Red Mountains

Back in September I took a solo trip to Utah to Red Mountain Resort in St. George. I think the last time I traveled, for pleasure, on my own was to Jakarta and Bali, Indonesia, back in 2010. I can’t believe it’s been that long. This 4-day, 3-night mini escape gave me an opportunity to unwind and clear my mind. The spa package I got was amazing! Also, the food was so tasty and healthy. I also had a chance to visit Zion National Park, which was stunning despite the rain.

Here are some highlights:)

Summer ’17 Short Trips

Throughout the summer our family has taken a few day and overnight trips. Some photos to follow!

Sunny California!

Just a quick heads up about this post. Initially we were going to have two separate posts about California, but we decided on combining our week’s worth of adventures into one! Michael and I kicked off our journey through the state of California by entering through Oregon along the coast. We drove down Rt 101, eventually finding our way to the narrow windy roads of Rt 1, which brought us through the woods for the first section. I was really not feeling too well once we reached the rocky coast of California. I guess I caught a cold along the way, and the zig-zagging and swaying of the truck really did not help the situation as I felt quite nauseous during the drive.

Nonetheless, I could not escape the splendor of the coast. It was so magnificent that I felt as though our drive was merely a painting or a movie passing us by as we drove south. We caught the sunset as we hit the coastline of Rt 1, and it was such a scene. We walked along a deserted beach, all to ourselves, as the sun set serenely in the distance painting the sky with its myriad, a rainbow of colors!

It took us a while to discover civilization, but we came across several smaller communities which had neighborhoods and houses along the coast. I dreamed about living along this beautiful coast where the sun always shines.  The Redwood National Forest was our first stop, and we entered through the forest not expecting anything. The section with the Tall Trees ended up being blocked off, so we did not get to see the really tall ones, but we did have a chance to experience the grandeur redwoods that were literally towering over us, as if we were little mice.

We drove around and gasped at the glory of the trees, as we finally found ourselves visiting the Visitors Center. Along the way, we saw a family of elk gathered in someone’s front yard. There were so many of them! At the center we watched a film depicting the redwoods and conservation efforts which only ┬áreally started back in the 1960s.

San Francisco was the next city on our list. We arrived in town around 4pm, and we booked two nights at the Fusion Hotel in Union Square. We were tossed up in the air about staying in two areas: Fisherman’s Wharf or Union Square. We decided on the square because that was the more “happening” area. I was just happy to have a nice hotel room so I could rest. That evening, we met up with my friend, Bessie, from Expo. She lives in San Francisco, and we went to Aux Delices, a Vietnamese French restaurant.

It was really nice to catch up with her and meet her friend Nicole from New Zealand. I was also really happy for Michael to have a chance to meet Bessie! It was so comforting to have pho especially since I was feeling under the weather. After dinner, Bessie took us to Bob’s Donuts where she got us some delicious donuts! They were sooo good! They’re open 24/7 too.┬áThe next day, I rested all day in the hotel room while Michael explored the downtown area. He walked a lot, and then brought me a soup and sandwich for lunch. That evening we walked across the street to an Italian restaurant for dinner.

Our next main stop was supposed to be Yosemite National Park, so we booked a hotel close to the park. I had intended to rest fora few more days before we hit Anaheim (Disneyland) and head to Vegas because I desperately needed to get better before LA. I told Michael to go and enjoy himself at the park so he could have the chance, but he just wanted to rest and stay in. So we both stayed in the hotel. He played video games, and we watched episodes of Bar Rescue on Spike. It was nice to just relax, and take our time with the trip.

By Monday, Oct 6th I did feel a lot better!  Thank God, because we were driving to LA and heading to Disneyland for Tuesday, the 7th. I even got to contribute driving for about 3 hours on Monday, so I felt good about that. It took us about 5 hours with stopping a few places along the way. We stayed at the Residence Inn, about 2 blocks from the entrance of Disneyland. It was nice to have a full kitchen.

We chose to go to regular Disneyland, and not California Adventure, managing to get on a few top rides including: Indiana Jones, Splash Mountain, and more! It was really packed for a typical Wednesday in October. It was fun to see all of the Halloween decorations at Disney, and I got two signatures for my book!

