I left my heart in San Francisco

Thursday, March 13, 2014
...high on a hill, it calls to me.

So I just returned from an Amazing trip in San Francisco. I'm still swooning.

I went there last October and was absolutely blown away; I just KNEW with every cell in my body that I had to return - and soon. So exactly 5 months later....

I went there with my Mom & Mitch this time. We packed so much fun into 5 days, it was exhausting yet so exhilarating! Ready for this?

We started off the trip by spending 1 night camping at a KOA campground in Santa Cruz which was so damn fun, let me tell you. I felt 13 years old all over again. These KOA campgrounds have so many activities; a bouncy pillow, 4 wheel bikes, game room, mini golf, oh and did I mention we stayed in an Airstream camper? YEAH.

Gosh it was so fun. We laughed til we cried, took a walk under the stars, made a fire, explored the beach down the road, played ping pong, rode those crazy bikes around while people gave us strange looks... Right up my alley, pun intended. I highly suggest KOA campgrounds for some good outdoor fun BUT only under one condition; you go off season. It is a camping wonderland for kids and I can imagine how batshit crazy it must get during the Summer.

So after our vintage camping adventure we checked out the Redwood trees. A lot of people don't realize that such GIANT trees exist. Or the fact that some of them are 3,000 years old. Just think of everything they've lived through....
Let me tell you, walking amongst them is like real life Ferngully.... or Avatar. You can drive cars through these trees. Exhibit A:

Insane, right? That's little ol' 5'2 me sitting next to the tree. This photo was taken at our favorite Redwood State Park, Big Basin. It's only an hour South of San Francisco. If you ever take a trip out there, it is an absolute MUST SEE. You will never look at trees the same, guaranteed.

The forest was a little chilly with all that shade caused by humongous trees SO next up we decided to drive the scenic Pacific Coast Highway and get some sun.

I don't even know what to say...

We live on such a beautiful planet. This is real life. How anyone can destroy or take for granted such beauty is beyond me.

Horses on the ocean? What?? It's real people. And as if this day could not have been anymore amazing, I made a new friend named Lonnie Campbell. Aka, 'Bunny Man'

This man has a spirit unlike any other. He has so little yet is so enthusiastic and appreciative of the little things in life... I just love him. He owns two rabbits and balances them on his head while greeting all the tourists at this viewpoint rest stop. He also sings and plays guitar. He also wears pajamas with cows & rainbows on them. He's also like, my favorite person in the world. We danced and sang and enjoyed life for a while at this gorgeous pit stop. If you ever take a trip to the Monterey/Santa Cruz area, be on the lookout for him! And tell him Stef said Hi.

After this lovely encounter we stopped at a cute coastal cafe/art gallery called Big Sur Coast Gallery & Cafe. It was the perfect afternoon pick me up! Coffee is top notch, the art is interesting to say the least, and the door greeter is their dog Max. Love it.

We spent the next day in the Monterey Bay area and god was it gorgeous. We decided the best way to see the place was by bike so we rented some beach combers for a few hours and off we went!

This was such a blast, I could have done it all through the night if they let me. Excellent way to take in the views while burning some cals! Monterey has designated bike lanes too so it's really stress free riding throughout the entire peninsula. Definitely going to rent one of these bad boys again when I return!
Here are some more pics from Monterey:

*Take note of the little seals on the beach!

We wrapped up the trip back in San Francisco with a classic visit to...drum roll please... Alcatraz.

 Ah yes. Alcatraz. Unfortunately, A huge tourist trap. I have to admit they sure do over hype that place. It was interesting to learn the history behind that infamous island and to hear tales from the prison, but honestly it was not nearly as spooky or 'badass' as they make it out to be. The prisoners were bank robbers and tax evaders. Come on! I thought it was high crime psychopaths like serial killers or terrorists. Nope. Not enough to satisfy my fright-loving mind. The island itself has beautiful gardens and lots of wildlife, so you don't even feel like you're at a prison. Of course until you walk inside.

There were a few spooky stories but nothing like I expected. I did get a heavy chest feeling while in the prison too. Picked up on the strong energy that once resided there. The prisoners were spoiled rotten though! They had top notch food, a giant library, college courses, a beautiful recreation yard overlooking the Bay. Yeah. Not what I thought Alcatraz was at all. Glad I went once but probably won't return...

We were all so exhausted by the end of this day that we decided to grab a bite to eat then call it a night. Mom left early the next morning and Mitch & I boarded the plane to CLT around noon. Jet Lag + Daylight Savings Time =

Another wonderful trip for the books! California is my favorite state to visit, hands down. The people, the environment, the food, it's fantastic. I can't wait to return. A large piece of my soul floats around that place...

Until next time, West Coast!

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