Last week was fantastic. We packed up the family into our minivan — there were five of us minus the cat. It was the first time we attempted to go on a road trip that would take us longer than a day. Our trips usually take us to areas like Monterey, Carmel, Marin County or even Los Angeles (that’s roughing it as a Californian!). Unfortunately, we couldn’t bring the cat along so I prayed that the little cat shelter we got him would be acceptable enough for him while we were away. Ultimately, everything turned out pretty well despite a weekend storm that got us stranded in the Sierra Nevada area — Mammoth Mountain to be exact (apparently, it’s a few miles away from where they found Steve Fossett’s remains when he vanished while flying).
I must say that this was the best family vacation we’ve had as it was so unique. And I don’t say this lightly as I am usually pretty jaded when it comes to travel. 😉 Six days felt like a month: it always seems that way when you’re away from your usual grind. And barring some tough moments such as the lone day we spent in Las Vegas with one of our kids in pediatric emergency to remedy a dehydration scare (blame it on a stomach virus going around) as well as the s*itty customer service over at The Palazzo in Las Vegas (a splurge that was NOT worth the money) and a crazy storm that added a day to our schedule, it turned out to be the best fun we’ve had in a while. Even the mishaps added to our adventure and made this trip truly memorable.
Family Road Trip To Las Vegas: Photo Album
So here’s just a sampling from our photo album. Yep, sorry but we’re not the best at taking pictures (notice the missing humans….), even with help from incredible digital camera technology:
Tenaya Lake. This was right by Yosemite Valley which is a favorite travel spot for us.
Tuolomne Meadows. More scenic vistas.
View from within our car. As you’d expect, it looked like this for long stretches.
Las Vegas, NV. A nod to a celebrity real estate tycoon (right out of our hotel room window).
Death Valley. It’s not as scary as it sounds. Quite the opposite! Our drive through the valley was very comfortable, thanks to the fall weather.
Pahrump, NV – one of those places hard hit by foreclosures. You can’t read the signs, but one says: Pahrump Event Center. The other says: Duffy’s Foreclosure and Rental Clean Up.
A Cheaper Place To Live?
So what else did I get excited about? The trip got me thinking about all the places out there that were so much cheaper than Northern California.
Now there’s something I haven’t really admitted here before but have been talking about at home lately. More and more, I’ve been griping and grumbling about California’s troubled school system, exorbitant real estate values and high cost of living. Well, given our location independent lifestyles (my spouse freelances while I blog), it’s become more of a possibility to consider moving to a different place to live. So I’ve been on the lookout for areas that could give us options. While my spouse is more resistant to the idea, I keep an open mind — and, well, the trip gave me ideas. Minden, Nevada is just absolutely gorgeous! It’s by South Lake Tahoe, flanked by huge mountain ranges and looks cute as a button. If the snowfall is mild and you can avoid any flood zones, it could be a picturesque place to — dare I say it — retire? It would be great to live like a Californian but NOT have to pay California’s taxes! So anyone out there from this area who’d like to give us the low down?
Some takeaways: we got reminded that the splurges you make and the things you spend the most of your money on may not be the best parts of your experience. For this trip, the journey was the part that was most fun. Lots of singing and banter in our van as we drove off into the sunset. Will do again! Next year, it’s off to San Diego.
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