Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Super California Trip: Illustrated Edition!

I am proud to announce that this is the FIRST Fully Illustrated Edition Blog! SO enjoy...

This past week I made another trip to the sunny and beautiful California, USA. Quite a change from Texas it was, just stepping off the plane and going outside felt like I was in air conditioning. It was wonderful.

My dad and I made the trip to San Francisco to go see the wakeboarding championship finals in Clear Lake. We managed to tour San Francisco and Napa Valley while we were there too.

OK so, trip starts out and we go straight to Fisherman’s Wharf (PARKING WAS $18!!!) in San Francisco to get some grub and see all there is to see out there. Fisherman’s Wharf is home to the country’s most notorious jail, Alcatraz, which is a big island that only one person has ever escaped from (does Azkaban ring a bell to anyone???).

Anyway, as you can see, seeing this jail was one of the highlights of my trip... Then we got fish ‘n chips at a restaurant there on the pier which were very good but ended up making for a not-so-good car ride later on.

We also stopped at the very famous Golden Gate Bridge. I was however, slightly disappointed because all this time I’ve been fooled into believing that it was ACTUALLY golden. It turns out that it’s a rather Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Orangish-Yellow and not golden at all. I asked the ranger on site if he had any explanation for this and he had “No Comment.” WHATEVER.

Things must always be difficult for me and my dad. You see, my father and I, instead of taking the easy and most popular highway to get to our hotel a few hundred miles away, we instead took the WINDIEST highway in California that literally made you turn 90 degrees every fifty feet. Once this began to occur, I began to think back on my fish that I had eaten earlier, and then the McDonald’s I had later that day for dinner and it WAS NOT a good thing. You see, I had also tried to read Harry Potter on the way which proved to NOT be a good idea because well, like most people (besides Nicole Richie) I don’t WANT to see my food again after I eat it (and with the way my stomach was feeling, I was about to). So, I decided to stop reading and close my eyes for the duration of the journey.

HOWEVER, being that it was only me and my dad on the trip, I had to be the navigator of the endeavor… Now for those of you that know me, I can BARELY tell a difference between Dallas’s I-30 and 635, much less tell you how to get somewhere halfway across California. I had to use a 10 year old AAA map that barely had anything labeled on it and it was pitch black outside. NOW, if you haven’t been to this area of California, they do NOT believe in street signs. At ALL. There would be highways to your right and left with no labeling whatsoever. SOMETIMES there would be a sign 200 feet in front of a turn that hinted that a highway was coming up, but it wouldn’t say where. Like it was some sort of joke or something.

We’re lost. So what do we do? We of course call our hotel. Surely they can give us directions. After we were outsourced to India, the man on the opposite end of the line told us that we were going the completely wrong way and needed to turn around. So we did, and continued on for several miles. Until I discovered on the map that there were SEVERAL highways with the EXACT same name. You see, we were on one highway 29 that goes east and west, and the man on the line thought we were on the OTHER highway 29 that goes North and South. Long story short, it took us until 2am to get to our hotel. (And when we got home, my dad found an envelope on his desk containing the newly updated 2005 California map. "Wow, I bet we could have used this out there." He said. I bet we could have dad. I bet we could.

Over the next several days we made many stops in some pretty cool places. For instance, the Muir Woods just north of San Francisco. These woods are home to some of the oldest and tallest trees in America. It’s a place where Michael Jackson is rumored to visit “quite often” seeing as he loves to climb trees like a child. I also think that when he climbs the trees it helps him get closer to his home planet way up in the sky.

Another stop we made was in Geyserville, California. Home to “Old Faithful” or at least, California’s attempt at Old Faithful. We waited and waited and waited to see this incredible phenomenon of nature with nothing to be seen.

However, after about thirty minutes, at last, we had liftoff! It was pretty cool to see the steaming water shoot up out of the ground like that, until I realized that the fountain in front of our hotel did the exact same thing and you never had to wait for it…

Also at the same place as the geyser, they for some reason had some fenced in goats that you could look at. I was lucky enough to get pictures with some of them, it was so cool. I named this one Mr. Picket (for the picket fence that was up around him).

I also had a VERY close brush with fame at the geyser place. I saw a kid that looked EXACTLY like Napoleon Dynamite. It was freaky. SO I of course took pictures of him (pretended like I was taking pictures of the geyser but then would move the camera at the last second). But what was even MORE bizarre was that after I saw Napoleon, I turned around and saw a sign pointing to where some llamas were. NOT kidding. I almost freaked out. So of course, I tried to go find Napoleon so I could get a picture of him with Tina but then I got nervous and he seemed to have left the premises. So, I just got a picture of Tina by herself. (I assumed her name was Tina since that's what the one from the movie's name was.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Super California Trip: Illustrated Edition! Continued...

The last stop we made was at the petrified forest. This is where trees have fallen thousands of years ago, been covered by volcanic ash, and then have turned into rocks. Now, these were some massive trees. This one was called “The SJ Tree” which, I asked around and SJ apparently stands for “Star Jones”.

It was pretty cool. Although, most of the trees were fenced off so for all we know, it could have just been a regular old tree spray painted gray, but I choose to believe the whole volcanic rock thing, it’s more interesting. I also met a pretty cool friend there, we bonded very quickly.

I asked her what her name was and she said "Mama" and I was like, "Oh that's cool, what's your last name?" and she just goes, "Bear, you idiot, Mama Bear..." She got all defensive and started to growl and I was just like whatEVER dude, I'm outa here. And I left. Shortest relationship EVER. (Later on I realized that there were cubs involved. So really it all worked out for the best. It's too early for me to have children and all.)

