We’ve been back from our spring break vacation back to California for about a month now and here is one of the postings I promised.

First observations: while it was nice to be back in familiar territory, my first thought was “Damn, there sure are a lot of people here”. We hit LAX on a Saturday afternoon. It felt like the day before Thanksgiving — the busiest travel day of the year. And the normal 45 minute drive back to my folks’ home took us 2 1/2 hours — although in fairness I don’t know what year I decided that 45 minutes was “normal” for a drive to the airport. Maybe 1989? And we did take the coast which was infected with people trying to get to the beach on the standard spring day in southern California. And it didn’t help that the four lane PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) was down to a two lane PCH.

I was reminded to be in competition driving mode by the bus driver who was yelling out her window to a young couple carelessly blasting rap music out of their convertible Mustang. And another reminder in the form of “the bird” flipped to my by a lady who U-turned in front of me. I gave her the horn to let her know that I had switched from my Kentucky driving mode into my previous California driving mode. It was all very interesting.

A nice dinner with my folks kicked off our eating checklist. Being gone for 3 1/2 months, there were several places that we HAD to eat at while in CA. Cheesecake Factory was one of them (although we are getting one in Louisville this summer — my wife is thrilled!). Following that were In N Out Burger (the best burgers in the world!), Baja Fresh, Wood Ranch and Mission Burrito with some Jamba Juice snacks sprinkled in.

We also hit a few of the tourist traps — Disneyland, the beach, Santa Barbara and the Reagan Library. Cramming all of this into our trip along with family and friends was quite challenging but my wife did a great job scheduling everything. I needed a few days off just to recuperate from our vacation!

Our time there seemed like a blur — which blatantly contrasted with our settled in slower pace at home in Kentucky. Granted, we had lots to see and people to visit in a short amount of time but it also seemed par for the course when we lived there. Aside from not living in our old house, it seemed as if we could slide right back into the pace. But after slowing down we realized that we didn’t want to. Sure we missed our family and friends. And it was great spending time with them, catching up, telling stories, seeing what changed. And we missed the weather with it’s cookie-cutter, sun-always-on theme. But we came to realize that the decision we had made months before and were still in the midst of was the right one for our family. Through all the effort, challenges, sorrow, changes and differences, we have morphed into a more focused family.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net