The next morning we picked up Becca from LAX airport around 11am and went straight to Marina Del Rey for paddleboarding. We went through Marina Paddle, which had a nice deal where we rented the paddleboards for $20/2 hours. We all got the hang of it pretty quickly and no one fell into the water even though we had to start off paddling on our knees because we were pretty close to docked boats in the marina. It was such a nice day to enjoy the water, as we paddled our way to a beachy area to hang out and relax a bit.

After that we went to grab lunch and got some Pinkberry for a snack. It was about that time to head out to check into our Hollywood Apartel, which we had booked through Expedia. It was definitely a process to check in, as stated in numerous hotel reviews, but we made it to our room, at the Hollywood Rubix complex. Boy was it complex.

That evening we decided to take the Metro on Hollywood/Highland to Chinatown by taking the Red Line to Union Station and transferring to the Gold line one stop to Chinatown. We all purchased TAP cards at the self-service machines before entering the Metro. It took us about 40 minutes or so to reach our destination. By that time it was just past 6pm, and it seemed as though a bunch of the stores were already pulling in and closing our their inventory.

Our primary goal in heading there was to purchase a traditional Chinese tea set for our upcoming wedding. I wanted to find a very specific set, which had a double happiness symbol along with it being red and gold with a dragon and phoenix on it. We saw many different kinds of tea pots, tea cups, and tea, but none of them really met our needs. Therefore we decided to select a place for dinner. We ordered a few different items on the menu and ate family-style.

By 8pm we were on our way back to Metro, and on the way back we stumbled across a Chinese bakery where Michael was excited to buy some custard buns for a snack. Because it was late, the bakery had some good deals on their breads, and we were lucky enough to snag some tasty buns: custard and coconut, score!

The next day we woke up around 9am, and our plan was to head to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre to check out the cement hand and foot prints of the famous stars. Our apartment was actually right on Hollywood Blvd, so it was a great location to be in. We definitely didn’t need to go far…literally a 1-2 block walk. There was an AMC statue and poster promoting the show, The Walking Dead. Three people dressed up as zombies were literally walking around and scaring tourists casually walking by.

There were also characters including Minnie Mouse, Spiderman, Thor, Cinderella, and more just entertaining tourists and hanging out in front the theatre. We made our way to the Hollywood Highland Complex to get a view of the Hollywood sign from the bridge. We looked in a few stores for some small souvenirs and then went to the actual theatre to check out what was playing. Then we went outside and decided to go on a search for our cache in California.

It took us four tries before we found the ideal one to place our mini Frisbee in, but we did it! Along the way we made a pit stop for some shaved ice and froyo. It was a hot day, so we needed that little boost to continue along in our journey.

As we made our way back towards Hollywood Blvd, we randomly spotted a crowd of people gathered around something that was going on. We discovered that New Kids on the Block were getting their Hollywood star for the Walk of Fame. So we made our way over to the area, and we caught some glimpses of them…famous people!

We stopped back in the mall/complex for lunch at Cabo Wabo Cantina. Michael got fish tacos, Becca got Chicken Tacos and I got a Chimichanga. Everything was really good, and we went to CVS to get some nail polish and laundry detergent.

So we all thought the cache was a challenge, but getting up to our apartment was another big fiasco. We got a key fob for the garage and to enter the building and go up to the rooms in the elevators. We also got a pin pad which we had to enter to get into our room. It was really flaky though. Becca had the touch, but this time, it was being uncooperative. So our key fob did not work when we attempted to get to the third floor, and then the pin pad would not work and kept locking us out.

At this point we were all fed up with this because all we wanted was to hang out in the room for a few hours before our movie. Michael ends up calling the company, and they sent someone there to help us reset the pin pad. We were also relieved that our fob wasn’t broken and that it was actually the elevator itself that was not working properly.

We went to the 7:20pm showing of the Guardians of the Galaxy in 2D, which was actually a funny and cute movie. The last thing we did was head to the newly placed New Kids on the Block star on the Walk of Fame.

The next morning we were on our way to Nevada. Vegas here we come!!!