Tuesday, December 23, 2008

California holiday 2008 - Are we there yet?

Yep. We finally made it. Three days and thirty ass-numbing hours on the road - and that doesn't include the lunch or potty breaks. But we made it!

Day 1
Having packed the car the night before, the first morning was all about locking up the house and hauling butt. We did a solid 9 hours of driving, with 1 hour worth of breaks. After all that time, at the end of the day we were still in Texas. Crap! Texas is a big state!  

We enjoyed our lunch break in Fredericksburg, a beautiful little town in Texas hill country with a heavy german accent. I have a bit of an aversion to german food (can't handle the smell of sauerkraut or large quantities of meat), so we ate Mexican. Mmm - spinach quesadillas!

We stayed the night in the Van Horn Texas KOA. We were able to book one of their "kamping kabins" (see photo). We have all the tent equipment and could have been more frugal, but 1) I didn't know how cold it would be at night and didn't want to deal with being frozen (temp ended up dropping to 24 degrees); and 2) I didn't want to deal with setting up the tent in the dark after an entire day of driving, and all the hassle that goes along with it. So we splurged and went with the Kamping Kabin. It was great. We had a nice big bed for the three of us (Kelsey snuggled in extra close) and the room even had cable TV. We don't even splurge for that at home. We put it to good use though. As we nibbled on the fruit and snacks we brought with us for dinner, we surfed through the channels and found "Elf" with Will Ferrell (I watch it every year). The holiday season is complete - it's my all-time favorite holiday movie!

Day 2
Somehow, we managed to get up and out the door before the break of dawn (so that's what the sun looks like when it first comes up...). With a night's rest, I was sure my butt had recovered from the trauma of the first day. I was wrong. Even with a pillow underneath me, my derriere ached all day long. Great. At my age, my butt isn't exactly the best of my decorative attributes, and now it's not even good for sitting. It really sucks getting older. Humph. 

We made 2 food stops on Day 2, one for breakfast at IHOP and one for lunch at Chili's (I had the most fabulous black bean burger ever - Mmm. Mmm. Mmm). Dinner again consisted of fruit and some of our home-packed snacks while we lounged, this time, at the Days Inn in Blythe (no KOAs in the area would take dogs in the Kamping Kabins).

At least Day 2 got us through 2 entire states and into California (less depressing than spending the entire Day 1 in Texas and still not making the border). One day to go, but will my tushie make it?

Day 3
That would be a no. My butt hurts, my back hurts, and my left boob hurts. Why? I couldn't tell you, but it's only the left one. What can I say, I'm being honest. It was a long day with one stop for lunch and two stops for gas. The highlight, of course, was driving up to the house, all decorated in lights and seeing Dave's Mom. Her house IS Christmas - inside and out. It's just beautiful. And now I'm glad that I packed my heating pad. It's going to feel great on my sore tushie. Or, actually a butt rub would be fabulous. Dave?....

Kelsey did great. We had bought her a nice, super cushy bed to set inside her kennel, so she pretty much zonked out from the word go. She got a little restless on Day 2, but I think it was just the stress of being on the move and us getting in and out of the car. Because she was so anxious, I let her sit with me up front for a couple hours (fine, call me an enabler), but she was calm and rested in her kennel for the rest of the day. Good girl!  The third day she completely freaked out and ended up seizuring during one of our gas breaks. Thankfully we hadn't entered the interstate yet and I could sit with her and talk her through it. 

Getting to Grandmas house was fun for her. She promptly christened Grandmas wonderful grass and claimed it as her own. Kelsey just loves her Grandma Duchscher.

I caught Dave eyeing that cushy blue bed, kennel or no kennel. I'm starting to wonder if on the way home, Dave will claim the kennel and make Kelsey and I take the front seats. Hmmm. Maybe Kelsey can drive. Now THAT'S a plan!

