, but by the time we made it to the coast, the sun had come out, giving us the chance to see spectacular views of the coast all the way down to Coos Bay, where we stayed for the night. We didn’t cover many miles, but we got an eyeful of the Oregon coast.

Hwy 101 mile markers in Lincoln City 

Seafood dinner at Shark Bites. Yummy!

Thursday, June 5 – We traveled from Coos Bay around Bandon Cranberry bogs, Redwoods, and coast views in Humboldt and Mendocino Counties, vineyards in Mendocino and Sonoma Counties. So much to see, so little time! 

(We didn't take time to stop, but our view of the valleys looked something like this:)

We stayed in Windsor, north of Santa Rosa. Mike treated the kids and himself to a dip in the spa. We tried the outdoor pool, but it was a bit too chilly just yet. Hallie went out and bought In-N-Out for dinner. The kids don’t quite yet appreciate the treasure they had for their meal.

Friday, June 6 – From Windsor, we followed the 101 over the Golden Gate Bridge through San Francisco. This passage was a first for Mike as far as he can remember. While he has been to the Bay Area a few times, he has never quite made it to the Golden Gate. 

WHOA! Up and down the crazy hills.

We happened to drive right past the church Mike attended while at the last AERA Conference.

Photo-bombing City Hall

From San Francisco, we continued through industrial and agricultural lands, including pungent Gilroy (the air really smells like garlic), and on to Paso Robles for a late lunch. On a whim, we ate at the Red Scooter Deli because Hallie found a coupon for it on her phone. The adults enjoyed their meals: Sweet Cheese sandwich for Hallie, and half (aptly named) Daddy-O with a half-bowl of roasted tomato soup for Mike. The kids liked Mike’s food more than their own! Lots of yummy choices.

Then we were back on the road. We ran into our first real traffic jam in San Luis Obispo when an accident and vehicle/hillside fire caused a major backup, but we managed through on side streets, only losing a half-hour. Most of the rest of the trip went smoothly with frequent vistas of the ocean gracing our path. We arrived in Camarillo in time to show the kids their new community, but we would have to wait one more day to see our new home. Instead, we went to Gpa and Gma M’s house for a visit with relatives and dinner. Afterwards, we tired crew took our journey to another hotel for another night.

Saturday, June 7 – We got up early so Mike could get to CLU for new EdD student orientation. He spent the morning meeting the new students and getting another class under way while Hallie and the kids met with our landlord in Camarillo and received the new house keys. They met up with Mike in the afternoon and went to Gma and Gpa O’s house for more visits with family and a happy reunion with Fergus.

After a while visiting, we all returned to our new home so Mike could look around before going out to Olas de Carlos Surf Grill (Olas for short) for dinner. Maybe it’s all the days on the road, but the kids were picky. The grown-ups enjoyed their tamales and nachos though!

We took one more walk through the new house with Hallie’s parents, Carly, and her kids and then made our way to (hopefully) our last hotel for the trip. Mike’s student orientation continues tomorrow, and he has to teach. Prior to us coming out, his department had reserved him a hotel room with the students. As a result, we all stayed at the hotel in beds rather than in our new house on air mattresses or on the floor.  

Sunday, June 8 – Eliza woke up in the middle of the night either in pain or having a night terror. She has these things every once in a while. She cried that she wanted to go home. Whether that means the new house or Michigan is hard to say, but we think the kids are done with hotels for a while.

Being outdoors, on the other hand, suits the kids just fine. 

California is a breath of fresh air seen through our kids’ eyes and through our own that have only visited a handful of times in the last 13 years. Flowered bushes and trees fill the boulevards, yards, and hillsides. Small wild animals just pop out of the bushes and back into hiding. Weird, but fun! 

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