The mostly humorous ramblings of my day to day existence.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Firkroy Vacation

Like Chevy Chase determined to get to Wally World I drive the Family Truckster under the sunny skies of California in search of the perfect vacation.

Last week we have arrived in California, the land of fast drivers, tourist traps, and road construction. Our first stop was The Olive Pit just before Sacramento. Every kind of Olive you can think of grown under the California sun, tasty treats to sample, and tons of gifts for the people back home. Nothing says we missed you like a jar of green olives!

After two days of traveling we reach our first destination, it’s a theme park, and not just any theme park, we arrive at Legoland. There are so many things to spend money on, they hit you up before you even walk in the gate by asking if you would want to buy a $100 gift card. There are huge Lego stores, and over priced snacks, we walked around Legoland like drunken sailors throwing money everywhere. But it was fun, and my favorite attraction was the water park with its circling lazy river. You just sit on an inner tube and do nothing but float around in circles. For me doing nothing was the best treat of all after being stuck in the minivan for two days straight of “Are we there yet?” in stereo. But do they have to have photographers waste deep in the water trying to get you to smile? What I’m worried about is getting my picture sold to the National Enquirer; I’ll go to the grocery store and see my picture with the headline “Two Toned Sasquatch Spotted at Theme Park!”

Even after gallons of sunscreen I’m even more fried than before, it must be that genetic thing and all of that northern European skin. George Hamilton would be proud.

Traveling and staying in hotels is such a crap shoot. The first night we stayed at a decent hotel in Sacramento, but ran into crazies that looked like they were searching for cars to break into. The second night as we are getting into our minivan to go to Legoland we get hit up for cash by an elderly man claiming to be a Pentecostal preacher from Alabama. He gives me a speech about working to help the gangs of LA but now needs bus money because he was ripped off by a mechanic who took all of his cash. He gave me a great performance, he really worked it. The show was well worth the few bucks I gave him. I don’t know why this man isn’t selling Buicks at Hertz Car sales. I mean this guy was a natural.

After leaving Legoland, and another long day of traveling, we pull into the Tavelodge in Yucca Valley to explore Joshua Tree National Park the next day. This hotel would be a prime destination spot if it were 1965. The hotel is flying the U.S. and the Marine Corps flags, and is right down the road for 29 Palms Marine Corps base. I think you needed to be a Marine to open the door of our hotel room. The doors were stuck so badly that you had to body slam them to have any chance of getting in. I paid a few more dollars for an upgrade and got a deluxe room that featured non-sticking doors, and an air conditioner that wasn’t a relic from the Nixon years.

My wife got steamed when we saw a limousine pull up, the kids were pointing and yelling “Look a Limo! Look a Limo!” as we are unloading our things. As I’m dropping off a load into our new room two hookers pile out of the Limo with some dude with a little beard, and scurried out of site to the Sushi bar next door. I hear about this when I come back to the minivan for another load of luggage. My wife is pissed, and quietly says (so not to not point out the situation to the kids) something about hookers and that she’s fed up.

It’s hard when you’ve had days on end of togetherness with the boys in small places, and something like sleeping next to a brothel can take its toll. We had pre-paid for the rooms on the internet to get a better deal so we toughed it out. I highly recommend visiting Joshua Tree National Park, but stay at the Holliday Inn in 29 Palms.

The desert at Joshua Tree National Park is a beautiful place full of cacti, and scenic wonders. We had some wonderful hikes, and the kids loved watching lizards. I also learned that swarms of bees are attracted to air conditioning in minivans. I had to do a quick dive and drive to get rid of the swarm so everyone else could get in. The German tourists we met found the whole spectacle quite humorous.

After stopping off for a Date Shake at Hadley Fruit Orchards in Cabazon (where you can also get a scorpion in a lollypop) it was off to the beach in Carpinteria, a 170 mile drive, and a very nice hotel experience at a Holiday Inn.

Carmageddon turned out to be Carmanadda, so thankfully someone listened to the warnings about the freeway closure that weekend. We drove by the dreaded 405 freeway closure at 70 MPH with boogie boards at the ready.

Carpinteria was awesome and the kids got to visit an actual warm beach for the first time in their lives. In Oregon the temperature can be 100 degrees inland but at the beach it will be 50 degrees and windy in August, a little chilly for boogie boarding.

We are heading north today to Sacramento the halfway point back home. It will be nice to sleep in my own bed again, and believe it or not I think I might even miss the chickens…. well just a little.

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