We started off the day packing up the hotel and we said our last goodbyes to San Francisco. After driving in the bus for a few minutes, we arrived at our first destination, Palo Alto. While in Palo Alto, we walked around the cute shops and cafes, stopping into Joes’ Juice for a quick breakfast. After a quick hour in Palo Alto, we drove the short distance to Stanford University. The group met up with an alum, Clara Murff, who gave us an amazing tour of the beautiful campus. We got swag from the bookstore and then moved on to our next destination. The group arrived at the apple headquarters with excited energy. This was the only place in the world where you could buy an apple T-Shirt! With that amazing selling point, most of us decided we had to have one of the exclusive T-Shirts. We got a quick history background from a long-time employee who was friends with Steve Jobs himself. After this quick excursion, we headed to grab lunch. We stopped at an amazing sandwich shop on the way to the Redwood trees. We were all so hungry, we couldn’t wait until the bus to eat. We picked a nice patch of grass and sidewalk and ate our lunch on the ground, chatting it up. Soon after our food was gone, we stopped by CVS for even more food for the upcoming festivities and drives, and made our way onto the bus, heading towards the redwood forest. After a scenic 40-minute drive, we arrived for our short 0.8-mile hike. The hike was amazing! We started off the first part of the hike with an all silent, reflection walk. During this time, we were told to really take in the scenery. Yet, the silence was hard for us to partake in, so we decided on the way back we would allow ourselves to chat and laugh while making the short distance back to the bus. After we looked at all the trees, we got back on the bus, and headed onward to Santa Cruz. We made it just in time to see the beautiful sunset and ocean views. We took pictures and looked around in the little shops bordering the boardwalk. This experience was insane! It opened our eyes to a new type of California, the costal side. We got some time in Santa Cruz to explore on our own, and soon after that time was up, it was time for dinner. We then got back onto the bus and headed towards our hotel to check in and get settled before heading back out for dinner and fun. The Monterey Bay hotel is beautiful, although it was difficult to find our rooms. It took us all, even Ms. Vest, a few minutes to figure out the puzzle of a map the hotel workers handed us. But, once we finally made it into our hotel and put our bags down, it was time to eat. On this night, we got to eat in groups wherever we wanted. It was amazing to be able to explore the little town on our own and venture out on our own. The group I stayed with decided pizza was the way to go. We stopped in this cute little pizza shop towards the center of the town. We grabbed our pizza and originally thought we were going to go back to the hotel to eat it after a long day but saw the outdoor seating and decided we wanted to eat there instead. After the amazing pizza, we walked around, exploring the town a little bit more. It was the cutest! We then headed back to the hotel to wrap up the night with movies, showers, and finally bed. It was a long and packed day, but we gained so many new experiences and had so much fun!
- Ann Gailor