Our Green Family Adventure last summer was unforgettable! I got busy with life and didn’t finish blogging. I’m sorry, to all my followers for leaving you hanging! But I am determined to finish what I started (even if it’s 11 months later) was! While staying in Mendocino, we stopped at the Glass Beach in Fort Bragg and collected tiny pieces of glass that were hidden all over the beach, it was a blast! Next we hit up a winery on our way north, it was called Pacific Star Winery! The wine was good and they have a GORGEOUS cliff side view of the ocean! It would make a perfect place for a Romantic Date! Then we ended up continuing north to the Redwood Forest!!! We stopped at the Chandelier Tree in Leggett, CA on the way! It was a tree that you could walk or drive through, it was so big!!! Y’all that drive from Mendocino to Jedidiah Smith National Forest was one of the most windy, curvy, sharp curve drives I’ve ever been on! I don’t usually get car sick sitting up front but it was intense! So get ready for some curvy roads if you are heading to NoCal. We passed some great Big Foot signs and finally made it to Jedidiah Smith Forest, for 2 nights of camping out in the Redwood Forest! It was an experience I will never forget. We even played in the Jedidiah Smith river! There were lots of bears in the area and signs everywhere warning that they lived in that campsite. The sounds of bears at night through our thin tent walls had us wishing we were in an RV! We decided to head to Portland a little early, even though we LOVED the woods! We just have a healthy respect for BEARS!!! Next time we camp in the Redwoods, we will bring an RV, for sure!!!
Mendocino Mendocino! First of all, we woke up and had THE MOST AMAZING breakfast at the Didgeridoo inn. They make amazing blueberry (and I think it was white chocolate in them) pancakes 🥞!!!! After our tummies were full, we started exploring. Right across the street from our Bed and Breakfast, was a small, cute, white, church and behind the church were wooden steps that led down to the beach. We took the path to the beach and there were the most GORGEOUS flowers everywhere. It was like a French garden. Then we carefully walked down the steps (every steps are taken nice and easy with little one’s tiny feet). The beach was so empty! I saw 1 person in the far distance! Otherwise it was just our family for a bit! Then a lady came down to sit and chill by herself. Then a couple of park rangers came by. Other than that, no one else. It was so calming. Mendocino has cliffs all around the ocean, with beaches here and there. It is a wonderful, peaceful place. Then we walked back to our car and went on a drive to check out the town. We fell in love with it so much, we started looking at homes to buy there. The one we really liked was way expensive… it was a fabulous historical landmark home near the downtown area. All the houses there are really pricy because everyone knows how awesome Mendocino is! Lol! During some of our explorings, we saw some SEA Lions swimming near some rocks in the ocean. Y’all the sea lions are my fav!!! I want to pet one so bad. I’m a weirdo I know! We drove around the whole town pretty much, it’s not very big and then we went back to the downtown area, to check out the farmers market and grab some lunch! There farmers market was tiny but had a little of all the basics! It was very cute! For lunch went to the GoodLife bakery. It had great reviews! It was really good and there were other kids dining there while we were. Someone even thought we were local! It was a compliment to look like Mendocinoans. We wanted to walk around and explore the downtown some more! Y’all they had some of the best souvenir shops I had seen on the trip in mendocino. They had fun boutiques and an adorable toy shop (village toy store). We could really see ourselves living there!!! We even stopped by the local real estate agency to check things out. We left our info for them to contact us! It was interesting because we kept seeing this group of hippies around. They even had some handmade jewelry they were selling on the sidewalk. They looked like for real gypsy style hippies!!! So I googled it! Apparently the hippies have been in Mendocino since the 70s. They have pot farms around the area! I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t have googled it! We went back to the pizza place we had been to the night before, they served ice cream and we had promised to get some! It was yummy ice cream! They even had a mushroom flavor! It was made of some mushrooms that have a sweet taste, it was actually yummy!!! We had spotted an all socks shop next to Frankie’s pizza and ice cream. Cade is really into funky socks right now, so we had to go check it out! Cade and Arthur Thomas picked out their socks and then we were on our way! That night we went back out to explore the city and go to dinner! It was slightly drizzling and about 60 degrees outside, but they had outside heat lamps, so we decided to sit outside and dine. We met the cutest couple that always vacation in Mendocino, they had their dog with them, so we got to know them a little while we were waiting on our food! We had a great visit! Y’all it’s all about relationships and getting to know people, letting our lights shine in a world full of darkness. The food was Thai inspired with seafood! And they had a great wine menu. We decided that since we were in wine country that we needed to try some wine! So we ordered some organic Muscat (it tasted almost as sweet as a muscato) wine and it was smooth and delish! The food was good too! Then we headed back to the Bnb for some sleep, after an awesome day, full of food and exploring!
