Tuesday, September 10, 2013

California Dreaming

Two thousand one hundred miles, plus change.  3400 kilometres in metric, just to make it seem even further.  That's quite a road trip if you have six kids along.  Which we did.

This summer, we decided we would drive back from the National Irish Dance Championships in Anaheim, California in the first week of July.  We counted a couple of extra days after the competitions to see Disneyland and the beaches, and then planned a week to drive home.  Home being almost straight north, to Canada.  It was a long way.

One of the main reasons our family travels is our Kids' Sports. We have followed rugby teams to international matches in Las Vegas, and hockey teams as far as Germany and Austria.  Dance has taken us to Chicago, Boston and Scotland (ironically, not to Ireland, yet!)  It's a great opportunity to see new places while the kids participate in the sports they love, with their friends.  Things childhood memories are made of!

And with all the beautiful young ladies, of course our son and his teenage friends don't need much convincing to come as a support crew.  Go figure.  Our California trip included our two dancing girls, and our son and three of his friends.

Highlights? Well, not the traffic between Huntington Beach and Malibu.  The scenic beach drive was a good idea in theory, but with street lights every block or two, not in practice.  We were in high danger of overheating the RV.  And saw mostly the back of the vehicles in front of us, during a never-ending rush hour.  But it did give us a sense of just how incredibly big Los Angeles (and all its related suburbs) really is.

The beaches south of LA were just like the movies.  We were shocked at how quickly they changed as we went even slightly north.  The water temperature dropped, and by the time we had gone six hours, we didn't want to get into the water.  Brrr.

We made it through the streets of San Francisco, across the Golden Gate Bridge and up to the Redwood Forest.  Very impressive, though of course our RV wouldn't fit through the giant drive-thru tree.  We settled for a group photo instead.

The California coast is very pretty.  But the road between Eureka and the inland highways in Oregon is not something I want to repeat, unless I am driving that cute little convertible next time.  Logging trucks and holiday trailers on a narrow windy mountain road are not a good mix, and I managed to get a little carsick.  The kids, thank goodness, were fine.

As we made our way north, we realized that the more direct Google-recommended route through Utah was worth heeding. By hour #18 we were still in California, and we could have been all the way home by then.  But, we reminded ourselves, we had chosen the alternative scenic route.  It was exhausting


Once across the US-Canada border, with home in our sights, we paused for a bit of a reward.  After 30+ hours behind the wheel, we shook out our travel weary legs for a bit of water-water rafting fun!  Great way to cap the long drive, and add a final zing of excitement.

Traveling with teens? Make sure to stop and do some of the activities they can talk about.  Give them a "Kodak moment", and join in the fun.  You are only as old as you act...



  1. You're braver then I am! But it looks like the scenic route was worth it. I'd love to see that drive-through tree!