Oh boy, that was fun!
The Amazing Race with the kids in my ward was exhausting and hilarious. Three very solid days of driving and running and laughing and looking for parking, any parking, we'll pay whatever, just point us in the right direction, please! This is a race, people!
We hit up, in order: the metrolink, Union Station, Olvera Street, Hollywood, UCLA (the absolute worst of the parking hunt), Santa Monica Pier/beach, the LA Temple (to stay the night in the apartments and then do baptisms the next morning), the Getty Villa, Pepperdine University (that was just my team, we incurred a penalty), Santa Barbara, Nojoqui Falls, Los Osos, Morro Bay (for camping), Hearst Castle, the elephant seal lookout where we saw exactly 3 of them, Morro Rock, Neverland Ranch (yep, Michael Jackson's home. Well, the gates.), Solvang, and finally, a beach-side park in Ventura and In-n-Out for dinner. We logged nearly 700 miles. It was kind of epic.
1. While at the beach on the first night one of the men mentioned book club and how he wanted to come but wasn't invited (no boys allowed!) and I said it wouldn't be that interesting because the conversation inevitably comes back around to breast feeding, child birth, our periods, and bras. Later that night all the girls crammed into one of the temple apartments where we ended up talking for hours about our periods and bras. We also braided each other's hair.
2. We all kind of congregated around the picnic table at our camping spot the second night and laughed like loons. It had been two long days of driving and racing, most of it apart from each other. So when we all got together it was a great time. They are the funnest kids. And the adults that came along were also very good for a laugh. I also may have been a little slap happy by that point.
3. I've said it before and I'll say it again, California is the best. I love, love, love it. It's just so beautiful here. Our penalty detour to Pepperdine forced us to take Pacific Coast Highway all the way around Malibu to pick up the 101 in Oxnard. Best penalty ever! Ocean views and rolling hills for miles and miles.
4. Some of the kids were less than impressed with the Getty Villa. It's understandable. It's mostly old statues and ancient relics. But one kid showed his boredom by recording statues and then blowing them up with that app, you know the one, that blows things up? I could not stop laughing over it.
5. I listened to a lot of loud rap. Bleh.
6. Most of the kids had never been inside the LA temple (we belong to the Redlands temple district). So that was a sweet experience.
7. Remember that one time I went to Hearst Castle during the Whim Weekend many years ago? I mentioned that they don't let you loiter. But guess what they let you do now? Loiter! Not on the actual tour but afterwards they invite you to stroll around the gardens and pools and soak up all the luxury. If only that had been the case when I wasn't gunning for a prize.
8. There was no prize. But the victory felt sweet because we won! Okay, if was by default. The team that beat us by 5 minutes cheated. But a victory is a victory and we celebrated by leaping up and down and high fiving each other.
9. Since the race was done in Ventura we could all caravan home. We would pass each other and honk and wave and press notes up to the windows (you would not believe the finger prints and mouth prints and nose prints (I barely stopped them before there were butt prints) that will have to be scraped off the windows.) It felt like a 2 hour party across several California freeways. I bet this is exactly how the pioneers felt when they crossed the plains together.