Sunday, April 07, 2013

Recent Journeys

M and I have talked for years about the idea of taking short, spontaneous weekend trips, often using the motorcycle. With dear Roxy departed, we felt we were getting pretty close to walking the walk after all that talk. So close, in fact, that a couple of weekends ago we just did it! It was very liberating, suddenly deciding to leave the next day, packing a few things and taking off. Rex complicated things a little--we had to take the car and to find a hotel that was dog-friendly, but since we were heading to "the interior" as I call it, which is traversed by many campers and travelers with pets, so it wasn't really much of an issue.

One aspect about the lack of planning that we just have to roll with is keeping those expectations low. While we chose a place with "spa" in the name and immediately went out to the pool, I was pretty PO'd to find it closed for renovation even though there had been not warning on the website or confirmation emails. It did get us out exploring more quickly--we headed out to the Sundial Bridge and arboretum, which were very dog-able activities. I had thought that we'd be able to take a quick driving tour of Lassen on the way home but, duh, the roads were still closed for the snow season. Also, we were close enough to Jay so that we could have dinner and breakfast with him (and Sophia!), I did feel a little guilty about calling him at the last minute, but it worked out great.

I don't know when we'll do it again, but since we have one successful trip under our belt and so many places to explore in the 3-4 hour driving radius, I don't think it will be too long before we have another spontaneous adventure.

One annoying thing about the Redding trip: for the first time since 2006, I forgot to take a photo of the view from my hotel room! Gah! I posted a photo in the Flickr set from the Gaia's website as a placeholder, but I'm sad I broke my streak.

Last weekend was truly an adventure: a trip to Spokane to visit Grandma with Ryan. It was our first extended trip together and a really wonderful opportunity to not only see Grandma again, but to get to know him better at this time in his life and to connect the two of them a little more closely to.

After a quick visit with Grandma the afternoon we arrived, we headed downtown to get settled. Imagine my surprise when we tried to check in to the Hotel Ruby and, heart sinking as a quizzical look crept over the clerk's face--he couldn't find our reservation. Luckily I had my confirmation letter printed out and as I triumphantly was about to hand it over, I noticed the date ended in…2014. I felt like I might have to turn in my professional event planner card at that point. I was worried that Easter and the boxing event in town at the same time would make finding a room difficult, but there was plenty of room at the Hilton near the airport. After a pleasant dinner at the Steam Plant, we betook ourselves there. Nice room, good wifi and TV, but awful coffee. Awful! I have my priorities. Luckily, the Ruby Hotel had space for us on Sunday night, closer to better java.

We had a lovely day with Grandma on Sunday. We had Easter brunch together at Harbor Crest and then spent the afternoon talking and recording us interviewing her. There's just so much to know about both how things were back in the last century or so and how she lived her life in that time. Pretty amazing. I haven't looked at the recording yet, but I'm so glad we did it.

After a thankfully uneventful hotel check-in, Ryan and I had a lovely time exploring Riverfront Park. We rode the tram over the Spokane Falls, grabbed rings while riding the Looff Carousel, indulged in treats, took in a movie about the Reno air races at the IMAX, and had dinner at Rock City Grill. Ryan was a good sport and contributed to my new photo project. All that and we still turned in early.

Which meant I got up early on Monday and had a really great bowl of latte at Rocket Bakery. We had another hour with Grandma, then started the trip home. Family time bonus: on the way south, we had a long layover in Portland so spent the time visiting with Lloyd and Jacque. I regret not snapping a photo! As a final dramatic conclusion to our adventure which I am attributing to The Universe playing an April Fools joke on me, Ryan and I "got separated" (a better phrase than "I lost my teenager" which I employed at first) at the Sacramento airport. Thank goodness for paging systems. All's well that ends well. After that, I was plenty amped for the drive home. I'm looking forward to more adventures with my dear nephew. If his parents ever let him alone with me again. Here's the photo set. 

More family adventures are in store next weekend when Aunt Janice and cousin Kamala arrive. Stay tuned!


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