Posts Tagged ‘road trips’

I was driving home from Seattle on Friday and didn’t have an audio book ready to listen to. I turned on the radio but couldn’t tune in to anything while I was driving. I hit the “scan” button and all I got was static until, just at the point of giving up, I heard a song starting up. I immediately recognized the song. It brought a smile to my face as it reminded me of my brother, David.

All of my brothers were Raider fans, especially David and Richard. They were very enthusiastic fans and everyone knew it. When the Raiders played (we’re talking Oakland Raiders) David had a song cued on the radio, ready to go when the Raiders scored. And so, if you lived I David’s neighborhood, you didn’t have to listen to the game or watch it because you would know the score…every time the Raiders scored, David would play, at full volume, Another One Bites the Dust! The volume was so loud that the whole house shook. No one ever complained because he lived in Raider territory so it continued.

That’s a story that reminds me of one side of David, a side that makes me smile. So when I heard the beginning beats of the song, even before any lyrics, I knew the song and it made me smile and sing out loud every time that lyric came up…another one bites the dust!

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If we were having coffee today, we would definitely be indoors. It is cold and wet outside.  I guess you might call it a typical November day in the Pacific Northwest. A bit of a brrrr day but not too much yet.

It seems that my weeks get busier and busier. This week it was once again busy with the daughters. I’ve been going over to my youngest daughter’s house twice a day to feed her cats. She’s on a business trip. It’s not far, her house that is, but with traffic, a round trip is about 50 minutes plus I have to spend some time there waiting for the kitties to eat. I can’t leave food out when I leave so I really need to sit and make sure they all eat and put away any food they didn’t eat. So that trip ends up being a minimum of and hour and a half.

Then there was yesterday. Last week I told you she was borrowing my car because hers went out and it is not cost effective to put in the money for a new transmission. So she had several possibilities this week. One in Seattle, 3.5 hours away. Another was in Los Angeles which would have been tough because she can’t take time off from work to get over there and back with the  car. It’s a two day trip in each direction. That was the one her dad and step mom wanted her to get (they are paying for it) but in the end it fell through because the woman who owned it was elderly and died without signing the title over to her son and her son found out that he can’t sell it until it all goes through probate and is officially his car so no deal. The latest deal is across the river from Oregon, in Washington. It’s across the river from Hood River. My older daughter, the boys, and I went out there yesterday to see the car and leave a deposit. Now we wait for the cashier’s check to arrive by Fed Ex so we can go pay the remainder and get the car back to Portland.

The trip, while long (about 170 miles round trip which took us forever with the boys) was actually quite nice. Yesterday was a beautiful day, dry, sunny, a tiny bit of briskness in the air but nice. We stopped at an apple orchard to pick apples. It is their last weekend of apple picking for the season so all varieties were 59 cents a pound. We picked and bought 47 pounds of apples for about $27. We’ll be eating apples for a couple of months!

Here are some pictures from the trip yesterday:

So what is new in your neck of the woods? Weather? Travel? Local color? Please tell.

#WeekendCoffeeShare is a weekly blog linkup hosted by Diana at Part Time Monster Blog. Come take a look and see what’s happening!


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I don’t think there will be a California road trip with Anderson this year. However, I am taking both of the boys on an over night trip tomorrow. I don’t think I am game enough to try taking Spencer any place for any longer than that without another adult. So tomorrow we will drive south three hours. If we get there in time, we will stop at a fishery where they have a “window” that lets viewers see beneath the surface of the water to watch fish as they swim by. I think they will like that. Then we’ll go on another 5 miles to a motel where we’ll spend the night then go to the Wildlife Safari in Winston on Thursday then come home. If Thursday proves to be too long of a day, we might stay some place a second night.

I think they’ll have a good time. Today will be spent on getting them some snacks for the trip and a few little surprises to distract them should it become necessary. Legos for Anderson and cars for Spencer.

