Friday June 30
Friday morning was destined to be a travel day. First up was having breakfast in nearby Oceanside with an old friend, Mike Wallis. I first Mike some 25 years ago when he was my instructor at a comedy traffic school and we ended up having a discussion about Satanism…as you do. Back when I lived in LA, we were pretty tight but, as happens, we drifted away into our own things. We’d chatted a few times over the years, and even gotten together for a coffee or two when I was in town, but even then it had been several years since we’d seen each other. So he came down and we went up and we met for a nice breakfast at a place called Don’s Country Kitchen.
It was so great to see him, introduce the family and just have a general catch up. To be honest, there was a lot of that this trip – introducing Rasa and especially Monki around to family and friends, but I guess that’s what happens when you live 8000 miles away and bring a new family member or two into the picture.
After a nice, relaxed breakfast/brunch, we continued up north. We were off to meet Nancy. We were scheduled to meet up after she got off work but then she decided to change plans on us. Nancy works for Disney and while we originally thought Friday was a black out day, turns out it wasn’t. So instead of meeting up for coffee… it was suggested we go to the park instead. How could we say no?
We got there a bit early and wandered Downtown Disney for a bit, taking some pictures in the Esplanade (which is the fancy term for the area between Disneyland and California Adventure) while waiting. Once Nancy arrived the fun started! She got Monki her first set of princess mouse ears and we strolled through the park, catching up and trying to take pictures of the parade passing by. There were two things on my personal agenda for being at Disneyland, though, and one was right there in Fantasyland.
When I took Rasa there a couple years ago, we took a picture of her in the Mr. Toad car out in front of the ride to match one I had already. So we knew we needed one with Monki. She wasn’t about to sit there herself, but we did get a nice one with all three of us so we could make a triptych when we got home. The second thing was to get birthday buttons for later, because I didn’t know if they’d have them in Paris and if they did, if they’d have them in English. So a quick stop at City Hall and we were good to go.
Then we decided to try a ride.
What could be better than that perennial favorite (and my personal hell) It’s a Small World. Nancy checked her app and saw that there was virtually no line so we parked the stroller and quickly boarded a boat. Let the singing commence.
I must say, for the first bit, Monki seemed okay with it. But just when you expect the ride to end… it keeps going! At one point I leaned over to Nancy and whispered “This is a long ass ride.” We were about a third the way through. That’s about when Monki had had enough as well – and she let everyone know her displeasure. Yup. She hates Small World. She’s my kid!
Then we headed across the Esplanade to California Adventure where the now Disney-owned Marvel heroes were in (pardon the pun) full swing. Guardians of the Galaxy had taken over Tower of Terror (and no, we weren’t about to wait in the 100+ minute line) but there were other hero inspired things to see and do, including a meet and greet space for Captain America, complete with Daily Bugle headlines. I was in heaven!
By the time we decided to say goodnight, it was getting late and we still had a bit of a drive ahead of us. As we headed south, though, Rasa decided she wanted donuts. No problem. We punched “Dunkin’ Donuts” into the handy Maps.me app I had (no roaming this trip, so we had to rely on downloadable directions) and found a location on our way home.
I followed them diligently, but then something seemed wrong. There was a long line in front of us, and what looked like a police check point as cars went through some sort of security check. As we got closer, I realized that somehow, we ended up in line to enter Camp Pendleton, a working military base, and we had no passes and no way to turn around. So I maneuvered into the visitor lane and pulled up to the guard.
“We were looking for Dunkin’ Donuts and the GPS–”
“Yup, there’s one on base, just a bit ahead. But I can’t let you on just for donuts.”
That made sense. Then he directed us on how to get out of there and back to the freeway. It seemed donuts were out for the night… until, a few blocks from the house, I spotted a shop still open. I quickly worked through three lanes of traffic and turned into the parking lot. I was able to still grab a dozen and a half, enough to feed everyone at the house. This worked out nicely since everyone was still up to enjoy them (as well as a delicious cake Matt had made) while we played Rummy Q until bed time.