This last Friday the girls and I crammed all our stuff into the back of Alyx’s car and headed to Pismo Beach for a friend’s wedding I agreed to shoot.
The first part of the 6 hour trip I drove, the second part Alyx took over. I’ve gotten pretty good at not freaking out the minute she climbs into the driver’s side. She’s gotten pretty good at not getting to pissed at me when I do freak out.
We bought the Kasey Musgraves CD before we left and we played it the whole way there and most of the way back. By the end of the trip we had all picked out our favorite songs and could sing them quite masterfully.
The wedding went off without a hitch. The 80′s reception was so awesome! Jessica and Jason went over the top on their costumes, all the way to the fanny pack and acid washed jeans. I had so much fun with their families because they were all pretty laid back like I am.
The best part of the trip was the last minute decision to change our route home. We drove down I-5 on the way there, but we took Hwy 101 on the way back. I wanted the girls to see some of the missions that I saw when I was a kid and my parents took me. Honestly, I can’t remember why I enjoyed it so much, but I am sure it had to do with my mother’s enthusiasm for adventure and my father’s passion for taking pictures. Those two things made for a colorful childhood.
I told the girls how beautiful San Luis Obispo mission was and that I wanted them to see it. Alyx had already gone a few years before with my beautiful friend, Lisa and her family, but Shea had not seen it and I hadn’t been there for a million years.
As we got to the mission Alyx’s memory card on her camera failed causing her to loose 900 pictures. She was distraught and I understood that feeling of losing something so precious as your memories to a stupid card error. I wasn’t enjoying myself because in addition to that hiccup, we had parking for 30 minutes and it was a 5 minute walk to and from and that only left us 20 minutes or less. We hit the gift shop and took a few pictures, swearing that we would come back when we could spend more time there and just kick it around the city.
Back in the car with my Chai latte and the girls with their smoothies we hit the road. Alyx was going to drive the whole way back and I was navigating.
“Look Mom!” She pointed to a sign on 101 for another mission up the road. I put the destination in the GPS and saw that it was right off the freeway. We decided to stop. Okay, Alyx and I decided to stop. Shea decided that she was going to bitch the whole time about getting home in time to get her homework done.
As we pulled off the freeway we were greeted with this awesomeness:
You can’t see the look on the girls faces, but Alyx is SOOOOOOOOO excited and Shea is SOOOOOOOO not happy.
We went in the gift shop and museum and it got a little bit better for Mz. Grumpy McGrumperson. She participated in our dorky humor and fun, but after about 15 minutes it was time to hit the road again. Shea fell asleep soon after taking this picture.
Alyx and I were singing loudly in the car and pointing out things to each other when we saw a sign for another mission. I pulled up the information and it was 45 minutes off the freeway and we wouldn’t be able to hit that one. On my postcard it had all 21 missions listed and I decided to put the next one on the list into the GPS. ”Mission Soledad is only 15 minutes off the freeway. You think we can make it before they close?”
As we pulled up to Soledad mission we knew we had missed operation hours, but we got out anyway to walk around the place.
Shea was passed out in the backseat, so we let her sleep. Alyx and I were like two kids just excited to be out of the car and able to go scouting for something cool to take a picture of.
Yes, we do realize we will probably go to hell for this, but we couldn’t resist. I will spend more time in the deep pits because it was my idea to do it. We ran back to the car and looked at the map for the next mission.
“MY FAVORITE IS COMING UP!!” San Juan Batista was always my favorite mission as a kid. Yes, I am that nerdy that I had a favorite mission. “Hurry Alyx, before it gets dark.”
This one took forever to get to, but it was so worth it for all the reasons I am listing below.
1. Shea was SO pissed that we made her wake up and get out of the car for a mission.
When we pulled up we had sang all the songs on a mixed CD that my friend Connie made me 5 years ago and it had the coolest music on it. We were in the bestest of all the moods because we made it before it got dark.
“Wake up, Bay!” We tried everything to get Shea to wake up, but nothing was working. I ended up just opening the car door and letting her head fall out. “Come on! we are here! our fourth mission of the day!” We thought letting her sleep through the 3rd mission was awfully gracious of us, but she didn’t see it that way.
“WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME!? WE AREN’T EVEN RELIGIOUS PEOPLE!!!”
I tried to explain it wasn’t about being religious, but the huge fucking cross I was making them pose in front of for a picture wasn’t helping my argument.
As you can see, this is the pose of a child who was planning to kill her mother and older sister. The other is a smile of the older sister trying to make the best of a family road trip that will go down in history as one of the most fun times we have had together crammed in a car for 8 hours.
This was hands down the best road trip of my life. Alyx and I had so much fun getting excited about the next destination and when Shea wasn’t sleeping or complaining about being at a mission she was singing and making us laugh so hard. We decided that we are borrowing Grandpa’s trailer and we are going to do some more road trips this summer.
I know how lucky I am to be blessed with an amazing bunch of kids. I do not take that for granted.