The first time that I went to California was when I was in the fourth grade. My parents took my brother and I on a magical vacation to Disneyland. We all piled into the family car and began the long drive from Montana to Anaheim. The memories that we made along the way have stayed with me all of my life.
That trip was about more than just visiting Disneyland. We did a lot of fun things along the way as well. The route that we drove took us down the Oregon coast. I still remember one foggy day when we stopped at a hotel somewhere along the coast. All of the nearby restaurants were closed and we wound up having to get food out of the vending machine. It was the first time that I ever tried salt and vinegar potato chips. It’s funny how a simple memory like that has stayed with me for so many years.
I also remember stopping to see Prehistoric Gardens, a dinosaur-themed park along the highway just north of Ophir. The cartoon-esque dinosaurs towered over my brother and I, making a lasting impression on our young minds.
In terms of California itself, the thing that I remember the most is visiting the Redwoods. Their awe-inspiring size is something that burned itself into my memory. As a child, seeing trees that large was really an incredible experience. To be honest, it would be equally as incredible to go back and visit them today. There is just something truly magnificent about those giant trees.
Disneyland itself was also quite fun. My favorite rides where the haunted house and Space Mountain. I also really enjoyed the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. It was a lot of fun for my brother and I, and I’m pretty sure my parents enjoyed themselves as well.
Of course, not everything about the trip went according to plan. For instance, we drove through Death Valley on the way back home without any air conditioning – probably not the best idea in the world. I still remember the feeling of the hot air blowing in the window with no relief from the heat in sight.
California is a wonderful place to visit if you want to make your own memories. If you have kids, it is definitely worth taking a trip to this beautiful state. If possible, consider traveling by car. There is something about a family road trip that makes the whole experience seem like more of an adventure.