How I Spent My FALL Vacation

Filed Under (Life) by on 10-20-2003

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Yay I’m back. You don’t know how great it is to live in California until you leave it…So basically this is going to be one of those “What I did on my summer vacation papers”, but it will be about my fall vacation, not summer. If you’re unsure if you want to go on reading this let me give you some fun words to spark your interest….Roadkill, Texas, Country Music, Want a Wife?

So I woke up bright and early on Sunday in order to finish getting ready to leave for our trip. Bright and early in my world is about 6…Anyways we were leaving on our journey to Killeen, Texas, which is about 2 states and three driving days away from Corona, California. The morning started out pretty good, I wasn’t too exhausted and I knew Jack in the Box was going to be for breakfast. The first task I assigned myself was to load the fridge in the fifth wheel. Unfortunately upon attempting to do so, we found at that my father had forgotten to turn on the propane to run the fridge which meant that it hadn’t spent the night before getting cold….bummer. So with what little ice we had left in the bag we had bought the night before for drinks and about 95% of the ice in the freezer I was forced to put everything from condiments, to ice cream, to frozen poultry in an ice chest…Now this is 6 days worth of food mind you. It’s not an easy task fitting all that food AND ice in an ice chest usually used for a days worth of food. Regardless we got it all in with no problem and finished loading everything up.

After loading up my dad had me do one last walkthrough of everything to make sure we were good to go. That’s when I found the egg. You see Corona is a developing city, however it still lacks the entertainment options that Orange County possesses such as The Block, Irvine Spectrum, and even The Disneyland Resort for that matter. Basically this means the kids out here need to find their own form of entertainment. In my day we would drive around aimlessly for hours on dirt roads watching thousands of rabbits run through our headlights, we’d go walking down through a ravine and take pictures next to rusted out abandoned cars that have been washed away and filled to the dash with dirt, or sit at am pm late at night munchin’ on Jalepeno and Cheese Corn Dogs and drinking Dr. Pepper from “The Beast” a massive jug of soda that basically looked like a bucket. Now that Corona has reached it’s prime and has grown at such an incredible rate these options aren’t really there anymore. The dirt roads are now 300,000 dollar homes, the ravine is unheard of, and am pm just isn’t cool now that there is a Denny’s just up the street. So the youth of Corona decided to egg random strangers. However rather than pelting my dads 3 month old fifth wheel trailer with a dozen eggs they tagged it with ONE. That’s right, one measly fuckin’ egg. That my friends tops driving aimlessly, the ravine, AND am pm I am sure. I’m thinking it was a group of 3-4 males between the ages of 16-18. They were most likely crammed into a raised Ford or Chevy pick-up truck. Either a Ranger or S-10. Two of them most likely had on a Famous Stars and Straps shirt while the other sported a West Coast Choppers long sleeve black tee. And at least one if not all had a hat of some sort turned just slightly to the right or left in the front. Why do I make this assumption? Because I just described 75% of the Corona teenage male population. The other 25% is Mexican and I doubt they were cruisin’ around looking to egg some strangers trailer.

Anyways, luckily it had been a cold moist morning cuz the egg wiped right off the side with no problem and then we were finally on our way. We then stopped at Jack in the Box for breakfast. Of course since I am never up for breakfast I couldn’t bring myself to order breakfast since I had no clue what it was like. Instead I ordered my usual Ultimate Cheesburger combo with a Dr. Pepper. Also found out that Jack in the Box has Casper Halloween buckets. Get em’ wile supplies last. After a delicious meal we headed out. Of course on the way out we had to pay our respects to the picketers who were locked out of Albertson’s due to the strike. We waved told them we hoped they got what they wanted and were on our way. Ahead lay nothing but open road and of course Sunday nights destination…Casa Grande, Arizona.

