Once again we left too early with the plan to take 1 down the coast. But I missed the exit and we ended up taking 101 all the way down. We stopped in Santa Barbara and finally found a McDonald’s to have lunch at (we’re poor, okay). We arrived at Steph’s house around 4 and had the pleasure of meeting all three of her dogs. We went to Blockbuster to pick up the new Pink Panther with Steve Martin. After dinner we sat and watched the hilarity that is Mr. Martin.
Steph took us to Balboa Park, an "urban cultural park" with a botanical garden, 15 major museums and a lot of architecturally beautiful buildings. We just walked around the areas that were free but it was still a nice visit. After that we took Matt to In-N-Out for the first time and then walked across the street to the Japanese market. We also spent some time at the neighborhood pool. And that night Steph took us to her youth group and we finally got to meet the people she always talked about.
After leaving a bit later than planned, we arrived at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Melissa (Steph’s sister) and her friends split off and Steph’s parents went off on their own. So Steph, Matt and I went around hitting all the major coasters. We started with Goliath (which stands 255 feet above the ground and goes a maximum of 85 mph) and worked our way around the park, ending with Revolution, the first roller coaster built with a loop. 30 minutes before the park closed we met at the entrance for funnel cake, as is Steph’s family tradition. Matt’s shirt was nicely decorated with powdered sugar by the time we left.
On this, our last full day, we headed out to the beach with boogie boards underarm. It was overcast and the water was freezing but we went in anyway. After a while my legs just went numb and I found that I really enjoyed being carried by the water as I floated on the board. Unfortunately we never caught any good waves, but it was fun nonetheless. We finally got back to our towels and lay in the sand for a while until our empty stomachs couldn’t take it. On our way back to the car, we grabbed lunch at a nice little shack that was selling hot dogs, just what we were craving.
After de-salting (un-salting?) ourselves, we went with Steph’s parents to Crusin’ Grand, an old car show of sorts held every Friday night from April to September in downtown Escondido. While we waited for a table at Filippi’s Pizza Grotto, we walked around checking out the cars and stores that lined the streets.
Dinner was fantastic and when we got back to the house, we watched Gladiator with Russell Crowe. Being that we got a late start on the movie, the movie itself is long, and it was our last night together, we decided to forgo sleep. When the movie ended at 1:30 am, we went into Steph’s room to talk and hang out. Around 4 am we took out the camera and started taking goofy pictures. It resulted in over 50 pictures with just the three of us. Definitely a good way to remember the fun times we had. At 5:45 we went outside to enjoy the cool, quite morning air.
Finally at 6:30 we had to start getting ready to head out for the airport. Anne was gracious enough to drive so we could spend more time in the airport before I had to leave. We took our last picture at 9:05 and I got in line for security. We hugged, said our good-byes and they left.
I could not have imagined a better road-trip. As Matt said, the road trip kicked our friendship up a couple of notches. I’m so blessed to have them in my life and we all hope to stay friends for…well, the rest of our lives.
To us and whatever the future may hold.