Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Sons of California

We recently enjoyed a quick trip to California. One of our typical whirlwind trips but a good one with much needed calm in the middle of the whirlwind of travel. We happily stayed with old friends and their young children. Our kids did a bit of studying on the plane but had plenty of down time while in California. Walking around the neighborhood looking for rocks and kicking a ball in the backyard was exactly what our on the go teens needed. Just feeling the sun on our faces while little kids did and said cute things around us made us realize the differences between west coast and east coast, though perhaps the difference is more little kids and big kids.
We spent a few days in Carmel, heading straight for the beach. We were amazed that the main city beach was dog friendly, with signs telling you dogs would be off leash. In New Jersey, dogs are not allowed on the beaches, which always makes us sad to leave our dog behind. We wandered the Carmel downtown a bit. Stores were mostly where I remembered them from my own high school days and I told the kids our story from then. How my Mom and grandma and I had gone into a store and missed a run in with the then mayor Clint Eastwood. We emerged from the story to find my Dad and brothers covered in Elect Eastwood pins.
We stayed at a nice quiet place in Carmel and walked to a bike rental nearby. They suggested we rent bikes in Monterey and we did. We rode right along the ocean, stopping frequently to look at seals and otters. We kept on riding, getting on the 17 Mile Drive in its small bike lane. By the time we got back to Monterey, the aquarium was closing. We did not go to the aquarium, though one kid was interested in it. It felt funny to say but we were perhaps a bit too old for it that day. The fresh air and the doing were a better fit for us. I hate to think we are getting too old for it but perhaps we already are.
We finished our trip with a Stanford college tour. Absolutely beautiful but also an affirmation that our Cal loyalties run pretty deep. We were the parents making sarcastic comments off the back of the tour group with our kids standing far away from us. Sadly, the Stanford tour guide only gave the Bay Area rivalry passing mention and focused on football. A hard one for Cal to counter these days. Our son was talking, loudly, about Aaron Rogers and the glory days. But afterwards he bought a Stanford football t-shirt. He asked to tour the stadium. We said no. At least we held our ground there.


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