Making lemonade out of lemons was the ultimate theme for this amazing graduation/bestie trip! We were only in California for a total of 3 full days and 2 half days/travel days (plus another travel day technically) and it’s unbelievable how many mistakes/screw ups can happen within those days!
First, we made the absolute most out of our first couple of hours in Carmel-By-The-Sea and Monterey! We grabbed lunch and tried getting our ears pierced and paddled on our little paddle boat we named Sur Duck! BUT the fact that we couldn’t get our ears pierced was probably the first lemon we encountered on our trip! The guy at the ear piercing store told us we shouldn’t swim with a new piercing for the first 3 weeks we have it! Well that was a frickin problem because we had our own pool at our little house and obviously we were gonna take a splash in that! so we decided to wait until the last day to get our ear pierced so we can make sure we don’t die of an infection!
Before driving an hour and a half to our private little house we had to stop at the grocery store to get food because we were about to be an hour and a half from literally any good grocery store or food place! Well, as we were leaving that store, Maddie had spilled her salad dressing on some groceries! She gets out to get a napkin to clean up her mess and my mom almost runs her over with our rental car!! That was an experience!!
Then we drove an hour and half to our own little secluded house and risk our frickin lives on the dirt road leading up to the house only to find out it was not what we paid for! The pool, the reason we didn’t get our ears pierced, was being shocked because somebody from a wedding party threw up in it hours before we got there! And the hot tub was disgusting! So Maddie and I are getting a little weary of this place but our moms are trying to convince us that we’re going to be alright up there! Well then Jen can’t find a wine opener and all hell breaks loose!! I’m just kidding but after the house keeper Will didn’t respond to our texts and wouldn’t help us, we realized it was time to get out!
So the next morning, Maddie and I got on the web and found a cute looking little ranch with nice hotel rooms and a working pool! Luckily we got a full refund for our secluded house on top of a mountain and we were about to hop out of that place!! So we do a little workout on the dirt hill leading up to our secluded home and then we skirt skirt to Carmel Valley Ranch!
We end up hiking Big Sur that day too and darn I was frickin tired and sweaty but it was all worth it if I do say so myself! We get to our little ranch and holy moly it was not a little ranch! This place was a beautiful massive golf club ranch hotel I don’t even know but it was amazing! At this point in the day I am dying for a full meal so we plan to go to this brewery for dinner! Well the kitchen had already closed when we got there, so we go to a Mexican restaurant with some weird ass late night menu and needless to say I still didn’t get my full meal!
Anyway, the next day was great! We hiked again and swam and I finally got my full meal but we had to wait for it for about 45 minutes, a haul I would say! We weren’t able to go to our ice cream spot because of that wait but we went the next day instead!
The next day we adventured into the town of Monetary and I ate the best crepes of my life! Then we went to a candy store and biked around the coast of Monterey, it was so awesome! Then we tried getting our ears pierced again and I forgot my Passport, because apparently you need an ID even when you’re with a parent! I was annoyed with every single person but mainly my mom because we drove back 20 minutes to get my Passport and see if we could get our ears pierced! We collectively decided we would get our ears pierced and Maddie and I did it and oh baby it was fun! We then went to this amazing brewery with the best giant parmesan pretzel ever and we got some ice cream as well, great last day!
Then I had the worst travel day of my life! First, I got super car sick driving to the Monterey airport! I ate a bagel and was doing a little better than slept the whole flight to Phoenix! Then our flights got cancelled and we had to stay until 10:55pm, I was NOT having it and I still wasn’t 100%! I didn’t sleep at all on the flight from Phoenix to North Carolina and I can’t even explain how exhausted and mad I was that I was’t at home in my bed! Then we flew to Chicago at 7am North Carolina time and I was about ready to crash. But by the time we got home my mom and I were in a screaming match! I then slept 6 hours and we apologized! Needless to say, an amazing trip with an unfortunate ending but you just gotta make lemonade out of lemons.
You know the saying, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. Well this trip sure gave us a lot of sweet lemons, but we made a whole lot of sweeter lemonade.
So the trip started off without a glitch - no lines at security, connecting flight to Monteray had no problems, had a nice rental car, all looked great thus far. Enjoyed some chips and guac at a little cafe in Carmel by the Sea after we landed and then decided to go on a paddle boat just for fun.
You know that high you feel when you first start your vacation, you kind of feel fearless. This was the perfect time to go get our helix (part of your ear) pierced...why not??? We all said we would do it together. But when we arrived, the piercing guy scared us about getting into the water with our new piercings and getting an infection so we decided to wait until the end of our vacation to get it done. Ok, no big deal, right?
Well, that was just the beginning. Then we headed to meet the caretaker of the place we were going to be staying at because we had to follow him up the crazy, winding dirt road to the property. This was probably one of my favorite parts of the trip because I was laughing my butt off as we climbed up this steep dirt road trying to make sure we did not drive off of the cliff! Everyone was yelling and laughing and scared out of our minds! (Turn the volume down if you don't want to hear us scream lol)
Once we made it safely to our place, we realized that we were literally in the middle of nowhere overlooking the ocean...awesome right? Yes, the view was AMAZING, but we soon realized that the amenities (pool, hot tub, wine opener) were not working. I mean the wine opener was nowhere to be found. Ok, no problem, let’s see what the next day would bring - our caretaker said everything would be working by then.
Thank goodness the coffee pot worked the next day! Enjoyed a nice cup of coffee overlooking the ocean and soon found out that the pool and hot tub would probably not be working anytime soon - hmmm...this was one of the main reasons we chose this property. Ok friends, let’s come up with plan B. While I called the owner to ask for a refund, everyone else grabbed a computer and started looking for another place to stay.
And wouldn’t you know, we found an amazing place in Carmel on the most beautiful property with 3 pools and 2 hot tubs AND a wine opener! The lemonade was looking good.
Spent the next couple of days hiking in Big Sur and along the coast..totally amazing! Oh but it’s not over yet. Went back to get our ears pierced and of course forgot Elsa’s ID back at the hotel - about 20 minutes away - no big deal except the place was closing shortly and the moms were starting to rethink getting our ears pierced and asked the girls if we could just do it back in Illinois, but they insisted on this experience happening in California. Ok, no problem, got the ID and yes, the mom’s ended up backing out but the girls got theirs done.
At this point along the trip we just laughed at any hiccup that came our way, until yesterday, when our connecting flight to Chicago got cancelled.
I have to admit that at this point I was kind of sick of making lemonade. Elsa was starting to shut down and I was starting to shut down as well. The only flight available to us was a red eye to North Carolina with a connecting flight to O'Hare that got us in at 9:00am the following day. Oh well, what do you do?
Isn’t this life sometimes? Things just don’t go the way you had planned and yet the most amazing things happen because of that? And to spend it with our best friends was the absolute best thing! We made some incredible memories and this was a trip we will never forget :)