Sunday, July 08, 2007

Road Trip!

The family packed up the beach cruisers and hit the road this past week for our now annual trip to Huntington Beach, California for the 4th of July.

Our Aunt Sharon and Uncle Vic live there and always welcome us with open arms.

The kids have a DVD player in the back so they stay entertained with movies on the way down. Here is Madison watching a movie and snacking on organic Valencia oranges from Trader Joe's.

This year Shayna has her permit so she was able to drive us for some of the trip. She drove for about 3 hours so that was good practice for her. She only almost killed us once when she veered off the road because she was reading a beef jerky sign that I pointed out because it said "fresh beef jerky" which to me is an oxymoron.

Since Shayna could drive Brent sat in back with Madison and watched a movie while I co-piloted.

As much as we love to visit Orange County, one thing we do not like is the traffic. For about an hour it is all stop and go and super stressful. I suppose you would grow accustomed to it eventually but I don't necessarily want to find out.

Since we all have beach cruisers we take them with us on vacation to use them for what they were intended for. It is about 3 miles to the beach from Aunt Sharon and Uncle Vics place and super convenient since there is no shortage of bike parking and it is free. Madison did pretty well but actually only rode to the beach one of the 2 days we went. The first part of the ride is uphill and pretty hard for her so that starts her off in a bad mood. We opted to let her catch a ride in the car the remainder of the days.

Another of our favorite places in Huntington Beach is the Huntington Beach Beer Co. so we went to lunch there before going to the beach our first day. Brent had the HB15 commemorating the 15th anniversary of the brewery while I had the blond.

Madison (as usual) was not hungry so she had a half order of salad and Shayna had a tuna pita. Brent and I split a buffalo chicken sandwich before heading to the beach for the day.

Once we hit the beach Madison spent 100% of the time in the water. It was kind of scary because the waves were really powerful while we were there. The lifeguards kept warning swimmers about the riptide and making them stay at waist level. Madison would get pummeled and we would think she was going to get up crying but she would be smiling every time.

Aunt Sharon and Uncle Vic have a ping pong table in their garage so we had lots of action on that all week. Madison even took Aunt Sharon's paddle and wrote her name on it!

Uncle Vic was pretty happy to have a partner to play with they had a great time.

We spent quite a bit of time between activities doing a puzzle that Aunt Sharon and Uncle Vic saved for us to finish from last year. Brent swore up and down that we did not have all the pieces the entire time but we did eventually finish it and they were all there. We also had a puzzle of Niagara Falls to work on but it was just too stinking hard so we gave up.

On the 4th Brent and I rode the cruisers down to the beach while the neighbor offered to give our kids a ride in the car with her kids and get us a spot. It is nice to take the bikes because they close a section of PCH to cars so it is just overtaken by bikes. This year there were some jerks out there but when you get that many people in one place that is bound to happen.

Down at the beach they have all sorts of food booths set up and I had promised Madison a funnel cake since she had never had one. Here is her and her friend Ivy sharing it on the beach. She was in heaven, it is her new favorite thing.

Here are the bikes on the beach just before the fireworks started. It is so moist down there that when you go to sit on your seat, it is all wet. Once the show is over it is pretty tough to work through the crowd to get back to the street but once you do it is nice to know you don't have to fight traffic in the car. We beat the neighbor home by 20 minutes because she was in a car and we were on the bikes.

Here are the kids watching the fireworks. Ivy is 12 and her brother Chris is 15, they live one house down from Uncle Vic and Aunt Sharon so the kids always get together to play when we are down there.

The back patio made for great bike storage while we were there. The gate was padlocked so we did not have to worry about anyone messing with them - other than the raccoons. Brent installed new lights on Uncle Vic and Aunt Sharon's bikes while he was there too.

Our trip home was pretty rough. Normally the drive takes 8 hours but we got to the intersection of 14 and 395 and literally before our eyes they shut down 395 due to a fire burning in Lone Pine, Big Pine, and Independence. We had to back track an hour and then take the 58 to Bakersfield over to Sacramento then 50 to Tahoe and home. This little detour added 4 hours to the drive! The kids were troopers and Brent and I just put some Dwight Yokum on the iPod in honor of our detour through his home town.

The week was filled with fun, great food, and family. Uncle Vic took care of us at the market and got us tons of vegetables and he, Madison, and I even had kimchi hour every night. We went to some great restaurants too. It was a wonderfully relaxing week and we can't wait to do it again next year.

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