Saturday, August 15, 2009

Road Tripping, Day Two

Today is actually Day Five, so I'm clearly behind. Being behind on my vacation blog is either a sign that I'm having way too much fun to write or I don't have time to myself or I don't have internet access. This week it's been a combination of all three at different times.

Day Two of our west coast excursion found us making our way from Reno to Salinas, California. The kids were up early so we hit the road first thing in the morning. My dad lamented having to leave such a nice hotel room - in my opinion, the Atlantis Resort & Casino was a too nice a hotel room to start the trip with. We haven't stayed anywhere nearly as nice since, and we've been kind of ruined by it. In direct contrast, the night of Day Two was spent at the Good Nite Inn which was less good than the name implies. I was still getting out of "destination" mode, hadn't quite made it to "enjoy the journey" mode, which accounts for our hasty retreat from the Lost Casino of Atlantis.

We ate breakfast at McDonalds, which the kids have never done before, and Noah for one never wants to do again. Darcey had pancakes and the rest of us had McGrease Patties with a side order of pure lard. Ick. This might be traditional road food, but just ick.

We did a little less driving than on Day One and there was a little less screaming from the terrorist in the backseat. Our highlight of the day was our stop at the Jelly Belly Factory for a tour. I walked into the building and saw a Disneyland-style queue of about 40 people or so. Not bad, I thought, and then I looked down the hallway. True to Disneyland-style queues, the line actually extended the length of the building, down a hallway and then back-and-forth in the cafe area. The sign at the end of the line said, "Approximate wait time from this point: 1 hour." Sheesh! We had come all this way with the Jelly Belly Factory as one of our destinations, and we weren't about to turn back because of some measly little sign, but seriously, an HOUR?? For jelly beans??

We did our hour and then were escorted to the factory tour. It was cool to see the giant robot arms picking up huge trays of cooling beans and stacking them in a pile. I don't think I was the only one wishing that an arm would come alive and just go crazy and start flinging beans around the factory. But they didn't, they all stuck to the job of stacking and left the havoc-wreaking for another lucky tour group. All we got on our tour was this screaming two-year-old that didn't want to be held up to the window to see the factory, but also didn't want to be put on the floor to walk, nor did she want to go in the stroller. I think a giant jelly bean flinging robot arm would have kept her attention, but I probably would have missed that, along with the rest of the tour as I took her screaming out of the factory. Grrr.

The rest of the day was fairly uneventful. We got to the hotel room with just enough time for Zack to jump on the beds until losing my mind was a likely possibility. Eventually I sent him in to sleep in my parents' room. I put Darcey down to sleep in a bed and Noah and I hid in the bathroom until she fell asleep. That was actually a delightful time - Noah thought it was cool to stay up late and we got the internet cooking on the ipod touch for him to play with. Noah and I don't get many opportunities to do things just the two of us, so this was fun, if a little uncomfortable (the Good Nite Inn didn't exactly have spacious, Atlantis-style bathrooms.)

Up next: A drive down the coast from Salinas to Thousand Oaks.

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