disney · travel

10 day jaunt around the golden state

Tracy (my wife) and I recently got back from a 10 day, work/personal trip around much of the state of California.

It started off with a road trip to Disneyland to celebrate Tracy’s birthday at the very end of September. We were fortunate enough to snag a room at the Disneyland Hotel, which is so convenient. It’s been a long time since we’ve “done Disneyland” like tourists; it was really fun spending the majority of the day in the park, riding rides and goofing on people.

We were joined by our good friends Lisette and Josh, who also love Disneyland. We had never been with them, so I introduced them to a game my brother and I invented while at the famous park. The game doesn’t have a name and all you win is bragging rights. It goes like this: for each kid in a costume, 1 point; for each kid on a leash, 2 points; groups of people who had shirts made for a Disneyland trip, 1 point. Each sighting must be confirmed by another in the party and the same person cannot be counted twice (if you see them later). It took Lisette a while to catch on and Tracy helped her get some points. At one point, we were walking silently through the crowds, scanning people like secret service personnel. I don’t even really remember who won, but we had a blast.

The next leg of our journey took us to San Diego, as I had a conference there. In the off times of the conference, we explored the maritime museum, complete with clipper ships and a couple of submarines. I had never seen one up close and they are truly awe-inspiring. I was trying to imagine how all the lines and sails work together to move a massive ship forward, how dangerous travel was centuries ago, and how one captain could have the skill and knowledge to pull this sail or that to make the ship move in the direction he wanted.

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We next came upon a Soviet submarine from the Cuban Missile Crisis. Aside from the submarines at Disneyland, which I don’t count, I have never been on a submarine, let alone anything from the former Soviet Union. The sub was divided into sections, with audio playing, replaying events during the missile crisis in the 60’s. What stuck us was how tight the quarters were inside the submarine and the absolute lack of fresh air. It takes a special person to be able to be on a sub for months at a time. Apparently, at the height of the missile crisis, the men on the submarine had no contact with Moscow for 2 days, had no air conditioning, and the interior of the sub was around 120 degrees.

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Once the conference was over, our next stop was in Monterey, which was an 8 hour drive if we didn’t hit traffic or stop at all. That was just too long. We had a day to play around with, so we decided to split the distance and spend the night in Santa Barbara. Not a bad place! The baseball playoffs had begun and I really wanted to watch the Red Sox play; Tracy was gracious enough to indulge me. She mainly a football fan, but she gets into baseball and knows how important certain games can be. Love my girl! We ate and watched the game at the Santa Barbara Brewing Company. Sox lost (and ended up losing the ALDS). Boo.

The next morning, we drove the rest of the way to Monterey. We started our honeymoon here in May, so coming back here was special. I had caught a cold (probably from some urchin at Disneyland!) and wasn’t feeling super awesome. We ate at the Chart House, which was one of the special places we visited in May. I didn’t have much of an appetite, but that didn’t make it any less lovely.

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Then next day was mostly work related, so Tracy got to bum around Carmel (as much as once can bum around Carmel) with several of my colleagues spouses. So jealous! She and I headed there the following day, so I can’t complain too much. The number of art galleries contained in one small area always astonishes me and I saw several pieces that I would love to add to our collection. But, no buying art today; just not in the budget! When it is, I know exactly where I’m going — to get an impressionistic painting of Half Dome in Yosemite where the artist uses just a paint spatula. Loved the image, the colors, and the texture.

We’ve been away from home for that long before, but we usually stayed in one place. I don’t know if it was all the driving we did, all the hotels we stayed in, or if it was because I was sick, but I felt like we were gone for a month. I love traveling than almost anything else in the world, but it was wonderful to get home.

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