2013 West Coast Trip: Northern California & Friends!

Despite the embarrassment that this post is coming over 2 months late (what happened to October?), I wanted to finish sharing our pictures and memories from our West Coast trip. Hope ya don't mind. :-)

We were especially excited for Saturday of our trip, because we had made plans to spend the day with some special people that we had become close friends with while they lived in KC. Mike and Emily are originally from California, but had moved to KC for college and had stuck around for awhile after they got married. We all became friends from church and we all got married within a month of each other. 
When they moved back to California last year, I was really sad because I really wasn't sure when we would see them again. :-( When I realized that we would be passing through the exact part of Northern California that they had moved to on our way down to San Francisco, I was SO excited to be able to hang out with them again!

So Saturday morning we woke up and had to clean up our little beach cottage and return it to the condition we'd found it. So we had leftovers for breakfast and did the dishes and cleaned up a little bit, and then hit the road to Arcata, CA!

We stopped one last time for gas and coffee in Brookings, Oregon, and then said "See ya" to Oregon and "Hello" to California.

We saw some more beautiful ocean and rocky coastline in not-so-sunny California.  

Never gets old!

Shortly into California, the 101 Highway turns into the Redwood Forest Highway and turns significantly inland and away fro the ocean. This highway is magnificent, really, because after long stretches of incredible Redwood trees and mountains,  it curves and swerves you back to the coast with more breathtaking views!

Neither of us had ever been to the Redwood Forest before, so it was seriously unlike anything we had ever seen. It's actually very frustrating to try and capture the Redwood Forest in pictures, because try as you might to get the right angle or detail, it just doesn't even come close to capturing the real life magnificence of the tallest trees you've ever seen in your life. It was like a storybook where you could imagine Robin Hood or Hansel & Gretel popping out at anytime. The day we were driving through it was also foggy (very common in Northern Cal., we learned), so it was very eery and surreal. Such a cool experience, and after several days of seeing the beach it was fun to be amazed at different kinds of views.

 When I talked to Emily on Friday night to make plans to meet up with them, she told us of a place to look for to pull off and see elk. I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting the "Elk Viewing Area" to be like, but we were completely blown away when we literally pulled into the parking lot and off to the right, less than 50 feet away was a HUGE elk rubbing its antlers against a tree. We were so weirdly close and it was so...wild.


So that was way better than we were expecting and a huge thanks to Emily for the heads up on the Elk Viewing area! If you are ever in Orick, CA, stop in and see my elk friends. 

We arrived in Arcata in the afternoon, and Emily &Mike showed us around their cute little town and took us to a super cute coffee shop called Jitter Bean and an amaaaazing jewelry/boutique shop called Holly Yashi. Then they took us to their incredible city park which was way more impressive than any city park I've ever been to. There were several hiking trails through the Redwoods and it was so cool. It was the first time we'd been able to be up close to the giant trees, so it was super impressive. And the weather was cool and cloudy and perfect to traipse around in the woods with a Pumpkin Spice Latte with fun friends!!

Some friends of ours from KC were flying into San Francisco for the same work meeting Loren had on Monday, so they drove up to Arcata to hang out with us, too! When they arrived we went and grabbed dinner at a local place called Stars Burgers with awesome hamburgers (and garlic fries. yum.) - this place was apparently the inspiration for the Krusty Krab in Sponge Bob. 

After dinner, we came back to Mike & Emily's house and played Taboo until late. It was so fun to hang out with friends and talk and laugh until we were slap-happy. We loved spending time with these friends so much! Thanks for being such great hosts, Emily & Mike!