When I say we went on a trip to California, I’m seriously talking about a trip. This was a multi-phase, multi-destination, multi-purpose, multi-plane-trips, heck of a trip. Essentially, it was four different vacations in one, plus it was a family visit for my grandma’s memorial services. The second phase of the journey was a trip to the Himalaya Tourmaline Mine near Lake Henshaw, California. We’re a family of rockhounds and have wanted to go to this mine ever since we saw it on Cash and Treasures a couple of years ago! Unfortunately, we discovered that it was not a good match for the toddler among us. If we were doing it again, we would have only paid for Mark to dig (kids dig free), because I seriously wasted my money by paying for me—I did almost nothing, because Alaina got so clingy and crabby and whiny and wanted to be held the whole time (incompatible with digging up piles of rocks and carrying them around in buckets and lifting them into washing pans and sorting through them). It was hot and all the kids got fed up and really wanted to leave. We did not find very much in general and it did not feel like it was worth the money and time we spent. We did find some small pieces of pink and green tourmaline, so it wasn’t a total bust, plus we were able to check this off our bucket list! Lake Henshaw was about an hour’s drive from Carlsbad and it took us through several reservations. I felt sad to see the apparent poverty all around and then a gleaming, tricked out Harrah’s right in the middle of the dust and scrub of what was clearly very undesirable, inhospitable desert land.
After driving from Anaheim the night before our mining expedition, we checked in to the Ramada Carlsbad. They had overbooked during Memorial Day weekend and so upgraded us to a suite. And, it was a sweet suite! It was our most favorite hotel room we’ve ever stayed in. We loved it! I need to start checking out suites everywhere, because it was SO much better than a regular hotel room. We hated to leave it—unfortunately, it was only a brief stopover of a hotel and we had to switch to the Carlsbad-by-the-Sea Resort instead (which had also been overbooked for Memorial Day and was unavailable on this one night that we stayed at the Ramada. Since the Carlsbad-by-the Sea Resort seemed completely unprepared for us to arrive, in hindsight, I wish I would cancelled that reservation and remained at our beloved Ramada for the remainder of our time in Carlsbad). We barely had time to take advantage of the sweet suite though. We didn’t arrive until the late evening and then left immediately to go to the OCEAN! It was Alaina’s first glimpse of “big water” and the boys wanted to play on the beach even though it was dusk. We then left and went to Wal-Mart to get something for dinner to microwave in the awesome kitchen of our sweet suite. Our credit card was denied for the first and only time on our trip while on this expedition—apparently, plane tickets and Disneyland tickets, and rental vans, and gas purchased up and down the state do not raise any flags, but a 9:00 stop at a Wal-Mart in Oceanside is a red flag for likely fraud! I got multiple text messages and an email from the credit card company and had to call them the next day to sort it out properly!
Now, pictures! (to enlarge, just click any picture and then continue to click through the slide-show format rather than the thumbnail views below)
Next, we headed for Legoland for two days!
Trumpet blast! This is my 800th post on this blog! I wanted to do something fun/special for my 800th post, but I couldn’t really think of anything, so I just went with what I felt like writing, which was this second installment in our vacation saga. I’ll do something special when I hit 1000 instead!