13 April 2013

going to california

Living in Arizona has some serious perks.

Although I visited some incredible caves and historical places as a kid (something I wish my kid's experienced more) I sure did want to go to California. What kid doesn't? We came once, if I remember correctly, and it was awesome. 

Since we live next door to California our theory is, as long as God has us here we will visit. Because, man, it is beautiful. The beach, the air, the green, the mountains, the weather...it's really something. and it's so close.

So John had originally had a speaking engagement this Thursday and last Thursday he came home from work with sweet, thoughtful, small gifts for the kiddos and spontaneously asked if we should all go to California together.

So we did. We packed up a test car (a strategy and whole lot of work that I think I'm getting the hang of. For now.) and drove the six hours to a house near the beach and salty air on our skin. It fits just right. The kid's slept great and we left this morning around 9 to go on a train and view a little bit of the coast. Jack loves trains, like every single time we heard the train whistle (several times a day) he would put out his little arms and squeal, "did you hear that?!?! it's a TRAIN!" he was in heaven when we got on our Coaster train.

This is him saying, "TRAINS!"

Our idea was to go for a little bit, eat lunch, then come home. Well, apparently we are no longer seasoned travelers because we did not research a thing (a similar mistake I made going to Germany with two friends from Bible school. Brief story telling-time...

This was not the first time I have made such a mistake. When we flew from England to Germany in the spring of 2004, we only had our flights and that was about it. We had a friend to stay with once we got there, but that was just for a couple of nights. We were a wee bit unprepared. We arrived in Heidelberg with no reservations or nearby hostels. In fact, when our plane landed we were in the middle of nowhere. So we hopped on a bus and drove into the nearest city where we continued to have no clue where we were going. We were optimistic and naive. We had all evening to find some accommodations.

That was until it started getting dark. We began to panic and yet somehow found this cute bed and breakfast (that wasn't crazy expensive) and enjoy a nice little attic room.

On one of our many lost excursions (to find our next place to sleep) we were going in and through hotels and malls and up staircases and down them. We had our huge backpacks on and my dear friend Susan collapsed on the stairwell, half crying-half laughing. "I can't go anymore. That's in, I'm done!" We could either laugh or cry. I pulled on her backpack and yelled "come on, Susan! We can do this!" Those ten days were a slew of unplanned, un-thought out and yet really fun experiences. We arrived about five days early to a friend from Bible school's house and asked if we could stay the whole week. Our third travel partner left a bit early and we went north to Bonn where we arrived a night early and realized we didn't have a hostel or a hotel or anything. Oh, and on our way up north we missed our train and couldn't figure out how to get the next one. We met an old homeless woman who spoke some English, and had a pet rat living in her shirt, and she helped us find the way. That's the most of it that I can remember, but seriously. I am not a very big planner...or so I remembered. I've definitely grown in that area being a mom to two little ones, but I am not very spontaneous in real life. (shocker.) We have a routine of our days and we pretty much stick to that. Too many un-planned events happening and I get a little bit uncomfortable.

Fast forward to today and it was like a flashback. We didn't really look at when the next train came or more importantly, where we would eat at the stop we did take.

I may or may not have been...a little frustrated and for those two friends who hiked the rim with me in Sedona (you know who you are) you may remember I get a little bit feisty when it comes to excess hiking that was no planned/did not have the right shoes/too hot for.

So after a little bit of a heated discussion between John and I we made our way through residential areas and Volvo sales lots and decided to keep quiet til we got some food.

We walked for .8 miles and ate at Pick up Stick and got a coffee. What could have ruined the day ended up being okay. The kids played by a really cute fountain and the weather was particularly beautiful for that kind of excursion.

Until we got back to the train stop and missed our train by 2 minutes.

That's right people. Us inexperienced travelers were on the wrong side of the tracks + read the time wrong. 

Wow. What an example of our spontaneity kind of biting us in the behinds.

But the kids were awesome and after we took a couple of buses and made our way back to our little hometown they were both getting sleepy and Jack somehow managed to hold in his pee until we got back to the train station.

Never a dull moment, people. I tell ya what. We all came home and crashed. So wonderful.

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