The babies and I went to the awesome playground, at the campground, to burn off some energy while daddy and Cade packed the van. That playground was so much fun for them! There were some older kids that asked Arthur Thomas what his tshirt said. He ran to me and asked me. I said, “Nirvana, they were an awesome band from the 90’s.” He ran back to the older kids and repeated what I had told him. One of the kids said, “I think my dad played with the band.” Lol! Kids will say cute things! Arthur Thomas had been loving hanging out with the other children. That morning, Kian had got into the cereal and spilled it all over the ground at the campsite and then helped himself to the marshmallows, because that’s all he really eats out of Lucky Charms! Lol! Then the littles and I went to the petting zoo that was at the KOA and went to check out the goats, chickens, and bunnies. There we saw an adorable site, A momma goat was snuggled up with her 2 babies! By the way, Kian was saying “GOAT” and it was the cutest thing! My baby is growing up!!! The kiddos loved petting them and just looking at them. I’m pretty sure Kian picked up a goat turd 💩 (I thought it was a rock or a food pellet) and tried to feed it to the goat. Goats will eat anything, except for their own turds I guess! 😷🤷🏼♀️ After Art and Cade had packed up the van, we loaded the troops and headed north to Mendocino. We had heard Mendocino was absolutely beautiful, and we were staying in a Bed and Breakfast, so we were stoked! To get to Mendocino, it’s super windy roads. But you get to go through wine country, so there are tons of cute vineyards to look at on the way. Then after you pass the vineyards, there’s an awesome Redwood Forrest to drive through! The trees were huge and beautiful!!! It was the first time we had really seen the Redwoods. When we got to Mendocino, the windows were down and we could immediately smell fresh air and FLOWERS!! The amazing fresh floral fragrance filled our nostrils and we just kept sniffing lol! We got to our B and B, the Didjeridoo Inn (https://www.facebook.com/Didjeridoo-Dreamtime-Inn-Meditation-Center-212918775420428/), and met the innkeepers, Vera and TJ, they were super sweet. Vera showed us our room. We unloaded and freshened up, then we went to explore the town and grab some dinner. The town was so cute, lots of locally owned restaurants and shops, and it’s overlooking the ocean. It could not be more beautiful. We walked to Frankie’s pizza 🍕 and it was so delish! We enjoyed our slices and cold drinks on the outdoor deck area. We met a really cool family with 3 little kids while we were out there. Apparently a lot of Northern Cali folk go to Mendocino to vacation. I would go all the time we lived near Mendocino. The town reminded me of Eureka Springs, but on the ocean, with the most amazing views and 60 degree weather! We then walked around the town a little more and then went back to the Bed and Breakfast. We had to rest up for all the exploring we were going to do the next day!!!
We woke up and drove about 40 min to get to San Francisco from Petaluma. The first thing that we wanted to see was the Golden Gate Bridge. There was so much foginess that day, that we couldn’t see the whole bridge. The fog was covering half of it. We left to go into the city, in hopes that the fog would burn off by the end of the day and that we could see the full bridge later. First stop was the Japanese Tea Garden. It was the oldest Japanese tea garden in the US. It was beautiful. A great place to relax and take pics. We stopped at their snack shop and had some snacks and teas. We sipped our jasmine tea and iced green tea while overlooking the gardens. It was really peaceful. We explored the gardens and took a ton of pics. Then we headed to Chinatown! My family is part Filipino and they love Asian food, as do I! My cousin, Jen, suggested an authentic Chinese restaurant called R & G Lounge. We went to check it out. It was super nice upstairs, which was at street level. Once in the restaurant, we walked down the steps to be seated. It was super authentic. We shared the avocado salmon egg rolls, a veggie fried rice, special beef, and garlic honey chicken with broccoli. It was all really good! After we finished, we headed to the Apple Store, which was HUGE!!! It was 3 stories tall, with clear steps that you could see through…. pretty crazy! Next we walked to the Vans store, because it’s our families favorite place to shop! Cade found some new classic black and white vans for school and Some shirts. Arthur Thomas got a pair of slip on Peanuts Vans. They have all the snoopy characters on them, they are So so cute. Then we walked back to our car. Everything is hilly in San Fran and it’s a big city so you park and walk everywhere that’s within a reasonable distance. On the way back to the car we stopped a couple of shops in Chinatown to have a look. Then we took the car to Japantown! Japantown has a mall called the Japan Center, everything in it is Japanese. The one thing that Cade really wanted to do on this trip, was to go to Chocolate Chair, a popular dessert shop that sells Dragon Balls. I’ll post a video for you to see! We hit up a cute fragrance gift shop in Japantown and bought some incense. Then we went to Chocolate Chair. I wasn’t that impressed with the Dragon Balls… they are slightly flavored like fruit but are the consitentcy of cheese puffs and they smoke when you bite into them. I got a salted caramel ice cream and a rose macaron to share with Arthur. Arthur Thomas got watermelon sorbet. And Cade got the 🐉 dragon balls. We took some videos of them and had our dessert, then we got in the car and drove to fishermans wharf. It was so so cute down