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Monday, September 23, 2013

Guilty Pleasures 2

Huntington Beach
This is a follow up Post to Guilty Pleasures posted on September 20, 2013: ( ).
 My last post ended as we were halfway through our mini vacation.  Everything nice that could go right, did.  How often can you say that about vacation that was pretty much spur of the moment, not totally unplanned the destination was moved in the last two weeks prior to take off?  The original plan was that my daughter and I would travel to Texas for a week so I could do research on a book I am writing (our own family’s story as seen through the eyes author “me,” working title “East Lincoln”).  The plan was established in the spring of this year.  The schedule was based on my daughter’s availability.
  • Tropical Storm Warnings!  A low-pressure area in the Gulf of Mexico has an 80 percent chance of becoming a tropical system in the next five days, according to the hurricane center. “Regardless of development, this disturbance will likely spread heavy rains over portions of eastern Mexico and could cause life-threatening floods and mudslides over areas already impacted by torrential rains during the last several days,” Jack Bevin, a senior hurricane specialist at the center, said in a forecast.
Our Texas destination would have taken us to Brownsville and Corpus Christi Texas, right in the path of the tropical storm forming in the Gulf of Mexico.  Fortunately I had previously taken on some research for my book in the area of interest.  Due to the possible storm and the more than 100% humidity that accompanies such storms, we chose to move our destination to Southern California, and turn it into a mini vacation with alternate goals to be accomplished. Refer to Making a Bucket List posted on February 11, 2013 ( ).
The most serious objective was to relax, and enjoy, we purposely stayed away from all the typical tourist attractions (traps), Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios, and San Diego Zoo, etc.  There was no specific timeline other than a family reunion on Saturday.  The rest of the time was more like, let’s see what we decide to do once we wake up.  I did have a secret agenda but didn’t share it with anyone, and wasn’t concerned if we couldn’t make it happen.  On my agenda, was to experience for the week driving a muscle car so I could get the feel for what it might be like to own one for the rest of my life. Another part of my hidden agenda was to spend serious time at two or three beach resort areas, so I could experience it, and meet another of my bucket list items.
The two days that I had secretly set aside for the beach resort visits were 94, and 84 degrees respectively.  On the day that turned out to be 94 degrees I mentioned to my daughter the idea of going to the beach, and while she liked the idea, she didn’t like the traffic we would have to drive in to get there.  We had pretty much decided to cancel when the housekeeping head of our hotel knocked on the door, to check our room’s service needs.  After a short conversation, she left and instinct kicked in.  I followed her down the hall and asked her if she lived in the area, she said she didn’t but was familiar with pretty much all the area of Los Angeles.  I asked her what beach areas were nearby, and how long it might take to drive there.  She looked at her wrist watch (it was around 10 am) and she said, if you take off right now, you will get there in about one hour, and you won’t get a better day for it.
I immediately told my daughter to get ready because we were going to spend time on the beach. Less than one hour later we arrived at Huntington Beach, and spent the rest of the day playing in the sand the water, and the piers from Sunset Beach to Westport Beach with Huntington Beach in-between.  It’s a good thing the rental shacks were getting ready to close by the time I got up the nerve to go surfing because I was ready to surf with the sharks (not).  Some less stable people lose their minds at the experience and start thinking about moving to the area.  Not me I realize that paradise vacation can only be paradise if you don’t live there.  If you move there it becomes the place where you toil, and worry about everyday things.  My wife taught me that when we first got married many years ago.  We ate dinner at the beach in Westport where an order of crab was $49.95.  We left the area after dinner (dark), and it still took us more than two hours to drive what had earlier taken about 50 minutes.
I can’t describe all the fun we had and all the things we did in one posting, but shopping, family reunion and driving a 2012 Camaro SS the whole time was part of the experience.  I couldn’t have planned it better if I had planned it.  It was an even better experience to get home to the family I love and missed the whole time I was away.  My first born daughter and I definitely bonded while on vacation.  The best is yet to come…..

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