I’m looking forward to it. I think. Wildlife Safari is one of those places where you drive your car through the place and see the wildlife. We’ve gone numerous times. We’ll see lots of zebra, giraffes, elephants, lions and tigers and bears (they are kept in a guarded area behind a fence). There will be different types of goats and rams and elk. We’ll see bison. There are so many species that I can’t remember them all but there’s a lot to see. There is also a “village” where the kids can run around (think zoo) and see more animals. The only thing that worries me is that I will need to figure out the kid lock for Spencer’s door so he doesn’t open the door when we are on the drive-through portion. And I need to remember to figure out the window locks, too. We can have windows down but some animals come really close to the car and I don’t want them sticking their head in the car with Spencer because he’ll try to touch them!

Then there is the motel room. He’s tall (Spencer) for a 3 year old and he’s smart. Bad combination. He knows how to unlock doors and will just walk out of the motel room. It happened in Seaside, during the night when everyone was asleep. He woke up and let himself out of the room! If it hadn’t been for the door being noisy when it shut behind him, we would not have known! So that’s the other worry. If the door has a chain lock that is high enough that he doesn’t reach it, it will be okay. However, I’m thinking of taking a sleeping bag in case I have to sleep in front of the door!

So that’s this week’s adventure. I’m sure we’ll have fun. Of course, I might need a getaway all to myself when we’re done!

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Sing It!

I spent almost four hours driving to my son’s house this afternoon. I was going to put on an audio book but I didn’t get a chance to hook up my ipod to my iTunes to load audio books and I had already listened to the ones on there. What to do? Hhm.

I cranked up the volume and listened to albums by Rod Stewart. He has not only his own songs but also compilations of other singers’ songs and a wide variety of genres.

My favorites? That’s hard to say. I love almost anything by him. I do know the lyrics to almost everything he sings. This afternoon I sang out loud (and out of tune) to his Motown album. I remember Motown. I grew up with it. I still remember the lyrics as if I were on auto pilot. It made the trip go by quickly and I didn’t mind the rain and ice so much.

Yup, crank it up. Sing it loud!

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Some of you may remember reading my post on the 10th, called The Fathers. Well, just a couple of hours ago we got word that the grandmother in that family passed in her sleep.

We’re packed. We’re heading for southern California. We could not stay home. We probably won’t be there for the services but my daughter and I both feel that we have to be there to spend even a few hours with the family. Two day drive in each direction but we don’t feel right not being there even just for support.

Probably the next time you hear from me it will be from Yreka, California if we can make it that far tonight and get through the snow that is expected on the summit tonight. Wish us luck. Keep us in your thoughts.

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Well, things can change in an instant. Yesterday evening, as I was driving us to my mom’s house, I was made aware of a situation that I didn’t want to take myself or Anderson into. Neither of us needs the drama.

So we’re turning around and heading home.  First well spend the day at a kids’ discovery museum and a natural history museum and a sand dune park fire hiking. Tomorrow will start north and stop in Monterey.  So we’ll have different kinds of adventures and it will still turn out okay. 

Sometimes spur of the moment changes turn out for the best. Anderson is still having a good time. We’ve kept him unaware of the drama, which hasn’t been easy as he is all ears when in trying to talk to his mom on the phone and he’s full of questions!

So we’ll have different unchecked adventures. That’s okay with him and with me.

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Blogging From A to Z

As the single mom of three kids, it was way too expensive for to take the kids on trips by plane so when we took trips, we did it by car. In 1994, I enlisted my mom to accompany the kids and me on a road trip from Los Angeles (California) to the Texas Gulf Coast so that my kids could meet my grandmother. My mom has never driven so she was along for the ride and to help me with the three kids. They were usually super with travel In fact, we had taken a test drive from Los Angeles to Albuquerque (a little less than half of the longer journey we were planning) but with a second adult, it was a little easier for me.

So we packed up the car, a Ford Explorer which was pretty roomy for the five of us, and off we went. The kids were 12, 9, and 3. I had packed a lot of stuff for them so we wouldn’t have to keep stopping or, more importantly, so we wouldn’t have to deal with fighting. They each had their own mini cassette tape player with headphones to listen to whatever they wanted. They had books and their own little snack supplies. They had travel Bingo and Travel Checkers, art supplies, and some games. My mom and I rode up front listening to Mexican music on the stereo and chatting. When my mom and I chat, we switch back and forth between English and Spanish, often switching languages multiple times in the same sentence. The trip went very nicely and on the third day, when we were deep in South Texas, we realized that the kids had been listening to us instead of the cassette tapes they had. My son (who was about 12 then) said that he liked to listen to us because when he did, he could understand a lot of the words we were saying because they sounded a like in both English and Spanish. He mentioned words like cafe’ (pronounced cah feh), patio, cafeteria (pronounced cah feh tehr ee ah), lonchera (luncheonette), and a lot of other words. He asked about some words and my mom and I told him what the words meant. He was very interested in the similarity between the two languages. The girls were too.

