Growing up we often referred to ourselves as the Griswalds. We took family vacations wherein at some point there would be a classic National Lampoon’esq snafoo. We had the wood paneled station wagon and everything. When we moved to New York the name of our street was none other than, Griswald Rd. The humor was not lost on us.
Now, all grown up with a family of my own, and the Vacation movies still being an all time classic favorite for us, I feel it’s important to carry on the Griswald spirit.
Sparked by a wedding we were attending in Santa Barbara last week, we decided to make a week long road trip en route to the nuptials. Russ’ RAM 3500 diesel truck with 40” wheels took the place of the quintessential station wagon. The kids and I literally have to climb into it. And when I’m driving, it’s 10 and 2 on the wheel at all times to keep that beast under control. We took camping gear and bikes and a million snacks, and lots and lots of Clorox Wipes…cause it’s me.
We made the 11 hour drive from Park City, UT to Napa, CA without a bump, and it only took the boys one hour into the drive to ask “how much longer till we’re there”. What in the hell did our parents do without iPads and dvd players to keep us occupied I wondered.
I Spy…with my little eye.
Stop looking at me! Mom, Nick won’t stop making faces at me!
And just plain staring out of the window, which I still have to resort to because I get car sick if I read and there’s no room for me to sit in the back seat and watch The Incredibles and Big Hero Six and Lego Movie with the boys.
We stayed with good friends in Napa who could not have been more prepared for us after our day long drive…cocktails at the ready and a home cooked meal! Day two, we headed to Santa Cruz by way of San Fran and a drive over the Golden Gate bridge. That Prius loving city of SF with it’s crazy crowded, skinny streets was none too welcoming to our big ass vehicle, so we kept to the outskirts and caught Coast Highway 1 all the way down. I think stoned hippies like using their middle finger as much as they do their peace fingers when it comes to MPG ratings.
Santa Cruz to Carmel. Oh Carmel, be still our hearts for you. The beach. The cliffs. The food. The shops. We shall return for a much different trip one day… the same day we enter into another tax bracket perhaps:) hahaha.
Carmel to Big Sur. What a breathtaking drive! We camped on the river at Pfeiffer State Park and reveled in the shade and cool water on a hot day. Russ and Charlie took a mountain bike ride and Crew and I explored. We tried to get Crew to ride his bike. Charlie coached him, “Mom, I got this, let me teach Crew. I’ll take it from here.” But alas Crew hopped off the bike frustrated and crying and said that he didn’t care that all his friends could ride bikes… “I’m fast! I’ll just ninja run behind them.” Did I mention his bike still has training wheels on it? Soooo, we’ll keep working on that.
Big Sur to San Louis Obispo. A major portion of the bridge was out on the Coast Highway due to all the mud slides, so we had a detour inland through farm country. Lots of it. I was reminded of how hard strawberry pickers work!!! It made my back sore just watching them. No, really, I bought strawberries at the store today and thats all I could think of… “thank you to the hard working people who picked these!” We stopped in Morrow Bay for yet another beautiful and different beach experience. And we were hosted that night by our friends the Deovelts with a home cooked meal as we imbibed in a bottle (or two or three) of their very own Deovlet Wines. It was a treat!
SLO to Santa Barbara. We did just fine weaving in and out of that amazing city, without running over any golf carts or having to park on the sidewalk. At this point we were able to unload our stuff at the Air B&B and settle in for three whole nights. My mom and niece met us in SB to scoop up the boys and take them back down to Orange County for some much needed time with Grammy and Papa, Aunts, Uncles, and cousins…all 18 of them! Russ and I had an amazing time at all of the wedding festivities with some great friends, and enjoyed getting dressed up for a few nights after feeling like crusty road trippers.
SB to Park City. Wait. What route does this have us taking? Are we still going south? So now we’re driving to Los Angeles? Past LA? Shit! How did we not look at this on the map before now? Because it’s us, and we’re the Griswalds. So as we approached the 57 freeway, Russ reminded my geographically challenged self that we were literally 30 minutes from my where all my family live. Soooo, we detoured to make a little surprise stop and stayed the night! We had a blast with the whole crazy famdamily.
Back home to PC.
Our Cali Coast road trip went off without a hitch, being much less Griswald-esq than I imagined. We never spotted Christy Brinkley in a convertible, we didn’t strap any dead relatives to the hood of the car, we didn’t hold any security guards hostage at an amusement park. We did have a creepy swinger-type couple that camped next to us one night in Monterrey and gave us the heebygeebies with how many times they asked if they could help us set up camp. Umm, no thanks, we’re good! We made a dozen pee stops, more for me than anyone else. I pee like a pregnant woman in the third trimester. Peeing on the side of the highway, trying to hide myself with the car doors that are too high to give any privacy, all while Russ inched the car forward, will no doubt keep him laughing for weeks to come. The trip reaffirmed how much fun we have together, and how important it is to do things just us as a family.