The day of our departure finally arrived! We loaded good 'ol Nester with enough gear to last us two weeks and still had room to spare! Everyone was giddy with excitement and anticipation for what was to come!
Our "Cation" as the kids called it was officially on! We made one quick stop a couple of miles down the road at our bank and wouldn't you know, Miss Zany Janie had to go potty! "Really sweetie? It's been a whole 5 minutes since you last went potty, can't you hold it?" As you can imagine this conversation took place multiple times throughout our trip.
If you are like most people, you may have thought, "How in the heck can you entertain little kids for a two week road trip?" The answer is simple, with beautiful scenery and lots of sing-a-longs! NOT! I would like to say the kids mainly looked out the window and admired the beauty of America, but if truth be told we brought a baby sitter along. And this sitter doesn't even charge! It was our car DVD player! I know, "Tsk tsk!" just escaped from many of my reader's lips. But I'm guessing you are the ones who don't have a built in DVD player in your car. I was like so many of you at one time in my life. Driving down the road and rolling my eyes as I passed a van playing Finding Nemo thinking, "That will never be me!" But like so many other things in our lives you don't know what you're missing until you have one. So we passed many hours with the kids watching DVDs-we did throw in an educational one in the mix here and there.
Each Zany kid also had their own backpack filled with toys and crayon bags filled with brand new coloring books, stickers, and crayons. I also made a mini photo album for Zany Janie and Wacky Zacky filled with pictures of things they would see on our trip (i.e. Space Needle, shells, ocean, semi trucks, etc...) and explained to them early into our trip that they could use their stickers to mark each picture when they "spied it".
Both kids were excited about the photo album, but Wacky Zacky took it very seriously. Zany Janie on the other hand immediately began putting stickers on each page taunting Wacky Zacky that she was winning.
Our first scenic stop was to Refugio State Beach. It was such a beautiful beach with unique rocks dotting the sand. We were able to stretch our legs and the kids could burn off some energy running up and down the beach.
We were all feeling relaxed and at peace until we got back into the car and noticed a thick coating of tar covering our feet! We have been to beaches in Southern California multiple times and have never had an issue with tar. Apparently some of the beaches North of LA can leave tar on your feet! I was so grossed out about the tar that I immediately started scrubbing my feet with baby wipes. For those of you that don't know, baby wipes can clean practically anything! Anything that is expect for tar on your feet. It seemed the harder I scrubbed on my feet the worse it got. I decided to call my sister for advice on this sticky situation. She looked it up on the Internet and found several recommendations from toothpaste to abrasive cleaners. Each recommendation advised NOT to get the tar wet-well, good thing I've been scrubbing my feet with WET baby wipes for the past 45 minutes! Since we wouldn't get to our hotel for several hours I sucked it up like the rest of the family, let the tar on my feet harden, and proudly continued my day in flip flops with 1/2 an inch thick of tar clinging to my feet.
We made our way to Solvang, CA and before entering the city limits we came across this little gem:
Yes, you are reading the sign correctly, "Ostrich Land". It is a total tourist trap and we stopped fully knowing it was a tourist trap, but come on, how often do you find a place called Ostrich Land? They charge $4.00 for adults and $1.00 for children then an extra $1.00 to feed the beasts, I mean birds. Knowing it would be totally hokey we decided I would be the chosen one to take Wacky Zacky and Zany Janie to the Land of the Ostrich while Silly Jilly and Papa Z hung out in the junk shop (AKA: Gift shop). I decided since we were there we might as well take in the whole experience and forked over the extra $1.00 so the kids could feed them.
Of course the place was set up so you couldn't see what you were getting yourself into. They took us around the corner and told us to read the sign while they prepared the food. The sign was hand written and basically told us to hold on for dear life when we fed these beasts! "Two hands on the pan at all times...Birds can bite if you don't hold it exactly as we recommend...try to keep the pan on the fence....blah, blah, blah..." Then they handed me a dog bowl filled with food that had been super glued to a dust pan. I reluctantly took the dust pan regretting my decision to get the "full experience" and led my two kids out into "Ostrich Land". And Land of the Ostrich it was!
There were Ostriches everywhere you looked! It was a nice touch seeing the sign tacked to the post saying, "Yes, we like to bite"! I decided to show Wacky Zacky and Zany Janie how to feed an Ostrich and marched right up to the fence with my dustpan held out. Next thing I knew there were 5-6 long necks sticking out of the fence trying to yank the dust pan free from my quivering hands. I nearly plowed Wacky Zacky and Zany Janie over as I back peddled before one of those beasts went for my face! Pushing down the urge to flee this horrible place, I calmly regained my composure and looked down at my dog food bowl which was still 1/2 full. I contemplated "accidentally" dumping the remaining food so we could leave, when Wacky Zacky said in his little angel voice, "Mommy, you still need to give them the rest of the food!". I decided to move over to the kinder and gentler Emus. I remained a good 4 feet back from the fence-which after my experience with the Ostriches I didn't care if they had to stretch their necks a little for my own safety! Once the food was gone I couldn't breath a sigh of relief until we actually walked through the exit doors, but not before stopping for a rare photo op:
I only had a few minutes to recover from Ostrich Land before we arrived to the city of Solvang, CA. It is a very unique Dutch style town.
We walked around window shopping and passed several authentic places to eat. When it came time to eat Wacky Zacky insisted on pizza. So there we sat at the only pizza joint in the whole town surrounded by other families with young children wishing we were eating authentic Dutch food.
We finally made our way to our hotel and I immediately began slathering my feet with toothpaste. When that didn't do the trick I started rubbing them with Josh's toothbrush. What, you didn't think I'd use my own did you? After 45 minutes of scrubbing, my feet were free of the tar, but not from the yucky brown stain! They may have looked bad, but at least they were minty fresh!
This was just one day of our crazy zany vacation! Stay tuned for the next leg of our trip!