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It began as my legendary trips are prone to begin. A phone call 2 days before, and before I really had time to think about it I was west bound on a flight to Burbank for one final fling, dragging Amy and her suitcase built for ten along with me. It was a final fling for Dad before he started another movie, for Amy before she started school again, for myself before I moved to college, and for the Rig before it was sold. Burbank Airport is a tiny little thing, so it caused me no end of amusement to watch a 33 foot motorhome jockey for a position on the curb to allow Amy and myself to jump inside. The BMW and airport bus we pushed out of the way looked amazed.
Our first stop was of course, the best pizza joint in all of California, Shakey's. Yum! It was a glorious reunion, I thourally enjoyed it. Sitting between the TV and the machine which gives you Dino Eggs, downing a pitcher of root beer (it only took them two tries to get the drink right). After that, it was time for a stop at the grocery store. As we did while in Florida, we got a cart and went up one isle and down the next, gathering all sorts of goodies. Chips Ahoy cookies, soda, sandwich stuff, tuna helper, hot dogs...a motorhome feast for our excurision.
Then we hit the open road. Or rather, the L.A. freeways. Interesting in a rig. We headed up to a sea-side town where dad recalled having a sailboat ride he said was spectacular. We bought ourselves two parking spots and headed over to the docks. Imagine our luck (and superb timing!) when we discovered the sunset sailboat cruise was just about to depart. So that was how I had my first sailboat ride. My first evening in California was spent out in the ocean, darting over the swells with the wind filling the sails. How glorious.
After that we drove a while longer, myself once again in my beloved co-pilot seat. We made it out of the city before we pulled off into a rest stop, parking in the designated area. Which just happened to be right next to the highway. Though it had been a travel day, so sleep came easy despite the constant rocking and roars caused by passing semis. It seems like Dad had a personal vendetta almost every morning to wake me up exactly 1/2 an hour before I was ready. Still, I forgave him, because the second day wasn't something you wanted to miss. At all.
The first big adventure occured when Dad rightfully pulled off the interstate into a small little town, seeking to get some preventitive matinence done on the Rig. The turn signals weren't working, which is something you kind of should have in such a large motorhome.
However, the Rig had other plans. We drove down the main road, and spotted an auto shop. One look at it's driveway however registered the fact that we simply could not fit in there. Then we spotted another auto shop behind the first, and made for that one.
The engine died. Smoothly pulling against the curb between the two auto shops and Napa Auto Parts store, Dad tried to restart the motor. Nope. The Rig has a great sence of humor, I have discovered. We got out, only having blocked one lane of traffic, and I stole (borrowed) a construction cone to put behind the Rig so no one would be sitting back there wondering why we weren't moving.
We walked into the first auto shop. We explained the situation. That we had not broken down, we were simply looking for a place to fix the turn signals. How convenient the Rig stoped moving between two auto shops, a Carl's Jr., and a shopping mall! We could keep ourselves entertained for hours!
Which we did. The first shop walked us over to the second shop, which just /happened/ to be a motorhome specialty auto shop. The owner was a handsome young man, well spoken, and wearing an immaculate white dress shirt. We figure he has about sixteen of them hanging in the back of his office, because no human being can even walk though a garage while keeping such a shirt immaculate.
So we had to move the rig somehow, out of the road, and into the parking lot.. With me forcing the generator to give power to the engine by holding down one of the many switches, we pulled up and around the garage to where we were directed. Then smoke began tumbling out of the steering column.
Stick with me, Day 2 gets better.
We wandered around while the assured garage fixed the Rig. I found the most comfortable chair ever in Pier 1, and Amy found heaven in the shape of a Ross. I called Ben to pass the time and see if there was a way to record a radio program onto your computer at specific times during the day. It's the timer that's going to be the hard part.
Amy found a ton of clothes, and I cursed the inventor of Ross. They should at least put a place for the dads//annoyed older sisters to sit.
Dad and I amused ourselves by discussing our new favorite TV shows, most noticably "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy". If you haven't seen it yet, watch it.
So! Back to the Rig, right? It's done, yay! Off we go again. This is about the time Dad figured we'd better look for a place to camp for the night. Pulling up to what we thought was a simple state park, we discovered it was not your normal state park. It's what they call a Vehicular Recreation Area. Which means you drive your vehicle 2.5 miles across the sand to the designated area, find a patch of beach, and settle in to actually sleep ON the beach. Dad looked at me, I looked at the length of the rig, then out across the sand. I shook my head. Dad grined. He then asked the elderly woman running the entrance to the park if motorhomes go out there. She looked at my father, then at the Rig, and said slowly, "Yes..."
She thought we were crazy. Dad paid her $8.00, and we pulled forward.
You're thinking, "They couldn't possibly have done that."
Come on! Have you learned nothing in reading of my travels? Anything is possible!
Yes! We went 6-wheeling through the dunes in the MOTORHOME! I was a little apprehensive, to say the least. Still.