there! Tons of shops and restaurants looking over the bay. It was wonderful and I was wishing we had hung out there more that day. We could see Alcatraz from the wharf. I would love to go there one day when the boys are older. We walked to pier 39, where we were told we could see sea lions. One of my goals on this trip was to see sea lions in the wild and so far, this would be the second time to see them. Y’all they are so cute and chubby! They bark so loudly. I just love them! They were all gathered towards the back of the pier 39. We got a great glimpse of them this time. We could see them more closely than we did at La Jolla. After I got my sea lion fix we went to a fabulous gift shop. I don’t know what the name of it was, but they had the best designs and best prices of any gift shop we had seen on the trip. We found some cute shirts and then went to Hard Rock cafe for a late dinner. My family loves Hard Rock. The food is always good and the music is always fun! I love to educate our kids on bands and music from all eras! Then we grabbed a Biscoff latte at Biscoff (who knew they had coffees) and hit the road to head back to Petaluma. The fog still covered the bridge, so I guess we will have to go back to see it someday! When we got back to the campground, I checked to make sure no one had taken all of our laundry that we had left out to dry all day! Everything was there still! What a great campground! Then we hit the sack for another sleep under the stars!
We packed up our car quick that morning, we had high hopes of driving into Coulterville and having an awesome breakfast, we had seen an organic breakfast bakery on the way to our campsite a few days before. We got to Coulterville and it was closed!!! NOoooo!!!! We found out that it was only open Thursday through Sunday. So we checked the next place that looked like it had breakfast and it was closed!!! So we looked around and there were just a few businesses open in this tiny town and even fewer people around. We spotted a coffee shop, so Arthur went to check it out. We decided to stop there and have some coffee and pastries. We were the only customers there when we got there. 1/2 of the place was a thrift shop, the other half was a coffee shop. We looked at their menu and ordered. The owner, was super sweet and offered to make my boys scrambled eggs and a fruit cup (even though they weren’t on the menu). We ordered our food and coffee. I got a Aztec Mocha, that I still can’t quit thinking about. It was chocolate with a cinnamon spice twist, so dang good. The shop began filling up with hungry customers! We started looking around and realized that the owners owned gold mines and they also were avid ghost hunters and had been on several tv shows/documentaries. We ended up having a great visit with the owner, Michelle. Michelle and her husband, Andy, had moved from LA to live a more chill life and they had just opened this little gem of a coffee shop! If you are ever in the Yosemite area, stop by the gold mining town of Coulterville and grab an Aztec Mocha from the Gold Country Bistro. You can find them on fb or google them! Then we loaded up and headed to Petaluma, where we would be staying at a Koa for 2 nights. But first we stopped at In n Out burger for lunch on the way to Petaluma! When we got to Petaluma, I was surprised that they had a little grocery store/ liquor store/ gift shop when you checked in. I had never stayed at a Koa, so I didn’t know what to expect. Arthur and Cade began setting up our camp area. I took the littles to play on the AMAZING play area right in front of our campsite! It was the best playground we had seen on this trip and tons of kids were playing. I thought it was interesting that most of the parents were drinking beer or had a glass a wine. I guess everyone was chillin! The kids played and played. Then I noticed a line forming near the playground. It was getting longer and longer. My hubby found out that it was for a free train that takes the kiddos around the campgrounds! We lined up and waited and waited. Kian would cry every time a train left without us….you know the sad sobby sweet broken hearted baby cry. Finally it was our turn to ride. Kian and I crammed into a car and Arthur Thomas got in the car in front of us. This “train”, made of large plastic looking barrels with holes cut into the top, had probably 15 cars and it was pulled by a golf cart. No parents were allowed on it but I asked if I could ride with Kian. There was no way I was sending my not-quite-2-year-old on a train by himself lol. I was secretly worried I might break the “train” because I’m so heavy right now. They took off and the driver whipped the “train” around the campgrounds. Y’all it was a thrill ride for a little kid! Lol! He whipped the cars so fast, I was afraid my cart might turn over… so I leaned the opposite direction when it felt unstable, to balance it out! It was fun! Then we went back to the playground. Tonight Cade cooked! He made tomato soup and grilled cheese over the fire! I was a proud momma, he cooked quite the delicious meal! He’s going to be a great cook, like his daddy! After dinner, I took all 4 loads of laundry to the laundry room and went to town with our masses of dirty clothes. It was $2.75 to wash a load!! Someone is making some good money on those washers. I was just stoked to be able to wash clothing and get it done all at once, because there were multiple washers and dryers. Then I got kicked out of the laundry room, because it closed at 10pm. So I hung a bunch of the wet or partially wet clothes on a line and draped them over our tent to dry. We all went to sleep because the next day was going to be a trip into San Francisco!!!!
