A couple of weeks ago we went on our first family vacation. Our first vacation ever. The first time any of the kids have been in a hotel room. We have had many trips to Fish’s parents’ home with Clarabelle and two Thanksgivings ago we all visited my aunt for a few days in Tahoe, but other than that, we’ve been a bunch of homebodies. The choice to wait until now was not for lack of wanting to do these things, it just wasn’t the right fit for us until now. CB really wasn’t travel-ready until about the age of 6, and that might have been if we really pushed the issue, but by that time we had two more little ones to run after. The idea of all of us in a hotel room together was very unappealing. With all that behind us, we were finally ready to hit the road.
First stop Pismo Beach! Well actually, first stop was possibly going to be Solvang, but nobody made a strong commitment to that plan. The van was loaded up, the kids’ bellies were full of donuts,thanks Fish!, and I sat in the passenger seat for a good hour convinced that I forgot something vitally important behind. Luckily, it was just a bag of snacks that nobody really wanted anyhow.
We kept a steady pace and didn’t need to make a rest stop for a good 3 hours. Right about the time the GPS told us to veer off of the 101 and take the 154 pass. Fish was really concerned because he didn’t see the sense in leaving the 101, but the drive was so scenic that I ignored him and took pictures.
After a few pictures were taken, including a nice set of blurry shots of a hawk, Fish was still saying things like, “This doesn’t seem right”, “Why are we going this way???”, “I don’t know where this leads”. I started to think of Kathy Bates, the squirrel lady, in the movie Rat Race.
Luckily, we didn’t suffer the same fate, but ended up somewhere possibly worse, Solvang.
Don’t get me wrong, Solvang looked nice, as nice as a touristy trap could look, but it just wasn’t my thing. All the buildings housed the same foods and breakable trinkets that Sprite would have been happy to touch. We slowly drove through, watching the many tourists overcrowding the sidewalks, and continued our journey.
The kids proved to be great travelers. They had very few, if any complaints. The next 2 hours were pretty uneventful. We made another stop along the way for drinks and beef jerky. We arrived at the hotel a few hours earlier than check in, but they prepared the room for us right away. The rooms were great. I wanted a separate sleeping area from the kids, but I wasn’t too keen on them having an adjoining suite that could be accessed by a front door. The hotel we stayed in had two bedrooms, similar to an extended stay type of place, but a little bit smaller. The girls had two queen beds in their room. They were impressed and immediately began discussing who was going to sleep with who that night.
After unloading our bags we decided to go check out the beach and get something to eat. The person at the front desk said that we could walk along the beach to the pier and eat dinner off of main street. This guy obviously didn’t have any 4 and 5 year olds in his life. We walked down the 100+ steps down a cliff, to the beach and began walking towards the pier. The pier that was about half a mile away from where we stood. On a good day we probably could have hoofed it, but add the sand, the waves, and all the amazing things to look at on the beach, the littles were keeping us at a snail’s pace. Clarabelle probably could have made it, but I didn’t see how we would be able to make the trek back after dinner.
Fish and I decided to head back to the hotel and drive to main street. We ended up eating clam chowder and fish and chips at Brad’s and then decided to go to the market to get snacks for later. Surprisingly, we ended up with a lot of fruits and vegetables and very little junk food, if you consider microwave popcorn junk food.
We got back to the hotel and settled in for the night.
We prepared for a good night’s sleep with plans to wake up and search for sand dollars the next morning.
*I wish I had pictures of Clarabelle but she became intensely camera shy during this trip.