I should have written this story months ago.
I don't know why I didn't, but lately, Diddy and I have talked about the adventures we had in California and have laughed uncontrollably so I thought I would share with all of you.
So get comfortable.
And maybe try not to drink anything (I can't promise you won't lose it out your nose.)
Way back in September, Diddy and I took a vacation.
Well, it was part work and part vacation.
And all fun!
You see, every September, Antique holds the annual bull sale for the ranch he works for.
The ranch is beautiful! And Diddy needed to experience the sale.
So that was to take place on Friday outside of Modesto and on Tuesday, another meeting that we were supposed to attend was going to start in Sacramento.
We figured we would make a week of it.
The schedule was:
Thursday: Fly to Sacramento. Stay the night.
Friday: Drive to La Grange. Attend the sale. Stay the night in Oakdale.
Saturday: Drive to Meadows to stay at my aunt's farmhouse for the weekend.
Monday: Drive to Sacramento. Stay there for the remainder of the week to attend the meeting.
Friday: Fly home.
Things didn't go exactly as scheduled.
Which turned out to be supremely entertaining!
Thursday went as planned. We flew into Sacramento and picked up the rental car.
A. Hot. Rod. Lincoln.
Ok, it was a Mercury Grand Marquis, but close enough to a Lincoln.
I am not kidding you. Diddy is an old soul and he is crazy about a Mercury.
It actually may have saved my life later in the trip.
We woke up early Friday morning to make the drive to La Grange.
Our GPS, Shauna*, took us in a really round about way to the ranch, but we made it and the fun began.
We enjoyed lunch, and were watching the sale when rabid bats started attacking.
Ok, maybe attack is the wrong word.
And Diddy contends that they were not rabid, but I know they were.
Either way, they kept flying towards my head. It was scary.
After surviving that traumatizing experience, Diddy and I headed to the local watering hole. Antique and his crew were going to meet us there after they were done feeding.
So we started drinking.
More than is advisable.
At one point, I was feeling a little buzzed and I looked outside to see that the sun was still out.
Bad idea #1.
We shut the bar down.
And smoked cigars somewhere in between.
This was bad idea #2. This beat the shit out of bad idea #1.
The next morning we were scheduled to drive up to Meadows, but Diddy decided that we were so close to Yosemite National Park, we couldn't NOT go. (I know, that's a double-negative - give a girl a break.)
Well, I wasn't really feeling at the top of my game that day. So the drive to Yosemite, all windy roads and elevation changes, nearly killed me.
Luckily, the Grand Marquis was a smooth ride, and it lulled me to sleep about halfway up the mountain.
I was awake when we passed this lady, though.
"Walking or working, girl?"
We finally made it to the entrance of the park, paid our $20 and got set to enjoy the scenery.
I am not kidding when I tell you that we turned the corner from the booth where we paid to find this:
The park was burnt to a crisp.
You think they could have mentioned that before we paid??
As we got further into the park, things looked better and we enjoyed a full day of being tourists.
(After a bacon cheeseburger at the park food court I even started feeling better.)
At one point we stopped for a photo-op and there was a family from somewhere in Asia also taking their pictures. As they were standing there waiting for the picture to be taken the dad said, "Say chicken bone"
And then the mom laughed and said, "Hahaha, like I'm going to smile for chicken bone."
We left the park and headed up to the farmhouse.
My aunt had been telling me that I was welcome to stay at her farmhouse ever since she purchased it, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.
Diddy and I were going to spend two nights at the cottage and explore northern California.
However, on our way up, we stopped for some dinner at a local restaurant and saw an advertisement for the Jelly Belly Factory in Sacramento. Plans were about to change.
Because of our visit to Yosemite, by the time we arrived at the cottage it was dark. We unloaded our luggage, made our bed on the pull-out couch and opened the windows so the place could air out.
We then headed into town to have a drink or two.
And we called Match.mom to let her know we had made it.
You will never guess what she told us.
She said, "Oh, I almost forgot to tell you. Make sure you keep the lid down on the toilet, otherwise the squirrels get in and drown."
How do the squirrels get in?
I'm now less concerned that they are suicidal and more concerned that I am going to wake up in the middle of the night with a squirrel on my chest, staring at me.
We're going to need more drinks.
The bars in town were more than a little shady.
One was like an indoor/outdoor establishment and there were people there, but it was completely dark. No lights at all.
We drove on past.
The next one we came to had a sign on the door that said something about men having to remove their clothes because it was a bachelorette party.
We skipped that too.
We finally found a restaurant that had a bar in it and we went in for a few drinks.
Then Diddy looked over to see the guy next to us had no shoes on.
We finished our drinks and left.
Then we went to the liquor store, got a couple of 40s, made a stop at the local redbox to pick up a movie, and headed back to the cottage for the night.
The next morning, we headed to Chico to wash the sheets and towels and do a little sight-seeing.
A stop at a local olive oil plant, a great breakfast restaurant, a few little shops, and the local laundry mat and we were headed to Sacramento for the night.
On our way there Honker invited us to a BBQ at his house.
With no real plans for dinner, we were on board.
The BBQ turned out to be lots of fun.
We found a hotel near the Jelly Belly factory and settled in for the night.
The factory turned out to be one of the greatest ideas we ever had! I am not kidding you - if you ever have the chance to do it, go! They give you all kinds of free jelly bellies and it is just awesome.
(I will admit here that I really like all factories. So maybe this wouldn't be so exciting for everyone.)
We tried to tour the Budweiser plant after, but they were closed on Mondays. So we headed to downtown Sacramento and the railroad museum.
Everything was pretty uneventful until Wednesday night. When we went to downtown Sacramento with some other meeting attendees and drank our faces off.
I seriously do not know how many drinks I had. But I'm pretty sure that I drank at least five different kinds of alcohol. A lot of it in the form of a shot.
The people we were with were singing karaoke (I'm pretty sure I did not sing - at least I hope I didn't.)
I do know that I had a whole conversation with a stranger, who was also from Arizona, whose sister-in-law was going to run for office. And I gave him my number so she could call me because that is what I do for a living (or was going to start at the beginning of the following month.)
I don't know what time it was when we went to bed, but it was not too long before our alarm went off. We had to get up to go on a wine tour all day.
We went downstairs to get some breakfast and I don't think either of us ate more than three bites. The people we were with were sure we were going to die.
On the bus, we both almost died when people started cracking beers open.
Someone kept telling us something about "the hair of the dog." They were liars.
At the first stop, I tried to have a drink. It didn't work.
It was the worst hangover I ever had!
Like a roller coaster. I would start feeling better and then it would hit me again.
One gentlemen who had gone out with us the night before described his hangover as "an epic battle between good and evil for middle stomach."
I would agree.
All in all. Best. Vacation. Ever.
(And for the record, Diddy and I are willing to go on your vacations - we are great entertainment. Just pay our way and we can guarantee satisfaction.)