GrabersGoWest: First Glimpse of San Fran

We woke up early again the next morning excited about reaching San Francisco by noon.
These boys were champs about travelling together ( no DVD player, gasp)
They played bunny burrow, yeah, don't ask us but DH and I heard it over and over
every single day. And it kept them FULLY entertained for most of the driving.
We did have ipad mini backups and plenty of books for reading,
but they mostly played "Bunny Burrow" - it is a multi-level game apparently.

On this drive we saw a lot of wine country.
Many wineries, vast vineyards, rolling hills
and valley between mountains covered in grapevines.  It was Sonoma Valley,
we did not make it to Napa.

No, wine drinkers here though, so we buzzed onto our final stopping point

When GPS showed the Golden Gate Bridge, we all cheered!

It did not disappoint.

I'm going to go ahead and brag on DH here.
He is a crazy good driver. 
 We traveled over 1300 miles all on the GPS from my phone (it did awesome)
and the only trouble we had was deep in the redwoods near Leggett, CA and the GPS was only 1 block off.  I would have lost it driving in the CA traffic, but he just cruised right through.

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GrabersGoWest: Avenue of the Giants

After the lighthouse, we headed on south on Highway 101 in search of the 
Avenue of the Giants.
DH was particularly  mesmerized by the giant redwood trees, and our travels allowed
for another day before we were scheduled in San Francisco.
We had made a checklist and it included elk;
we came upon little area in a valley right on 101
 near an Indian reservation that had elk crossing signs
 (didn't mention it to the boys, what were the chances?) 
We saw the traffic slow down and there were a few elk off to our right (females)
and I spotted these (males) just off the road.
They were very pretty close, very docile and grazed slowly. 
Lots of viewers like us and they were not startled by our moves much at all.
 Much larger than deer, these were much easier to get near as well.

 The caretaker of the lighthouse told us about Samoa Cookhouse, how his daughters come to see him and drive 1.5 hours south the eat here.  It fit right into our plans for a late afternoon meal
to fill us up for the rest of the day.
It was worth the little jaunt off 101 to find.
Again, full of history about the loggers that once dined there. 
 Hundreds of them, dined family style for all the meals.  
The menu hadn't changed much the waitress said 
and the people next to us were locals headed to IN the following week!

Talk about a slice of bread.
This was the lone place that had free refills on drinks (so foreign to us Midwestern folk).
Actually, it had free refills on everything.

ffffgggfhuhhjjujujhyyh - ergh Sam

Sam loved the soup, and Joe, well he hit a bone.
Yep, he hit a bone on his chicken and it made him cry, could not figure out why until I saw his loose tooth was bleeding - it knocked it very loose and we pulled it before we left the parking lot.
Joe said he was going to hit a bone with every loose tooth, ha!

This sign was north of this point, but wanted to include it
because it was one of first with our final destination on it

About an hour south, we found the Avenue of the Giants.
It was worth the stop and exploration. 
 It had been a day since we saw the trees, 
and these seemed bigger, ha.

One tooth lighter.

This grove had several fallen trees, available to climb on and explore.

 Joe really liked helping DH carve our name in the tree.

I know it's blurry but kids get a geunine smile from us.
We gave Sam the camera to take pics of the top of the tree trunk he had climbed,
so he took our picture too.

 Fallen redwood root.

 Just around the corner we found a drive thru tree, found another close to our overnight hotel too.
We put the sunroof to good use, DH loves those.

This was a cute little stop, we explored these houses too.
All for $6

 After a little battle with the GPS and a nice local man's directions, we found our fly by night
hotel in the rough.
We called the night before to find a place and sure enough, he had just the room for us.
If we could come after 4 and arrive by 10 because he went to bed.
His unit had a kitchenette and 2 singles for the boys.
He didn't have a TV though, would that be ok?
That also meant there was no air (although he didn't tell us that).
We booked it and were pleasantly surprised.
It was quaint and charming, but sort of like cabin camping for the night.
Which was fine by our crew.
We had hot dogs and ice cream.
Kids dream, right?

I told you it was charming!

 And these units filled up pretty quickly!
 The little grassy courtyard, was super peaceful, cool and no bugs
and a couple friendly resident cats

 This lasted 3 seconds

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