Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I'd Invite You Along On Our Next Trip, But I Need That Seat For My Shoe Bag.

Happy New Year!

We just returned from our Annual Winter Vacation. I know that sounds pretty lofty, like maybe you're picturing a family dressed in matching designer snow gear jetting off to their vacation home in Aspen where they'll spend toasty nights by the fire sipping cognac, their children lounging nearby playing backgammon. But for us? A hastily planned road trip in our van, a van whose windshield cracked an hour into our trip, heading up the 101 along the coast of California with stops in Pismo Beach and Big Sur. We bought Cheetos along the way, and I sipped this in front of the wall heater in our room at the Big Sur Lodge while the kids ate Cup O' Noodle and played Mario Kart on their Nintendos nearby. We're high class.

I'm a big fan of road trips. The main reason, and I'm being totally honest here, is because I don't have to think twice about how much crap I'm packing. The black sweater or the blue sweater? Bring them both - in fact, I'll just bring the whole drawer! Do I really need twelve t-shirts? Who cares? Eight pairs of shoes may seem excessive for a six day trip but not when you can just toss it all in the large cavernous backside of a van. And correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think there's an airline around that would let me step on board dragging a small ice chest, a pack of juice boxes, a bottle of wine and two Trader Joes shopping bags stuffed with snacks.

Another benefit to a driving destination is freedom from schedules. Having to be at a certain place at a specific time has never been one of our strong points, and for us trying to catch a plane makes the launch of the space shuttle seem like a trip to the market. Being forced to figure out how to actually get to the airport is bad enough, and then there's those unreasonable, unyielding flight schedules. Damn you, all you efficient, on-time people! We're always frantic, scrambling not to miss our boarding time and are always incredulous that the departure time on our ticket doesn't actually mean TAKE YOUR TIME - WHENEVER YOU GET HERE, WE'LL FLY THE PLANE.

Big Sur was spectacular, and I don't want to spoil these pictures with some inane narrative. For instance, I could really ruin the moment by telling you how our heater wasn't working when we got to the room, and even after it was fixed I couldn't sleep that night worrying that we would all be killed in our sleep by carbon monoxide poisoning and even imagined what the newspaper headline would be: 'Family Enters Eternal Sleep In Historic Big Sur.' Or how the front desk told us the restaurant closed at 9, when it really closed at 8 and then we had to drive five miles to a local bar where I had one of the worst meals of my life, a pasta dish that contained fist-sized chunks of raw onion and a bowl of clam chowder that was fluorescent yellow and had an odd sour taste to it, a dish that had 'Food Poisoning' written all over it. (Next time? We'll listen when Kira says, "I don't like this place. It seems unstable.") And stop me before I taint these beautiful images by telling you about the old guy who kept walking by our table, giving us the evil eye, and how he had probably never seen an Asian before in his life, and when he saw me sitting there next to my white husband and my two half-breed kids I just knew he was thinking that Rigel was a traitor and how any minute he would summon his white-hooded friends to take our nice family out back for a little lesson.

But like I said, enjoy these photos:
We ended our trip at one of the girls' favorite destinations, Rigel's sister's home in Northern California. She lives in a beautiful house, and since she's single and without children the place looks like something out of a Pottery Barn catalog, everything neatly arranged and in it's place. It's strange to be somewhere that isn't strewn with tank tops, pajama bottoms and plastic jewelry, where you can actually see the tabletops and where you don't have to wade through a sea of backpacks and sneakers to get from the living room to the kitchen. At one point we were looking for Kiyomi's necklace and when I reached under the couch cushions I was shocked to find that there wasn't a single raisin, Cheerio or gum wrapper stuck to my hand. I did find a year-old People magazine that I hadn't read, though, which I was excited about since I was getting tired of all the ones stuffed into our couch back home.

Our usual routine is to go to San Francisco and get a hotel in Union Square for a few days, but after our Japan trip this past summer and the excesses of the holidays we decided that our remaining funds should be spent on other necessities like groceries, the mortgage and beer for Rigel. So we just drove in for a visit and spent a day shopping and eating, and I knew the long drive had been worth it when we saw this sign in an alcove next to a restaurant:
I'm thinking of posting a couple of these in our bathrooms, just for fun.

Pin It

36 comments:

  1. So glad your back- i missed your sense of humor. I kept coming back and saying 'Damn, still the drums'.
    Scary, Huh?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Why is there such a direct parallel between San Francisco and urine? I thought the same thing a few days ago. I was walking out of a house that would fetch an absurd amount of money on the real estate market only to see a guy peeing on the steps. My thought process regarding the event contained far too little "Ewww!" and far too much nostalgic sighing of "Ah, San Francisco."

    Glad you had a good trip!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I hope that door was not to the kitchen.

    Beautiful pictures. It's cold enough to form snot icicles around these parts.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Delightful. And the creepy old guy? Possibly one of the more embarrassing members of my family. Did he have any scary tattoos?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Those photos illustrate a HUGE payoff on your road trip strategy. I'm jealous - but I also missed you and am glad you're back.

    ReplyDelete
  6. So - I am sitting here confused about the whole "you are on camera" thing. So I'm thinking; "Is it a joke, and no, there is no camera" or "it's a warning because there really is a hidden web cam in there and someone is getting his rocks off by watching girls pee."

    So - do we know the answer? It's bugging me.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Those pictures are fabulous. How green! I forget there are places in this world without snow where people are free to roam beaches.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I don't believe you about the couch cushions sans cheerios, chewed gum and cat vomit. You must have been in a parallel universe, how cool!

