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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

California State of Mind- California and the Canyons

California State of Mind- California and the Canyons

Dear Friends and Family,

Six days have passed since the arrival of our trip members. As each day passes we have seen even the shyest of our trip members opening up to other trip members, staff, and new experiences.

The official day of the trip members’ arrival just so happened to be Jack’s birthday. Staff members, with a little help from our international TMs, decorated the section of the San Francisco International airport with a poster and various colors of balloons. Once all trip members arrived, everyone sang happy birthday to him.  At the hotel we played some icebreaker games outside so we could start to get to know our fellow trip members and then checked in. After settling in we boarded the bus and departed for downtown San Francisco. Once in the city we rode one of the famous trolleys and made our way into China Town. Upon our arrival, each group explored the many shops that this area had to offer and most went to see the fortune cookie factory which is well known in both San Fran and around the world. Later we met up for dinner at Oriental Pearl, a Chinese restaurant that served us delicious Asian delicacies like sweet and sour chicken, stir-fried vegetables, rice and noodles. After a long day of travel,  getting to know one another and exploring the city we made our way back the hotel for a good night sleep.

After eating breakfast at the hotel, the trip headed to Pier 33 to board the ferry leaving for Alcatraz. Trip members listened to the audio guide and walked through the old prison on the island. They walked in silence as the voices of old inmates and prison guards transported them back in time to an era when the prison was fully functional. After the tour the ferry dropped us off on the mainland and we headed for lunch at Pier 39 where many trip members enjoyed Boudin’s famous clam chowder in a sour dough bread bowl. Our second day concluded with some great food at the Metreon and a few rounds of bowling at a local bowling alley.

The follow day we made our way to the most photographed bridge in the world, the Golden Gate. Most trip members have never seen the bridge before. Walking across it as the fog rolled through the bridge and into the bay was an experience for many of them. This was followed by walking down Lombard Street, one of the windiest streets in North America. That night we went to AT&T to catch the San Francisco Giants vs. their rivals from across the bay, the Oakland Athletics. During the 7th inning stretch and after singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame, we got the entire section where we were sitting to sing happy birthday to Ben who was turning 17 that day.

The next day we said goodbye to San Fran and traveled to Lake Tahoe where trip members took turns water skiing, wake boarding and tubing. After a few hours relaxing and chilling on the beach, we headed to setup our first campground and spend a fun night around the fire!

The next day we headed to the south fork of the American River to go white water rafting where we paddled our way through rapids with taunting names like the meat grinder, rock garden, and the troublemaker. These rapids got everyone giggling and smiling with joy as we bumped and bobbled our way down them. After having lunch, we rode the Woodwind Cruise that traveled across Lake Tahoe and back, a perfect way to end a day full of thrills.

We just spent two relaxing days in Ventura and by the time you read this, we will be enjoying the many different attractions that  Universal Studios has to offer. We can’t wait to see our trip members grow more in these upcoming days- and share the fun that we are having out here in California.

Until next time.

The Westcoast Blogger