The wakeboarding was definitely the coolest part of the trip. We got to see some pretty darn good wake boarders. I didn’t get out on the water cuz I didn’t want to embarrass anyone by showing off. I just spectated this time. BUT I did manage to get my motocross on and made some pretty sweet jumps.

ANYWAY. It was an awesome trip. Cali was wonderful. And now I’m back in Texas. Gotta love that hundred degree weather!

I’m proud to announce the GRAND OPENING of one of our city’s greatest natural treasures, Garland’s own OLD FAITHFUL!!! The Grand Opening will be Monday, August 29th in MY BACKYARD! Come see Old Faithful eruptions and dogs!!!

Admission is $4 and our hours are 9-5 seven days a week! Please come and visit!

As you all know, I am an extreme activist against the Improper and Over-Use of Complaining as a Conversational Tool. I however, did do some complaining within the contents of this entry. Please excuse it and know that it is only for story telling and entertainment purposes.
*End of Disclaimer*

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

I Hate Hurricane Harbor

OK so this past weekend, my brother, sister, and I went to the Hurricane Harbor water park, WHICH, will NEVER happen again.

My sister won tickets from a radio giveaway at the mall on Friday, and the tickets OF COURSE expired on Saturday, so we went!

First of all, GETTING to the dang park is a trip in itself. The hour long drive in the hot, leather-seated car in 100 degree heat nearly killed me. Beads of sweat dripped down my pale-white face, and as we passed Louis Tussaud’s House of Wax I couldn’t help but think that all of the wax people HAD to have melted away by now. Then I had flashes of Paris Hilton in my head (because she was in the movie House of Wax) and for the rest of the day, I could hear her saying “That’s hot” like a really annoying song stuck in my head.

Anyway, we eventually got there and by the time we found a parking spot I decided that we basically could have just parked AT my house and walked to the park and would have been MUCH closer. Never-the-less, we eventually got to the gate and I realized that I had by then lost about 15 pounds in water weight (and I felt like having a snow cone really bad).

Now, I’ve never been a big fan of water parks for many reasons. One, NASTY people in very little clothing. And two, being in water that these NASTY people have done WHO KNOWS what in. But seriously, it’s basically like, if you see someone and you’re like, WOW they are really gross, and then you go take a bath with them (with swimsuits on you sick, sick people). SO I decided that I would refrain from entering the God-forsaken “Lazy River” and the wave pool. I would stick to the slides and what not.

I was having fun, my siblings and I did several slides that were pretty cool and had short lines. But then we got to the Der Stuka… Let me FIRST say that I had to wait in line for over THIRTY minutes, which was just WOW in itself. But I also had to wait behind a girl named “Essie” who kindly introduced herself when I stepped into the line. Essie was QUITE a character, she had at MOST four teeth and I would put money on the fact that being at the water park was the first time that she had had anything REMOTELY close to a bath. I got to hear all about her Uncle Earl and how her granny was “selling the farm.” I didn’t know that there were actually REAL people like this. I felt like I had been transported to an episode of the Beverly Hillbillies (and that's NOT a good thing...).

ANYWAY. On this ride, two people ride at the same time in separate slide tubes that twist around each other the whole way down. I had planned on going on it with my sister, but GUESS WHAT! It just so happened that the line evened out at me and Essie. I tried to let the people behind me cut in line but they all kindly replied "No thank you" and then giggled when I turned around, as if I wasn't still a FOOT in front of them. Dangit! So whatever, I went ahead and got into the end of the tube and just as I did, Essie screams: “Last one to the bottom is a rotten bull frog!” and as I'm trying to process the fact that she replaced rotten "egg" with rotten "bullfrog", Essie has PUSHED me down the tube. (I usually give myself time to prep for these sort of things but unfortunately, I had no prep time for this run.)

It was like a HORRIBLE nightmare. I closed my eyes in order to lessen the motion sickness, but all I could hear in my head was the hysterical witch-like cackle of Essie revolving around me as the tubes twisted in and out of each other. Downward and downward we went, until finally I opened my eyes and could see the light at the end of the tunnel (literally) and I knew I had nearly made it. Until *BUMP!* I felt like my head had run over like, a bolt or something and I quickly blacked out.

WHAT is happening?! From then on all I knew was that the lifeguards waiting at the bottom had drug me to the side so I didn’t get run over by the people following me down the tube. Now, if you’ve ever fainted, or lost your vision, you know how it is when you can see again. Weird, right? Well let me just say, the first thing I saw when I regained vision was ESSIE and her four teeth, THREE inches from my face yelling “Bubba! Is anybody in there?!” and knocking on my head like it was a barn door. So naturally, I did what anyone would do in that situation, vomited, EVERYWHERE. So much that they had to shut down the ride temporarily in order to sanitize the water again.

Everyone in line pointed at me and gave me horrible looks, some even threatening... It’s sad when the WEIRDO people at the water park are looking at you like you're crazy. That’s when you KNOW you’ve got problems. Obviously I didn’t stay any longer and quickly made a celebrity-like exit with a towel covering my face.

NOT my most proud moment and the experience as a whole was just not too enjoyable. I likely will never go back there again. I'll just stick to my slip and slide in the backyard here at home.

PS: Incase you were wondering, which I know you were, I had indeed hit a loose bolt when coming down the slide. Hurricane Harbor sent me a letter of apology and two complementary passes back to the park…

PSS: Does anyone need passes to Hurricane Harbor? I have two.