Saturday, January 5, 2008

June 2007: A Little Sun on the Beach

I guess the credit goes to Jason.

What else could get us to break out of our camping-vacation-mold and head for the beach? For years we’ve been faithfully trekking to Yellowstone, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Park to hang out with bison and chipmunks. We’ve had this sort of unspoken White family code that goes like this: family vacation = camping.

But that was before the Steel Institute.

You see, Jason is a passionate drummer who is not content to be in just one band—but has to be in a bunch. Last year he was in two jazz bands and a steel drum band called the Steel Institute. And they were invited to play at Disneyland.

So who’s gonna send their kid off to Disneyland to “bang the bongos” without the family along to cheer him on?

A little internet searching revealed a great little beach house right next to the Newport Pier…and a whole new concept in the White family vacation was born. Beaches were now on the list!

But babies on the beach? After all, Ryan was three and Tanner was one--just old enough to take the “fun” out of “fun vacation”. Thankfully Lori’s mom and dad agreed to fly to Utah to be our live-in baby-sitters. Now that was a sweet deal.

So in June our fully-loaded, bike-bedecked Suburban was barreling down I-15 toward California.

Doing the southern Cal’ thing just has to include Sea World—so the first day included the Shamu show, the seal and otter show (our favorite!), the dolphins and other assorted Sea World attractions and, the next day, the San Diego Wild Animal Park.

Then, thanks to a little laptop GPS help we found our way through the maze of highways and streets to that great little front-row house on Newport Beach.

It was perfect…the Newport Pier, a deck for people-watching on the boardwalk, an expanse of soft sand and a 180 degree view of the Pacific.

As camping fans, we never even missed our Coleman stoves.

It was boogie-boarding, surfing, sand castle-building, Frisbee-throwing, football-passing, kite-flying, skateboard-riding, hotdog-snarfing, bicycle-riding, morning beach-walking, movie-watching, people-gawking, photo-taking, shop-exploring, book-reading, sand-chafing, sun-burning and pizza-eating for days.

Oh. And Jason-cheering.

A little side trip to Disneyland had us cheering the calypso sounds of the Steel Institute as Disney fans stopped to listen to the great little band from American Fork.

Toward the end of our second day in Disneyland we made up our own game on Main Street—“rating” the passersby from 1 to 10—Olympics style. All six of us held up signs with various numbers as people walked by. We had lots of people laughing and at least one “bird”. After about 45 minutes of non-stop people-rating, some folks finally came across the street and took our picture—saying that it was one of the funniest things they had ever seen.

So…yeah…we’re beach bums now…. As Lori’s brother, Matt, used to say, “[we enjoyed] a little sun-on-the-beach.”

And, hey, we haven’t given up camping—we ended up going to Yellowstone in August.

We saw some bison and chipmunks.

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