We woke up early at camp the next morning! There is something about waking up in fresh air, outside! You can’t beat it! The camp host had suggested that we should plan to get to Yosemite by 9am or 10am because the park is so popular and traffic gets crazy. So we planned accordingly! We gave Arthur his Father’s Day gifts (they were all from Disneyland)! And then we began our drive into Yosemite! We did it old school style since we didn’t have cell service! We just followed the road signs lol! The drive to the park was breathtaking! It almost didn’t seem real! I kept telling Arthur that is felt like we were in a fairytale. Everything was so beautiful. Probably one of the MOST beautiful places I’ve ever seen, there were huge trees, mountains, waterfalls, everywhere! If the drive was this pretty, I couldn’t imagine Yosemite park being any prettier! It was! We were really interested in seeing waterfalls! We first stopped at a waterfall and took tons of pics! It didn’t have a name that I saw! Then we stopped at Bridalveil Falls and right in front of us was the ginormous El Capitan! It was HUGE! What’s crazy, is that we had JUST days before read about a guy that successfully climbed it with no ropes. Seeing it in person brought a whole new sense of awe to that. It was BIG, really BIG!
It was an easy hike for us and the boys to Bridalveil falls. It was a beautiful site! The older 2 boys climbed around the rocks and got closer. Kian stayed in his pack on Arthur’s back. We then took another trail to get closer to the falls and higher up! We hiked to the base and all got misted and splashed by the water! It was a hot day so that was great! On our way back down from the base, we saw 2 people almost fall into the rushing stream coming from the falls! It was scary! We had read warning signs about not getting too close because people can fall in and die or break a bone or their skull! ☠️ Then we went back down and found a log along the edge of the falls. Arthur carved into it: The Green Family. Cade carved his name into a log as well. Then we spent time putting our feet into the streams of the falls! The water was super cold!!!!!! Kian hated it, you can see the look on his face in the picture. Then we went back down and found the restroom aka permanent ports potties with no soap or anything, yuck! I definitely recommend going pee before you hike, so you don’t have to use those lol! Imagine 2000 people using those potties every day, with temperatures in the 90s, that smell was horrifying! 😷 Then we made our way back to our van, creating some really cool photo spots along the way. Then we drove around a bit more and saw Half Dome mountain. It’s amazing how huge these mountains are in person. Then we went to the Yosemite Valley Village and parked and I made sandwiches for the family and we grubbed before heading to the next spot! Next we checked out the LARGEST waterfall in the US!, Yosemite falls!!! It was beautiful and so tall, 2425 feet to be exact. A lady we met said that the fall waters were better than they have been in like 5 years! It was due to all the snow they had! How blessed to be there and see those rushing falls! On our way out of Yosemite valley, we saw a momma dear and baby dear, super close to people. It was such a lovely place, it would take probably a week or two to see and do everything there and take your time doing it. We went back to camp to cook a camp out feast! Steak and potato 🥔 packets with onions and peppers, with strawberries on the side for my handsome dude and our boys! Then we roasted s’mores, because it’s a must while camping!!! S’mores are one of mine and Cade’s favorite desserts!!! Then it was sweet dreams under the clear sky and stars ✨ 😴……
We were thankful for a nice clean hotel in Bakersfield. We all slept good there! We woke up, packed up, and headed to our next big destination: Yosemite!!!! This would also be the start of lots of camping! When I booked Yosemite, there were no campgrounds available in the actual park. Apparently Yosemite is the most popular National Park, in the United States, to camp at. So I found an Airbnb campground about 1 hour from Yosemite that we booked. It was called Westlake and it was in Greeley Hill (a teeny tiny town, with a grocery store that closes at 6:55pm…for real). We got there when it was still light out. We set up our little campsite for the next 3 nights. It was super hot there, in the 90s-100 degrees. The campgrounds were unique. They had interesting signs set up everywhere with historical information. I could tell they liked to collect old lumber and farm equipment because they had decorated with it. Everything was older, but they kept the bathrooms clean which was really nice! You could pretty much pick anywhere in their park to set up at, which was interesting! We set up where they had the strongest wifi signal so that Arthur could try to get some work done. But even the strongest signal wasn’t very strong, it wouldn’t even allow my blog site to load. Also we had no cell service there which was no bueno! The night was so quiet and the stars were so bright and clear. It was peaceful. The stillness of the outdoors and the clear sky made not having all the modern conveniences worth it!
