Rikki Rivera | Photographer » Wedding & Portrait Photography

Hwy 101 Road Trip | WA to CA

Distance and difference are the secret tonic of creativity. When we get home, home is still the same. But something in our mind has changed, and that changes everything. 
-Jonah Lehrer

Welcome to our family road trip down the west coast! The past two weeks has completely fulfilled a dream that I had previously only hoped for, and what a whirlwind it was.

I don’t know about you, but palm trees are some of my favorite. We don’t have many of them here in Western Washington, so I reveled in the sights of them down the west coast.

I was born in California, and have memories as early as two years old there. I remember the day we left, I hated entering the new state we moved to. As an adult, I visited California every chance I had. For the first three years that I lived in Washington, I made a trip every year. I visited every place I ever heard of growing up. I talked to my Grandma on the phone at places she had told me about. I ventured as far south and north as I could and explored every inch of the state that I thought had meant something to my family.
My heart and soul yearned for a family history that doesn’t knowingly and currently exist to us. I grab on to every piece I can and I do my best to record it. This most recent trip was no exception. I took multitudes of photos, and I felt so blessed to spend this time with my dad, hear his stories, and share it with my own little family too.
We actually had to repel down to this beach. My parents frequented here during their younger years in California, but much to our dismay, the beach front had been literally taken over by homes and a non passable drop to the shore. There was only one private stairway down, so after looking around the dead end we hit, I found a cord someone had rigged up for a little repelling. All was not lost! I stepped up first and made my way down, followed by everyone else, and we collected our tiny moonstone rocks – a rare sight for a Cali beach!

Somis, CA | Peppercorn growing on trees was a unique experience at my dad’s childhood home.

King’s Canyon and Sequoia National Park, CA | We spent two days camping in genuinely rustic cabins with nights by a campfire. We were the only people in the campground that used the designated fire pits – not that we minded one bit, we enjoyed the bright stars and even sights of the Milky Way one evening, with only conversations amongst ourselves without interruption. It was an amazing “getaway.”

One of my favorite moments with my dad..Kate doesn’t always take too well with people who aren’t regulars in her life. My dad worked hard getting Kate to warm up to him, because well, it’s easy to love that little girl.I sat on Hume Beach (that was covered in fool’s gold) with my family, and watched Kate walk back and forth through the incoming tide water with my dad. My heart felt so full and so happy in those moments. Life felt so complete.

I only hope to one day close the distance with my precious family, and for my children to be close to their grandparents and know how wonderful they truly are.

As we said goodbye to my Grandmother last month, we brought a piece of her to her favorite place in the world.

A short, yet steep hike up Moro Rock in Sequoia National Park, CA at 6,725 ft.

We celebrated our sweet boy’s ninth birthday with a simple celebration over a campfire and gifts related to our trip. The happiness that ensued was widespread amongst us all. It was a blessing to have a unique and intimate party with family we don’t see often and to have it mean so much more than we could’ve imagined.

Crescent City, CA | We dance everywhere we go.

A visit to the Tillamook Cheese Factory in Tillamook, OR. When your kids ask you to put on silly glasses because they think they’re the coolest thing ever, and an older couple look over and see you pose for your kid and laugh at you.. haha, yeah, that happened!

On the route back to WA, we took our time a bit, caught up on sleep, and visited a few more places. It was pretty great. During our trip, I felt so alive, so rejuvenated, and so ready to tackle our life once we got home. During our three days of driving home, I was anxious. So very anxious to get home and back to our life. It felt so crazy entertaining those thoughts and ideas, and yet, it has felt so incredible to unpack our bags and sleep in our own bed.
I have so many more photos to go through and ultimately share with you, but for now, we are inching our way back into a regular routine, catching up on work, and living life in the PNW as fall encroaches upon us.
View a few more photos on Facebook.
Share your summer stories below. What has changed drastically, made you feel alive? What bucket list item did you mark off? And how are you feeling about our end of summer?

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