Claire Copland got in touch this week to submit this incredible review of a family road trip on the California coast. Claire writes a wonderful blog called Joy and Pops which makes you laugh and cry in equal measures. Do go over and have a look by clicking here.
You can also follow Claire on twitter @joyandpops. This post is evidence that a big trip can be done, and you can also love it.
In 2012, after a few years ‘living in good old sin’ we decided to get married. This was obviously super exciting as I love a ‘do’ and I got to wear a pretty dress – that bit did prove a bit trickier when I ended up being 3 months pregnant on the day and said pretty dress didn’t fit…but I digress!
We knew we wanted an adventure. Well meaning friends and relatives would suggest that we should consider a romantic break without our daughter Amelia (then 5) but we knew we wanted a proper crazy family adventure. It was around the time Visit California aired a TV advert extolling all of California’s virtues, we were totally hooked! We decided on a San Francisco to L.A family road trip! To make it even more exciting, we also factored a slight inland detour to Yosemite National Park, rejoining the pacific coast highway at Monterey and ending in Santa Barbara.
Excitement doesn’t even begin to cover it – it was our dream trip. Two months before our wedding we got the amazing news that we were expecting our 2nd daughter, Poppy. We almost postponed our trip as I don’t find pregnancy to be the easiest time after losing my first child Louis. However, after speaking to my midwife and consultant (and anyone else who would listen!) we decided to go for it – I’m so glad we did, it remains a magical memory for us all.
So, first up, getting there:
Living in Yorkshire we usually fly from Manchester but to get this particular flight we had to go via Heathrow. We decided to drive down and stay overnight a the airport rather than catch a connection. This was purely for my benefit as I absolutely hate flying, I go all ‘Final Destination’ – obviously very quietly around my children as I don’t want to pass on my lunacies!
Flying from Heathrow with British Airways did come with an additional benefit. My best friend’s Mother-in-Law works for BA and managed to not only get us into the first class lounge, but also rearranged seats so we had an entire row of 4 to ourselves, the extra seat came in very handy as Amelia was still small enough to stretch across and sleep soundly for a big chunk of the flight. A huge thank you to Mrs Field for that one!
The flight wasn’t too bad. By now I was 18 weeks pregnant and I had worried about being inactive and uncomfortable on the flight, but thankfully felt very well on landing. Having not been to America since pre 9/11 the first thing that struck me was their extremely serious security. My daughter however, thought it was all marvellous and was in complete awe of the people in uniform with automatic weapons – innocence is the real bliss. Slight hold up at security when Amelia suddenly had an altitude related mega nose bleed, which had us going through passport control covered in blood – seriously it was a blood bath!
We jumped in a taxi straight to our hotel – Radisson Fisherman’s Wharf. Driving into San Francisco and seeing my family’s excitement at the city skyline, trying to catch sight of the Golden Gate Bridge, driving along past the piers and seeing our first tram is a holiday highlight for me.
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