Sunday, May 25, 2014

Road Trippin'

Me 'n Lacey
This is the story of how I ended up throwing clothes in a duffel bag and driving 23 hours to deliver my middle daughter, Lacey, and her Ford Mustang to a summer internship last weekend.

Conversation sometime in early April 2014 at dinner with the extended family:

Lacey: I got a summer internship!
Everyone: Yay! 
Me: Where is it? 
Everyone: Yay! 
Me: Where is that?
Lacey: Somewhere in California. 
Everyone: Yay!
Me: (Googling) When is this going to happen? 
Lacey: For 4 months! 
Everyone: Yay! 
Me: When is that, exactly?
Lacey: I'll let you know the details when I have them, Momma!
Everyone:  Yay!

The picture below may or may not be a picture of the family dinner at which this or the next relevant  conversation took place.

Later conversation in April:

My Mom, to me: You should drive Lacey to California! 
Me and Lacey: Road Trip!
Everyone: Yay!
Me: When would this trip occur, exactly? 
Lacey: I should know soon, Momma!

Early May 2014, texts and phone calls summary conversation:

Me: So are we driving to California? 
Lacey: I'm close to working out the details!

Mother's Day weekend extended family celebration:

Lacey: So we're driving to California next weekend! 
Everyone: Yay! 
Me: Uh.........

After I got over being really mad at Lacey for not communicating more effectively about this trip to me, luckily I found a somewhat decently priced one-way ticket that would get me back home from San Luis Obispo, California, (apparently the closest airport, with flights for purchase) to Santa Maria, California, where Lacey would be interning from May to September 2014, the summer between her junior and senior year of college. 

Next up, an abbreviated week of work in which I am totally distracted by the fact that I am about to get on the road for roughly 1,400 miles and drive through 4 states.  (Right?  I'm thinking it's four states: Texas, California and two in between, right, right?....!).

The Wednesday night before the trip:  Spurs Win!!  This is important in and of itself, but also because this means that Lacey can go get a free oil change the next morning and I can get free coffee.  How freaking cool is our #cityontherise?  Never mind the fact that neither of us manage to take advantage of this opportunity.  Hundreds of others are smarter than we are.

Thursday night I am the keynote speaker at a dinner for one of our Big Brothers Big Sisters business partners.  Lacey is texting me that she is totally getting ready for the trip the next morning. I am glad one of us is ready.

Friday morning, I leave for a quick meeting with the San Antonio Non Profit Council about how to combat the constraints placed on non profit organizations, like overhead (this is an AWESOME POST, especially if you are a non profit constituent), and then it's home to quickly pack a bag.   

At this point I think it's time to point out that my only "plan" for the trip is this:

Friday - drive to Phoenix (12-13 hours)
Saturday - drive to Santa Maria (8-9 hours)
Sunday - fly home to San Antonio(4-6 hours with lay-over)

It's also probably fair to say that my "plan" was concocted after consulting Google for about 5 minutes over the course of the week before, usually right before I crashed into bed, after a long day at work.

So, anyway, I get home from my meeting on Friday morning, pack a quick bag-- which Lacey squashes into the car amidst all the stuff she is taking to California for her 4 month summer internship, (Lacey: "uh, let me see if I can fit this in..."), and off we go!

About 30 minutes into the drive we have decided to live tweet our journey with the hashtag #TrektoCali14 and have posted our first tweets.

Three hours later I am bored out of my mind: 

Thankfully, music helps us push through, and on and on.  Early on Lacey puts on the soundtrack to Rent,  a major favorite of both of ours. #happiness

Despite the fact that this is not my first rodeo (read: car trip across west Texas), I wasn't quite sure about the route, but it turns out that there ARE four states to go through (I totally paid attention in geography).  Texas, of course, goes on forever to El Paso, but we finally cross over into New Mexico and Arizona.  The major differences between the topography of west Texas, and that of New Mexico and Arizona lie in the speed limit signs, which say 80 in west Texas and less so in New Mexico and Arizona.

Damn Them!

For the most part, things looked like this on the drive to the Pacific: 

Wind farms, cacti and higher gas prices. 

Sleepily, (on my part, cause Lacey took us into the last hours of our first day's drive, which was over 13 hours) we arrived in Phoenix and stopped for the night at a hotel which I have totally forgotten the name of.  I could look it up in my phone, but I don't care.  All I know is we slept there and got up the next morning to meet Phoenix family members, Joyce and Trevor Donaldson, for breakfast at CrackerBarrel where I had a lovely ham and cheese omelet.  :)

Later that day we approached Los Angeles (dant-dant-dum!):

It took us 2 hours to get through LA.  LA sucks.

After LA, though, the drive started to get more interesting.  After consulting many maps and apps (we pause here for a moment to promote an app we now LOVE called iExit - download it before your next trip so you don't find yourself stranded in the desert, not that we did, really we didn't, but we could have...), we decided to drive up highway 1 through Malibu - the "scenic route" and oh, yes, yes it was.  We had reached the lovely Pacific coast.

Lacey on the Pacific Coast

I think from that moment on I relaxed and the trip became more of a vacation than a chore.  :)  However, Lacey and I arrived in Santa Maria to find that all the major hotels were booked for the night. Somehow though, the historic Santa Maria Inn had a room left unbooked.  ;p

Me at the historic Santa Maria Inn

We had a lovely dinner and went to sleep after making plans for all the things we wanted to do the next day before my plane left at 4 pm, which included the hot-tub-spa the next morning.    

The chlorine was killing our eyes but omg it felt good.

We decided right here that there was no way I was gonna be on that 4 pm Sunday flight.  Over $300 later, I had a new flight for Monday and it was worth every penny. :D

The rest of the trip follows in pictures.

Looking up at our hotel

Me on the beach

Lacey contemplating life

Lacey at sunset

The Pacific coast, so very different form the Eastern coast...

Early morning

Our favorite hotel, Cottage by the Sea Inn

A hotel view

Here is where Lacey will be spending time at home at at school for the summer:  

Here is a picture I posted on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: 

Me:  Ahhhh
Everyone:  Like!

I am planning to fly back sometime in August with Zoe before school starts.  As much as I loved the 23 hour (24!? we are not exactly sure) trip out there, bonding with my lovely Lacey, I think I am going to have to let her sister, or her granddad bring her back.  I am afraid that if I drive out there again, I might not ever make it back.  #paradise