I feel so lucky to live a state with such a diverse and beautiful landscape. It's honestly one of the things I love the most about the Bay Area. Drive in any direction for a few hours and you'll find cliff-lined beaches, bone-dry deserts, snow-capped mountains, and sky-scraping redwoods.
We took advantage of being so close to one of the most incredible National Parks and recently set out on a road trip to Yosemite. Ethan was practically perfect on our journey. He didn't nap much, but was happy and calm, fascinated by the sights. We heard quite a few "Ooooooohs" coming from the back seat as we travelled along, both due to the beautiful landscapes and the big trucks that would pass us on the freeway. Turns out Ethan has a thing for vehicles - the bigger and noisier, the better.
Not daring enough to attempt tent camping with the E man, we rented a little cabin at a campground right outside of the park. It had a petting zoo and playground to keep Ethan entertained, though he was just as happy playing in the dirt. When Ethan was sleeping, Ryan and I would play nerdy board games outside by the light of our lantern. We held a rousing spades tournament. We grilled dinner over a fire. We unplugged and unwound. Okay, we didn't really unplug... the campground had WiFi. But close enough.
If you haven't been to Yosemite, I highly recommend it. The landscape is so impressive, and (WiFi access aside) it elicits a sense of peaceful isolation. Being a newly proficient walker, Ethan shunned his stroller and wanted to discover the park on his own. This was only a problem when we were on the edges of cliffs - which counted for about 85% of the vistas we explored. Thankfully Ryan had a no-fail trick up his sleeve to keep Ethan happy while being carried: the Daddy Shoulder Ride. Worked like a charm, every time.
*For a closer view of the beauty of Yosemite, click on the image to display it in a larger size!*