A brief rundown of California

Our first month away was a whirlwind, to say the least. Here was how it was supposed to go down:

  • 7 days in Santa Cruz
  • 10 days in Corralitos
  • 5 days in Hawaii – Vacation!!
  • 5 days in San Jose
  • Drive to Portland on 1/31

But….as they say: the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. And go awry it did. So, here’s how it actually went:

  • 7 days in Santa Cruz
  • 1 day in Corralitos
  • 9 days in Napa
  • 5 days in Hawaii – Vacation!!
  • for Beth: 2 days in Phoenix
  • for Matt: 2 days in San Jose
  • 2 days in San Francisco
  • Drive to Portland on 1/30

We learned a lot in our first month and will surely experience more growing pains as we figure out this lifestyle. The biggest obstacle we’ve faced is figuring out housing. When we left Louisville our plan was to use AirBNB and HomeAway to find short term, furnished rentals. After our first month, it became apparent that was not a viable option for a couple of reasons: a.) it’s expensive, like way over budget expensive, and b.) we felt more like guests in someone’s home rather than like we had our own space.

Orange Tree
There were citrus trees everywhere! Fresh squeezed OJ for breakfast? Yes, please.

Our first week away wasn’t bad. We stayed in a small guest house in Midtown Santa Cruz that was very walkable and had everything we needed. The main downside was that it was a “guest house,” though it was actually connected to the main house so I’m not sure if that’s even an accurate description. While we had our own space, it still very much felt like we didn’t especially since the owner’s dog could be heard barking on the other side o the connecting door. Strike one, AirBNB.


Our time in Corralitos got cut from 10 days to 1 for similar reasons. The house was not like it was listed on the site (i.e. said non-smoking but smelled like smoke; said it was in town but was in the middle of nowhere), and the owner left all sorts of personal belongings that made me feel like I was intruding. Could we use the coffee? Why was there half-used food in the fridge? Luckily we were able to cancel that reservation, but only after the owner tried to change her cancellation policy so we wouldn’t be able to get a full refund. Thankfully AirBNB doesn’t allow those changes to take place retroactively. Strikes two and three.

Rainy day in Napa

We ended up staying in hotels for the remainder of the month, which were similar costs and also provided us our own space. Bonus: we stayed in extended stays so we had a kitchen and two bedrooms!

The Phoenix trip was for work and sprung upon me days before we left for Hawaii. And San Jose was replaced by San Francisco because there’s not a whole lot to do in San Jose. Unfortunately we didn’t get to experience much of the city because Matt got his work assignment (Topeka!) and, surprisingly – or not so surprisingly – there aren’t many flights to Kansas from Portland. We drove up a day early so we could get settled before he jetted off to work.

We’re in Portland through the end of April so hopefully we can relax a bit and enjoy the city at a less-than-breakneck pace.

Rainy day at the coast. Notice a trend? I don’t know what this “drought” is all about, it rained practically the entire time we were there 🙂

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