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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

West Coast is Definitely the Best Coast! – California and the Canyons

California and the Canyons - Golden Gate

Hello Family and Friends of California and the Canyons!

Reporting to you from Ventura beach! We have been busy taking in the sites and getting to know all of our new friends for the last week and wanted to take a minute to share some of our trip memories with all of you!

Nataliya’s big smile at the airport marked the beginning of our trip! The next morning, amidst the busyness of the airport, Josh was entertaining everyone with his unbelievable magic skills! After a smooth arrival in San Francisco our group took some time to get to know one another at the hotel before heading into Chinatown! We hopped on a cable car and headed down to enjoy our first meal together as a group. Before heading ‘home’ (back to the hotel), we spent some time walking around and immersing ourselves in the culture spilling out onto the streets. Jordan K began his souvenir shopping with some great authentic gifts! By the end of the evening we were all ready to call it a night and get some rest for our busy day ahead!

The next morning we headed to Alcatraz where the group immersed themselves in a world of American history. We were all blown away by the stories that are captured in the walls of the jail. Charlie described his experience as “the best moment of his life” and identifying the audio tour of the jail the highlight of the visit. Our next stop was world-famous Pier 39 where we grabbed some lunch and enjoyed the sun before heading to Ghirardelli Square where we indulged in some delicious chocolate samples. Marissa, Carly and Alex S shared a sundae drizzled in the famous chocolate! We finished the evening with bowling where Charlie racked up the highest score and Luke earned the nickname “cool hand Luke” for his laid back style and precise aim.

On day 3 we started the morning with a trip to the Golden Gate Bridge. We decorated our bus to celebrate Canada Day and our Canadian trip members, including Steph, Oli, and Jillian, led the group in singing the anthem!  Once we got the bridge, Smitty (our charasmatic bus driver), let us out to take some amazing photos and enjoy the sites from the bridge. At our lunch stop in Sausalito we took advantage of a park on the water to play some group games and throw around the ball and frisbee. Valerie found a gluten free bakery and was so excited to enjoy some freshly baked treats! Before dinner, we climbed up Lombard Street and watched the cars navigate the most crooked street in the world! We finished the evening with some trampoline dodge ball where Danny G shared his expertise on the sport!
On the way to Lake Tahoe, Amanda W, Julia H, and Julianna started our bus tradition of mapping the places we have visited along the windows of the bus! Dylan became buddies with our driver Smitty, giving him props each time we got on and off the bus! While white water rafting, Emma C and Emily were the friendliest water adventurers, waving and saying hi to all of the passing rafts! When we arrived at camp we sat around a glowing fire and sang some camp songs led by our staff member Owen!

While at Lake Tahoe, Jori, Luke, and Jessica F, were our brave trip members who took on a new challenge and tried water skiing for the first time! Emma L was the only trip member to take on wake boarding and impressed everyone with her skill. Alex S won the competition on her boat to see who could stay on their tube the longest. Later, on our private tour of Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe aboard the ship Safari Rose, Jarred and Jordan K took part in a photo shoot with the mountains as the backdrop!

Yesterday we traveled between Lake Tahoe and Ventura with some awesome decorations and songs that celebrated the 4th of July! Gabby provided us with a great country playlist for the ride through the mountains, which was a perfect fit for the journey. We stopped at the famous West Coast burger chain “In and Out” to satisfy Matt A and the other boys’ request! We celebrated our arrival in Ventura with a mean BBQ where our camp site manager David mastered the grill and Jami and Julia H made a fantastic pot of rice to go along with it! Jarred polished back three steaks – offering a solid nod to the chefs! We ended the evening with some cupcakes to celebrate the 4th of July!

This morning we took a trip to the laundry mat where we were super impressed with how well our trip members took responsibility for cleaning their clothes. Brandon P and Brandon D, or as they’re better known – “team Brandon”, buddied up and conquered their load and Jordan L helped the ladies sort and wash. Right now, we’re laying on Ventura beach writing this memoir of our time together. Ellie, Jessica F, Amanda C, Steph, Alex C, and Andrew are playing the card game “peanut butter” and Charlie is reading The Outsiders aloud to Ilan, Danny, and Jack. It is a wonderful sunny day and an awesome way to end our camping journey before heading to Los Angeles on the next part of our adventure!
California and the Canyons - Golden Gate

Stay tuned for more updates!

The Westcoast Blogger

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