Sunday, July 13, 2014

Santa Monica

This weekend, we decided to leave "the hill" and travel west.  This place gets a bit boring after too much sitting around.  We needed a mini getaway.  

We decided on heading into Santa Monica.  It is 2 1/2 hours from Twentynine Palms, and was a great place to sight see.  

Santa Monica is not actually a place I ever really had a huge desire to see.  However, since we are semi close, it was a must see on our bucket list out here.  It is a famous place, and I have seen snapshots on television quite often.  

The drive out to Santa Monica was a bit of a culture shock.  California drivers are awful.  They are probably the worst drivers I have ever seen.  And that is staying something, considering I have lived near New York, D.C., and in Japan.  They are self centered, and in a constant rush.  There was one point where we had to merge from 5 lanes to 3 because of an accident.  Nobody wanted to let anyone in.  We are definitely in California.  

Eventually we made it, and were refreshed with the cool air.  It has been over 100 degrees every day since we have arrived in Twentynine Palms, so the 80 degrees felt wonderful.  

The beach was beautiful, but we never ventured into it.  It is far too cold.  There were lots of crazy children playing in the waves, and both boys loved watching.  Z Step made it a point to say "they playing in the Pacific Ocean!"  We had told him that this was a different ocean from before.  He really remembered everything we said.  

We walked around the pier for awhile, just sightseeing.  There were "street" performers, artists, and lots of odds and ends.  I was amazed at how rude and stupid most of the people were.  Even the street performers were rude.  We overheard a teenage girl asking what 197+5 was.  She honestly was stumped.  I suppose we have really been spoiled with our education.  I am sad for the future generations.  

One of the rude performers.  He was yelling at the crowd, and singling people out.  

Z Step showing me the Pacific Ocean
We made our way to the rides, and got on the landmark ferris wheel.  It was a nice ride, where we got to see the view from up high.  The boys had a great time looking at the beach.  
My favorite photo of Z Step

Look at that hair!  

Z Step and Mama Step

E Step playing with Daddy.  He was actually really cranky
We had lunch after this at Bubba Gump Shrimp. We had been to the one in NYC before, but it was nice going to a different one.  It was pretty much the same.  We even had a friendly waitress.  The nicest I have seen so far.  She even reminded us of the military discount they offer, after I told her about our cross country move.  

We walked around a bit more, Z Step and I went on the scrambler ride, (which he loved) and we picked up a christmas ornament for our tree.  We could probably decorate an entire tree with all the ornaments we picked up along the way in our marriage so far.  We are so lucky to get to travel like this!  

Santa Monica was also the end of Route 66, which we traveled along for most of our trip out west.  Though most of the road is closed today, we were still able to say we traveled along part of it.  We really are on the west coast now, aren't we?  I look forward to more traveling in Twentynine Palms!  

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Cross Country Road Trip- Part 8

We have finally made it to the final day of our cross country trip.  We are sad that our travels are ending, as this has been the trip of a lifetime.  However, it has been quite a long month of travel, and we look forward to being grounded for awhile.  

The final leg of our journey was the most boring.  There was literally nothing.  I believe once we crossed into California, we only saw 1 gas station, and it was closed.  It was a bit depressing to travel in to Twentynine Palms from the East.  I honestly don't even have much to say, because it was so boring and there was nothing to see.  Mountains, sand, dirt.  We traveled on long endless roads for 100+ miles.  No homes, no civilization.  Isn't it silly to think about it?  In many places in the United States, we are bunched so close together.  While there are still places that are completely undeveloped.  Don't get me wrong, I know how much it would take to get a place as dry and hot as this developed, but I still think it's pretty ironic.  

I didn't snap any photos, except for the California sign.  Honestly, there wasn't much to look at.  You can see in the background of these photos exactly what we saw the entire journey.  
State number 19- the final state!

We are officially in the pacific time zone (interestingly enough, we were already on this time.  Arizona does not change their clocks for daylight savings time, though they are in the mountain time zone)

The town of Twentynine Palms, California

And so, ends our cross country trip.  It really is a trip that I suggest anyone to take.  I learned a lot about our country.  I saw things that I had never seen before.  I got out of my east coast comfort zone.  I saw states that I hated. (Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois)  I saw states that I fell in love with. (Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Arizona)  This even changed my outlook on where we may debate on settling after the Marine Corps.  I absolutely loved Arizona.  I am now determined to see some more of the western states.  

One of the best things about Twentynine Palms, is that there is a ton to see if you are willing to drive a bit.  We have begun a bucket list of places we would like to visit while out here.  I will post that later.  

This place is a bit dreary, and boring, but we are excited for this new chapter in our family's book.  Now we must wait for a house!  Wish us luck!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Grand Canyon

They say that the Grand Canyon is something every American should do before they die.  Unfortunately, most East Coasters never get the chance to do that.  We are so lucky to have gotten the chance to see it.  And we have plans of returning again in the next 2 years.  

Did I also mention that today is my birthday?  Yeah, talk about an amazing present.  I have always dreamed of coming here as a kid.  It was just such a great coincidence that it happened to fall on my birthday.  

The dog was not allowed to stay in our hotel in Flagstaff alone, so we dropped him off at a puppy play place, where he got to play outside with other dogs all day. It was a great place for him, as he needed to run around a bit after so much driving.  We had to be back to pick him up at 6:30, so we wanted to leave early.  We arrived pretty early, and started in the welcome center.  

Unfortunately we didn't get to see nearly as much of the Grand Canyon as we would like.  We will return again someday to venture in more.

Our first mini trip was to a path with some beautiful views of the Grand Canyon.  We got our first looks of the Grand Canyon and it was just like the pictures.  Amazing.  There really are no words to describe it.  I will let the photos explain it for me.  
We hope to hike that trail someday to the bottom.  

That little squirrel came right up to us.  

Daddy and E Step, riding in fashion

Z Step playing around with me.  

Z Step took this one of me

Z Step took this one too.  He is actually a good photographer!  
After walking around, we headed back for some lunch.  Our meals were actually wonderful, and we were able to pick up a few things.  An ornament, a t-shirt for me, binoculars for Z Step, and a workout shirt for Daddy Step that says, "Erosion Happens."  We then did a small hike down the canyon, but it was hot and there was little shade.  The boys were exhausted at this point, so we only went down about a quarter of a mile before turning around and walking back up.  I would love to return without the kids someday and hike down and camp out.  
Z Step and I playing peek a boo behind a tree

Hiking down
My boys!

Z Step loved his binoculars

My amazing family!

Hiking back up
We left at this point, so we could get back to the dog and relax before the final part of our trip.  We stopped at a little southwestern shop on the way out, but didn't buy anything.  Lots of random things though. 
I loved these teepees!  

Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon were a must see.  I really hope everyone can visit at some point in their lives.  There was not a single thing I disliked.  What an amazing birthday!