"Home". A word that has multiple meanings.
Vacations are always a good and refreshing thing but as Dorothy once said..."there's no place like home." unfortunately unlike Dorothy, we cant just click our heels to be home. And so we find ourselves within the confined adventures, debacles, and joy of "the trip home". Fortunately our trip home was somewhat uneventful. We only had to brave one nights stay a mile from the San Francisco airport in a really nice and amazingly affordable hotel...in a room that was next to the train tracks (which we did not see due to the fact that we checked in after dark) which ran commuter trains that honked at that intersection every 20 minutes....all night long. Maryann's dream car for the 16 days. Little 'Farverg'!
However, we did have a really good and again amazingly affordable breakfast at the hotel restaurant before we headed for the airport the next morning. Once at the airport we checked in, declared my firearm and ammo with no events or issues and had plenty of time to sit at the gate and do some serious 'people watching'. People watching at SFO is really an intriguing pass time. You do see all kinds!
As well as seeing all kinds, you also have a chance to experience the big city first hand. Take for instance the 'Flu Shot Booth' at the gates, waiting to welcome you to California as you get off of your plane. Hmmm. If this is not a blatant suggestion of 'welcome' for weary travelers! The city by the bay is doing an absolute superior job at taking away the freedoms of it's citizens that most people take for granted, each day, as well as successfully chipping away at the 2nd amendment. The swing side of it is that the 1st amendment is alive and well in San Francisco, with this being most evident in the airport terminal. The 'Free Speech Booth' is a visible presence to all who are arriving and departing. I decided to take advantage of this and exercise my right to tell people what exactly was on my mind as I began my journey to home. Not many people were really interested in what I had to say, but as you can see, I did tell one gentleman where to go!He had just arrived in America and was looking for the rental car facility!! I was happy to help him as we had just come from there, and he gave me many thanks. I wonder if he is thinking of me tonight?! Now it may seem like I am a little hard on poor ol San Fransisco but really I am not. I love the place....or at least loved it a couple of decades ago. but it has changed there and I have now, only fond memories of what it once was. Coincidentally, we decided not to attend the West Fest concert the day before in Golden Gate Park. We had something come up that was much more satisfying and fun.
We were invited Saturday night to dinner at the home of our new found friend from the band Quicksilver Messenger Service. It was such a great night with him, his wife and a couple of his life long friends. The guy is a hoot and has some really great taste. At one point in the evening I had to pinch myself.... you wouldn't understand unless you are one of the few people who really know me. Great stories were exchanged, lots of laughs were had, good music and harmonies were shared.... cant think of a better way to spend the nearing end of our trip. After a very late night at his place we ventured back and stayed at my folks' house.
The following morning found me doing the ultimate packing adventure. It was a feat, but I managed to pack 80 pounds of sh*! into a 50 pound sack. It is amazing how much you pick up on vacation, and due to weight restrictions, extra baggage charges from the airlines and the like, weight and space was a huge issue for us. We ended up going out and buying a new carry on. We had only brought one carry on bag on the trip down so we were afforded the ability to carry one more on board with us. I kept that one in the bag (pardon the pun) for such an occasion as overweight. All the weight went into the carry-on's and clothes went into the checked bag where the weight was scrutinized! Stuck it to the man!!
Our last hours were spent out on the coast Sunday visiting our old a dear friends in La Honda. it has been around 5 years since Maryann had seen them, just a few months for me since they were at the wedding anniversary I attended in June, and we all had a nice visit before heading into SF to stay the night at the "commuter train inn"! Hoot hoot!!
Speaking of a hoot, Disneyland was grand! Dinner at the Blue Bayou Room at Disney's New Orleans Square.
The weather sucked...way too hot and muggy, and there were alot of people, but we managed to knock out all of the rides we loved, took in a couple of shows, and really had a great time. We lucked out and caught our friend and lost family member Michelle, as she was staying with her folks in LA just 10 minutes from Disneyland. In honor of Halloween, the haunted house and much of the park was decked out to celebrate!
So not only did we get the chance to visit with her, but we were able to stay at her folks' place with her which was so much nicer than a hotel. Turns out her parents live literally around the corner from Karen and Richard Carpenters' house there in Downey. She took us on a walk after dinner the night we got there and we were able to see the house and hear Michelle's stories of young groupie ism with Karen!! lol Too much Michelle! Personally I loved her music and was truly saddened by her death so many years ago. What happened to Karen Carpenter was tragic and it felt really weird to be there at the house she was in when she left this life. What a great talent and warm soul she was.
Prior to LA we spent a good full week in Pacific Grove, our home away from home. I have to say that we both absolutely enjoyed our stay in the cottage by the beach, and just cutting loose for the week. The top secret nuclear sub base down the coast from PG. In our younger and more adventurous years we did a sweet hike to the top and over the right side to the light house.
A chance to see old friends and just relax! Have to say that Pacific Grove is our favorite place to be....suits us well for a fun and subtle time!!
The trip began with an awesome visit with family and a stay in Dorrington where we only saw a couple of friends....not nearly all that we would have wanted to see. But time is so short and hectic when there is so much to do. Hopefully next time we can see more of those we missed, but they are in our hearts none the less. Odd....I just noticed that I went backwards through our vacation. See what time off of life does to a guy?!
It is interesting to me how some acted in regards to our visit. I mean, you would expect a warm welcome....especially from family. I have to say that most were very receptive to our arrival and it was apparent that they were really glad to see us. However, the few that didn't really seem like they cared either way..... Hmmm. I sure don't know. I just got the feeling that there was either a little animosity that we moved so far away, or maybe.... who knows. We just shrug it off and try to take it for face value. This is where we wanted to be. Maryann was every part a part of the decision to move here as me, and I have to clarify that for anyone who may have differing ideologies about that whole process. True, we do miss our loved ones, but that is where the visits should be a chance to catch up and enjoy the time that has been lost. It is a shame that any other feeling or emotion should get in the way of this time. But I learned a long time ago that you can't please all of the people all of the time. And frankly....we don't even try! Those who are happy will be happy no matter the odds or circumstances, and those who carry a grudge or some kid of burden will always have that to some extent, no matter what.
All in all we had a great time, and did what we love to do. This was a time for our vacation, a time to get away and enjoy ourselves, God knows after all we have done I think we were entitled to it. Now we are home....where we absolutely love to be...and I suppose we will just move on and hope those who felt less than excitement will move on as well. Life is too short! To everyone who we were able to see, thank you for all of the hospitality and the good visits. And to those we missed, we are sorry and will try again another time. And to those who have come to visit us up here, thank you and we are so glad you have had the chance to see a few of the reasons why we love it here so much. And to those who haven't made it up here.....we really hope that someday you will. It's not really a desolate and barren wasteland! It is beautiful, peaceful place where we are free to be who we are and love every minute of it!!
If home is where the heart is, than we surely are home. Tough as it is to swallow sometimes, we both made this happen for the better. And better it has been. There truly is no place like home!