PRE-TRIP REPORT This summer my cousin & his girlfriend are coming out from Spain for about two weeks, and so we've planned some fun things to do while they are here. I thought I would put our itinerary here, and then do my trip report with pics as we go along since we're going to be visiting a few places. CAST Mary Jo - Me, a 49 year old with two grown kids. Besides Disneyland, I love nature, and Yosemite is probably my most favorite place in the world, and then a little town in the north of Spain called Porrúa, where my grandfather was born Kelly - my 20 year old daughter, who has inherited my love for travelling and looking for adventure. Her friends call her 'the historian' because she likes to take a lot of pictures, and I'm looking forward to seeing what she captures Arturo - my 30 year old cousin (actually, he's my cousin's cousin, but we may as well be related) who comes from Gijón, Spain. He has a dental practice there, but is taking time to come to the States. This is his 5th visit, I think, and his 3rd to California. He loves the States. Patricia - Arturo's beautiful girlfriend who doesn't speak a lick of English. But, she's sweet, and has a great attitude for adventure. I think this is her 3rd visit to the States, and 2nd to California. Good thing I'm fluent in Spanish since I'm sure Arturo & I will be doing a lot of translating. Nick - my 21 year old son, who will be joining us on our California adventure trip. He loves San Francisco, and is looking forward to another trip to that city. Yasmin - Nick's lovely girlfriend, who at this point is coming along on our California Adventure trip. THE VACATION BEGINS 27 Jul - Monday Arturo & Patricia will arrive in the afternoon, and we will probably go visit Redondo Beach. Arturo loves Tony's Fish Market, and he'll be pretty disappointed when he learns that they consolidated back into Old Tony's and in that spot is now a French Japanese restaurant. So, I guess we'll either eat at Old Tony's or Cheesecake Factory down in Hermosa Beach. We'll decide once we get to that day 28 Jul - Tuesday DISNEYLAND! Yup, Disneyland is the first thing on our agenda of fun. Arturo told me that Patricia loves Minnie, so we are starting our day at the Minnie & Friends breakfast. I was so tempted to get the PS for 7:30am, but decided to actually get it an hour later since no one but me is an early riser. We will be spending the whole day at the park with 1-day hoppers for them, and will finish up with Fantasmic Dessert Buffet @ 10:30. It is going to be one busy day for us! 29 Jul - Wednesday I am taking pity on everyone and letting them sleep in. I imagine that after a day at Disneyland commando style, they will need to sleep, plus, they might have some jet lag. Once they get up we're either going to go play in Los Angeles (observatory maybe?) or go to the beach. Choices are Redondo Beach, Dockweiler, Newport Beach, or Crystal Cove, with dinner at Beachcombers... CAR TRIP TO MONTEREY, SAN FRANCISCO, & YOSEMITE 30 Jul - Thursday LEAVE FOR MONTEREY Hopefully, we will be on the road early. I plan to take the 101 and Hwy 1 up to Monterey, stopping along the way for lunch and see anything that might be interesting. I don't want to stop for too long, though, since I really want to get to Monterey. We have reservations at the BW Victorian Inn, which is in the Cannery Row area, and within walking distance to the Aquarium, Cannery Row, and Fisherman's Wharf. They have cheese & wine every afternoon there. There's no pool, but that's okay since it'll probably be too cold to swim anyway. ha ha 31 Jul - Friday Spend the day in Monterey visiting the Aquarium, Cannery Row, & Fisherman's Wharf. We may also go to 17-Mile Drive, if there is time. 1 Aug - Saturday Leave early for SAN FRANCISCO so that we can play in the city. We want to visit the Golden Gate, Fisherman's Wharf, maybe Alcatraz, ride the cable car, etc. We're going to be staying at a hotel near Fisherman's Wharf, so it's within walking distance 2 Aug - Sunday Either spend the day at San Francisco or NAPA VALLEY. I'd like to visit a couple of wineries, but Nick is concerned that we won't have enough time in San Francisco, so plans are still up in the air for this day. 3 Aug - Monday Drive to YOSEMITE and visit Mariposa Grove. We are staying in a cabin at Redwoods in Yosemite, so since we'll be on the western end of the park we're just about 15 minutes from Mariposa Grove. I hope to take the tram to the end of the road, and then walk back. Another option is to visit the other grove of sequoias 4 Aug - Tuesday Spend the day in YOSEMITE We will be visiting the valley and Glacier Point. We MIGHT go up to Glacier Point late in the afternoon to watch the sunset and stay for evening, but not sure. The moon will be bright. I was up there once when the moon was barely visible, and the beauty of the night sky is almost indescribable. 5 Aug - Wednesday Travel home, probably via SEQUOIA. It's about a 3-hour drive from Yosemite to Sequoia, so we might head up there to go see the General Sherman and have a late lunch at Crescent Meadows. We're going to get home pretty darn late on Wednesday. 6 Aug - Thursday REST DAY I am sure we'll be sleeping in. We'll also probably wash clothes, etc., and might go to the beach, or just hang around the house until late GRAND CANYON - THE LAST ADVENTURE 7 Aug - Friday GRAND CANYON Yup, we're off again, and this time to the Grand Canyon. I am hoping to get a semi-early start so that we have time to go see the canyon before sunset. We're staying at a hotel at Tusayan (everything @ the Grand Canyon was sold out), which is just a mile from the entrance. Apparently there are shuttles that go from Tusayan to the south rim, so we can either drive or take the free shuttle. 8 Aug - Saturday We are going on an all day adventure from 6am to 6:30 (ha ha - my cousins are going to want to kill me) on the Grand Canyon River Adventure, which includes a plane ride to Lake Powell, 4-wheel drive through the canyons there, a boat ride down the river for 4.5 hours, and a ride in a comfy bus back to the GC airport. This tour is an all day excursion, but looks like a lot of fun. I bet more than one in our group will sleep on the way back. 9 Aug - Sunday My cousins want to visit the Skywalk, and in investigating it, it looks like it's going to be a challenge to visit. Right now it looks like we will go, and so we'll drive there in the morning, and if we make it on time (I doubt it) we'll take one of the busses into the Haulapai Reservation, and if we miss the last bus at 10:30am, we'll drive ourselves. There is a 14-mile stretch of dirt road, so we'll be driving 20-25 mph to get there. It will be an interesting adventure if we do it, and if we do, we'll probably spend another night in the area or Las Vegas before heading home 10 Aug - Monday Rest at home day. This is the last full day that my cousins will be here, so they might want to go shopping, might want to sightsee, or might want to sleep! 11 Aug - Tuesday This will be the last day we can spend with my cousins on our awesome 2009 Summer Vacation. Luckily, they don't leave until late afternoon, so there will be plenty of time to pack and catch up. --------------- So, those are our plans for a fun vacation this summer. I'll be posting more if plans change, and then will be our Trip Report.