Friday, May 27, 2016

All the Way Home

We made it home on schedule. I'm still recovering to some extent, but overall it was a good trip. With the luxury of a regular internet connection, this will be a bit photo heavy. Blogger could really use better tools for photo layout. I've spent 5 minutes trying to get the first three photos put together in a reasonable way, so I'm going to give up on the idea of things being perfect early.

Fortune from dinner on the first night of the trip
Don't lose track of your water bottle

Breakfast of Champion Campers
The last day of PCH was probably the best as far as progress on the road. It was also our closest encounter with law enforcement. Thanks to someone flashing their lights at me, I took it easy for a while. About 10 minutes later, I was running out of patience behaving behind a couple slower cars when I saw the reason for the warning. A chain of three of us passed the slower car in the passing lane with the cop parked on the side, and then back to travel as usual.

We made great time from Santa Cruz down to Malibu, in spite of the cop, road work, and having to twice get around the Nebraska mobile home doing 30mph and ignoring every turnout. It would have only been once, but Moira's breakfast that morning of fresh fruit and Vanilla Coke wasn't the best choice of the trip.

Fireside selfie from the second night after successfully
making fire in the wind
 There were some doubts about being able to get to Anaheim from Santa Cruz going along PCH, but leaving at 8:30am, we made it to the eastern end of Malibu around 5pm. Given Moira's love of Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse (yes, I made that a link -- that doesn't mean I recommend you click on it), I thought she'd like seeing the real thing. I didn't realize how long it takes to drive the whole length of it though. Since we'd decided on Panda Inn in Pasadena for dinner, anyone who's lived in LA can probably guess how things went getting from Malibu to Pasadena starting at 5pm on a Tuesday.

After dinner, I got a Life Achievement - ordering off the menu at The Donut Man. A strawberry donut, of course, plus reserving two fritters for the trip home. We arrived at our hotel in Anaheim about the time fireworks started. Having grown up in Anaheim, I don't remember the fireworks happening on school nights, so that was a bit of a surprise, but nice for those of us visiting. Shannon and Davis flew down on Monday to meet us, so were back in the room after having spent the day mostly at California Adventure when we arrived.

A duck skipping the line and tailgating the boat in front of us.
It bailed out before going into the ride proper.
All packed up after our last night of camping
Disneyland was a lot more crowded in mid-May than I expected. Lots of school groups, new grads, and otherwise pretty teen-heavy compared to our other recent trips. We still managed pretty well, even if we couldn't go on all the kids' favorites multiple times every day.

Moira's Roller Coaster Buddy
Moira really talked a good game going into this Disneyland trip, deciding she'd try Goofy's Sky School, Splash Mountain, and give Pirates of the Caribbean another try. The first one we tried was Splash Mountain. Turns out, neither of the kids were fans of getting splashed. They recovered well after a bite to eat, but no more daring adventures that day. We all stayed for the parade. Moira and I also hung out for the fireworks, with the intention to hit one or two more rides afterward, but given how hard it was to get around after the fireworks, we wound up just heading back to the room.

Our second day at the park, we were on our own as Shannon and Davis headed back. Moira tried Goofy's Sky School, but in spite of how slow it works when you're watching it from the ground, she felt it went too fast. With two strikes against new rides, she wasn't ready to consider Pirates. We did find that Soarin' Over California was still open despite plans to convert it to Soarin' Around the World very soon now, and she really enjoyed that. It was even more fun, having just driven through a number of the scenes on our drive from Seattle. She also picked out a stuffed monster (apparently named Angel) as a souvenir that gave her enough bravery to get through both Goofy's Sky School again plus a swing ride she'd also been to afraid to try earlier. We watched World of Color (note to self for the future: when the guides say that the wet areas only get a light misting, remember they're neither standing up there nor accounting for the wind blowing toward the crowd). We were also hoping to catch the fireworks on the way back to the hotel, but they were called off due to the weather.

Best breakfast of the trip!

 Our trip home got off to a slow start. We slept in later than any other day, had to get the car packed up again, and then stop at Donut Man and Tommy's on the way out. I picked up my pre-ordered fritters seconds after the people next to me tried to get fritters only to be told they'd run out. They were better than my last report, but not everything I'd hoped. I did figure out why I was originally so taken with them - they're at least twice the size of any other fritter I've had lately for $2. The reserved ones were not overcooked this time, but still could have used more apple cinnamon flavor. You'd think this would have been our breakfast stop, but for whatever pathological reason, I was determined to head to Tommy's. Turns out, it wasn't as bad an idea as you'd think. While my body may have expressed some regrets of the trip five days after getting home, it worked out that day. Moira said they make the best hamburgers without chili, and did acknowledge the merits of dipping fries in the chili, which I'm pretty sure is how I started.
Crossing 10,000 miles

We wound up leaving Pasadena right around noon on Friday when many other people I new were arriving for Alumni Weekend. Ah well, we'd planned this trips months in advance before I knew the dates for that, so it just wasn't in the cards this time. With our late departure, we didn't get to Redding until close to 10pm and decided to call it quits there.

Final trip summary according to the car
We finished the trip by meeting my dad for dinner in Kelso. We did have a bit of a scare, running very low on gas because signs for Curtis, OR made me think it was larger than it was. Couldn't find gas there, and Cottage Grove didn't make it easy, but we did find maybe the only gas station there before running out.

It was a good trip for both of us, I think, and it's good to be home again. We'll see how many of the smells the car picked up come out, and how the tires are doing after all this when the car goes out to Bremerton tomorrow.

Davis is somewhat concerned about his road trip with Daddy. His sense of time doesn't do so well with time periods between two weeks from now and four years from now. He's stopped objecting for now, but these things have a way of coming up again out of nowhere.

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