2008 Vacation, Part 1

We made it to California in one piece (each). The flight was fine, the road traffic was fine, and yet we were completely exhausted by the end of the day. Counting the hours in CA time, we got up at 2 am and went to bed that night at 10 pm. ZZZZZZZZZZ.

To economize and because the kids can be in booster seats instead of big car seat, we had reserved a full-sized sedan. When we arrived, they were incredibly busy and almost out of cars! So we ended up in what I would call a mini-SUV. Shorter than a minivan, but bigger than a sedan. Anyway, it’s easy to drive and we can all fit in it, so it’s a keeper.

Coming out of the car rental place, I remembered that we just needed to hang a left at the light, and shortly thereafter we would be able to turn onto Highway 1 to take the scenic Pacific Coast Highway route. Somehow I missed the turn onto PCH and we ended up almost at the sand in Marina Del Rey. Luckily, I am the Navigatrix, so we didn’t have such a huge detour.

It strikes me kind of funny sometimes to be so blasé about all of these “famous” towns. We drove through Santa Monica, Venice, and Malibu on our way up the coast, and the only things I was excited to see were the Thai restaurants (a sign that we had returned to the Fine Dining Homeland that is Southern California), the luscious bouganvillea vines and jacaranda trees all in bloom, and a few spots that held personal memories (our veterinarian in Malibu! the movie theater where I saw Amadeus! the weird petroglyphs outside the Getty Villa are gone! the restaurant that local news reporter mispronounced that one time!)

I lived in So Cal for the first 34 years of my life, and yet I’ve never been to Universal Studios (no interest really), and haven’t been to Disneyland, Magic Mountain, or even Knott’s Berry Farm in forever. Hollywood is really not that interesting (unless you are looking for a hooker or illegal substances, or perhaps some tourist crap to buy) and you won’t see any movie or TV stars there (there aren’t any production studios anywhere near there, and nobody lives around there either).

But I was really struck this time around with a strong sense of nostalgia and…it pains me to say this…even a tiny, eensy particle of a desire to live here again. Really the merest shadow of a ghost of a desire, but it was there. Especially driving up Malibu Canyon, where the gorgeous hillsides always enchant me. The grass is already completely dry and golden, but the oaks and tough, resinous bushes are their deepest green. The canyon has incredibly beautiful geologic formations.

This part of California is incredibly expensive, crowded, hot and dry, and many other things that do not attract me at all. But it’s in my psyche and my soul.

Well, we’ve been taking it easy so far, trying to get the kids on California time. I’ve already eaten way too much. We spent yesterday just playing here at Nana’s house, and today we went to the park to test drive the sand toys we’ll be taking to the beach tomorrow. Now I’m off to see which will be better, Zuma or Will Rogers State Beach. Oh, those agonizing vacation decisions!

* * * * *

Images from the LACMA California Art Collection.


Filed under Family, Food, holidays, Silliness and Mayhem, travel, Uncategorized

9 responses to “2008 Vacation, Part 1

  1. Wow – I don’t know what else to say. It all sounds incredible and exciting. Thanks for posting – we can travel vicariously through you

  2. Have a great time! It’s fun to go home again. And then to come home again.

  3. Driving along the Pacific coast highway is a favorite memory I have of California. Have a great vacation.

  4. It doesn’t sound like a bad place to make a wrong turn, it is such a lovely view. My partner went to Grad school in California (UC DAvis) and then post-doc UC Santa Cruz, he was just telling us today how we should all go and have a vacation there, he really misses it. Have a great vacation. I am toiling in the fields and on break I get to play looky-loo at your vacation, what a cool bloggy world.

  5. Zuma! It’s the name of one of my three favourite Neil Young albums.

  6. Welcome home! I guess no matter where we live, if we’re far from where we started it’s hard to resist the urge to go home.

    Here I am living in L.A. with all this beauty, and I’m pining away for Ohio. I know, I know. Most people run from Ohio like they’re being chased by wild cats. But I grew up there and my parents are there and it’s very inexpensive to buy a house.

    On the other hand, I had the most lovely trip to the Santa Monica Farmers Market today. In spite of the abundance of produce I brought home (rainbow swiss chard, a “bouquet” of stem tomatoes as fragrant as flowers), my favorite purchase on this trip was a pound of bacon from Rocky Canyon. This is my first bacon from a small farm with grass-fed pigs, so I’ve got to go heat up the frying pan now . . .

    I miss my family in Ohio, but I will enjoy the exile here in L.A.!

  7. Welcome to my neck of the woods. I hope you have a great trip planned but sorry we couldn’t offer you better weather! But don’t worry – take a trip to the Natural History Museum a great museum for kids or The Bowers Kidseum in Santa Ana…very crunchy!

    Send me an e-mail we’ll meet you!

  8. I felt the same way about Hollywood when I visited.

    Nice pictures.

  9. Wow. Although I have never lived in Ca, I can see why you’re pining away… some of the landscape is so incredible!! How nice to be with Nana!

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