Off we went. As long as we stayed on the hard stuff we were alright. We needed to drive 2.5 miles to the campground. Things were fine, until we reached the RIVER! Ahh yes, no trek across the sand is complete without a merry little jaunt across a raging river. The tide was also rising. Did I mention that? I was looking out my window, watching the waves lap the sand closer and closer to the tires.
This was when we figured we'd turn around. The wheels moved into the soft sand, slipped, then caught again. Then slipped. Then we were stuck.
Stuck in the sand in the 33 foot Rig. Feel the joy!
Almost immedietly (couldn't have been two seconds) a Ford pickup stoped beside us and an almost gleeful voice called, "Hey, you guys stuck?"
You should have seen it. Good looking guys bailed out of the truck and even had a rope all ready to go. The Ford F-150 pulling the Rig through the sand, all the way back to the (paved) entrance, where I swore I could hear that woman laughing at us.
If she was, it was lost in our own laughter.
All sorts of fun!
So after that adventure (affectionately called Dad's Bright Idea) we found a real campground. Dad still swears that if we droped the tire pressure to 20 psi it would have worked. I still think we would never have made it over the river. We found ourselves a KOA in the middle of nowhere, by a lake. After enjoying a swim we pretty much passed out.
Oh lighten up. After that day, I'm sure you wouldn't have been able to go out and party either. Not that there was anywhere to go. That's what I love about KOA Kampgrounds. They're remote.
Then came Day 3!
Cruizing over to highway 1, we went to my favorite beach town. Monterey. Of course, the first thing you do in Monterey is...find a parking spot! We were there pretty early, so the paralell rig parking wasn't too difficult to get into. Scrounging the entire rig for quarters (cabinets, floor, couch, pockets, luggage) we paid the parking meter for about 4 hours, and then happily trooped off towards the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Incidently, the same aquarium they used for Star Trek IV. Woo!
I love this place. If you've never been, give me a call, we'll go. :)
A non-profit organization dedicated to research and conservation of our oceans, Monterey Bay is world-renound. Besides all that, it's just fun! Running around beneith the huge models of whales and dolphins hanging from the ceeling, darting from the sea otter exibit to the new Jellyfish - Living Art exhibit. Which was really well done. Every tank with jellyfish was bordered by an ornate frame. It compared jellyfish to art in rhythm, color, mood, etc. Really neat. Plus Amy got this amazing picture of upside down jellies.
The 1024 x 768 version is more impressive, admittedly, but server space is limited. E-mail me if you want the big one and I'll send it along.
We watched the otter training, and then a movie about Monterey Canyon, a huge canyon in the bay which is larger than the Grand Canyon. I didn't even know it existed! Quite amazing that such a deep gorge is so close to shore. Yay geology!
After the visit to the aquarium, it was time for a trek through the streets, searching for Dad's favorite caramel corn in all the world. But the place had moved! Off we went again, ever searching. Quick stop at Starbucks to regain our strength, and we finally did find a place (granted, not THE place, but a place) which made fresh caramel corn.
Dad was so rejuvinated by the caramel corn that he proposed a hike up to the docks to see about the kayaks we'd seen out in the bay, because we wanted to rent some and go the next morning.
There is a Prescott street right off Cannery Row, so I took a picture. After a quick jaunt to put more quarters in the meter, we meandered through the streets towards the docks.
We passed a place which rented to you antique roadsters to drive around! I want to go back and do that. The one parked on the street was a cream colored...one. I don't know enough about cars yet. Our best guess was 20's or 30's. Stunningly cute.
We took a hike down to the docks to see about renting some kyacks, but the place was closed, and our camp ground was too far away from Monterey to warrent going back the next morning. Ahh well. I've ocean kayaked before (go Girl Scouts!) and I will again some day.
That night we stayed in your typical motorhome park. Uneventful to say the least.
So! The next day we hit Santa Cruz and the Boardwalk, which for those of you who have never been, is a carnival/amusement park right on the beach. Literally you can get off a roller coaster, walk ten steps and down onto the sand. Being that we were there so early, the rides weren't open yet so we hit the video arcade.
I was *this* close to beating Dad at air hockey, and then at several different driving games. Off Road and another one...can't remember the name, but Dad's lucky I ran out of tokens when I did. I was just starting to get the hang of it. :)
Then Dad and Amy got on a roller coaster, and I took a stroll down to the beach. Picked up some nice rocks that Rissa and I are going to use in our fish tank (when we get one). Then while they went on the haunted house ride I wandered up and down the Boardwalk, humming along with the music they were piping through the speakers.
I love beaches. They're just so much...fun.
Hehe. Then we went to one of those places where they dress you up and take historic photos. Amy wanted to be a bar girl, I wanted to be a cowgirl. They /still/ put my in a corset! Grrr. Oh well. I got to hold a rifle, so I suppose it was alright. Still...cowgirls didn't wear corsets. I thought I'd had the last of those after Misti's wedding. Ahh well.
