What I did on my “vacation”

I flew to San Diego on May 14. My daughter picked me up in the black Fiat that I own, the one I bought on Election Day 2016 with her in mind. She thought I should have picked out the light green one, but the black one had lower mileage.

She timidly drove the dreaded I-15 with its six lanes of heavy traffic (going each way) and then I drove with her to have lunch with my son.

He had planned where we would eat, so off we ventured to an Italian place. We ate outside in a patio, enjoying that mild San Diego weather. Afterward, we dropped him off and headed north, again on the I-15.

Before sunset, we went to the beach where it was a little chilly and watched the sun set. She was cold and my feet hurt (poor shoe choice, what’s wrong with me?) and then we headed back to her home. I wish it had been a spectacular sunset but you don’t get to plan these things.

(This was in Oregon.)

The next day, I met up with former co-workers for breakfast, drove by my old house, stopped by the park with peacocks, went into a couple of stores and them met a friend for lunch before buying travel snacks at Trader Joe’s. I also walked on the beach in Carlsbad. I missed it. I miss the ocean the most.

We started our road-trip the next morning at 6:00 AM, gliding through Los Angeles before the city was even fully awake. My daughter and I traveled in the Fiat and her boyfriend drove his Toyota with his brother as a passenger. (The mother of the boyfriend and her husband drove a camper van with a trailer attached.) We detoured a bit to swing by my son’s boyfriend’s dad’s house where they gave me a tour of their 12 acres which includes a vineyard, an assortment of farm animals and a white barn owl perched at the tippy-top of a hundred-year old barn. Even though it was out of our way, I was glad I got to meet them and see their place.

I do love a road trip. This one with my daughter was no exception. My phone wouldn’t charge, so for hours, we couldn’t stream entertainment and just talked instead. We slept that night in a Redding hotel. (I was just glad it was a good hotel because the rest of the crew made reservations at the same place based on my initial choice.)

I had wanted to detour to Crater Lake on the way to Portland but changed my mind that night. I was so tired and didn’t want to add extra time to our second day’s travels. So, we ended up arriving at the apartment the next day at about 4 PM and the trailer had already been unloaded.

The only problem was that the couch would not fit around the corner and through the front door. I immediately declared they’d have to get rid of it and would have admitted defeat but the stepdad would not be deterred. He and the three teens hoisted that thing up over the railing, pulling it up three stories to get it through the patio sliding glass door.

I cowered in a bedroom, not wanting to even hear that effort . . . but they made it seem easy.

We had dinner that night, all of us.

The next day, my daughter and I went to IKEA to buy the bare essentials, including pots and pans and a coffee table. We hunted down a shelf and some other stuff at a few other random stores. I ended my night at 9:30 PM wandering through Fred Meyer in a quest to find an electric mixer so I could bake them chocolate chip cookies. These are the things moms do.

By then, my feet were killing me. Again, extremely poor footwear choices for this trip, so the next morning when I drove out of Portland in the Fiat, I stopped and bought my annual pair of Birkenstocks.

That day I drove solo to my mom’s place on the Oregon coast. I was there overnight, then my daughter and her boyfriend drove over to join us for a day. We walked on the shore and ate delicious food and strolled through the shops and antique mall. They left at the end of the day and I slept over one more night before heading south down the coast.

I haven’t really been back down Highway 101 in Oregon since I rode my bike as a 14-year old from Seattle to San Francisco. This time, I pulled over at every view point and walked along every beach that caught my fancy. I stayed two nights in Garibaldi (think “The Rosebud Motel”) and spent a second day going even farther, down to Newport. It was glorious to be alone with my thoughts, podcasts and silence.

Then it was time to drive back to Portland to spend a little more time with my daughter before going home to Minnesota. We hiked, ate pizza and cookies, and shopped thrift stores. One more night’s sleep and then I had to wake up at 4:30 AM to catch a 7:20 AM flight. (WHY? WHY?)

I was back home on Tuesday and back to work on Thursday and haven’t found my groove quite yet. I’m exhausted when I wake up and not quite sleepy at bedtime but a couple early mornings may have solved that problem.

So tomorrow, back to work.

(Closing thoughts: I wore basically three outfits. I took three or four more outfits that never even made it out of my suitcase. Next time, pack less and bring only comfortable shoes. Why do I even own shoes that hurt my feet?)

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