An Entire Town for Kids at Mill View Ranch

Mill View Ranch, Camino, California

Whenever I travel with Athena, I always look for a park for her to play or a restaurant with an indoor play place. In El Dorado County, they have an entire old-west style miniature town made just for kids. It should be no surprise that despite the cold, I still made time for a visit with Athena.  Continue reading

Horsing Around at Drakesbad Guest Ranch

Sunset at Drakesbad Guest Ranch, Lassen Volcanic National ParkLast week during our northern California trip to Shasta Cascade area, we stayed in cabins, camped in tents, slept in a loft next to a river, hiked to mountain tops and deep valleys, explored caves, kayaked rivers, and had close encounters with birds and bats. There were tons of first time experiences and opportunities for adventure, but the best part of the trip was horseback riding at Drakesbad Guest Ranch. Athena rode on horses before but I have a feeling this is the one that she’ll remember.  Continue reading

Getting Away at Strawhouse Resorts

Strawhouse Resorts, Big Flat, CaliforniaI struggle with balance. Staying away from social media sometimes seems impossible. I say that I’m going to put my phone away or avoid using the Internet, but it’s an addiction. I like to plan a trip away from it all every couple months so I can get back to what’s really important – quality time with Athena. We spent a night at Strawhouse Resorts in Big Flats, California and with no WiFi, phone service, or even television, we had time to share some great moments together.  Continue reading

A Warm Welcome at Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding, California

Visit California Welcome CenterAthena and I have been exploring new areas of California every other month in the last year thanks to Visit California. Yesterday, we arrived in Redding, California and we had a hot, hot, hot day exploring the family-friendly activities in the area. We spent the better part of the day at Turtle Bay Exploration Park. There was way more to do there than I expected and Athena loved a surprise that waited for us in the animal section.  Continue reading

Crossing Devils Postpile Off My Bucket List

Devils Postpile, Mammoth, California
Over a decade ago, I visited Giants Causeway in Ireland and I was amazed with the thousands of hexagonal shapes that formed. I was so intrigued that I researched similar areas and found Devils Postpile in Mammoth Lakes, California. The monument features thousands of hexagonal basalt columns formed 100,000 years ago when a lava flow slowed and then cooled and cracked. It immediately went on my bucket list and yesterday I was finally able to cross it off.  Continue reading

Highlights From Our California Route 66 Road Trip

California Route 66 road trip

Starting in sunny Santa Monica and ending in the dramatic California desert near the Nevada border, Athena and I went on a California Route 66 road trip. Legendary Route 66, also known as the “Mother Road”, follows the strip of highway that was the main route for 20th century pioneers heading west in search of the California dream. With stops in Santa Monica, Hollywood, Pasadena, Victorville, Barstow, and Joshua Tree, I followed the historic route enough to get the true “Mother Road” feel and added a few worthy detours to fit my travel style. These were the highlights of our Route 66 road trip in California.  Continue reading

Complete Joy at Santa Monica Pier’s Pacific Park

Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CaliforniaWhen Darren and I first moved to California, I wanted to visit Santa Monica Pier before anything else. It is the end of Route 66 but the beginning of a new life for us. I had seen it on tv shows and movies but I never thought I would see it with my own eyes. When I did, it was as glorious as I had envisioned. Now, five years later, Athena had a similar experience at Santa Monica Pier.  Continue reading