My final road trip in my beloved Element (now sold to a very worthy family) was with my Mom. She flew down to LA, we jumped in the car and headed north. (Yes, she did come from the north, but sometimes ya gotta go south to go north, like going to Disneyland via the 605N to the 5S). We stopped in Thousand Oaks to see my mom’s aunt and uncle and cousin, then continued up the beautiful 101 coast route to Carmel for dinner with my awesome producers from the India movie, Chris and Denise and their darling baby Huck. We even got to watch about half the India movie! That was cool for my mom to be able to see.
After dinner and the movie, we headed north some more to Aptos, where my mom’s cousin Judy recently bought a beach house with her husband. It’s such a cute place! We spent the next day at the beach, took the new puppy (labradoodles are adorable) to run on the sand and went up to Capitola for a walk on the boardwalk. I even got a new jacket out of the deal! We ended up in San Jose, where we had dinner at Judy’s house with all her siblings. That was a really fun and funny meal.
Next day, continued the farewells by having lunch at the epicenter of Apple with my high school friend, Holly. After nearly being plowed into by a lady trying very hard to run a red light (thankfully the brakes worked, we were about 3 inches from being crunched) mom and I hopped a train into the great city of San Francisco. We spent the afternoon walking through Chinatown. I’m never really sure what to do in Chinatowns. I always think “Yeah! Let’s go to Chinatown!” but then I get there and I’m like “Ok….now what?” Plus, it was raining.
So, we walked down to Fisherman’s Wharf, by which time the rain had cleared up and it turned into a beautiful day! We walked along the waterfront, then had a decadent ice cream sundae at Ghiradelli’s and finished up with some fresh fish pasta dinner on the Wharf before finally heading back to San Jose.
But wait, there’s more! The next morning was the tsunami. So, since my mom’s aunt and uncle were on a cruise ship on their way back from Hawaii that day, of course the phone started ringing at about 2am to tell us about the tsunami. When we got up in the morning, we watched boats being smashed to bits in the SF harbor and worried about the people in Japan and how many lives had been lost. Such a tragedy. We had planned to go to Hearst Castle on the way home, and decided to go ahead with the visit despite the west coast tsunami warnings. We get there fine, no road closures and were even there about 2 hours before our tour booking. Luckily (well, not for Japan, obviously), the tsunami warning had kept lots of people away so we got right on a tour bus and headed up to the big castle. Pretty amazing structure, if a bit haphazardly put together. I adore the swimming pools. And the horses. Our tour guide pointed out the Hearst family on horseback and said “You want to go riding? If Mr. Hearst were here, he’d insist you go!” I was like “YEAH! Saddle me up. Let’s go!” but she just kept walking. So unfair, dangling horseback riding in the gorgeous rolling hills right in front of me and then just walking away. How does she sleep at night? ;)
When we finally got back on the road, we were starving, but we held out for Pismo Beach and ate some clam chowder and fish and chips at Splash on the beach. Finally made it home about 9 that night and crashed hard.
The next day was my Mom’s birthday, so we went to a movie (Jane Eyre), dinner (Mario’s Peruvian Grill) and dessert (Sweet Lady Jane’s). It was a nice mellow final day with my mom, before she got on a plane and then I got on a plane.
My last week was just a lot of packing, cleaning, taking care of business and trying not to freak out about moving to the other side of the world.