Monday, January 23, 2012

Holy Road Trip, Batman! (Part 1)

This past weekend, I went on an epic, short, road trip. I left Thursday night and was home Sunday night. Every now and then, I just sort of get the bug to leave town. It's not a sort of situation where I'm "running" from anything, but I just like being out and about, visiting people, seeing new things. You get the drift. This desire has been niggling at me for the past few months, so I just sort of decided that I had to make it happen soon!

After discussion with the friends and family I was planning to visit, I realized I could get visits in with Christie and Laura (both are friends of mine from the Harry Potter and Wizard Rock scene) as well as finally get to see my little brother perform in a show (he played Frederic in Pirates of Penzance Junior). To top it off, I was able to knock off 3 of my goals in the planning (21. See Christie for a proper visit, 36. Visit Dad, Kim, and the boys, 83. Go for at least one road trip for the purpose of being on the road).

With as little time was dedicated to the trip, I ended up having a seriously awesome weekend filled with fun, excitement, and near-death (read: almost dangerous) driving experiences!
I took Friday off work for a driving day and left for Christie's place (in the Santa Cruz mountains) after work on Thursday. One fact of note is that it just so happened to be during the first rainfall we've had in around 2 months. And it grew to be full on night as I drove. So not only was visibility limited, but the roads were slippery and I have a history of getting anxiety while driving at night due to the bright lights of oncoming traffic and the lowered visibility. I learned just how much of that anxiety came from my (then unknown) blurred vision! Wearing my new glasses, I realized I wasn't getting anxious from driving at night the way I used to. It was like the oncoming headlights were half the size they used to be and weren't obstructing my vision they way the did in the past. While I did get a little anxious from the rain, it didn't have to do with my ability to see, so I would call my new glasses a win!

I got to Christie's around 9pm, we ate dinner and went out to her garage where a mini-barbecue was set up for warmth (she couldn't find the space heater). We drank wine and caught up for hours. After some time, we were getting silly and a little ridiculous from the late hour and decided that roasting mini lemons from her lemon tree in the coals was an excellent idea. We also tried to barbecue some sausages practically directly on the coals... that was something of a failed experiment! We finally went to bed knowing we'd have to be up by 6:15 or so and I had to be on the road no later than 7. I only found out the next morning that we were up 'til about 1:30am, so I started the morning sluggishly and with a slight headache, to say the least.

I was about 2 hours into my day's 10 hour trek to Havasu when I had to stop for some breakfast. And thank all that is good and holy that I stopped where I did! I found the most magical restaurant called Apricot Tree Restaurant. I almost went to get some fast food or gas station snacks, but thought better of it and could not have been happier! I walked into the building and the first thing I see is a classic Ms. Pac-Man game! And there is one of those things where you squeeze the handle and it tells you how sexy you are. And you go around the corner and they have a little shop area, like you find in a Cracker Barrel, but the stuff they have is WEIRD. And increasingly random! There was a rack of used clothing that included a white netted t-shirt and a Hawaiian button up style shirt with the word "Beer" written all over it on drawings of signs. And there was a display case with a sword in it for some reason.

In any case, I passed through to head to the restaurant portion and there were display cases along the walls with classic metal lunch boxes! My favorite was the original Star Trek one. But it got even better! In the walls they had displayed the thermoses! And along the roof in different sections were more lunch boxes mounted to the wall. There was a Disney section and a Western section, among others. To say the least, it was amazing. I ordered the steak and eggs because I was starving and the food was kind of a bust. The steak was cooked pretty well, but had a LOT of peppercorn coating it. The eggs were like rubber and the hash browns had no seasoning. It was lame. But everything else about the place screamed glory! On my way out I played Ms. Pac-Man and was informed that I am "Hot Stuff". Not too shabby, in my opinion!

The trip continued from there and I spent an inordinate amount of time listening loudly to various CD mixes I'd made or been given over the years and singing along while my mind raced with memories! I did make a stop at Target where I picked up one of those doohickies that allows you to send your iPod to the tuner. It worked pretty decently, so I think I'll keep it (was considering trying it out and just returning it locally if it didn't work the way I wanted). That's when I started listening to my current audiobook even more. At one gas station in this length of the trip, I found a mini tea set and a hilarious fake cell phone. I bought the tea set for myself and the fake princess cell phone for my little brother Jake. My other (older than Jake) little bro gets to use/carry around the cell phone, so I got this one and presented it to Jake as a, "Well, I just didn't think it was fair that John gets to have a cell phone and you don't" sort of gift.

The rest of this leg of the drive wasn't overly exciting, but at one point I was just cruising along (I hit cruise control at about 3mph above the speed limit typically, fast enough to not upset most people, but not so fast as to gain any attention), when I saw a low-flying aircraft just sort of circling over the freeway in front of me. I immediately remembered a friend telling me about getting pulled over once out of the blue and getting cited a ticket for speeding when an airplane recorded her pace. I just kept myself on cruise and watched as a car went past me at probably 8-10mph faster than the limit. I started wondering if I was right about the (very obvious) airplane and, as I pondered, I felt my car jolt a little as a Highway Patrol car zoomed past me at such a speed it caused a little wind about me! I watched as they got closer to the car that was now a ways in front of me. I was really excited and was thinking, "Turn on your lights! Pull them over! Yesss!!!!!" And the lights went on and the car was pulled over and I was cracking up the entire time as I passed. It was fantastic.

Apparently, this is going to be extremely long so I'm going to break off here and tell you about the rest in a post #2 shortly! Woot!

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