Last, but certainly not least, was our fearless chariot, Elphie. We averaged more than 40 miles per gallon (at times as much as 48 mpg) depending on how fast we were going and how hilly the terrain (compared to 45 mpg at home/in town). At some sections of the interstate, the speed limit was as much as 80mph, but we found Elphie did best cruising at about 70, while still keeping us not so far behind the general flow of traffic Having the Prius made the trip way less expensive and made a serious dent in any emissions had we still owned the jeep.  Way to go Elphie!

All in all, it was a great drive. What would have been a solid $1000 in airline fares and Kelsey's "bed and breakfast" costs, became a $500 (I'm estimating our return costs in this) adventure. Driving also meant less emissions than a plane ride, Kelsey could come with us, and we'd have a car in California to explore at will. And, of course, we've only just arrived. Kelsey's found her spot on the couch, and we're all unpacked... Let the holiday festivities begin!


Beany said...

Yay! Glad you're safe. Texas is a BIG state. Its like an entire country.

I don't know about sore butts or boobies, but my neck needed a brace after we drove from TX to CA. Having a husband willing to give our massages is definetly a good perk of marriage.

Merry Christmas. Eat well and stay warm!

ttammylynn said...

I'm glad you made it safe and sound. It is pretty tough to sit when you want so badly to walk around. Texas Hill Country is beautiful(and expansive). My husband's family owns a farm way out toward Kerrville. It is a good drive to get there but I always enjoyed the view. If you aren't in a hurry and can stop and walk around more often, I like that way of travelling much better.

Rapunzel said...

Glad you arrived safe & sound, does sound like a successful trip indeed!

Merry Christmas, enjoy your holiday!

Chile said...

Glad to hear ya'll made it safely, even with sore bits and pieces. Your little pooch sounds like a great traveler! Now, how long does your rear have to recover before the drive back?

Happy Holidays!

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

I'm happy to hear you made it safely to California - and too funny (though I'm sure not at the time) about your aches and pains. The boob things is weird, but I've had stuff like that before.

I can't believe Kelsey did so well on the trip - wahoo for that for sure. I hope you guys have a blast.

(Oh yeah, and Texas is massive, it really is, I'd get depressed at how long it takes to drive across it myself.

Heather @ SGF said...

Beany - It is! But California is too. It took all of the 3rd day just to get to his Mom's house.

Tammy - It was nice to get out and walk around on our breaks, but with a full driving day planned each day, it didn't leave much room for exploration. Maybe on a future trip. I've only been to Fredericksburg once, but would love to go back and stay awhile.

Rapunzel - Thanks and you have a wonderful holiday too!

Chile - She was a trooper. She's already relaxed and settled in at Grandmas and a happy camper again. Although she hasn't eaten much yet.

Thankfully, we'll have 9 days to relax before we hit the road again. It's kinda cold, here but the first thing I'm planning on doing this morning is taking a walk. All that sitting has my body all cramped and screaming for a little exercise.

Jennifer - yeah, I thought the boob thing was weird too, but of course, this is the body of a vegetarian who has a 275 cholesterol number. My body doesn't ever seem to make much sense. But everything feels a little better this morning. I'm headed for a walk in a few minutes to work out some of those aches.

Green Resolutions said...

"Humph" - you crack me up! Glad you had a safe trip. Enjoy the vacation!

Green Bean said...

Welcome to California! What a trip. Glad you and your left boob survived. :) Have a great Christmas.

Heather @ SGF said...

Green Resolutions - Thanks! You too!

Green Bean - And I'm VERY happy to be here. I had a clementine earlier today and am planning on stuffing my face with avocado. You can bet I'll be taking some of those California "locals" back with us to Texas.

Glenda said...

My condolences to your sore body parts ;-) -- glad y'all made it safe and sound. Enjoy your visit!!

Excellent gas mileage, btw.

Heather @ SGF said...

Glenda - thanks! I was pretty impressed with the mileage myself. It's a great little car!