Friday, September 26, 2008
Road Trip to Arizona
I am finally unpacked. The last of the clothes are washed. Eric is at a football game with the girls tonight and I am finally getting a chance to blog about my awesome trip to Phoenix for my 20-year high school reunion. It was one of the best times we've ever had visiting Arizona. Hmmm...where do I begin?
Free ride, almost:
We took the veggie car to Arizona. We have an old Mercedes turbo diesel that runs on 100% vegetable oil. Eric has a filtering system in the garage and we get our veggie oil from a few restaurants in town. He filled the car with veg. and then filled several gas cans with extra oil so we would have enough fuel for the return home. The cans took up half of the trunk of the car, so you can imagine how cramped we were. Every inch of the car was packed with something, including the floors in the back seat. It's a good thing the girls have short legs! We would have had enough oil to make it back to Ojai, but we did so much driving around once we got to the Phoenix area. The name of the game in the Valley of the Sun is that you have to drive great distances to get anywhere. We drove 400 miles just in the valley during the week we were there. So, we did have to buy some gas, but the entire trip cost us a mere $55.
Arizona sunrises and sunsets:
We left at 2:30 a.m. September 17, and headed for Arizona. We had it all planned out: we would get the girls out of bed and put them in their car seats and they would sleep until dawn and by then we'd be more than half-way to Phoenix. Well, our evil plan did not work. The girls stayed awake for the entire trip. Of course, I had not packed anything for them to play with because I thought they'd be asleep. They were such troopers. They never complained. Our girls have always been very good travelers. We crossed the border into Arizona just about the same time the sun peeked it's head over the mountains. Arizona has the most brilliant sunrises and sunsets. I enjoyed taking pictures out my window. The girls really enjoyed seeing all of the cactus.
High School Reunion:
The purpose of the road trip was to attend my high school reunion. It was a two-night event. Friday night was a casual mixer and Saturday night was a dinner with dancing and entertainment from our alumnus Travis Thurman. He does stand-up comedy. My favorite part was when he impersonated some of the popular 80s singers. I love 80s music! It was fun dancing to the 80s and also just sitting and listening to the tunes while others danced. Eric got right out there on the dance floor and started cracking me up with his moves. I said to my friend, "He's so brave. He's not even embarrassed." she said, "Of course not, he doesn't know anyone here." That made sense. I had a wonderful time at the reunion, reconnecting with friends I hadn't seen since the last reunion 10 years ago. It was wonderful to see my best friend from high school, Carolyn, and get all caught up on each other's lives. She said to me, "Chris, I really want to thank you for what you said to me in high school. It changed the course of my whole life. You planted the seeds way back in high school. I am so grateful." She was talking about the times I shared with her my relationship with Jesus and invited her to church. She became a Christian years after high school. She said the same thing to me at the last reunion, but I am still touched by her kind words. It was great to see Taj and Lysa and Jennifer, too. Lysa practically planned the whole reunion, although she'd tell you otherwise. She has got to be the sweetest class of '88 alumnus. She did her best to make everyone feel so welcome; giving out great big hugs to everyone who walked through the door. There were about 80 people who attended the reunion, out of 575 graduates. Yes, I attended a large high school. Eric was impressed with the school spirit he saw at the reunion. The class of '88 had a lot of "Bruin pride."
Family and friends:
We took advantage of the week and saw as many people as we could. We visited with my sister-in-law, Johanna, and her daughter Angie; my brother Tim and wife Alisa; our friend Roger, who was in our wedding; our friend Michele and family--she was my college roommate and bridesmaid; and our friend Rebekah. Of course, we spent a lot of time with my parents. Because their house in Sun City is so small (but oh so cute), we stayed at our friend Nancy's house about 20 minutes away. Almost every morning we went swimming in her pool. Then we headed on over to my parents home to spend the day just relaxing. It was too darn hot to go outside, so we spent the days indoors reading and doing crafts. The girls loved their daily craft time with Nana! I loved the opportunity to do--well--nothing. That's what vacation is all about! Each evening was spent at a different friend's house or at the reunion.
My old stompin' grounds:
While we were in Phoenix, we visited the first house I lived in and also the house I lived in when I attended high school. We also drove by my junior high and high school and took pictures. Since my parents moved out of the west side many years ago, I haven't been back there to have a look. While some things have changed, it still looks like the place where I grew up. It was a nice trip down memory lane. Eric was surprised to see bars (iron fences) around the schools where I grew up. Living in Santa Barbara, he had never experienced closed campuses. I guess I never gave it a second thought. We also stopped by the newspaper I was a reporter for: The Daily News-Sun. I chatted with my former editor. It was fun to see my old desk, and even more fun to think that I no longer have to work 60 hours a week!
Home again, home again:
We left at 5 a.m. September 23 and crossed the border into California before 8 a.m. Once again, the girls never slept! For lunch, we stopped in Cabazon, home of the world's largest dinosaur "statue." Amber loved the dinosaurs! At 1:45 p.m., we pulled into our driveway in Ojai, just as the gas light came on! We traveled 1,330 miles total, and it was worth every mile!