Tag Archive | Newport Beach

From Sea to Shining Sea

August 4th finds us back at home for our second full day. We actually arrived on the 2nd, but there was too much to do to find time to sit and write. I haven’t had too much time yet to gather my thoughts, either, but here are a few things:

We traveled 9,197 miles, used 417 gallons of gas, visited with about 48 family members and friends, saw license plates from 49 states (missed only Alaska, which Nathan swore he saw, but we couldn’t verify on the speeding car that passed us by), ate at about 27 restaurants (it would have been more if not for picnic lunches packed at the benevolence of our friends), traveled through 24 states and slept in 19 different beds, only 6 of which were in hotels.

We saw elk, bison, buffalo, deer, a little coyote, a chipmunk, squirrels, various birds, dogs and cats. Those were the live ones. The roadkill was way too numerous to count.

We have one ding in our windshield from a rock thrown up by a passing semi in Idaho (I think), a tweak to our front bumper from a blown tire on another semi (in one of the Carolinas), and road dust that all has something to say about our journey.

Only a few small things were left behind: a small container of shampoo, a hairband that went with Morgan’s wedding outfit, a beach towel purchased in Huntington Beach, a comb, a bracelet, one charging cable and a library book that is required reading for Justin. That one will be mailed by the hotel in Georgia. Not too bad for living out of a suitcase for 31 days.

We experienced a terrific rainstorm in Wyoming, blazing heat in Arizona and chilly drizzle in Washington that cleared for the big wedding day. Our temperatures ranged from the low 50s in Washington to 113 through the California desert. But the van’s a/c stayed reliably in the mid-70s.

For being stuck together 24/7 for 31 days, the kids did remarkably well. They had their moments, of course, and I was thankful for the DVD player, but they’re all still friends at the end of the day.

As are David and I, as evidenced by the kisses from sea to shining sea:

Ormond Beach, Fla.

Newport Beach, Calif.








Thankful today for:

510. a reliable washer and dryer

511. winners who give glory to God

512. smoothies

513. dvr

514. choices

515. memories

516. a nice camera

517. a happy family

518. a healthy trip

Going Home Again

Day 10 of our journey finds us on the family ranch in Bakersfield, Calif. This is the place where my mother grew up, and I spent many happy summers as a child. It’s right down the road from Pumpkin Center. It’s the boonies. But I love it. We are staying at the house of my aunt and uncle, whom we haven’t seen in more than 20 years. My kids have never met them. My aunt was my mom’s only sister.

We’re having a fun time catching up and chatting. My great aunt, known as Zizi, is here also. She lives on the same property in her own little house. She’s 94. We haven’t seen her since Morgan was a baby. Seeing this family was the impetus for this trip that has now morphed into this incredible journey. It’s possible to go home again. But “home” is definitely not the same. We’re grateful for this chance.

We are also grateful for the chance to stay with friends in Arizona and Southern California, visit the San Diego Zoo and show our kids what So. Cal beaches are like. We visited Newport Beach and Huntington Beach, and we saw more fancy sports cars in two days than we have in our entire experience in Florida. (At last count, I think it was 3¬†Lamborghinis, 3 Ferraris and at least a half dozen Porsches. The boys were highly impressed.) In Huntington Beach, we had breakfast with my friend Steve, with whom I went through grade school, junior high school and high school. We got to meet his wife and one of his kids. They took us to Ruby’s Diner on the pier. It was a fun time. This pelican was just standing around on the pier. It was odd behavior. Then we saw a woman throw him some fish. He’s not so dumb after all.

So, just as much fun for me as seeing the sites of the States has been seeing friends we very rarely, if ever, get to see. And there’s still more to come! The big wedding is in just 9 days, and we’ll be making our way up to Washington in about 5 more days. Meanwhile, we enjoy the company of my aunt, who reminds me so much of my mom, and my uncle, who now has a new audience in my kids for all his bad puns.

It feels a lot like home.





Thankful today for:

447. building relationships

448. the smell of pies in the oven

449. more than 2 nights in the same bed

450. the smoothness of the journey so far

451. being able to show my kids stuff that was important to me in the past

452. my kids being able to know their California relatives

453. a cooler day in a hot place

454. beautiful cotton plants growing in the fields outside the house

455. lots of fun things to look at in my aunt’s house

456. finding more statehood quarters that we need for our collection

457. rocking chairs

458. our tax refund