On we went. Dad found a little side road along the ocean, so we pulled off to look at a light house. We never really go to the light house though. After a picture Amy and I scaled a cliff (I /love/ the Pacific!) and ran around between the surf and the sandstone looking for stuff in the tide pools, until the tide rose so much (and so quickly) that I got my feet wet leaping from one rock to the other, scrambling back up the cliff face. I found some awesome shells, which Rissa and I are also putting into our tank. When we get it, of course.
So that was fun. It was about this time the cruze controll started going in and out. More preventitive matinence! We stoped in a tiny little town called Half Moon Bay which is basically a Radio Shack and a McDonalds. They did have a Starbucks though, so I was content. We found a place to look at the cruze controll, but they couldn't get to it until the next morning. Oh well, we'd already done our two hours of driving for the day, why not just stay in Half Moon Bay for the night. So we did. We found a curious campground. Self-pay, it was a parking lot with hook-ups.
This is also where Dad found his cool iRock toy. We went back to the campsite, where we took our customary picture, and then I got the bright idea to climb on top of the rig and take another picture. Hoping for a good view. Plus, we could set the timer and put the camera on top of the other air conditioning unit. Regardless that the view part didn't work out, I still love this picture.
You can kind of see the ocean.
The next day we finally reached San Francisco, where Dad went to college. Ever driven a 33 foot rig through the heart of San Francisco? Well, I haven't either but it /looks/ hard. We were tempted to stop at Ghirardelli square for hot fudge sundaes, but decited not to fight it. On we went! Over the Golden Gate.
Here is where I got another picture on top of the rig, with the San Fran skyline behind us.
I love these pictures!
So, after San Francisco we finally hit the readwoods. Mmmm, I love these trees. We took the scenic route called Avenue of the Giants, which everyone should visit at least four times. You need to go more than once to get it all in. The redwoods are so grand, it takes a long time for it to sink in.
Our campsite that night was amazing. I love state parks. (I lovea lot of things) Up into the forest which had redwoods and a lot of other trees, and underbrush, and greenery...the canopy was so thick the camera almost used a flash. That's Amy and I, incase you couldn't tell. We had a picnic table too, complete with mosquito population! That's the only thing I had to complain about, as I curled up on my couch and read Harry Potter. It was so dark in the forest we didn't wake up until like 8 or 9 the next morning. Ahhh, bliss.
The next day it was time for...more redwoods! This time we pulled off the road and went for a little hike through the trees. As we were walking along the path, we spotted a family of deer. Mom, dad, and Bambi. Couldn't have been more than 2 months old. Adorable!
The next day we made it up to Eureka, and kept going towards Patrick's Point, a state park a ranger further south had said was his favorite park in all of California. The redwoods meet the beach against high bluffs. Well, we figured, why not? On we drove.
We pulled up to the gate keeper and greeted her happily, and asked if there was room for one more rig. Well, she said, she had a hanicapped spot she was saving until the last minute.
"Ow, my arm!" Dad said.
She laughed. She said she'd been saving the spot for people with nice smiles. Well, we were shoe-ins! On we went, 15 minutes before the park closed, and in the last spot they had. Simply beautiful park. However. The down side. It was a hike down to the beach. Well, it was cake getting down. Getting back /up/ the cliff was a little difficult.
The beach was great though. Piles of drift wood, and agates, hence the name Agate Beach. I got a bunch more stones for the fish tank.
Amy claimed she could make it up the cliff wall in record time, so we told her we were expecting dinner to be ready by the time we got back to the rig. Dad and I took our time, meandering up, and finally got back to the rig...only to realize that Dad had had the keys, so Amy didn't fix our dinner. Aww.
It was a peaceful night, and the next morning I woke up early, and Dad and I took a stroll along the bluffs, watching the tide go out. I bid farewell to the Pacific, and then we headed back down the 101.
The last night was spent in a curious campground, complete with agriculture museum, and a display on the history of irrigation. This is also where Dad came up with the story idea for a movie. Coming soon to a theater near you. :)
We made it back down to Burbank, and after a stop over at Taco Bell stayed the night in a friend's back yard. Next morning it was up early to catch our flight out of Burbank International, where they had over-booked the flight, and then due to rising heat on the runway, they needed to kick 30 people off the flight. They were offering $500 in flight vouchers, and a spot on the next flight, which was in only 3 hours. Amy wouldn't do it. Bah. Next time.
Once on the little express plane, they had to balance the weight. So I left my spot in the rear of the plane and moved forward, sitting next to an older woman wearing that older woman perfume, who liked reading what I was writing on my laptop. She asked me if the keyboard was the same as a typewriter's. I told her sure.
After waiting 1/2 an hour to pick up Amy's bag we hopped on the shuttle, where I again sat next to an aging woman wearing the same sort of migrane-enducing perfume. Finally ending up in Prescott, at that little Mexican restaurant by the Shuttle-U office. Then it was home to my rollaway bed and computer.
What a fun trip! I adored getting out and visiting California again. It gets such a bad rep because of L.A., but the small towns along 1 and 101 are really charming. I'd take that trip again in a heartbeat. I'd take it in the truck! Road trip, anyone?