Most of our June was eaten up by our California trip, the longest time we have ever spent traveling together. I was proud of myself, since generally at the half way mark I am saying to Clint, “Let’s go home. Now. And I am never ever in a million years traveling with children again.” This time I came away from the experience with the realization that California will never truly be a vacation spot for us. (Also, I refuse to call any travel with children a vacation because it most decidedly is NOT.) This time I came away with the understanding that most family and friends in California who are constantly asking when we are visiting next really mean, “We would like you to travel over here with small children, find places to stay, pay for air fare, get off your schedule, find a rental car, and drive everywhere so that we can see you for two hours.”
Next vacation I take needs to be to a beautiful all-inclusive hotel with unlimited childcare. That, my friends, is a vacation.
But this was a decent trip, all things being equal. It took us from the LA area down to San Diego to Walnut Creek to Fresno and back to LA. For the most part we got good weather, though Jonathan got ample opportunity, both on the runway in Phoenix and in Fresno to practice two of his new vocabulary words: hot and dirt.
I have managed to adjust my expectations (and all you planners out there know how hard that is) so that when I travel I have very few goals. This time my objectives were to see people, run most of the days we were there, and not gain 20 pounds in 18 days. Voila! Mission accomplished. My biggest regret is not having run by the beach this time.
It has been almost four years since we left California and I was profoundly struck this time, how time has been passing. In my mind, things at churches and with friendships and at my old university stay the same, but this was the first time I came back not just to families expanding and people moving but to marriages that have broken up and things that have happened that surprised and saddened me.
There were lots of fun memories from the trip and we saw lots of family and some friends. A definite highlight was staying with good friends down south and anytime we were able to get together with friends whose children are also energetic. For the most part, despite the fact that we put 1700+ miles on our rental car, the boys were fairly good travelers. With the exception, of course, of the last leg of our trip that got us back to Detroit at 12:30 am. Jonathan screamed 2 of the 3 hours we were in flight and we were that family. The one you want to throw out of the emergency exit. Nothing makes you want to be home more than a flight like that!
Ah, California, where the produce is amazing and cheap and no one can afford to buy a house (when I was running I checked the price of a small house around the corner and it was going going for $420,000). I have to admit, while the bike lanes and side walks were nice, it was good to come back to green and growing things.