Monday, January 21, 2013

Christmas in California

For Christmas 2012 Erin and I took a trip out to California to see friends and family.  We were able to find a flight directly from Denver to Fresno, CA.  Through a coincidence of scheduling Amy, Kevin, and Nora were flying in to Denver a few hours before we were scheduled to leave.  This made it possible for us to drive out to the airport in Erin's car, park it in short-term parking, and then hand the keys to Amy and Kevin in the airport.  We had a bit of a bumpy flight, but were soon in Fresno where my parents had driven to pick us up.

For the next several days we spent time with my parents and Michael enjoying delicious meals and good company.  There were several games of dominoes and a lot of time to relax and read.  The weather was a bit wet, so we didn't get out too much, but there was often a warm fire crackling in the fireplace to keep us warm.  It was also fun to play with my parent's rescued kitten, Bella.

After Christmas, Erin and I drove out to Pismo Beach on the coast.  Before leaving town though we had lunch with our friends, Chris and Katie, who live out there.  They recommended several places for us to eat and places to see.  One of the places we really enjoyed was the Cracked Crab.  The main dish was crab and they gave us all the necessary tools to enjoy the fresh legs.  It was a lot of work, but also fun and very tasty.

There were so many things that we enjoyed doing out in Pismo.  Our first night, after arriving at our hotel we found a stairway leading down to the beach and walked down the beach to town enjoying the sunset and the sound of the waves.  On our next day we enjoyed a creek-side walk before getting a picnic lunch and heading out to one of the wineries to enjoy it with some wine.  On our last full day we started with a trip to the Monarch Butterfly Grove to see thousands of butterflies clumped on eucalyptus trees for winter.  After lunch and some shopping at the outlet mall we went out to Montana de Oro state park for a hike.  We found a beautiful cliff-side trail that took us past tide pools and breaking waves.  As the sun set we watched surfers trying to catch a few more waves.  That night we enjoyed a wine bar and an upscale Mexican restaurant.

The next day we reluctantly drove away from the coast and back to the Central Valley for the last of our trip.    Before returning to my parents we met up with our friends, Joe and Angie, in Bakersfield for a chance to see their baby, Sophia and have some lunch.  Finally we spent one last night with my parents after a nice Italian dinner.  The next day they drove us back to the airport and saw us off.

Fortunately, Amy and Kevin were in Denver for one more night, so once we landed they picked us up and took us back to Erin's parent's place where they were staying.  We were able to enjoy some final Christmas/New Year's celebrations before everyone had to head home.  It was wonderful holidays and I'm glad we could share it with so many friends and family.

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