The end of August saw us shoving clothes into suitcases with a fierce attention to detail rarely seen in our travel packing, because we were leaving on a jet plane. To California. For a week. And with such a range of activities that packing had to be done in carefully planned stages, with separate suitcases for separate events. There were spreadsheets involved, people. SPREADSHEETS.
We got off to a slow start (thank you, hour+ spent sitting on the tarmac after we pushed back), but the flights were as good as flights can be. Let me just say that JetBlue rocks. The seats are roomier than most, the Marketplace (where you can help yourself to unlimited snacks and drinks) is a Godsend, and the inflight entertainment is the best. I finally got to see Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2!! Baby Groot! SQUEEEE!
A travel hint: when going from East Coast to West Coast, it kind of pays off to get in at an ungodly hour such as, say, three a.m. It means that when you finally make it to your hotel and collapse face first into the bed, you’ll sleep much later than you would have otherwise. No ridiculous early wakings when you follow this method. You’ll be on California time in a day.
Our trip was divided into major events, each a ridiculously long drive from each other but what can you do? So the next day when we finally dragged ourselves back to the land of the living, we hit the road for a slow and twisty four-hour trek from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park.
Many people long to visit the national parks, especially Yellowstone and Yosemite. I am not among that number. Yes, the scenery was breathtaking, and yes, Yosemite is very well organized and easy to navigate, but people. There are BEARS. The only animal in the world that I fear as much as Wild Killer Mice is Wild Killer Bears.
But the husband promised me we’d stay in a cabin (hard walls, private bathroom), and many of our friends who heard about the plan and were also headed to California decided it sounded like fun to them, so they signed up as well. If you must face Wild Killer Bears, it’s ever so much more enjoyable when accompanied by dear friends from Ottawa and Toronto. Best of all, my beloved honorary daughter, the Fraulein, flew in from Germany with a friend. For her, I will even risk bears.
We walked. (I refuse to hike.) We climbed. We ate many meals together. We swam, and talked, and watched corny evening presentations together, and swapped kids back and forth, and I didn’t even freak when we caught a glimpse of a coyote. We don’t get to see these folks very often so there were enormous quantities of catching up required, and we undertook the task with utter delight. By the time we were done we were filled with so much goodwill that it was almost enough to keep me from freaking out as the husband drove us through the insane switchbacks required to exit the park.
Best of all – neither I nor anyone in any of our parties had a single encounter with or viewing of a bear. That right there made it a perfect trip for me.
Next: And Now For Something Completely Different