Well a bit of sad news hit our family last week. My grandma King passed away. It was one of those expected things since she has been struggling with cancer for a while now. She was an amazing woman and was incredibly kind. Even to the very end she was always concerned for others before she was concerned for herself. I love her very much and am glad that she is finally with her sweet husband after 14 months of separation. Theirs was a marriage to pattern after. My grandmother wouldn't want my wife and I to have this melancholy weekend in her behalf so we decided to have a little fun as we traveled to Northern California for her funeral/memorial. Here is a full account of our trip.
Jennifer and I were supposed to leave on Friday morning at around 5:30 am so we could make it to our first destination for breakfast. We ended up leaving around 7:30 and had a brunch instead. After about 4 hours of driving we finally made it to Solvang,CA. This place was awesome. I wish we took more pictures of it though. Solvang is a Danish community north of Santa Barbra. As we were driving in we could see a ton of farms, an ostrich ranch, and tons of old Danish style buildings. I have been hearing about Solvang for years now and I was so excited to finally go. Jennifer and I ate at the Danish restaurant called Solvang Restaurant.
For the first time in my life I tried an Aebleskiver which is if you can imagine some kind of spherical pancake about the size of a tennis ball and doused with raspberry jam.
It was so good.
We also learned about Danish Days which is in the third weekend of September. This is a huge festival in Solvang where people make tons of Danish food and pass out free Aebleskivers on the streets. Jennifer and I want to go back this September. By the way thanks to Joey for suggesting the Aebleskiver.
After Solvang Jennifer and I drove to San Simeon to see Hearst Castle. This place was amazing. I was totally thunderstruck by every ornate detail at this place and I certainly gained a new found respect for W.R. Hearst and his family. I always focused on the negative things about this man, which are many, but failed to realize the great things he did for people and for the preservation of Art and history. He loved animals and had the worlds largest privately owned zoo. He also treated his employees who worked at the Castle well. By the way, Hearst never called it Hearst Castle. I was so upset that I forgot my camera and I apologize for no pictures of this place. I'll go back though because it is huge and I didn't come close to seeing the whole thing.
Next Jen and I traveled a little north and met these guys. These my friends are elephant seals He got mad I took his picture
It was so funny watching these guys fight. They could only fight for probably 10 to maybe 15 seconds if they had a lot of energy. Then they would rest for a few minutes and start up again.
At this stop there were a bunch of Squirrels that were so trusting of humans. I took this picture only about 6 inches from his face.
Nothing would prepare us for the next 70 or so miles of PCH. This was the most tranquil and beautiful drive my wife and I have ever taken. We have seen this drive in movies and commercials, but being there in person was a totally amazing experience. Here are some pics.
We highly recommend taking this ride. It is much longer but well worth the drive to see all of this amazing coast line.
Now this is where things got interesting. Jennifer and I decided to stay in San Francisco for our first night up north. Rebekah didn't want to hang because she was already hanging out with Sarah. So Jennifer and I went straight to our hotel. We looked on Travel Zoo for some cheep hotels and found a hotel in Japantown which was really well priced. It was called Hotel Tomo.
Hotel Tomo is an Anime themed hotel smack dab in the middle of Japantown. Jennifer and I really are not fans of Anime but we thought it would be funny to stay here for one night.
Here are some pictures of the lobby.
...And this is our room. The room had this Anime wallpaper and some creepy framed eyes that would stair at you.
Here is our bed
Jennifer and I really liked the deer.
...and we even got a bean bag!
All in all, Hotel Tomo was a lot of fun but I will probably never stay there again. It's a once in a life time thing you should experience though.
The Next day we went to Livermore where the funeral was going on. It was just held at my cousins house and only family and a couple of friends attended. Grandma King was cremated so after we reminisced, we went to the cemetery where my Grandfather was buried over one year ago to spread some of her ashes over his grave. I thought that was kind of strange and was praying the wind would not pick up but it ended up being much cooler than I thought it would be. Here is a picture of Grandpa King's grave.
The sandy specs on his headstone are some of the ashes of Grandma King.
Here are the pictures of that day. This first one is everyone who was there minus me.
Rhett & RIK
Grandma & Grandpa's surviving children
Me & Jen
It was a really wonderful day and we finished it off with games and Chinese.
The next day Jen and I went home. We stopped off in Gilroy, CA at a fruit stand and bought some fresh cherries and strawberries. These were some of the most amazing strawberries and cherries I have ever tasted. As a side note those days of chips and jerky on road trips are long gone.
A few hours later Jen said that she really wanted to go to a Mission on the way home. About ten minutes later we found this.
The San Miguel Arcangel Mission had to of been the least taken care of mission of the 21 California Missions. It was interesting and I learned some cool things but I think that Jen and I will be stoping by a better one soon.
Well that was our trip. We are going to miss Grandma King very much but we are glad she is with her husband again. Hopefully next time we go to Northern California it is for a happier occasion. All in all though we had a stellar time in Nor. Cal.