Friday, September 30, 2005

California Trip - Day 2

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September 18, 2005

After getting little sleep the night before, and our hectic travel exploits on Saturday, we decided to Sleep in on Sunday Morning. Aren't those hotel-room black-out curtains wonderful? Our room was equipped with a small fridge and microwave. The night before I had stocked up on milk, cereal, yogurt and fruit so that we could have breakfast in our room. (Yes, the hotel had free "continental breakfast", but we could tell just by looking at the dining area that it was not going to be a notable breakfast at all at this place. - So we decided to do breakfast on our own.)

The first night in a new environment is always a challenge to a fitful night's sleep, at least it is for me. I seem to never really sleep well on the first night. I have to get used to the bed, the pillows, the air conditioning unit, and the noises and sounds. Bryan and Amy are getting old enough that they do not want to share the same bed. Even with queen sized beds in the room, there was just not room enough for the both of them. (Boy are they in for a shock when they get married!) They are both used to sleeping in their own double-sized beds - and they both use every square inch of their beds throughout the night. I like to call it migratory sleeping.

At home, we will occasionally hear the crash of Bryan falling out of bed onto the floor. When he was a three-year-old, the crash would be followed by certain wailing. We would have to go in and comfort him, and put him back to bed. Now, at age twelve, he will either pull a blanket off his bed and just keep sleeping on the floor, or just climb back into bed - no bawling or wailing anymore! He is usually such a deep sleeper, that he won't remember anything about it in the morning.

Amy, on the other hand, does gymnastics in her sleep. She twists and flips herself around in her sleep so that once or twice a week, we hear a loud thwack! on the common wall between our bedroom and Amy's room, as Amy Karate kicks the wall in her sleep!

We have thought of downsizing their beds to twin size to help reduce the total area of their nocturnal wanderings. That way they will be used to taking up only a twin sized space in which to sleep, rather than that of a double bed. It would also better prepare them, somewhat, for a time to come when they get married, and will need to share a bed with someone else.

When we travel on car trips, our solution is to bring a sleeping bad and a camping cot with us, which we set up in the room. One of the kids then "gets" to sleep in the sleeping bag. On an airplane trip though, bringing a cot and sleeping bag isn't as practical. To solve the problem on this trip, we ended up taking one of the large, heavy comforters from one of the queen beds, and folding it in such a way as to stuff a kid inside it - Kind of like a Kid Burrito (hmmm -- I think I need to trademark that term!) We placed the kid burrito between the two queen beds, where one kid would sleep. The other kid the was forced to sleep in the queen sized bed. The kids actually fought over who got to be the "Burrito Kid"! Us parents didn't mind either, because it made for much more peaceful nights without all of the tugging of blankets back and forth between the kids, and the "She's/He's Touching Me!" exasperations emanating from the next bed all night long.

Being the first night in a new place, I didn't really sleep all that well, but I got got up at about 8:30. I let the others sleep while I got myself cleaned up and dressed. Then we broke out our box of cereal and ate breakfast while watching Animal Planet on TV - the kid's favorite channel .

We attended church at the Oceanside 1st Ward. Being the 3rd Sunday of the month, it was High Council Sunday. The high councilor was teamed with a lady from the Stake Young Women's organization. They both gave excellent talks, and were based on preparedness -- both spiritual preparedness, as well as temporal preparedness. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and the ominous-looking Hurricane Rita on the prowl closing in on the Texas coast, the talks were well timed. I had looked forward to attending Sunday School and the other meetings at the chapel, but Bryan had come down with a splitting headache. We were still kind of tired and groggy from travel and lack of good sleep, so we decided to leave after Sacrament meeting.

We went back to our hotel room, gave Bryan medicine for his headache, and took a nap for an hour our so. After the quiet time, Bryan was feeling better, so we went out to get a bite of lunch.

