A California summer road trip

This summer, we decided to treat the kids with a cross-country road trip back to where we started from, and by that of course I mean, California. Can you hear it now? Our entire fam belting that song, surrounded by poppy-lined roads as we cross the border into the state and cheers with our In-N-Out milkshakes?

In all reality, we evaded a wildfire by the hair of our chinny-chin-chins as we neared our last destination (Flagstaff, AZ) and hurriedly scurried cross the border, gave a little shout-out as we crossed the border (and a moment of silence for $7/gallon gas prices, wah!), and jammed down to Orange County so we could miss as much of the LA/OC traffic as humanly possible 😆

All things considered, I was so excited to come visit! There were friends, family, and so many things we’ve missed, and especially that refreshing ocean air as you frolic barefoot in the sand, warm sun on your back, watching that lingering fog just hanging a few miles away, giving off coolest summer breeze that I so adore. You know, just as an example.

I have to toot our horn here, because I’d venture to say that we have become top-notch road-trippers. James was the master of the driving domain, and of navigating the quickly-changing weather, which was especially dicey between Arkansas and Oklahoma. Luke trained and recruited the car as “red light/green light noticers”, calling out any remote shift of traffic lights. I came in with the reservation muscle, booking hotels and premium SUV’s at will (we’re welcome!). And then we all mastered eating on the fly and savoring stunning sunsets/sunrises.

We made our way from Atlanta to Memphis, Memphis to Amarillo, Amarillo to Flagstaff (so wished we could have stopped here), and then down to ye ole stomping grounds in Orange County, namely Costa Mesa. Family time was next level. We had so many great memory moments down at the beach, hanging around the house with grandma, aunties, uncles, and cousins, swimming, all the doggies, shopping and treats, pedicures, and movie nights. I mean.. these kids had so much fun. We also thoroughly enjoyed the fancy massage chair with all the bells and whistles, free to use at-will. My calves will never be the same.

Then we took the 101 up to Santa Cruz, our favorite route with all the sweeping ocean views. I feel like we’ve driven it hundreds of times, and if not, we’re probably close. Between jaunting back-and-forth when I was in school, different trips to visit family, vacation, etc. Many of them, James and I ♥️ And also, strangely, almost to the date when we had left just one year ago! As we neared our California hometown, I was curious how they’d take it all in. I was a little shocked at how much the kids still had every corner memorized down to the buildings and streets, even Emma and Jordy. We toured my mom’s newly-remodeled house, aggressively retrieved some of my favorite coffee around, and settled in.

In Santa Cruz, we visited with family, beach days and play dates with friends, long walks and sunsets on the beach just James and I, squeezed in some lengthy walks, park days, more family, and scored with multiple date nights(!).. such a highlight. Besides messing up my knee like a ding dong, this was a special time. I came away having great appreciation for the things I love about my ESSC roots (lol, that is strangely accurate), but also major love for our new phase and new town, and thankful to get to enjoy both. Although the long trip back (moment of silence for our stressful Chattanooga experience), crazy monster thunderstorms in the last hours of our trip, and mosquito bites upon our arrival home reminded us to stay humble.

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