Tag Archives: Ventura

One Year Since Moving Out West

About this time last year, the Noren crew was somewhere between Ohio and Kentucky.  We survived all the preparation for our cross-country adventure and said farewell to our home in Jersey City.  Hubby and I had no idea what to expect of our trip with two toddlers in tow, but if you’ve been here before, you’ll recall that our kiddos were awesome little travelers.  Once we made it to Santa Fe, we got our routines down pat.  (So what that it was Day 12 of our 13-Day Road Trip.  Better late, than never!)

Even though our little ones won’t have memories of the trip, I’ll always look back and think fondly of our cross-country adventure.

And for the nearly five-month radio silence?  No excuses, just Life.

Some adventures that Team Noren embarked upon since the last time I was here…

Hubby and I started running regularly and ran our first races this year – me, my first 5k and 10k races and hubby, his first half marathon.  We missed all of the walking we did on the East Coast and wanted a way to stay active.  I also give credit to my mom and stepdad who inspired me to start running.  They’re super active ‘retirees’ and avid runners.

Other mini-adventures we had:

We met Thomas the Train at the Fillmore Western & Railway in April.



We visited and toured the Camarillo Fire Station in May.



We went to the Ventura County Fair in August.





This summer was especially busy with bridal showers, weddings, Kid A turning 2, hubby starting a new job, my new adventure launching Hulafrog.com in Ventura, Kid C starting preschool, and all of us finding the rhythm of our new West Coast lifestyle.

And don’t these two photos of the girls ‘surfing’ with Grandpa say it all?!



With the holiday trifecta around the corner, I’m looking forward to sharing more adventures like attempts at making Halloween costumes, a vacation back to the East Coast in November, and more.

Day 13: Phoenix, AZ to Ventura, CA

We stayed at Aloft hotel, which was the most hip hotel of our road trip.  The room was comfortable with a modern design.  That morning, Kid C continued with her ritual of drawing on hotel paper.  We also took some fun family shots before we checked out:


Kid C busy drawing




M & the kids

At 10:00AM, the temperature had already reached 86 degrees and would reach the high 90s by the afternoon.  Our plan for the day was to have breakfast, fill up on gas and head out of Phoenix.

We ate at Matt’s Big Breakfast, which was featured on The Best Thing I Ever Ate and Diners, Drive-ins & Dives.  The service was excellent – servers were accommodating to our kids (and happily cleaned up a big water spill courtesy of Kid A) – and breakfast was very satisfying.



Kid A petting the pig statue


The kids were fascinated with this pig


Matt's Big Breakfast: The Chop & Chick


Matt's Big Breakfast: Homemade waffle with thick-cut bacon


Kid C's Look of Concentration

After breakfast, we felt energized and eager to finish the final leg of our road trip.

Views on the road in Arizona:

IMG_5228IMG_5221IMG_5229We were surrounded by miles and miles of dry terrain, flat desert with mountains in the backdrop.  I noticed there weren’t as many rest stops on this stretch of road and M pointed out that the temperature was 103 degrees.  It’s no wonder why the speed limit was 75MPH.

Views as we reached the AZ/CA border:


After much anticipation, we finally reached the state sign we were most looking forward to seeing.

IMG_5239As we passed the California welcome sign, we cheered “Pacific Standard Time!” and felt a sense of relief and excitement. The kids, on the other hand, were not aware of this momentous event.


Sleeping Kid C


Sleeping Kid A

The first part of our drive into California was mostly desert.  We decided to stop in Indio for lunch.  When in California, a stop at In-N-Out is always on the agenda.  The staff was especially nice at this location – they gave the kids stickers and a few of the staff even signed a hat with notes welcoming us back to California.  (I had a brief conversation with the cashier and mentioned that we were driving cross-country.)



Kid A greeting customers at the drive-thru

We finished up lunch and continued our drive.  It would take over 3 hours (without traffic) to get to  Ventura.

After we passed Palm Springs, we saw hills upon hills of huge windmills.  We later learned that this was the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm.

IMG_5260After taking the 10W to the 210W to 118W to the 23S, we saw this sign:

Shortly after, we saw these views:

IMG_5282IMG_5288IMG_5289We made it to Ventura about 7PM, just in time for us to have dinner with Nana & Grandpa.

It had yet to sink in that we made it through our cross-country adventure.  We drove through 14 states, about 3500 miles, in nearly two weeks and Team Noren was still intact!