Where Dreams Come True

“Would Rebekah like to go to an amusement park when you guys come to visit us?” – Rick Garcia (Joe’s brother)

That’s a rhetorical question, right?

For those who don’t know, I am an amusement park junkie. That’s right! I enjoy and appreciate every aspect of a good amusement park. Cheerfully maniacal rollercoasters? Check. Deliciously fried, sugary treats? Check, check. A continuous theme? Check!

So, when Rick asked Joe if I would be interested in either going to Disneyland or Universal Studios when we visited him and his family in L.A., the answer was a resounding yes, especially since Rick’s wife, Andrea, also shares my love for amusement parks. In essence, we would be able to match each other’s enthusiasm.

When it came time to decide which amusement park we would be visiting, Andrea and I carefully weighed the pros and cons of each park, and ultimately decided on Disneyland. Neither of us had ever seen the recently added Star Wars section, so going to Disney to both see it and experience it was a no brainer. Did I mention both of us are major Padawans?

After counting down the days, minutes, and seconds, until our trip to the magical land of Disney, finally, the day of our Disneyland adventure arrived. Joe and I woke up at 5:30 AM to beat the Los Angeles traffic and made our way to Rick and Andrea’s house to drop off our dogs and carpool to the park.

Having donned my Star Wars themed mouse ears, sequined Minnie Mouse themed backpack, and an excessive amount of sunscreen, I was ready for Disney!

Though we purchased park hopper tickets, we decided to begin the day at the main Disneyland Park. Moseying our way to the back of the park where the Star Wars section is located was first on the agenda, but before we made it there, we stopped to ride Splash Mountain, a thrilling log flume ride with a 5-story drop.

Have I disclosed Joe’s complete abject terror of all rollercoasters and high-thrill rides? I have included a snapshot of our time on Splash Mountain for your enjoyment – I think our faces say it all.

Needless to say, Andrea, Rick, and I laughed until we cried at Joe’s expense. He may or may not have screamed an expletive as we made the drop.

After disembarking Splash Mountain, we wrung out our t-shirts and splished and sploshed our way to Star Wars! We had a fantastic time riding the Star Wars themed rides and wandering around the outpost market. Later, we would come back for themed cocktail drinks at the Cantina!

Following our fun in the Star Wars section, we decided to jump over to the California Adventure Park for more rollercoasters and adrenaline inducing rides. Some of our favorites were the Incredicoaster and the Guardians of The Galaxy Mission Breakout tower drop! Joe “conveniently” opted out of the tower drop to run back to the house to walk our dogs, but Rick, Andrea, and I enjoyed it!

Well…mostly Andrea and I enjoyed it. Rick on the other hand had an awkward experience with the man sitting next to him. Apparently, during the ride, the man couldn’t find the hand rest, so he clutched onto the next best thing. Rick’s hand.

Despite the uncomfortable encounter, Rick still had a great time, and before we knew it, we were zipping around the park finding other rides to fulfill our thrill quota.

Overall, we had an incredible time at Disney! It was everything I hoped for and more, and after 12 hours of non-stop fun, we piled into the car and made our way back to the house. Once we returned, Joe and I scooped up our puppies and drove back to the RV where we fell asleep immediately.

The next afternoon, Joe and I drove back to Rick and Andrea’s house to spend some time together for our last full day in California. We decided to visit a local aquarium and walk along the beach to search for tide pools. Later that evening, we would go out for street tacos and churros. It was the perfect ending to our California trip.

Spending time with family is such a gift, and visiting Rick, Andrea, and Harley has been a highlight of our 3 month long adventure. We already have plans to see them again, and I know Joe is already counting down the months until we are reunited.

For now, Joe and I have started making our way back to Texas. We, and really I mean Joe, drove us from Los Angeles, California, to Las Cruces, New Mexico, in the span of 2 days! We stopped in Phoenix, Arizona, after the first day, and left as soon as possible the next morning due to the fact that Phoenix is completely uninhabitable. How anyone lives there in its hellacious, extreme heat is a mystery I have no desire to solve!

Thankfully, Las Cruces is much more temperate, and we have plans to spend at least the next week here. After all, we still have a few adventures planned!

Until next time!

See You On The 405

After 5 weeks of traveling and living off grid, we made it to California! But first, allow me to start from where we last left off.

Previously on Garcia’s Moving Castle…we were wrapping up our time in Flagstaff, Arizona. My lungs were recovering from our jaunt to Grand Falls, and Joe and I had nixed our initial plans of traveling to Mammoth Lakes, CA. Instead, we decided to take off for the coast! So, we said goodbye to our new friends, packed up the camper, and readied ourselves for the 8 hour journey through the Mojave desert.

We decided to split up the trek to Simi Valley, CA, into 2 parts. Thankfully, the first leg of the journey was uneventful, and we stopped at a KOA (Kampgrounds of America) in Needles, CA, for the night.

Let me just say…God. Bless. Hookups. After fetching and toting water, setting up solar panels and maintaining a generator for 5 weeks, full hookups at a KOA might as well as have been an all-inclusive resort in the Bahamas. A bit hyperbolic? Perhaps. Completely accurate? Absolutely.

Joe and I both agree that our night at the Needles KOA Campground was both rejuvenating and peaceful, and by peaceful, I mean we slept like the dead.

After having one of the best nights of sleep in our lives, Joe and I girded our loins for the second half of our journey…the mountain pass. Spoiler alert, we made it, but we may have sprouted a few grey hairs along the way. From flash flood warnings and random torrential downpour, to manual grade shifting through the mountains, navigating Los Angeles traffic with an 8,000 lb. trailer would make even an atheist pray!

But hey, like I said, we made it. Phew!

So, we survived the journey to California. What have we been up to since then? Lots!

Joe’s brother’s family lives in LA, and because we don’t get to see them very often, we have been making up for lost time! The first day we got in, we met them for dinner, and last night, we went to the Santa Monica Pier!

It has always been a dream of mine to visit this famous pier and ride its ferris wheel, and Joe’s brother, Rick, made it happen. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a good funnel cake and amusement park, and by the end of the night, my blood sugar was certainly feeling the effects of the pizza and sugary goodness we consumed.

Induced sugar coma aside, our time at the Santa Monica Pier was magical. Feeling the ocean breeze, laughing and talking with family, and experiencing the city from the dizzying height of the ferris wheel left me with a sense of childlike wonder.

Gosh, I’m grateful.

And with that, I am going to end this post.

Until next time!