Monday, August 3, 2009

A Whirlwind Trip

A foggy Golden Gate

We returned home on Friday, about 8:30 p.m. We drove straight through from Idaho. Did an all-nighter, three hours of sleep in the inclined front seat in a rest stop in Montana sometime during the wee hours of Friday morning. But what a trip. When we started home, we all had seen enough scenery and stopped at enough sites to give us plenty of stories to tell. We created so many memories.

I told the kids that I was with them 24/7 for 22 days and I wasn't even tired of them. I asked them what they were going to do when they got home. None of them knew, but the oldest, Anna, told me she wasn't going to stay over for three weeks. They are all here and spent the night last night with Anna creeping into my bed and sleeping with us. I am just thrilled that I have these kids as friends.

The trip itself went on for a little over 6600 miles and as I mentioned, 22 days. The 2000 E-150 Ford van averaged a shade over 15 miles per gallon. We paid as high as $3.09 and as low as $2.39 for gas. Then there was the complete brake job in San Francisco for $901.00, (that was an oil change and tire rotation too). We used a credit card. I don't have that kind of money laying around in ready cash.

But every cent was worth it. The closeness we shared priceless. The fun, adventure and memories we created were also priceless. Like the two emergency room visits which both turned out to be cautionary, or the visits with close friends that we don't get to see regularly in Grand Junction, CO, Redondo Beach, CA and up north near Eureka, CA. I also had phone contact with some of the folks that I met last year while on The Longest Walk. Many of them were together doing another walk in the bay area. I talkedon the phone with them, but never could get my group to their gathering point.

We also stopped in Mendocino and met up with a blogger friend that I had met once before at the same coffee shop. Last night, while relating this part of the trip to a friend, I was reminded that I forgot to ask Aiko Annie about her upcoming trip to Burning Man!

We got to the gems of our country. The Rocky Mountains, where we played amongst the snow packs up above 12,000 feet. We did the Colorado National Monument, Moab, Utah's slick rock, and Arches National Park. Grand Canyon's North rim and Zion National Park. We drove El Cajon into Los Angeles and played in and on the ocean, went on a trip in a beautiful boat and went to Disneyland. We even took in a Dodgers game.

Traveling up north, we stopped in San Francisco and rode the cable car and the streetcar.It was just too cold and foggty for a boat ride, so we saw the Golden Gate Bridge on foot and Alcatraz through binoculars. We toured Berkely and showed real Hippies to the kids. The giant redwood trees were fabulous as was swimming in the Van Duzen River and visiting three separate beaches in Humboldt County while staying with friends nearby. I hauled home at least thirty pounds of rocks!

Even the trip home had us at Crane Crystal hot springs in Oregon and Carters of the Moon National monument near Arco, Idaho. Crane is where I've been not one month before with my motorcycle. I love that place! And the Craters park, we visited a few years ago as well. My own goal was to show my Grand children some of the places that I've seen on my travels of the past. I got to see their faces as they gazed upon the natural wonders up close or through the car windows and camera lens.

Last summer, we had taken them to Washington DC for the end of The Longest Walk. It was then that I told DJ, my then eight year old Grand son, that I would take him to Oregon and he would swim in the Pacific Ocean. I fulfilled that promise and he remembered that I had made it! I just wish money was of no concern. I think we still would have had all those peanut butter and jelly sandwich picnics along the highways at the roadside tables and small town city parks. We still would have camped out like we did when we weren't staying with friends at their homes. The motels we did stay at were planned and quite comfortable in the searing 100 plus degree heat, (not to mention the swimming pools). More ready cash would have been spent in any event if we had it.

In the future, I'll tell some specific stories. About how Yoody fell down and whacked her forehead on a cement boardwalk in Colorado or the plate glass incident. Oh, did I mention she was lost at Disneyland for all of five minutes? She sure gave us some freaked out moments. She's one very tough little girl. I'll tell you about getting stopped by the State Patrol in Colorado and sent off with a warning to slow down, and the parking tickets at Hermosa Beach. Then, of course, there will have to be a post on our restaurant stops. Our favorites and the worst eating experience ever. We tried to stay out of the corporate fast food chains, but for convenience and identifiableness, (is that a word?), we did see Jack in the Box and Sonic on our menu, but NO MICKEY D's. Jack is well known in my household for 2 tacos for 99 cents. Feeding a crew was inexpensive, (I know that IS a word). Sonic was a novelty with the cute gals on roller skates taking and delivering the orders.

My son-in-law, who has never seen the coast, seemed to really like the trip. My daughter and he, along with two year old Gracie, flew into L.A. and traveled with us for 11 days up the coast. Yesterday, he described the beach visit in southern California to . "Bay Watch, without the commercial interruptions." He liked visiting Chavez Ravine, home of the first place Dodgers for a game and the surface street tour we took back from the ball park. My other daughter flew into and out of L.A. and joined us for a weekend.

I'll close this for now. I certainly could write for days since we were on the road for days. I'll post some pictures down below. As soon as I get a chance, I'll edit the video footage and post some YouTube action too. It's good to be home, but it sure was a great trip and I'm glad and fortunate that we were able to pull this one off.

Peace to you all. Enjoy the pics.

Yoody with Eggbert the Hematoma, (on her forehead)

An overlook at the Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction.

In one of the lava tunnels at Craters of the Moon National Monument.

Monkey Business.

KOA Kamper Kabin, Richfield, Utah

Chef Joe, ready to cook for the masses in Redondo Beach.

Checking out the landscape with binoculars

"DJ Rocks" until the tide comes in.

Dumbo at Disneyland

We are proud of our Jack in the Box antenna topper

Yoody in the van after playing in the snow at 12,000 feet

Gracie not sure what to make of the ocean

We made Oregon, as promised

Spadoman his own self, sitting by the hot springs at Crane Crystal

Humboldt County Redwoods

Seals, or Sea Lions?

Sonic Drive-In

Trinidad, at the College Cove


fjb said...

Wow, that's some Eggbert! But she's still grinnin', I see.:-) Sounds like an awesome trip, and like you said, money can't buy the memories that you all share now.

Whimsy said...

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! What a fantastic gift for you AND your grandkids.

Poor Yoody - that's a serious bump on her noggin, but even in that photo she looks happy as a clam.

Welcome home, can't wait to hear the stories.

billie said...

:) :) :) kids look like they had a fantastic time :) and so does grandpa :)

Anne said...

:) Glad you made it home safe and sound and satisfied! Seeing you and yours was such a treat.

Mel said...


I can just look at pictures and see the fun in their eyes...and yours.

What a great gift to give yourself and them!