We drove on and the kids went back to listening to their tapes while my mom and I chatted some more. About an hour later, my mom and I decided it was time for a short rest stop. I took the next exit in to a tiny little town. That alerted the kids to the fact that we were stopping. They took off their headphones and asked why we were stopping. I told them we were just going to get out and walk around and maybe get a snack and a cold drink (the temperature was near 100 degrees F). Then my son, noticing the Spanish writing on store windows and signs, asked if maybe we could get some pan dulce (pastry). I said yes and I looked at my mom and winked at her and said we should all start looking for a sign for a bakeria (pronounced bah kehr ee ah). My son got excited saying “Oh wow! A bakery is a bakeria! Okay, let’s look for a bakeria sign!” My mom and I giggled and we let the kids look for the “bakeria” sign. Then I found the bakery and pulled up in front. My son said, “This doesn’t say bakeria. Why are we stopping here?” My mom and I cracked up and told them we had been joking with them. A bakeria is not the word for a bakery in Spanish. The word for bakery in Spanish is panaderia (from the word pan for bread; pronounced pah nah dehr ee ah). I think they were a little upset that we had tricked them but they were more excited about getting out of the car and getting to go in the panaderia to pick out their own pastry and a cold drink, and to stretch their legs.

Since then, the three kids and I call a panaderia a bakeria, just as a little private reminder of the little joke and mini Spanish lesson we all shared that long ago summer in a tiny Texas town whose name escapes me.

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Road trips.  You either love them or you hate them.  Me?  I love them.  I always have.  I think it comes from driving cross country with my parents and siblings and keeping busy in the car.  We played games with what we had, ourselves, each other, and the road.  I remember playing a game where you find shapes in the clouds and another where you find recognizable shapes in the mountains.  We used to say certain mountains were dinosaurs.  My brothers knew all the dinosaurs so they were very specific about whether it was a T-rex or a brontasaurus or even a pterodactyl.  When we were in the desert, we tried to find recognizable shapes in the cacti all around us.

It was fun.  There were seven of us kids, all very close together in age (seven kids in nine years).  My dad drove our nine passenger station wagon and my mom rode up front with him and the youngest one between them in the bench seats.  Those were the days of no seat belts and no carseats.  We drove from the San Francisco bay area to the Texas gulf coast more than once.  A couple of those trips were extended all the way to Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico (yes, that’s the name of both the state and the capital city, not a typo) and many times we drove from the bay area to southern California and later, when we moved my paternal grandmother from Chihuahua to Baja, we would go visit her in Ensenada as often as we could take a three day weekend.

I remember sitting in the middle bench seat of the station wagon which had three bench seats.  Late at night, when everyone was sleeping and my dad was driving, I would talk to him.  He would tell me stories and riddles and jokes.  He and I have always shared an interest and a love of words and word play and of geography.  I think we established that during those trips.  I enjoyed that time with my dad.  He was a different perso when he was behind the wheel.  He was more relaxed and very focused on the drive.  I think that led him to tell some of those stories and to want to talk to me about places he wanted to go but had only ever heard of.

That’s where I got my love of road trips.  That love has continued through the years and I really, even now when I am so much older and it hurts physically to be in the car for so long, I still enjoy the trips, with or without company.  I’ve even been crazy enough to drive from Portland, Oregon to Hemet, California (a distance of 1100 miles each way) with just my grandson who was just three at the time.  It was just the two of us.  He sat in his carseat in the back and I drove.  I played kid music for him and I brought along a Kindle Fire tablet with games on it for him.  He had a container of snacks next to him and would ask if he could have something before helping himself.  It was a super trip!  Maybe next summer we’ll do it again.  He’ll be five then, so we’ll see.

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