    Great photos.

    Personally, I'm a big fan of urinating on camera, so that sign wouldn't have deterred me from anything.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Welcome back! What beautiful pictures! Glad you had fun despite the crack windshield and all.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Looks like you had a fun time, despite the cracked windshield, evil eyes, fears of poisoning, and *gasp* drinking cheap red wine! *LOL*
    Glad you are back....

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love road trips too...
    Glad you took us along for the ride!
    Happy New Year Marsha!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Your pictures reminded me of how beautiful California can be which is good since I've been dreading the five hour plane ride to visit my brother.

    Glad your back.

    ReplyDelete
  13. It sounds like a great trip! Mike and I just took Abbie up the same way in September for our anniv. Love the california coast and living down here in SoCal you forget how beautiful some of it is above L.A. Love the sign!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. You pack just like me! Ha! Sounds like a great trip and I'm glad you enjoyed yourself!

    ReplyDelete
  15. That sign is the funniest thing I have seen today.

    Hilarious!

    ReplyDelete
  16. U r too funny. Me and my wife have taken all kinds of vacations arund te world. We've rented a mansion on the coast of Mexico, had 12 bers at the roof terrace of the Peninsula, stayed in the most luxurious hotel in Malaysia, and of course dined at many of the world finest restaurants in NYC. We've also stayed at scorpion/roach infested rooms in Mexico, encountered blood sucking worms in Borneo, and camped with our mountain bikes for two weeks in Utah.

    Our best memories are rarely the most expensive. It's all about the memories. The simplest and cheapest trip can be the best one ever.

    Camping for two weeks in Moab, Utah with our mountain bikes cost nothing. It's still one of our favorite vacations ever. So is climbing SE Asia highest mountain freezing our asses off.

    It's all about the memories

    Nice weekend

    ReplyDelete
  17. Unstable! Hah! I bet that sign attracts all kinds of fetishists that restaurant had no idea existed. Glad you had a fun trip - the pictures are beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Welcome back! Don't ever leave us for that long again please!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I am weeping with the desire to be tossed into the cavernous space in the back of the van to come along! I cannot believe that Big Sur is so beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Sounds like my kinda trip. Leave when I want .. stop when I want .. Pee when I want .. the old creepy guy, well that just goes w/the territory - there must be one on every trip.
    Love the cheap wine pic and the rest as well!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Ah, nothing beats a bottle of cheap red wine and a wall heater.

    Beautiful pics, by the way!

    And welcome back!!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I thought in SF people were ok with urinating on camera?

    We love the Big Sur area so I'm officially jealous of your Winter Holiday. I remember driving up 1 one winter and the smell of juniper and wild sage and the incredible beauty of the California coastline. Sigh... Wanna trade for a view of a camel in the back of a pickup and some sand blowing into your mouth?

    ReplyDelete
  23. We are headig to CA this summer for 10 or mare days. We will be staying in Irvine with my SIL and hitting Disney, Catalina, etc. We are jazzed.

    Gorgeous pics! It makes me really look forward to our trip!

    ReplyDelete
  24. I, too, am a big fan of the road trip for the same packing reason! That, and I'm terrified to fly ...

    But the sign on the restroom door is just the best! Welcome to San Francisco!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I wonder how many people try to pee, but then find they have stage fright.

    I'm with you on the road trip. Planes cramp my style, with their rigid time tables, cramped spaces, recyled air, and lack of liquid refreshments in anything like the quantity I prefer.

    ReplyDelete
  26. We're big fans of road trips ourselves, especially now that my youngest has outgrown the Hampster Bladder stage ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  27. AAAgh! I miss California. And road trips are a big reason why. Just not as many fun destination in IL for road trips - though I can see my dad now in a (relatively) quick 8 hour trip.

    I love Big Sur.

    And as far as the sign goes, I used to live in SF and I should have had that sign for in front of my garage!

    --Kelly

    ReplyDelete
  28. That sign is hilarious! I am from Northern CA... I LOVE big sur. Gorgeous pics!

    ReplyDelete
  29. It sounds awesoem and looks spectacular! JEALOUS.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Cheap Red Wine, huh? Heeheee. Love that.

    I am envious just for the sole reason that you did all of that driving and no one threw up in the car... Unlike our experiences with our son the "unibarfer"....

    ReplyDelete
  31. Sounds like my kind of road trip. Fun, very very fun. And that sign reminds me of why I don't live in a city! Glad you had a good trip despite the bad food and the stupid ignorant old man in the yucky bar!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I LOVE road trips. I plan on taking another one this summer, in fact.

    The photos are gorgeous; especially the last one.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Lovely pictures!

    ...well, the last one wasn't "lovely", but it did make me smile.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Oh my god, you crack me up!!

    Thos pictures are beautiful. I'm glad you all had a good time. I always get excited to see a People magazine I haven't read too!!


    Carrie

    ReplyDelete
  35. i'm no good with be here at this exact time stuff either. it stresses me out. i can't even commit to getting my hair cut because what? an appointment? at a specific time? on a specific day? ahhhhhhhhhhh!

    ReplyDelete
  36. NorCal DID do a nice job with her house. Organized Smorganized. I personally think clutter is sexy. It means I am so exciting I don't have time for that stuff. HAHAHHAHA I almost believed myself for a tiny minute.

    Comment#2 and in appropriate section. Please note I took the time to do this ...

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts with Thumbnails