San Carlos to San Bruno to Napa to Lake of the Pines to Santa Barbara to LA to Munich…..

Thursday, June 28th, Napa: Breaking out of the gravitational pull of the safe, suburban lifestyle

While we still feel the lightest of gravitational pull, still being on the outer edges of the Bay Area, we have broken from Palm Ave orbit! The physical journey has begun! We shed the pets and handed over the keys to the house. Django the bearded dragon is now at the San Francisco based Tree Frog Treks “reptile resort and spa” where he will be boarding for the year. Lola has gone down the street to stay with the Douglas Family – two boys and a Weimaraner dog named Keoki – until she moves across the street to the Gottsman/Kesslers in August. She will do fine as she already knows both of these families well. I cannot believe how much stuff we crammed into the Prius, in addition to our travel bags, we have tile for Gigi’s parents kitchen remodel and bags of clothes and stuff we may still need during this first week travelling in California. The boys were cocooned in the back seat.

Our first stop on our global tour was… SAN BRUNO. We wanted to visit my cousin’s Matt and Kelly Lethin and see their new baby Colin. Kelly baked us cookies and had fresh sliced peaches out. It was a short visit, but we enjoyed seeing them again very much. It was sweet to see Jordan and Justin smiling and giggling around the baby – who smiled at every funny face they made.

We hit our first asteroid field on the 101 at Ceasar Chavez exit. It took almost an hour to get across the Bay Bridge, but I really did not mind as I had the San Francisco skyline to look at, and I appreciated the chance to have the extended time to take it all in one last time. The second asteroid field in the East Bay was definitely not welcome, first off, the view eastbound on Hwy 80 sucks and I was getting tired of moving at bicycle speed. It took almost 3 hours to travel the 70 miles to Napa today, but we made it. We had dinner with Gigi’s parents and spent the night in the Napa Embassy Suites.

Friday, July 29th – Sunday, June 1st: Rocklin/Lake of the Pines

Although we have been planning this trip for almost two years, it feels like we are so rushed and not ready to leave. There are so many loose strings to tie up. I can’t believe how hard it is to shut down an established suburban life. We can’t just blow things off, because we are coming back, it feels like everything must be attended to and in proper working order, ready to be picked up upon our return.

A major loose string is Gigi’s parents house. The kitchen remodel is not done. Gigi spent Saturday with the contractor while I cleared out the garage of the estate sale leftovers – two trips to Goodwill, two trips to the dump. The house is getting close to being in a rentable state, but still it is a big, fat loose end that we are having to walk away from. Tom and Michele get to finish it up.

We had an early 4th celebration with the Luna’s – Anthony, Julie and Alec. Evening barbeque and TNT safe/sane fireworks out on the street.

Sunday, July 1st – Tuesday, July 3rd: Santa Barbara Mini-vacation

We saw our last San Francisco road signs on our way down I-5 – we have finally broken completely from the gravitational pull of the Bay Area. We always take the chance to spend a day or two in Santa Barbara when we travel down to LA. We stayed at the Fess Parker Double Tree resort. This was a great choice, as it has a large pool and seems to be a favorite European tourist destination. Lots of foreign languages heard, Jordan and Justin made friends in the pool with two Norwegian lads. Dinner on the pier, shopping on State Street, relaxing by the pool. This was our first chance to relax. The last two weeks have been hectic!

Tuesday July 3rd – Thursday July 5th, Los Angeles: Final countdown

Whether all systems are go, and really a few systems feel to be short-circuited, we are in countdown mode. The 40+ item To-Do list is down to under 10 items. We are staying with the Gildermans – Scott, Lynda, Sam and Nora. More pool time for the boys, a chance for in-person (not Skype) music lessons from Uncle Bill, a 4th of July BBQ. Ready, Steady, GO! The two To Do items not done on our list – ‘buy Bob shoes’, and ‘figure out iTunes sharing with new laptop’. Not to worry, I do not enter upon this journey a penitent, barefoot pilgrim. Gives me a reason to do some shopping once we get there, and to play with the new tech toy. BTW – the boys love, love, love their new iPads. However, Gigi and I already see we are going to have a lot of work convincing them those iPads are not just game platforms.

Friday, July 6th, Munich Airport: First European stop 

Two hours after we woke up in the plane it was already 5 PM when we landed in Munich. Wow! What a beautiful terminal we find ourselves in. Of course very clean. Lufthansa provides free coffee/hot chocolate stations. The smokers are confined to glass boxes to enjoy their vice. Flight 2 hours late. We did not eat in this terminal. A real mistake, the restaurants looked good. We only had breakfast on the plane this morning, some Pringles for a snack, and a strange evening snack on the plane to Sweden – prosciutto with fruit and pudding. Gigi was resting, the boys were playing games on their iPads. I can’t believe how well the boys are travelling. I hope this holds for the next 364 days of the year.