We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...
1997's Climb

Thursday, October 6, 2011


    Yes, we are in California.  Yes, I brought my laptop, to keep Kimmy's blog going.  Why?  Well, she never took a break or rested, and somehow, we are still one...
    ...and that is why, this morning, I was up at 3:30 a.m., after falling asleep around 12:30 a.m., rounding up the bambini in their pj's, wrestling them into the Expedition (my shoulder screaming bloody murder), and fighting sleep for the 7 hour drive to Carlsbad ("Who's Carl?" Tonio asked in bewilderment when I explained where we were headed).
       The kids instantly were back to sleep and I was alone with my thoughts.  Driving distances still remains challenging for me as my mind is left to wander...and there are landmarks that bring back countless memories.  The turn off onto I-8.  I cannot count on both hands, how many times on the way to, or back from, Phoenix, Kim would say "Let's just turn here and go to San Diego..."  Do you know how bad I wanted to?  For her.  I heard her say that to me as I took the exit in the complete darkness this morning. 
       By 6:00 a.m., we were in Gila Bend.  An interesting little wide spot in the road and our favorite spot to swing through to hit restrooms (at the Shell off the first exit. They have a bazaar of sorts on the side selling lots of perty outdoor stuff) and then we drive through Gila Bend to the McD's for breakfast (just coffee for me...black!), all the way marveling over the sights.  Kim got a kick out of the 'Space Age' cafe - which looks like it is wrapped in tinfoil and has a sign featuring a UFO.  I showed Cody the Shrimp Farm sign, and he was delighted to see the banner further into town announcing the annual Shrimp Fest!  There are an incredible amount of photo ops!
        We've always hit this McD's.  It is the one that some grizzled drifter gave Cody a ride on his burro in the parking lot one year (I'm pretty sure I wrote about it 100 blog posts ago or so.  If not, let me know and I'll  tell you about it.)  You need to be on your toes, though.  They forget at least one item each time we go through.  Last time, it was Cody's sandwich!  I was pulling back on the 8 when he alerted me and I pulled a mean U-turn to go back and get it (think Jason Statham in the Transporter series).  Today, it was his vanilla iced coffee...
        Dateland is another of those towns Kim would marvel over.  She actually got me to stop there one year, before bambini, and she tried one of the World Famous Dateland Date Shakes...one sip was all that she needed!  Never stopped there again, but always a quip from her as we hurtled by...
        Yuma...well, it's just another four letter word.  It is really spreading.  Like a bad rash.  And there is no ointment for Yuma!  I remember when there was only two exits you could get gas from.  Now, there are 7 complete with malls, restaurants, etc. etc.
         My favorite oddity in California is Ocotillo, which is just before you start heading up that winding road into the mountains.  We have had some very odd experiences there.  One time, stopping for a bite to eat at a cafe there - Cody was three and Kim was about to burst with Autumn, the waitress told us they had a limited menu because the power had been out for a day or so and the fridge was still out...hmm, how preserved do you think that food was?  I now make sure we can make it to at least Jacumba (which is really fun to say, too) way up in the hills.
         This was a difficult trip in another way, too.  We had never made it to Legoland before.  Everytime we talked about coming and even started making plans, Kim (the internet deal queen) would tell me "gosh Dave, for only $10 more per night, we could go to Disney!" or "Dave!  For $5 less per night, we could go to Sea World!"  Of course, I'd always go along with what she wanted, and we did love both places - plus, she'd do her best to get me tickets to see the Padres if they were in town, which we got to do three times. At Disney, she'd find Angel's tickets, three times there, too.  I wish I had the chance to take her to see the Dodgers...she grew up a fan of theirs...she would have loved Chavez Ravine - I had the chance to see them play the Rockies in '03 and had her on the cell phone listening to the game!
          I knew the window was closing on Legoland.  Tonio, is a new Lego phanatic.  It's been less than a year, since my sister Lauren gave him his first set, a Star Wars X-Wing Fighter.  Now, Tonio has never even seen Star Wars, and hadn't heard of it until he got that set, but he was hooked on building Legos!!  On the opposite spectrum, Cody, 14, never played with Legos and is at that age where I was thinking it would be the last year I could talk him into going.
         We checked in - wait a minute, we made it to our hotel without and puke-a-palooza like on our last trip this summer!  Bella did great.  Tonio's belly held up, even with the amoxicillin for the strep he is getting over.  And we hit the hotel by 11:30 - check in was at 3:00.  We all tumbled into the lobby, Bella included, and I begged, no auditioned, for early check in...and got it!  The lady at the desk gave us directions to Legoland, 1 mile walking, or we could take the shuttle or drive.  We chose to walk.
          A lot of the way there was uphill.  but, the temps were beautiful, in the high 60's and sunny.  We had done our research and Legoland offered a kennel, like Sea World and Disney do.  Bella enjoyed the walk.  The kids collected snails along the way.  When we got to the gate...the attendant looked worriedly at Bella..."uh, the kennels were just torn down as part of our remodeling...I guess they forgot to update the website."...
           I asked her to watch the bambini while I returned Bella to the hotel, at a fast jog.  Now, I may have told you I've lost 10 lbs or so.  Which is nice.  But, not all of my shorts have gotten the memo.  I was struggling to keep my shorts up and Bella wanted to really run!  It is a very busy street I was running/getting dragged down and I'm sure, at various times, motorists were surprised to see my shorts slipping down!  But, I figured, in California, this is normal!!  I raced back, a sweaty mess, thank the lady for watching the kids and by this time, they were really jazzed to get inside and have fun!!!

Tonio was in Heaven from the time we neared the gate.  Here he is with a buffalo made from Legos!

Autumn LOVED the lego giraffe (there were several), Mama's favorite!!

                                       Cody and Tonio are dwarfed by this T-Rex that actually roared!

Forget the name of the hydro plane ride already, but Cody and Tonio sure enjoyed it!

                             Tonio wanted a photo with his Lego paisan, who was in front of the pizza place we ate at.

Autumn sits in some big, random chair as we wait for the boys to get off of some crazy ride where a robotic arm flings you around....

The kids all had a great time!!  Even Cody remained engaged and excited, loving the three roller coasters and ride I described above...although, I was privately glad I listened to Kimmy all of those years and kept taking her to Disney and Sea World...it was nice, but definitely #3 behind the other two!

Tomorrow...round two!

Back at our hotel, the bambini liked that we have a sliding glass back door that takes you into a beautiful courtyard from which they could say goodnight to their Mama...


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