Seeing America: California-Style

The moon setting over the Grapevine on our way up I-5 as we set out on our road trip at sunrise.

Last Thursday our family hit the road bright and early at o’dark-hundred for Northern California. Our sole purpose for even scheduling this trip was this:

Introducing Carter James, C's cousin's newborn son (one week old in this photo), who was the reason for our most recent road trip. T was ecstatic he got to hold the baby (don't worry, RMT'ers... I was behind the camera while C was nearby on the sofa).

Big congratulations to Cousin Samantha on the latest addition to the family! We are so glad we got to come up and meet him so early in his life, and we look forward to many more visits to come!

Early morning fog settling on a low point along I-5 as we headed North and hours away from home.

But another reason for the road trip really was just to get out semi-far away from home for a few nights somewhere other than here. Isn’t that what road trips are all about anyway?! And while we planned to visit with our cousins, we didn’t really plan much of anything else other than to go and see and do things nearby that sounded interesting and fun to us. Most of the time, that just meant simply looking out the car window at the fields and towns we’d pass along the way to other destinations. In fact, that carefree sentiment became a motto for this trip, as when our friends would ask us what we were doing up in this area, our standard response was simple: Seeing America.

The State Capitol building in Sacramento, California. While we didn't have time on this trip to get out and take a tour inside, there's always next time.

Please enjoy some of the photos we snapped along the way – mostly from the road – during our recent trip. Maybe they will inspire you to go out and see America closer to your home but far enough away from it to escape and explore something new yourselves, RMT’ers.

A trip to this area wouldn't be complete without at least driving by the University of California at Davis, AKA C's Alma Mater. Go Aggies!

T standing outside what used to be City Hall in Davis, CA, which is now a bar. Cheers!

When I texted this photo to a friend of mine from Yuba City (where we visited our cousins), she even asked what we were doing "up there." What else... we're seeing America!

Welcome to Yuba City!

Old Sacramento, CA.

More of Old Sacramento. I loved the boardwalk-style sidewalks throughout this entire area.

What's a trip to Northern California if you don't pan for gold?! This was out in front of the Sacramento History Museum in Old Sacramento.

And look-at-that! C finds GOLD! Well, OK, not really... but still, pretty cool way to let folks know if they have any idea what they're doing when it comes to panning for gold.

Sacramento River with the I Street Bridge in the background.

OK so allow me to interrupt the trip for a moment with a RMT tip: Aquadoodle is a must for your next road trip. This little device came in extremely handy during the longer stretches of driving and while waiting in restaurants. It's a water-based doodle pad where you fill the pen with water and the kid "draws" on the Aquadoodle "paper." Just a quick-dry in between and the kid can do it again and again! I must find more of these things as T couldn't wait for it to dry on the dashboard between doodles!

A lovely sushi lunch with friends in Fremont, CA, during our road trip in Northern California.

We are wise enough to play a LOT of the hotel points games, which means we were upgraded during our stay at the Newark/Fremont Hilton. That in part translated to a free dish of ice cream for T while C and I enjoyed our free drinks. I think that's the biggest dish of ice cream T's ever had anywhere! Cheers!

Welcome to Salinas, CA!

Salinas, CA, is home to the National Steinbeck Center. We were too early on this trip to head inside, but we'll definitely go next time as he is one of my all-time favorite authors.

The Madonna Inn along US-101 in San Luis Obispo, CA, is a legendary landmark. We did go inside here, so look for a blog post very soon about that fabulous experience!

Collins Market in Los Alamos, CA, was one of our gas-n-potty stops on our way home along US-101.

It really is an endless summer in Summerland, CA. Happy winter, RMT'ers!

The Cliff House Inn in Carpinteria, CA, is a spot I've always wanted to stay... maybe I'll get my chance on our next road trip!

Birds taking off over the beaches of Malibu, CA, along CA-1 (AKA PCH).

Malibu-hoo-hoo, our road trip comes to a screeching halt as we started to hit major traffic as we got closer to home. Can't wait to hit the road again soon, and I'll be sure to let you know when we do, RMT'ers!