Saturday, August 13, 2011

Trip to Livermore, CA.

Okay, so now that the secret is out, I can blog about our first trip to Livermore, CA. AKA - our new home! bittersweet. But I'll save the emotions for another post...

Russ and I took separate flights out of Wilmington, but both ended up in Oakland about the same time--Russ a little before me so he had time to get the rental car and all that good stuff.

Then we drove the 20-30 minutes to Livermore and found our hotel. I spent a lot of time here. Alone. And was it ever glorious! I mean, I love my kids and husband and all, but sometimes all a girl needs is 12 hours, an empty hotel room, some HGTV, a good book, comfy pillows and a sparkling pool out back. I won't lie though, by the end of the day, I was missing my loves.

Anyways, we got in in the early afternoon, so we checked in and went in search of food. Found a great brewery downtown (which is sooo cute!) and ate outside. It was SO nice, not muggy, not hot, not cold, no And there were people and families walking all around. Lots of very cute shops and fun looking places.

The next day was Sunday. Drive around day! We love just getting in the car and getting lost and trying to figure out where we are again. It definitely helps us get a lay of the land a bit easier. We ended up out of town, down a two-lane road and stumbled upon this:

Can anybody guess what that is? It's the General Electric San Jose nuclear reactor! We were driving along and Russ goes, "...this looks familiar. HEY! I KNOW WHERE I AM!" It was pretty neat.

And this was on the other side of the road, across from the reactor. For anyone that knows me, open fields and cows are my kind of thing. Hehe. Plus the early morning fog made everything just kind of nostalgic.

Livermore is big wine country. There are wineries everywhere on the outskirts, and are they ever gorgeous!

So all of this happened Sunday morning...around 6am. The problem was that we were still on Eastern Standard Time and I underestimated how much Californians enjoy their mornings--both Livermore and Pleasanton (the neighboring town) were ghost towns come 7:30am!! We ended up finding a Denny's (an empty one, at that), as nothing opened until after 10am!

So, me needing some new shoes and other randomness, we ended up at Wal-Mart...which was closed. We ended up waiting around for it to open.

Then we drove around some more and hit up the Livermore Farmer's Market. I wanted to check out the Pleasanton one, since I'd heard it was amazing. Livermore's was definitely pretty small, but offered some AMAZING fruit. One vendor was offering organic peaches, plums, nectarines and strawberries for $1.99/lb. After trying these and eating nearly all of them...we got more and headed out. I was so happy to see many roadside vendors--everything from local mangoes to tamales.

We drove out of town a ways and found the local state park, with a beach! Not the kind of beach we're used to whatsoever, but it'll definitely do. It's not too cold. I do miss the sand though--these are all pebbles.

HAHA, the geese. Ohhhh the danged geese. So, the first day we were there, the hotel we stayed at was near a golf course/park. There was a little pond there with a small flock of geese. They were incredibly tame as they would walk right up to people, expecting food. Well, Russ dared me to get out of the car and run at them and scare them all. Sigh. So I did. What I DIDN'T see were 4 baby geese (much smaller than the ones in the photo below). Their momma was NOT happy with me. Needless to say, I shrieked and sprinted in a zig-zag pattern back to the car where Russ was banging his fist on the steering wheel in hysterics.

That will be the last dare involving wild animals that I accept, thankyouverymuch.

ANYWAYS. So this state park had some walking trails that we checked out. It was so nice to be able to hike along at our own pace (instead of our kids's snail pace). Although what did we talk about?? Walking with our kids at a snail's pace along the trails in the future... We threw dirt clods at the bridge though and talked about all of the stuff we'd seen and our options. Pretty fun.

This was the view from the top of the bridge. There's a campground there at the bend in the river.

Headed back to Livermore, we came across a caravan of cars parked alongside the road, all with their trunks open. Then we saw this guy carting his RC airplane across the road. Russ had been talking about wanting an RC plane for quite awhile (little did he know, I'd ordered him one for Father's Day), so we had to pull over and watch. It looked pretty fun!