The drive wasn’t very long, only about seven hours to Casa Grande from Corona, which wasn’t bad considering we were dragging a 33 foot trailer behind us. Gotta love the California 55 mile per hour trailer speed….Nazis. Anyways we arrived in Casa Grande at a decent time just before sunset. It was a nice little desert town that reminded me a lot of Corona when my family and I had originally moved back in 1987. Nice new school, not too small and not too big yet still had a small town feel. Anyways we set up camp for the first time, which was something totally new to Misty and I. We’re used to camping, not RVing. Camping you have to have a fire to stay warm, your tent is your only shelter and your food is cooked in a pot over an open flame. RVing is like having a mobile one bedroom apartment. It has all the amenities, shower, toilet, stove, sink…It’s almost as though you’re not camping. Not to mention the campgrounds for these places are basically mobile home parks. Anyways, after setting up we went all out and made Mac & Cheese, the food of the Gods of course. We then watched some nice local Arizona TV and hit the sack. We had a long day ahead of us, in fact it was a day we had expected to take only about 8 hours or so, but instead took about 12…

So really getting up early to head to your next destination isn’t that bad, however when you don’t realize you won’t make it to that destination until about 11:30 pm Central Standard Time you kinda wish you had gotten up that much earlier. When my dad mapped out or trip he had shot for 8-10 hour driving days…never did we fathom what happened on the second day of our trip. Anyone who has taken the 10 freeway state to state knows that it basically is nothing but desert…never ending desert…never ending yucca tree desert. Don’t get me wrong it’s neat to look at for about five minutes, but after about 8 hours it gets old. A journey that started as just another driving day really turned into a race against time. When we hit El Paso, Texas we knew it was time to figure out how much longer it was going to take us considering we had already been on the road looking at nothing for most of the day. Unfortunately the local authorities at a gas station were no help, then again that could be due to the fact that there is a chance my dad asked the officer how long it took to reach Fort Jackson and not Fort Stockton. Go Dad! Anyway, at this point thanks to my keen navigational skills and my handy dandy cell phone calculator I established there was no way in hell we were making it to Ft. Stockton before sundown and probably wouldn’t be there until just before midnight CST. Dad gave the RV resort a call and gave them a heads up and told us if we didn’t think we would make it by 10 pm their time to call us. They also informed us that when they hit Van Horn, Texas we would start the time change. Well that meant at least another 2 hours or so before we hit Van Horn…egh. The next 3 hours or so weren’t as bad as the bulk of the drive, however they were probably the most trying physically. We hit Van Horn and were cutting it really close to 10, dad called the place and they said they’d wait up for us until we got their regardless of our time of arrival. So after filling up at the scary gas station in Van Horn we were on our way.

