Its inevitable if you live in California. If you are ever going to go from one end of the state to the other, you are going to take I5. The torturous journey through hundreds of miles of nothing but farmland, farmland, and more farmland before you reach the infamous Grapevine and climb over the summit and into traffic filled metropolis known as Los Angeles. Between Stockton and LA county there is hardly a town to speak of. Just miles of freeway spent avoiding being cut off by horrible drivers trying not to be slowed down by eighteen wheelers just trying to make a living. Oh and maybe every 30 miles or so there will be a gas station or fast food oasis. Its truly one of the most boring drives in the country. The only other drive that I have been that rivals it is I10 from El Paso to San Antonio. Its a drive I have done so many times in my 12 years living in Northern California and a drive that I dread every time.
This drive down to see family started out rough. We tried to leave at five but Paul had to work late so we made it out of town at 7:30, both equally irritated by our late start. Luckily we made great time and the kids did absolutely fantastic in the car. Around two in the morning as I was driving through LA in a sleep deprived stupor I noticed flashing lights in my rear view. Crap! A bullhorn announced I was to take the next exit and pull over. I looked at my speed. I was going 70. Not too bad. What was up? Well evidently the speed limit going through the city of LA is 55 and not 65 or 70 like the rest of I5. Good to know. Luckily the cop took pity on us and was impressed by our USAA insurance and Paul's dad's military service so he let us off the hook. Most likely he was looking for drunk drivers or hooligans at that time of night and not sleepy families trying to make it to Grandma's. The funny thing is that Paul and I, being the total immature kids that we are, had a hard time not cracking jokes when the cop was around and when he left to run our info we sat in the car giggling and making jokes about how to get out of ticket. I like to think sleep depravation played a role in a case of the giggles. Then Paul found himself laughing at his own stupid jokes based on furniture store billboards (He thought it was funny a furniture store was called Wicks and just kept imaging furniture made of candle wicks and throwing a match in the store and, well, you can tell the boy was tired) until we pulled into my mom's driveway. We made it!
The next day we all took four hour naps (yes four hours and it was glorious) and then headed out to see some family. It was the first time since January that my grandma and aunts and uncles had seen the kids so they were impressed by how big they had grown. Funny how kids do that. The kids were impressed that Sonny and Smoky had moved in next door to Aunt Jill. We got to go over and feed them which was a real treat for all involved
Mari also got a thrill out of picking cherry tomatoes out of the garden with Grandma and Aunt Michelle.
Ben was mostly obsessed with balls and throwing balls into the pool and making everyone nervous about him falling into said pool. Mari joined him in the ball and pool game and we all took turns on toddler watch while the others relaxed underneath the canopy enjoying the beautiful weather.
We came in for dinner and had yummy shredded beef tacos with all the fixings and then watched the kids slowly lose their mind and get tired. Mari joined Nanny in her room for some deep conversation and not so subtle signals that it was time to head back to Grandma's to get these kids to bed.
All in all not a bad way to spend our first day on vacation.