Russ decided he needed to spiff himself up a bit before his big interview the next day. While he got spiffed, I got sushi. YUM!

The Big Day!! This dude was more nervous than I'd seen him in years. I was so proud of him!

Russ's interview was from 7:30am-5pm. So as mentioned earlier, I had a bit of "Me Time," which was pretty awesome. I was excited to be able to wander around, check out the local public transportation...spend a day out and about. So here's our hotel.

And here's my new shoes. Note: New Shoes. New shoes + exciting adventures walking all over town does NOT equal fun.

Best of both worlds: The dessert-like climate I was born and raised in, with the flowers and palm trees of NC.

This reminds me of home. Is that sad? lol Either way, I dig it.

Walked myself (painfully) to a park close by. Watched kids play on the toys while the moms chatted underneath the gazebos and sat and crocheted Brooklyn a bag.

After the park, I limped back home. It was lunchtime and I was starving--but had no money, and everything close to me was stuff I couldn't eat. Lovely. Thankfully, I had some peaches and cashews left in the room. It was then that I found out how crappy cashews make me feel. I spent the next 4 hours curled up in bed, listening to HGTV. Fun, huh? Then, as I was feeling a bit better, I decided to head to the pool and read my book. Around 5, I headed back up to the room, expecting Russ to be there.

The phone rang and it was Russ telling me he'd be there in 10 minutes to pick me up to go out to dinner with some future co-workers. Great. I'd been sick and sweaty all day...oh well. Anyways, they took us to Uncle Yu's, which was delicious. It was interesting to get some inside perspective on Sandia.

We went back to the hotel and got changed and Russ decided that he was exhausted and would like to go see a movie. So we headed back downtown (that building on the far side is Uncle Yu's), got some frozen yogurt and went to the water feature downtown to watch the kids play in the water.

Hit the theater for some veg-time, then went home and promptly passed out--9pm is way too late for these old farts.

Our last morning there we got up to see the sunrise (and check out the morning traffic). We were there at no joke, 5am. There were 3 of these little guys hanging out on the hill we found to park on.

There are also tons of wind turbines all along the hills. These are pretty small ones.

And this is what 5:30am traffic looks like, heading from inland CA towards the coast. Can you say YUCK?! Everyone we talked to, or tried to talk to, about Livermore said, "Oh we don't live here." EVERYONE commutes. I don't get it. I mean yes, it's cheaper if you live further out (hence all of the traffic), but wow. No thanks. Besides that, the schools in Livermore and Pleasanton are top notch, or so I'm told. So we're going to try to do our best to rent there, close to a school and Russ's work so we can do lots of walking/biking.

Anyways, we had to fly out around noon on Monday. We got on the airplane and the power went out. So they had to "jump" it, I guess. Well, after it's "jumped", it takes 20 min. for their stuff to start working again. Finally got everything up and running annnnnd the power goes out again. They need to find a new power source... We missed our connection and people were getting on and off the plane and geez, what a headache.

They finally got everything up and running and we made it to Pheonix, where we got tickets for our next flight...8 HOURS LATER. We got to know that airport really well. Lots of looking around, riding the people movers, we both got in some naps, I got to catch up with a good friend on the phone, looked at all of the shops, and spent a good chunk of our time at The Barfly. Fun stuff. We finally got home at 8am or so the next morning. We went home, Russ got dressed and went to work. Poor dude. the plan is to leave next Saturday (the 20th) and we'll be taking a 30 day road trip to get to Livermore. I'm going to attempt to do a daily or perhaps bi-daily blog post to keep it all documented. Words cannot express how excited we are for the trip. As for the move itself? Ehhh...trying not to think about it. A "trip" doesn't sound so permanent. We're leaving a lot behind here...lots and lots of memories. But like I said, that's for another post.

So if you want to see what a 30 day camping road trip across America looks like, stay tuned!!

No comments:

Post a Comment