The shitty part about traveling like this is that going state to state/county to county you are cursed with having to switch radio stations and CD’s every 50 miles or so. But for once it payed off, just on the outskirts of Van Horn we picked up a local rock station which just happened to carry a show called Rockline which interviews bands on the air and is broadcast nationwide. Unfortunately unless you live in the Modesto, San Diego, or San Francisco areas in California you won’t be able to listen to this jewel of a program. Lucky for me I was in Texas which means almost every damn radio station has it, considering every radio station in the middle of nowhere plays Rock. Since the great state of Texas loves rock so much I didn’t miss a beat of the AFI interview, and it was awesome. AFI is probably one of the most humble and down to earth bands I have ever heard interviewed, not to mention the way Rockline is run it makes it that much sweeter. You see Rockline allows the listeners to call in and ask the questions rather than just the interviewer. Basically the interviewer throws in his questions here and there or will play off of a listeners question, but it’s really all about the fans on this show. It was a beautiful thing, and I wish I had Rockline in my hometown. For more info visit www.rocklineradio.com There is a list of stations in your area that carry this show under affiliates. And if you’re interested they have Mushroomhead and Primus on tomorrow, A Perfect Circle on the 27th, and Korn on November 3, so if you get it in your area I highly recommend listening. Anyways we got into the RV park right at the end of the AFI interview, I was exhausted, Misty was asleep in the back of the truck, and it was a tad bit chilly out. Of course since the part of Fort Stockton we stayed in was in the middle of nowhere the RV Park was kinda…like an RV park you would find in the middle of nowhere. Don’t get me wrong the guy who ran the place was awesome, he stayed in the office til we got in at about 11:30 pm then drove out to our site so we didn’t get lost and then went on to tell my dad all about what we can do at The Alamo and in Fredricksburgh which were two of our stops over the next day. Unfortunately it was 11:30, we had been on the road for 12 hours, and Misty and I were exhausted, I could care less about what this guy had to say but of course my dad was amused and continued to listen and talk….grr. Anyway we got set up and were in bed by about 12:30 thinking we were going to be up and out of there in 8 hours.
Thankfully we weren’t up in 8 hours. My dad let us sleep in a bit and don’t think we left that morning until about 9 or so, which was nice since we had a hell of a night even after we went to bed. I had mentioned that it was a bit chilly when we got in to Fort Stockton however it dropped about fifteen degrees or more within about 5 or 6 hours. At about 5 a.m. my dad turned the heater on because he was freezing….it felt great but since it’s a new trailer the damn thing smells like it is gassing you when the heater is on while it burns off all the crap in the vents. It probably wouldn’t have been so bad had I not been suffering from chest and nasal congestion for the last 24 hours. Talk about a near death experience. That only lasted about 15 minutes before we turned it off and sucked it up knowing we were all getting up in just a few hours.
After we got up we listened to the local radio station to find out what was going on weather wise since we practically froze to death during the night. I can’t express in words how entertaining local Texas radio is. It’s almost like something out of a movie…they talk about High School football, local events, local government, but best of all they have their own commercials with country jingles. The commercial was for a local clean up day that was coming up where they wanted the community to come out and help pick up trash and clean up the town. The commercial started with a guy singing a country song about helping the community and one another blah blah blah. The thing played on this station literally every five minutes, and I am still convinced had I listened longer the subliminal messages telling me to go to church, believe in god, and hate everyone who wasn’t white would have kicked in…It finally warmed up, we finally left, and another 8 hour journey ensued.

If you’ve never been to Texas you aren’t missing much, however I will say that it is a very beautiful and interesting state and if you have to go there for any reason take up the scenery and surroundings both for entertainment and enjoyment. Only in nowhereland Texas will you find great things like roadkill armadillos, signs that say “Drive Friendly”, Vultures eating a deer that was hit and lay dead in the road, and of course the ever so wonderful, “Don’t mess with Texas, Littering $10-$100 fine” signs every few miles. Don’t get me wrong though there is more than just funny signs and roadkill to look at. The drive from Ft. Stockton to Boerne? (I think is how it was spelled) Texas was beautiful. The highway was dotted with gorgeous ranches that spanned for acres housing goats, horses, cattle, and even deer. It’s definately something you would never find in such a natural form in Southern California. We reached Boerne in a short 4 hour drive, which meant we had time to go see The Alamo before it closed at five.
For anyone who has ever wanted to go see The Alamo I encourage you not to waste your time. In my 22 years living I have been to many historical sites and national parks and none has been as horribly done as The Alamo. While the Church turned fortress turned museum houses many historical artifacts from the days of Davey Crocket it fails to give you any history to the items or even much of a description as to why they are on display inside The Alamo. In fact some things had no description at all and were left only for the imagination to decide what they were used for, not to mention many of the items on display had NOTHING to do with The Alamo but instead a neighboring city miles away…Not to mention there was no flash photography or videotaping allowed anywhere that had artifacts. What happened to being able to remember your tourist trips?? After wasting about 30-45 minutes on that we headed to the Riverwalk, which is a stretch of shops and restaurants that line a river next to The Alamo. Again do not waste your time, the shops are pricey mall type shops and if the food and service is as bad at all the restaurants as it was at the Mexican restaurant we ate at you may as well go eat a hot dog or something back at camp. While the food and service wasn’t bad enough to kill me, the fact I was so used to the No Smoking policy of California almost did. After choosing an outside table with a view I was soon overtaken by the smell of cigarette smoke which only complicated my itchy throat problem I had already had all day from my congestion. Egh…

