The Unlikely Vacation: Part 1


Here I sit, Day Four about to unfold. It is 6:21 am. Yes, 6:21 am. And I am in the bathroom of our Best Western hotel room, typing away. Oh, and I have been up since about 4 am.

This brings back so many memories of sitting in random hotel bathrooms or hallways at wee-hours, reading or trying to pass the time by the shadow of a light from a less-than-glamorous bathroom. Trying not to disturb anyone’s precious sleep, though probably keeping everyone awake … is that why they all keep sighing loudly? What else is a mother of three to do with all the restless energy usually spent on laundry, cleaning, dishes, carpool and child school and social coordination – that goes suddenly “poof” when on vacation? Relax, you say! Huh?

Wait. I digress. I was about to tell you about this “unlikely vacation.” What makes it unlikely is that we did not spend our usual months planning it. We did not spend countless hours on the phone with our airline, trying to use our “free miles.” We did not analyze and re-analyze every hotel option for each and every night, nor the various transportation methods of how to get from here to there to everywhere. That is how we usually travel. And at the end of it, you need a vacation before your vacation.

Nope, this time we decided to “wing it.” Albeit, there were only three of us now and we had 15 years of the other method of traveling under our belt with five family members. This would be our adventure.

Day one started out well enough. Except that we didn’t leave the house until 2:30 pm because we took all day to pack. Not sure why it took all day, since we were only going for one week and we were likely to stay in our beautiful state of California. But, anyways … first stop – drop off overly pampered Yorkshire Terrier at “le dog spa.” For $50 a day, we would have the piece of mind knowing that our dog was having a better vacation than we were. Check.

By 4 pm, we had made it 45 minutes north and to the shopping outlets to grab some much needed school clothing for our remaining at-home child. No kidding, the child has grown about 6 inches in the past year and all pants stop above his ankles. Embarrassing. Another crucial stop: Le Crueset kitchen store to check on upcoming sales. Check.

Onward! To visit our daughter at college summer school. Well, visit would be a stretch. If she had her way, we would have slowed the car down to about 35 mph and thrown the various items she requested from home that she had forgotten (down comforter, Japanese rice, candy – nope! and other Japanese food items that I decided she needed on my own) out the window to her so she would not have to bear the incredible humiliation of us actually stopping to see her apartment, say hello to her roommate, and meet her new boyfriend! She literally shooed us out of there in under ten minutes and we were on our way to dinner. FYI – boyfriend and roommate adorable.


Because I couldn’t remember ever having been to the Channel Islands/Ventura Harbor, we bee-lined there for dinner. Good choice. We had a lovely seafood dinner at Brophy Brothers outside on the deck with a view of the boats. Clam chowder, cioppino, mussels and grilled local sea bass – how could you go wrong? Mud pie and coffee and we were on our way to “find” a place for the night.

Hmmmm …. find a place for the night. A relatively new concept for us. Would we be able to compromise, negotiate, make a decision without super-analyzing all of the information for hours prior? Or kill each other first? Fortunately, none of the aforementioned came to light. We pulled off in Buellton and drove further at my husband’s request to follow “all of those cars” and found a lovely inn in Solvang by 9:30 pm. It reminded me of some of the inns we saw in the Cotswolds in England only weeks before. Sold.

Day one was a success. But what about day two? Would we make it? Survive?

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