We're back, and the trip was great. We headed down to a cabin in Santa Cruz that we found online hours before we left home. The pillows were remarkably heavy, yes, but we were surrounded by redwoods and it was warm enough for sandals. Worth it.
The California coastline is stunning. It seemed a waste that for much of it, not a soul was in sight. In some places herds of cattle grazed on fields that ended abruptly as cliffs dropping into the Pacific. The beasts were oblivious to anything but the grass beneath their nose. You'd think they'd look up from time to time and gaze out to sea.
As I stood with my camera on a side road, a rancher drove by, a grey-haired man with a cowboy hat and a dog beside him in the old pickup truck. He nodded at me and lifted his hand in a brief wave. In that moment, I desperately wished I were his neighbour, farming the land next to his.
The kids were good. Of course, staying at the Super 8 on the way down already surpassed anything their little minds could dream up, and the cabin just took it up another notch.
There was a moment when Pete was reading Aesop's fables to them as we waited in the border lineup, and I looked over at the SUV next to us where the mother was tapping on her laptop as her kids watched DVDs, that I felt pleased with our parenting. But I think we canceled out any accumulated points another day when I passed back a drumstick from a bucket of KFC to Ariana in her car seat. Although I think that may have been one of the best moments of Ariana's life so far.
And to top it off, turns out it hailed and snowed back home while we were away.