After eating it was my decision to spend the rest of the day at camp relaxing. What a blessing it was to simply sit and do nothing for a few hours before going to bed not worrying about dinner and if everything was set up. We left Boerne at about 8 a.m. the next day to head for Kileen which was the destination of this wild journey. An adventure that was still uncertain if it would be a success or not. The purpose of this vacation was to go to Texas and retrieve Misty’s personal belongings from a storage place across the street from where she used to live in Texas. The uncertain part was whether or not her stuff was actually there. While she was pretty sure it was, there was the slim chance her ex-boyfriend had ran off with it when he wasn’t paying the fee for storing stuff. Upon arriving the fun ensued, I payed off Misty’s balance and we head over to the storage unit ambitious as to what we would find. My dad did the honors after having trouble with the lock and thankfully everything we had hoped was there, was. Two couches, a bedroom set, kitchenware, and Misty’s personal belongings such as pictures, military books, and even a giant over sized Budweiser bottle filled with pennies. For me it was like Christmas, Misty and I got Ginsu knives out of it, a whole bunch of kitchen stuff, a naked lady bottle opener, among other things. It was exciting knowing that this burden was lifted off of Misty’s shoulders. I knew how worried she was that her ex had taken everything and left nothing, and knowing she was happy to finally have all her stuff back made me happy. The only awkward moment was perhaps when she discovered that a sentimental item in which he had allegedly taken out of storage first thing after they got it was still there. It wasn’t awkward for me so much, but the fact Misty got somewhat upset about it made her uneasy in thinking it upset me. I know what it is like to find out that someone lied to you about something important while you were still with them years later.

After an hour or so of sorting through her stuff and finding out what was going and what was going to be trash we were on our way. Misty had finally cut loose the final tie that kept her linked to Kileen, Texas and now it was time to head home. We spent the next few days driving town to town in revers only altering course that first night to stay in Fredricksburgh instead of Boerne. Throughout of trip I experienced more roadkill, saw more rednecks, listened to more rock, and the highlight of my trip…shopped at a Wal-Mart Supercenter. Wal-Mart Supercenters are like the God or Goddess of all retail/grocery stores. It’s as though you combined your friendly neighborhood Wal-Mart with your favorite grocery store…California is supposed to finally get these babies in a few more years and I am extremely excited. Saturday was our final stretch and we stopped only a few times to eat and to experience “The Thing?” which was a great little tourist attraction that in the beginning made both Misty and I think of House of 1000 Corpses. You pay a dollar to go into a door that says “The Thing? What is It?” and follow giant yellow Big Foot style footprints. The walkways are lined with antiques and bizarre artifacts, such as a life size wood sculpture of a torture chamber or a bust of a man being tortured from Italy. From the old to the bizarre it was worth the dollar before we even made it to “The Thing?” In the end The Thing turned out to only be a female mummy that had been mummified with it’s baby boy. It was strange to find such an artifact located in a collection of junk behind a tourist shop and gas station but none the less made for an interesting day. The idea actually sparked mine and Misty’s decision to start taking road trips with people to find obscure little things such as “The Thing” We got back Saturday afternoon and spent the rest of the day doing nothing but laundry and Misty and I celebrated our one year anniversary together. We dropped off the couches and bedroom set to her parents this afternoon and have an even busier week ahead. I’ll be sure to post all about Disneyland on Tuesday and Friday as well as celebrating our anniversary on Wednesday.

OH I ALMOST FORGOT! When I mentioned the part about wanting a bride had to do with a bilboard we saw in Texas. It said, “Want A Bride?” Call (555) 555-5555. That isn’t really the number, but how great is that??

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