So, here's how our weekend of family festivities went:
We left Bakersfield at about 5 pm on Friday, leaving an almost clean house-didn't do the bathroom, and still haven't done it-with cat bowls filled with food and water all over the house. We were hungry but wanted to get down the road by at least 30 miles before stopping to eat. We stopped to get gas in the little town of Pumpkin Center and went into the gas station for something to drink. I figured I'd better use the restroom since I have conditioned my body to always always take advantage of any restrooms when traveling, whether I need to go or not. So, I opened the door to the restroom and was assaulted by the smell of urine, glanced inside and realized I had opened the door to the men's room when I saw the urinal on the wall, quickly went to the appropriate ladies room, furtively looking around hoping nobody saw me open the wrong door, and went to the ladies' where at least it didn't smell like pee.
There are no restaurants in Pumpkin Center except for the Subway and the Jack in the Box, so we went further up the road to the huge travel center where we decided to try the Iron Skillet, which was definitely nothing to write home about but better than McDonalds. We didn't get the All You Can Eat Steak Buffet for 10.99- I got a patty melt but it came on wheat bread instead of rye so it just didn't taste right, and Keith got a bacon burger.
So, back on the road, driving driving driving, getting to our hotel in Oxnard about 9 or so. We checked out the lobby and pool area, watched a little TV, and then went to bed.
The next morning we were all supposed to meet at Marie Callenders to surprise Keith's mom, which in hindsight could have been a disaster. Surprising someone who is turning 80 could result in a heart attack which would have ruined the surprise for sure. She was totally shocked when her middle son Brad and his wife Wendy came walking in, they live in Idaho, and they were the last people she expected to see at breakfast at Marie Callenders.
Here's the b-day girl in her tiara with the grandkids.
Here's Keith on the left with Brad in the middle and Bruce on the right. Keith is the baby of the family, Brad is 7 years older, and Bruce is way old at 10 years older. I guess they tortured Keith when he was little. There's no family resemblance either, you'd never know they were brothers by looking at them.
Keith's brother Bruce and his wife Carolyn were hosting a barbecue that evening, so everyone was kind of on their own after breakfast to do whatever they wanted. Keith opted to go back to the hotel for a nap and I read for a while. It was foggy like usual on the coast, Ventura is well known for it's 'June Gloom'-every day you wake up to chilly damp fog. So weird after leaving 100 degree Bakersfield. Then when Keith woke up from his nap we went to downtown Ventura to wander around for a while.
I love the new sign for Ventura except for the 'for lease' part of it!
The barbecue was fun, Carolyn is a great hostess and had asked me to invite my Mom and my kids, so they came too. Bruce cooked up a huge amount of tri-tip, bread, beans, and scalloped potatoes. Then of course, birthday cake and ice cream!
Everyone wanted us to stay on Sunday to do something for Keith's birthday, but with him sick and not feeling well-see previous post about getting sick 25 minutes from home with a cold or sinus or whatever it is-and our cats being 'home alone', we just wanted to get up and go home in the morning, so that's what we did. And came home to confused kitties-where WERE you-and huge huge amounts of poop in the cat boxes.
And now, we are done with traveling anywhere for the rest of the summer. Gas prices too high, hotels incredibly expensive, and that road to and from Bakersfield will just about bore you to death!