On Day 15, we left our beloved Oceanside for a new adventure! We stopped at In N Out Burger on the way out of town. Then we hit the road. We left in plenty of time to make our 2pm appointment for a Pepperdine campus tour, But the traffic in Central California was insane! AGAIN LOL Always add 1-2 hours on any appointment you are trying to make near Central Cali, traffic is Crazy! We drove through Malibu tonget to Pepperdine. Malibu is absolutely stunning! Lots of Cliffs overlooking the ocean 🌊! Its fabulous! And then we made the way up the hill to Pepperdine. I had always heard the campus was beautiful and the view was awesome. But its hard to even describe the beauty, you just have to see it in person. The tour started off in a cute chapel with stained glass. We toured the campus and all the views were breathe taking. Cade thought the campus was beautiful, very hilly, smaller than what he thought it would be, and eye opening to the different kinds of campuses there are and to opportunities colleges offer. We then went to this adorable little shopping area that a local friend, Christiana, referred me to. It was called Cross Creek. There were tons of cute restaurants and shops. It was the kind of place you look for celebrities! I saw someone that looked like Kathy Griffin. I dont know if it was her because she had sunglasses on, but it could have defintely been her doppleganger! 😎 We ate outside at Tra Di Noi, because the weather is always perfect on the coast. We got a spinach ravioli and a pizza. It was all delish! Then the kiddos played at the cute little playground there. They loved having play time with other kiddos! It was a great Malibu day!!! Next we started heading to our airbnb reservation. The 2 airbnb experiences we had had so far were pretty good, so I was really looking forward to staying in a remodeled RV for the night with the boys. I like to book fun places if I can, because everyday is an adventure! We made a Target run first, because every Target in Cali pretty much is a Super Target! I ❤️ Super Targets and we live out of our ice chest and food box, so we always need supplies lol! Then we headed to our reservation. The host which will remain nameless in the blog, had parked the RV in an area that was supposed to be closer to Malibu, then it normally is. It was still probably a 45 min drive to the RV from Pepperdine. The RV was parked in an upper middle class neighborhood they said. It was not upper middle class at all. There was a white old van parked in front of it that looked like someone had been living out of. And it smelled like they had been peeing in the grass next to that van. So the odor was all around the outside of the RV. The host’s son is the one that showed us around the RV. The RV smelled like it had been smoked in for years, it was remodeled so it wasn’t as bad as it couldve been, but still hurt my throat just being inside. The weather in the LA area had been incredibly hot that day. And so the inside of the RV was about 90 degrees probably and super stuffy. They suggested just leaving the windows open. We did, and it did not cool down! We contacted the owner to see about out turning on the air. She told us how to turn on the generator. We did. And immediately the rv started filling up with nasty fumes. Like the kind of funes you smell when you are racing old go carts! I quickly shut all the windows. The air cooled down to maybe 85 degrees, and it still smelled like fumes! I was stressing! I didn’t want us dying of carbon monoxoide poisoning. So Arthur and I talked and decided we would just leave and drive and get a hotel in Bakersfield for the night. I gathered our things and we loaded up in the van. I called the host and told her the issues. She apologized and said no one else had complained about that. My guess was that no one else had turned on the generator for air because its usually nice weather there! The rv had been remodeled, so it was kind of cute, but other then that EVERYTHING else wasn’t working! She was sweet and apologetic. She recommended calling Airbnb to get a refund! That was a hassle! Airbnb told me they had to speak with her about it. And apparently I didn’t give my host time to fix the issue. Sorry Airbnb I wasnt going to risk our lives! I also forgot to mention there was a sketchy dude walking around outside our RV in the so called “upper middle class” notsomuch neighborhood the entire time we were in the RV! ANYWAYS!!! Lol! Moral of my story: Be careful when booking Airbnb! And never, never book an RV in the Central California area!