I had noticed a Church's Chicken on the Pacific Coast Highway in our wanderings around town. For my family, that is a big deal! We used to have Church's Chicken here in the Salt Lake City area, but all of the franchises in the area closed in the late 80's, and have never been back since!. I particularly like eating their chicken, which is marinated in a brine solution for 24 hours making it extra tender and moist, along with a jalapeño pepper on the side. A bite of chicken, and a bite of jalapeño. Good Stuff! The last Church's Chicken we found in our travels was on our trip last Fall in Farmington, New Mexico. Dawn Ann and Amy weren't all that keen on Church's Chicken, so they opted for a nearby Asian restaurant (which turned out to be Vietnamese). Bryan came with me to Church's. I got my chicken and jalapeños, and Bryan got some chicken strips as well. Unfortunately, the chicken at this franchise was only so-so. On the bright side, our orders came with fresh baked biscuits - which turned out to be the best part of the whole meal! I wish we could have taken dozen of those biscuits with us to go.

Meanwhile, Dawn Ann and Amy had been eating at the Asian joint across the way in the same strip mall. We finished our meal first, and went over to heckle (not really) the girls as they finished their meal. I think they really got the better end of the meal deal - except, of course, for the biscuits!

After lunch, we piled into the PT Cruiser and headed South on I-5. We were looking for the Torrey Pines State Reserve and/or beach. Only problem was, we didn't know exactly which exit to to take. We found an exit sign that said Torrey Pines this way, so we took that one. We drove around a little bit, trying to find our way around, and we found ourselves driving past UCSD (University of California at San Diego). We still weren't really sure where we were going. Next we saw a sign pointing to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. As we passed the institute, we saw a little red pickup with a surfboard in the back. We decided that he was probably headed for the beach. Dawn Ann, our illustrious navigator said, "Follow that surfer dude!" We followed the truck as it weaved and turned along several roads, all the while desending down the hillside toward the coast. Sure enough, the little red truck pulled right into the beach parking lot -- so we followed him in. We had to "vulture park" (that is circle around the parking lot until a space opened up) for a little while, but soon found a place to park.

The kids were already wearing swimsuits. Dawn Ann and I were both wearing knee shorts. We walked over to the beach, and found it busy, but not overcrowded. Next thing you knew the kids were already knee-deep in water, and having a great time. We were right near a yellow, checkered flag, which divided the beach between surfers and swimmers. With each wave, the kids were pushed a little further North - and onto the surfer's side of the beach. We had to occasionally motion for them to head back to the swimmers side of the flag.

Bryan, Mr. Adventure, was going further and further out. The waves were about 8-10 feet in height. We had to keep him from going too far out. Bryan quickly learned how to punch through a wave. Amy was having fun running through the waves, and learned how to body surf.

After a while, Bryan got cold. The water was about 67 degrees, and since Bryan doesn't have much padding, we have to watch him close for hypothermia. We noticed his little chin chattering away, so it was time to coax drag him out of the water. We wrapped him up in towels for a few minutes to warm up.

After getting warmed up, Bryan discovered these little mollusks living on the beach. He had to get his nose almost right into the sand (as is his wont) for closer inspection.

After we had been there for a couple of hours, the day was ending, so we decided to stay and watch the sunset. It was glorious! There were a few clouds along the western horizon, which added to the effect.

Finally, we cleaned the sand off of ourselves, put the kids in dry cloths, and started to make our way back up the hill toward I-5. Only this time we didn't have the little red pickup to follow to find our way out. Fortunately, we left a trail of bread crumbs along the way, (well not really -- we actually took note of the street names as we descended down to the beach) and we made it back to civilization OK.

It was now pretty well dark. We were only one exit away from the San Diego LDS Temple. After winding around among the nearby hotels in the dark, we finally made it to the temple grounds. Of course the gates were locked, but we could park alongside the temple grouds and view the temple through the wrought-iron fence. As we got out of the car, we saw a young couple there taking pictures of the temple.

They approached us, and asked if we would take a picture of them with the temple in the background. They returned the favor and took a picture of us as well. After taking the photos, we learned that they were from Salt Lake City. They had just been married 3 days earlier in the Salt Lake Temple, and had come to San Diego for their honeymoon. Its always fun to meet people from your hometown when you are hundreds of miles away from home.

After taking a few photos of the temple, we got back into the car, made our way back to I-5, and headed back to Oceanside. All in all, a great day. Legoland tomorrow!

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