The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page. -- St. Augustine
Imagine my surprise the next morning when I set off for my morning run, completely unsure where to go. I looked around for a bit, and then simply decided to follow the herd of fit, silent runners, brightly clad in their gear going by me. We ran out on a pier, up Fort Mason, through a park, all with the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.
San Francisco, I love thee.
My enjoyment aside, we did the usual stuff over the next few days; walked Fisherman's Wharf, took a cable car, went to Union Square. I think it was a cable car - Scotty kept asking me the whole time if we were on a cable car or a trolley. I'm still not sure which is which.
Thankfully, we were able to catch another one, and it was on the ferry I had the inspired idea to run across the Golden Gate Bridge. July 2 was Day 30 of my "5K-a-day-Challenge" and why not end it with a bang?
(more on that tomorrow)
After my run, we had to pack up and head out.
I'm pretty sure I left my heart in San Francisco.
There were some late night shenanigans, however.
From there, we hit the 17-mile drive, which Brian proceeded to inform me about every aspect of golfing known to man. He also took many pictures of the golf course, none that I will post here. I'm not trying to be mean, but I am just not a golfer. I like golf, it's pretty, I like grass...but that's about it. It would be like me trying to tell him about...I don't know...running shoes or something. His eyes would glaze over.
Mine kind of did. But at least I had pretty scenery to appreciate.
Needless to say, we left quickly.
On Thursday, we started the long drive on the Pacific Coast Highway to Solvang, CA. A quick stop in Big Sur provided amazing views and the best baked goods we've ever had. Seriously - the cookies were so good, Brian and I actually went back and ordered more. A blond brownie, a cookies-and-cream sugar cookie, a macadamia nut creation, and a chocolate chunk confection of such beauty, we were rendered speechless. The coffee was amazing, too. And because it's California, they have non-dairy milks like soy and almond readily available, too.
California is my culinary soul mate (minus the chowder).
During the next two hours, I was forced to entertain the child with talking sea otters, frogs, and dragons in an effort to slow the tears. The poor little guy just didn't want to be in his car seat any longer, and the only thing that made him happy was a very robust production from the front seat of "Masterpiece Froggy Theater," starring a very silly, slightly slap-happy, and still high-on-the-sugar-cookies Mom. I'm just glad Brian didn't drive off the road.
Solvang or bust, baby.
The perfect stop on our second-to-last-leg of our tour. This sleepy little mountain town is tucked into hills of Santa Barbara. There's literally nothing to do after 6pm, so we filled our days with biking, eating Danish pastries, and drinking large steins of beer. There are worse ways to kill a Friday.
Ah, the best laid plans.
Just as we were coming out of the mountains (and I'll admit, my apple turnover and coffee were not sitting well in my tummy either), Scotty announces he has to go potty. No problem; Brian pulls off the interstate and starts down a side road. No sooner did the words come out of him mouth than everything come out of his mouth - the cupcake I had foolishly allowed him to have for breakfast, some hot, stinky, partially digested apple juice...some remnants I cannot identify. It was disgusting. And all over the poor boy. Brian, who had yet to be present for a car-puking, looked stunned. I have several of these incidents under my belt and immediately grabbed the beach bucket on the seat next to him and instructed the boy to puke in the bucket. He chose to slap my hand away and throw up on my arm. Fail, fail, fail. Epic, stinky, fail.
Considering we had no rags with us, just dirty clothes, we toweled the kid off with a shirt he wore three days ago. When we asked some nice people at a women's gym to use their sink to rinse out the bucket, they kindly informed me to use the hose on the side of the building. And so, instead of enjoying a cool ocean breeze while sipping an Arnold Palmer, I found myself traipsing through the underbrush in some anonymous strip mall on the outskirts of town, rinsing vomit out of my clothing.
We also completely forgot about Scott's need to use the potty in the chaos of CarPukeGate 2013. It hit me right as we merged back onto the highway. Oh no - are we going to have to deal with bodily fluids from both ends?? The smell in this car is going to be unimaginable. Scared, I asked him if he still needed to go.
And in the immortal words of our three-year old - and I quote - "No, Mom. That thing that was in my butt? Well, I threw it up."
Despite the car reeking of vomit, I hanging on by a thread, and Scotty still a nasty shade of green, what does our intrepid driver/husband/father decide the family needs?
Chik-fil-A. It was Saturday, after all.
Somehow, the magical properties of that chicken healed Scotty's tummy within the hour. He chowed on his nugs and apple juice with such vigor, I couldn't help but shake my finger at Brian. I was imagining what the nuggets would look like when they reappeared in this world.
Thankfully, they, along with the rest of our lunch, stayed put. And by the time we reached LA, Scotty was back to his old self. We were also able to pull out the entire car seat and wash it thoroughly, so we didn't have to breath in the fumes for our final drive home on Sunday.
I'd like to point out - you know you have a good friend when they willingly plunged their hand into a bucket of hot, soapy water that's holding your child's pukey clothes. Tiffany did just that for me, along with a skilled and thorough dis-assembly of the car seat. She moved quickly, like a bomb technician with an IED. Impressive and helpful.
By Sunday, it was clear it was time to head home. Our Santa Monica leg of the adventure - complete with biking to dinner, running into John Salley at dinner, and going to place that only serves portions of 475 calories or less (Oh California! I love you so much!), was winding down. Over brunch, we discussed the next great vacation - the first ever joint-family vacation between Team Abrahms and Team Boschee, commencing August '13 in San Diego. Babies, beach balls, and bulldogs. Oh wait, I think Teddy has to stay home. Twenty-four days and counting!
Scotty and Brian passed the time in the car by talking like the Swedish chef. I played Words with Friends and drained my phone battery. We slowly moved from cool breezes to hot winds and before we knew it, we were in Vegas.
With that, our road trip was over. It was a fantastic family time with lots of laughs, a few tears, and tons of memories. But it was good to be home, too.
No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow. --Lin Yutang