Erica and I have loved our time in San Francisco. We moved for jobs, for lifestyle, for a better climate :) But we found a place that's been more than special, its been our home. Its where Erica and I met, its where we fell in love, and had two wonderful children. Its also where we made so many lifelong friendships, living in San Francisco has shaped who we are, emotionally, and spiritually to the core. I'm so glad to have lived there, and we're very sad to see it go.
Life changes though, and not to put too fine a point on it, but no matter how much support we've gotten from our friends we miss our family. We want our kids to grow up knowing their cousins, their grandparents, and to have the opportunities they deserve. The Bay Area is wonderful in so many ways, but its not cheap, and if we really want to live in an urban environment SF is one of the most difficult places to live. Add to that issues like evolving US politics, health care, and other government services and ultimately we came to the difficult decision to make the move back to The Great White North.
YES that/s right, we're not just headed East, but North. To the Toronto area specifically. The house in SF is rented out, our stuff is on the way with the movers, and we have just hit the road! We're driving, nice and slowly across the country with the kids and a VERY full car.
There are (of course) lots of other details, including a wonderful goodbye party with our friends, and yes a few teary farewells with friends here but now we're resolved to look forward. We are genuinely excited to start this next chapter in our lives and today is the first step.
Today is Aug 19th, day 1. We're driving 229 miles today from San Jose, California to South Lake Tahoe, California.
Logistics first, before I forget them. We started out this morning headed north on I680, then after the Martinez Bridge (I think that's what its called), and we hit Fairfield we took the 80 E up through Sacramento, and onto the 50 in to El Dorado National Forest and to South Lake Tahoe. Since we didn't start until midday our timing was a bit skewed today/ Our plans will fall a bit more into place over the next day or two and I expect we'll be onto more of a routine so we can break up the driving into as manageable chunks as possible.
Traveling with a 3 and 1 year old will be a challenge. Even though our boys are great, and honestly very seasoned travelers Erica and I are both anticipating a few trying times. So we're doing what we can to mitigate the issue before any real problems arise. The kids have toys, snacks, and a lot of breaks planned. With a few exceptions we're planning on driving for around 4 hours a day. That should be totally manageable... right?
We're also planning a lot of stops, or maybe I should say we're not planning our stops but just letting them happen. We'll be staying with some of my family along the way at a few stops, and we've got hotels booked for the first two nights of this trip but other than that we're panning on playing it by ear as much as we can. Yes we have to cross the border into Canada on the 31st, and we have a general idea of where we'll stop for the evenings, but we don't know where we'll be spending our days. That's all part of the fun here. This is a real world, genuine adventure!
Our first stop occurred some 20 minutes in. Despite having been asked before we left, we received a frantic call of “I have to pee!” from the backseat... This isn't even the time it would've taken for us to get from San Jose back to our house in San Francisco. So somewhere around Danville we pulled into a Denny's parking lot and Alec got his relief. At least it wasn't in the car. Our younger one Calum was thankfully sleeping, so we decided to push through.
Our next stop was for a snack. Roadside fruit stands are always awesome, and today's was no exception. I think we must've been somewhere near Dixon, California; at least that's what it said on all the in house dried fruit and candy packaging. We picked up a few treats, dried pineapple (YUM!), some Sour Cherries for E, and a basket of strawberries for a snack later on.
We've decided that the kids need at the very least a time to run around everyday. They are VERY active boys and Sacramento seemed like a good idea. If anyone out there knows how the Yelp mobile app works please let me know cause I am having a tricky time figuring out what parks and playgrounds rate best (the full site seems so much better). Something I expect to be looking up a lot as we drive.
Ultimately I found a CBS Sacramento listing for their park picks and we took the coolest sounding one for their word. Rausch park may technically be in Citris Springs, and not Sacramento, but it really is very nice. The playground is guarded by these wonderful stone lions and there was some solid play equipment. The boys climbed and slid, and did exactly what we were hoping for the next hour.
Alec has definitely proven that he won't forget his friends in San Francisco quickly. When approached by Spanish speaking kids on the playground he immediately started singing Mandarin songs he had learned with Alyssa at daycare :)
After some playtime we sat down for a snack of strawberries. The kids love strawberries, and Alec is always considerable of his brother. He specially found all of the smallest ones in the basket and gave them to his brother. What a guy.
Back in the car and onto the road again. We had thought to stay in Reno tonight, but changed our mind, deciding that spending some time at the beach tomorrow morning then pushing through to Elko would make more sense. I'm glad of it too. This area is beautiful! Even from the road, as you get in closer to Tahoe the trees get bigger, the vista more majestic, and everything just feels cleaner.
We decided that tonight was an exception to the plan and stopped at a restaurant off the highway for dinner. That's one of the unfortunate tings we have to deal with here, these kids operate on their own time frame. When they are hungry they are hungry. And being stuck in a car with a grouchy 3 and 1 year old who haven't eaten is not a place I want to be. So into the belly of the beast we went and supped at one of the great American staples: Denny's.
To be honest dinner was pretty good. Its been a long and very hot day out here. It seemed like as soon as we left the Bay it got hot, REAL hot. Now though the sun is going down and so is the temperature.
Back in the car and the kids have a spirited game of hide and seek from the car seats. Its pretty adorable. They've both got their blankets and Calum is in his PJs so the only place they have to hide is under their blankets. They think this is hilarious!
Erica and I have just pulled up to South Lake Tahoe after some more spectacular hills going over the southern Tahoe mountain summit. We're a few minutes away from the hotel taking a quick stop at the Safeway for supplies. (We've been so busy getting ready for the move we didn't have time to even get groceries for the trip!)
I just saw the lake a minute or two ago and am certainly happy to be here. On our way. On our adventure. The kids have as expected fallen fast asleep in the backseat.
I'm looking forward to day 2. This is going to be fun.