Our California Adventure started off with a bang at the San Francisco Airport where Parker entertained the group with on the spot DJing….we knew this was going to be a trip to remember!
The trip started with the first of many celebrations: our Trip Director Jesse’s birthday! We all enjoyed the renowned San Fran cable car ride to China Town and surprised Jesse with his favorite cake! The trip members really enjoyed China Town. Olivia, Rachel and Victoria tried a variety of different teas at a specialty shop. Back at the hotel we were entertained by Chloe, Hannah Bl. and Zoe showing their impressive piano playing skills. Who knew so many of our trip members would be so talented!
The following day we took the ferry to Alcatraz. The tour was interesting because it delivered officers’ and inmates’ perspectives. Josh, Ashley, Matt L, Dylan, Sam R and Paula were extremely brave and voluntarily went into the solitary confinement cell. “It was dark but kinda fun,” Matt L remarked. We wonder if he would say the same thing after a few days like the inmates had to experience – we think not! Landon spoke to former inmate Robert Luke #118 as he was visiting to tell stories about his personal experience at Alcatraz. This really brought the history of the infamous prison to life for the trip members.
We jumped off the ferry and headed down the waterfront to AT&T Park to see the SF Giants take on the LA Dodgers. Luke was the lone Dodgers fan in the group – although you wouldn’t know from how loudly he cheered and chirped the other team! It proved to be too much for the Giants as the Dodgers won by a long shot but it was still a great first baseball game for Alyssa with the full stadium and bright sunshine. It was an even more memorable day for Matt E- the birthday boy! The celebration continued at Ghirardeli, the famous San Fran ice cream and chocolate institution – Matt E was able to order anything off the big menu and he chose his favorite: scoops of vanilla ice cream.
Once we were back at the hotel the group enjoyed a fun pool party to cap off an amazing first full day. To their surprise and delight, Dana, Hannah Bl., Hannah Bu., Stephanie, Sam M, Julia F, Paula, Ashley and Zoe had a run in with Hollywood star Nathaniel from the Vampire Diaries. He was the icing on the cake for the end of a great day!
The mystic beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge was our first stop on Day 3. We trekked across the red wonder in awe of its art deco architecture. From there we headed to Sausalito for lunch and our ‘pen exchange’ activity. We couldn’t have asked for better weather. With the sun shining, seagulls squawking, waves crashing and the city of San Fran in the backdrop, it was the perfect setting for the afternoon. In their groups, the trip members had to exchange a pen for any other object they could find. All the trip members took the game to new levels – especially Hannah Bu, Paula, Jamie, Olivia and Stephanie who scored a mime and a parrot! You never know what a pen will get you!
Our next stop of the day was walking up and down Lombard Street – the famous crooked street. To end the day, we hit up the bowling alley for some killer strikes and spares! The Brooklyn boys (Alex and Luke) were on fire trying to out do each other’s slides on the floor. We all learned that Eric’s got game – his footwork was clearly that of a pro! However, Dylan had the last laugh beating his Montreal bro. In the end, the best bowler of the night went to Zach R, who turned the term “struck out” around! We saved the best for last and celebrated Connor’s Birthday with a giant delicious chocolate cake.
En route to our first campsite in Lake Tahoe, we stopped for some wild white water rafting. Ashley’s fears of rafting were conquered after an awesome trip down the river. Zach R, Zach H, Jack B and Garrett overtook a pirate raft down the river and came away with a blowup pirate sword! ARRRRRRRGH
We arrived at Lake Tahoe where veteran campers and new campers together set up tents and enjoyed their first campfire. The consensus the next morning was that pancake breakfast was the best so far.
The group enjoyed a beautiful day on the beach playing football, volleyball and swimming in the crystal clear water. The boys put together a game of football. Conner, Daniel, Alex, Drew, Matt L, Luke, Landon, Zack R, and Jack B did an AMZING job representing their teams. However, Eric, Patrick, Jeremy, Ariel and Jack H were able to hold their own and in the end the two teams tied. The tiebreaker challenge between the two teams will follow. Trip Members had their choice of water sport activity. Sam R had an amazing time tubing and said it was one of the craziest things he had ever done! Parker, Nick and Stephanie showed off their killer wake boarding skills and had fun jamming on the boat. We all enjoyed a relaxing catamaran boat cruise in the afternoon and took in the breathtaking scenery of Lake Tahoe. That night Nicole’s Group, Eric, Jeremy, Paula, Dana, Jamie, Sam R, Mitchell, Jack B, and Cydney, helped prepare a Mexican fiesta while Parker barbequed up a storm. We ended the night together making s’mores around the fire while listening to Dylan on his guitar. The group clearly loves camping and are already having a blast today in Ventura Beach.
Signing off, until next time ……
The Westcoast Blogger