We went on a family beach “trip” (the term “vacation” is reserved for a trip wherein I am able to close my eyes or read a book for > 5 minutes laying on the beach and not be terrified that someone is going to drown or be abducted). As often happens I have no idea what my point is until I start writing and this post is no exception. Interestingly this post is not about the trip at all but an answer to the question that I have been asked innumerable times, "Why does it take you guys sooooo long to get to California?!?"
One of my favorite pics of the whole trip
It started out with a bang…more of a crash and scrape. Our vehicle lacks the storage space for a week’s worth of belongings including sand toys and boogie boards, so we are forced to strap most of our luggage to the roof and when I say “we” I mean my husband. It was 110 F on the morning we were leaving. I was asked to re-park the car in the driveway and when I was backing up SH1’s bike got caught in our tree and was ripped from its tie down spot and dragged across the roof dislodging one of our aftermarket cross bars. Now a complete removal of all roof luggage and replacement of the bar, all luggage, bike and repeat tie down was the only way we could get back on the road safely.
1 hour later…
|This was actually our first try at leaving. |
Neither of us felt like documenting the second departure attempt.
We are finally on the road. We left 4 hours later than we had hoped and the first half of the usual 6 hour total drive time took us 5 hours and presumably the last half would take another 5 hours. I found myself wondering where exactly the “rock bottom” of our trip was so that we could hit it and then start the upward swing to fun.
We did not yet reach rock bottom at the truck stop Taco Bell wherein SH3 literally screamed for 10 straight minutes and threw no less than two tacos on the ground in her rage (she does poorly when we try and push back a meal time) but darn it could we leave city limits without stopping twice?!
|Our fancy "eating area" |
I am not sure how we managed to capture the only short window where no one was crying.
We did not reach it when we forced SH1 to urinate in a cup while traveling 75 miles per hour down the road as his dad held the cup encouragingly. Cradling 24 oz. of urine his arms as he trekked from the third row back to the front seat, SH2 reports that she now has to pee and she cannot pee in a cup. Admittedly we came very close to putting a diaper under her in the car seat, but thought better of it as she has been a nightmare to potty train.
We did not reach it when SH2 cried for 20 minutes about having to pee as I searched hopefully for any possible exit ramp in the middle of the California desert. We finally found one, she peed, SH1 peed again. Oh what the heck let’s all pee in the dirt by the side of the freeway!
Rock bottom remained hopelessly out of grasp. I was so praying that we would reach it before we arrived at the hotel. (Last year on the same trek, we found rock bottom at 10:00pm as I was pulling into the hotel garage and our roof luggage made our car too tall wherein we knocked down the warning sign saying we were too tall and broke a hanging sewer pipe for the hotel causing poop water to get on the maintenance person’s pants and all over the roof and hood of my car not to mention messing up the sewer system for the hotel.) The problem with rock bottom is that sometimes you don’t know if you have quite reached it yet and this was/is my deepest fear.
We had made it a bit more than halfway and it was sweltering in the middle of the afternoon. We had a planned stop for bathrooms and ice cream. Everyone in the free world also decided to stop at the same truck stop/bathroom/museum. SH2 and I waited 15 minutes in a bathroom line in the aisle with the candy forcing me to say “no”, "please don't touch that", and "that is not ours we didn't pay for it" to her at least 300 times. The conditions of the bathroom are as you can imagine, nightmarish and she touches every.single.surface.twice. The physician in me is trying not to lose it.
I head to the ice cream counter and order some treats only to realize that this is the slowest ice cream counter in the entire free world. My husband was outside with SH1 and SH3 burning some energy and walking around the grounds of the General Patton Museum (that was of course closed) and I knew that after almost 30 minutes his patience was wearing thin and his concern for our safety was growing. We finally emerged with ice cream. As I am sharing an Oreo something delicious I see a cat laying by the door to a general store in the tortuous heat. My son follows my gaze and proudly exclaims, “Ohhhh I think that cat is dead!” I watch it for several seconds pleading for a chest rise or a head turn and to my amazing delight I saw one! He was alive and in the celebration of his life I knew that we had officially hit rock bottom somewhere in the line for ice cream or bathrooms and we were on the upswing.
|SH1 and General Patton|
What small human doesn't like a statue of someone
he has never heard of and can't climb on?
We made the rest of the trip without stopping once. I arrived to park in the underground garage without damage to our vehicle or hotel sewage pipes. There was still a bit of light in the sky, our room was perfect, the kids were thrilled with their own space and we had arrived before bed time. My husband unloaded the car, the kids explored the room and the one next door (that my sister and her family were in) and all 3 small humans put some pants on to go and dance on the beach in the last twinkles of light as they sunk below the horizon. I took a few deep breaths, a glass of wine in one hand and the hand of my love in the other and walked on the beach. Small humans gleefully scampered in and out of the wet sand and I thanked God for a safe trip and prayed for a wonderful week ahead.
|As the sun set so did any reservations I had about how much fun we would have|
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