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California

We left for San Jose, California May 30th. The flight from DFW to San Jose, California, was 3 hours and 30 minutes. Adeline is now 17 months and slept most of the flight.. I booked the mid-size SUV through Hurtz at the San Jose Airport. They also supplied Adeline’s car seat. I am sad she has outgrown her Doona stroller, but we used her new Doona Liki Trike instead and loved it. It compacts, so it makes it perfect for traveling.


After picking up our curbside order from Wal-Mart, we headed to eat at EMC raw bar on Santana Row. The service was excellent, and the food was fantastic. After we ate, we headed to Yosemite. The Tanya Lodge is 3 hours from San Jose. Yosemite Entrance is 15 minutes from Tenaya Lodge. We arrived at the lodge around 8:30 p.m and ordered room service. The food was delicious. The hotel is beautiful and they have a pool with underground music.


I pre-booked the Yosemite Park Entrance; it is a reservation-only entrance. So We headed to the park at about 10 a.m. To our surprise, there was no wait at the Yosemite National Park entrance. It is so beautiful, and the air is crisp and clean. Before you see the dome, there is a tunnel. The first view out of the tunnel is breathtaking.

We hiked to Vernal Falls, which took about an hour round trip from where we parked. We left Yosemite around 5 p.m. There was no phone service in the park, so I got lost trying to find the lodge and drove an hour out of the way. I stopped at a motel and connected to their WiFi for directions back to Tenaya Lodge. Luckily, Adeline slept the whole drive.


We left for the Sequoia National Park around 10 a.m. It is a 3-hour drive from Yosemite; I also pre-purchased the tickets for Sequoia. There was no wait at the gate, so we drove straight to the Giants. It is an awing experience to stand next to something with so much history. The General Sherman, is the largest tree in the world and is located in the Sequoia National Park.

Adeline and I saw a bear on one of the Trails. The Park Rangers were nearby, so I wasn't afraid. The bear was tagged, and the park rangers monitor them.



After exploring Sequoia, we headed to Ragged Point Inn. It is a 4-hour drive to the coast and Inn. The room was very nice, and the view was perfect. California has such drastic scenery changes; it is truly amazing.




At Ragged Point Inn, all of the rooms face the coast. They have a gas station, Coffee Bar, and Convenience store. The gas price here is about 8.00 a gallon as of 6/1/22. The breakfast was delicious, and the orange juice was some of the best we've ever had. We left Ragged Point and headed toward Hearst Castle. We stopped by Elephant Seal Vista Point in San Simon on the way. The view of all the Seals was spectacular, the smell not so much. Seeing so many massive elephant seals in one place is a wild sight. Unfortunately, the Hurst Castle has 160 stairs on the tour, so we decided against that. We headed to Monterey, with many stops along the coast. The drive from ragged point to Monterey is just unbelievably beautiful. The beaches have black sand around Ragged Point and white sand at Julia Pfeiffer State Park, 1-hour drive apart. I was a little disappointed that Julia Pfeiffer State Park was closed, due to safety. Luckily, we still had some great views of it from the scenic stop.





After many stops, we arrived in Monterey. We ate at Chart House for Dinner, and reservations are accepted. The food was delicious, and they had a great ocean view. I ate prime rib, and Adeline had chicken strips. I was really impressed by her homemade chicken strips, they were really good. We saw two dolphins and a seal from our table.

After, We checked into Monterey Tides Hotel. The hotel sits directly on the beach, with perfect sunset views.




The following day, we ate at Schooners and then checked out the Monterey Aquarium. Adeline loved it. They have a tempered glass dome in the penguin area where you could be close to them. Adeline was a little suspicious of one of the penguins being so close. They have over 200 exhibits and 80,000 plants and animals. It is an amazing aquarium. We relaxed, watched Secrets of Dumbledoor, and ordered Doordash that evening.


On Saturday, we checked out 17 Mile scenic route and Point Lobos. We stopped at the Spanish Beach and The Lone Cypress on the 17 Mile Drive. It is a beautiful drive. At Point Lobos, we walked the China Cove, Bird Trail. Adeline and I also checked out Gibson Beach. There were about six Seals in China Cove. The water is a green-blue, with patches of dark seaweed; it is so pretty.

After Point Lobos, we stopped at Carmel by the sea and did some shopping. Carmel has beautiful flowers and boutiques. We were going to eat dinner there, but there was a lack of high chairs available.

We decided on dinner at Monterey Tides, and I wasn't disappointed in our decision. The food and sunset were terrific.




On Sunday, our final day in Monterey Bay, we visited Carmel River State Beach. It is located in a beautiful garden neighborhood. Adeline is not a fan of the sand between her toes yet. (My arm was killing me after the trek). We then headed back to San Jose. It is an hour drive from Carmel to San Jose.

We drove straight to Hayes Mansion and checked in. The air is sweet like honey suckles on the Mansion grounds. They also have a lovely park right across. We walked through it and saw lots of beautiful little black and brown squirrels.


For dinner, we ate at The Grill on the Alley. The food was wonderful, but the service was a bit strange.

After dinner, I packed up for the flight the following day.


We flew out at noon, and arrived back at DFW around 5 p.m.


I am genuinely amazed by California and its beauty. It is truly breathtaking, From the Waterfalls to the Giants and coast. I feel fortunate to have seen its beauty with my own eyes, and I hope Adeline feels the same.