North to Alaska: California Girls

Note: This is a blog of our travel adventure driving all the way from Arizona to Alaska…and back. Chapter 1 takes us up to Seattle. Come along with us!

I bet you’re already humming some Beach Boy tunes, just as you read that title. I know I am. This morning we got up “way too early” according to Rebecca, so that we could get over Donner Pass and into Sacramento. We made a pit stop at Lake Tahoe, and boy, was it worth it. The snow-capped mountains and tall pines perfectly framed the sapphire blue lake. Add this place to your bucket list—it’s worth the drive. I know Matthew will be excited the next time he watches Bonanza and spies the lake in the background.

At the shore of Lake Tahoe.

At the shore of Lake Tahoe.

Off we went, the next stop being Donner Pass. The pass is significant to Oregon Trail history; if you don’t remember the stories, they’re worth looking up.

We met our first California Girl, who is really Arizonan and a friend of Rebecca’s. Jessica is a 2nd year veterinary student at UC Davis. Since we didn’t have much time, she took us on a quick tour of the campus’ beautiful arboretum while we visited. The girls compared stories about being in graduate school, and reminisced about fun times at ASU. Jessica is going to specialize in large wildlife animals, so if your tiger gets a thorn in its paw, give her a call.

ASU Alums Jessica and Rebecca.

ASU Alums Jessica and Rebecca.

Our second California Girl met us with her son for lunch. Karen and I became friends initially from Twitter, can you believe that?! Our connection is that we both have sons with autism. Not only is Karen a lawyer by trade, a wife, and a mom, she is now working on a fantasy novel. We expect that she’ll be the next JK Rowling. It was so fun to visit and talk in person after years of chatting online, but the funniest part came at the end. In order to understand how funny this was, you have to know how Matthew gives hugs. He readily and willingly will go up to someone for a hug, as long as they hug him. His only effort is to turn his cheek to the side. We learned that Karen’s son hugs very similarly; neither extends their arms. So when the two were asked to give a parting hug by us mothers, each boy leaned forward, turned his face, and suddenly realized no hugging was occurring. So they both slowly raised their arms, slightly embracing the other. It was very cute, at least from this mom’s perspective.


A couple of cool moms and their cool sons.

We made up for lost miles by traveling to Yreka, California. I survived Rebecca’s freeway driving once again, though I have to clasp my hands together to refrain from grabbing the wheel when on high 3

Upcoming: Oregon.


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