Monday, June 16, 2008

Grandpa and Camping on a budget.

Well, the first thing I need to update on is my Grandpa. He is doing better and has been sent home. He has a home health nurse coming to visit him and I believe he is still doing physical therapy, but he is doing better. So, that is a huge praise! Thank you all who have been praying for him.
Other than that things have been quite on my little blog world because we were gone for 10 days. We went on our first vacation in 2 years! It had it's ups and downs but we had a good time.
we got about 2 hours away when the truck started acting "funny". It was going slower and slower and then started making some weird banging noises. Aaron and I were thinking that it was the transmission because we just had a bunch of work done on it. Then Aaron discovered that it was the fuel pump. We coaxed the truck and trailor to the nearest off ramp (where there wasn't even a gas station!) and called AAA...thankfully I had bought the membership the day before. We were then towed to a littleWe left on Friday, June 6, with the reservations and plans to camp in Tahoe for the night. Well, town in Nevada called Well's. You may have heard of it if you are in UT because there was and earthquake that destroyed much of the old town not too long ago. At the mechanic's shop we were then told that we would be there until Monday...with our only means of transportation our bicycles. Luckily, Aaron had brought his work laptop for the kids to watch movies on, so there was that to do. There was also a park with a tether ball that Kaitlyn enjoyed. So, we had to get creative on what to do. We quoted movie lines, colored in the kids coloring books, went to the park until it was too cold and windy, watched movies, and joked. While not the best of circumstances we made it ok.
We also had to decide what to do with our trip. The money for the repairs ate up about 3/4's of our budget that we had planned for vacation. We had thought about canceling all together and then trying again in August, but with the rising price of gas we figured that we wouldn't do it if we tried to wait. So, we rearranged our trip schedule. Cut out going to the redwoods and took extra days in Frisco and Tahoe. We didn't do some of the things that we had planned, but the kids had a good time none the less.
So, on Monday after the truck was put back together we set out for a long day of driving into San Francisco. We stayed at San Francisco RV Resort (which is parking lot camping, but that is all you find there anyways). It was nice in the fact that we were right near the water and could hear the waves rolling as we went to sleep.
Tuesday we went to Golden Gate Park and saw the Japanese tea garden. This was the one thing that Kaitlyn asked to see so it was good that we were able to have an extra day in Frisco because we would not have had time to see it otherwise. The garden was really peaceful, we got up early in the morning and headed straight there, so there weren't many people there while we were going through it. I think Aaron and I enjoyed it almost more than the kids.
We then drove over to the golden gate bridge and had lunch. After lunch we tested Aidan's fear of heights and walked out on the bridge. Aidan didn't like it so much and pretty much clung to Aaron. I did manage to coax him out to look down into the water, but he made sure I was holding tight to him. Kaitlyn really enjoyed it though and would have liked to go farther, but we thought it was best not to take Aidan any farther than the first tower.
After the bridge we went to the beach and the kids had a blast! Aidan really got into playing in the waves, which he would never do before. They dug in the sand, got wet and dirty and just had a great time.
On Wednesday we spent the day at Pier 39 and Alcatraz. This was what Aidan was looking forward to. I thought he would be really scared by the audio tour, but he really enjoyed leading us through the jail. If you ask him he would tell you this was his favorite part of the entire trip. Kaitlyn enjoyed learning some of the history. And got her Jr. Ranger guide and read it all on the trip home (we forgot to get one before we started the tour and by the time we though to it it was time to go, so she just got the booklet to do on her own). We then walked down to fisherman'swharf and Ghiradelli's square. We had some yummy ice cream at Ghiradelli's and that is when we figured out that Aidan gets really crazy when he has had a lot of sugar. I guess I really try to regulate how much sugar they have and have never seen that side of him. We then took a drive to show the kids Lombard st. and there was a tower that we drove up to see ( I don't remember the name of it right now). It was a very fun and full day. Poor Kaitlyn though had a severe allergy attack that day. Her poor eyes were so puffed up and itchy, and that was even after having a Claratin that morning!
On Thursday we loaded up and headed to Tahoe. We were finally getting some real camping in! It was really beautiful there. We were very close to the lake so that we were able to walk over and hang out on the beach. The kids had a great time playing that evening.
On Friday we drove up to Emerald bay look out point. Aidan is grumpy in those pictures because he had just gotten in trouble. We then took a drive around to the lake to stop at a grocery store and a bit of souviner shopping for Kaitlyn. After that we went to Taylor Creek visitor's center and did some hikes. The kids got to do a smoky bear trail and earned some fun smoky bear things for answering the questions. We also got to see the Stream profile chamber where they put plexi glass walls so the kids could see the fish swimming in the stream.
On Saturday, we pretty much hung out at the lake all day. And like our beach day in Frisco I think the kids liked this best. They dug in the sand and got wet (the water was COLD though!) and just enjoyed doing a bunch of nothing.
Sunday was a day spent driving home....a long drive home. And while our trip didn't start off the best we ended up having a good time and sticking to a very tight budget. There were things that we wanted to take the kids to do, like rent a boat in Tahoe for example, but I think what we ended up doing was perfect. It was a nice blend of sightseeing and just hanging out. And while we would have loved for the kids to see the Redwoods we know they will be there another time for another trip.

(I have more pictures from our Tahoe portion of the trip, but blogger isn't letting me post them at this time. I'll post them when blogger is being nice to me.)