It seemed so simple.
The son has the whole week before President’s Day off from school, a glorious thing called Midwinter Break, which, including the bookend weekends, adds up to a total of 10 days available to us.
A few measly days off around Christmas and the new year was not enough respite from months of the daily grind, and so I was highly motivated to get the hell out of Dodge and have some fun.
Planning not exactly a strong suit, I uncharacteristically plunged myself into the nightmare that is airfare shopping weeks and weeks ago, for the news that Alaska Airlines had started offering non-stop service from Bellingham to Honolulu, with an insanely cheap introductory fare of $149 round-trip, had sent me reeling with visions of palm tress, white sand beaches, and snorkeling in crystal clear blue water amidst coral and a spectrum of tropical fish.
Of course, this is Bellingham, where the winters send many otherwise happy, healthy, emotionally stable individuals into a deep, dark depression, and so, by the time I made it to the Alaska Airlines website, the $149 fare was sold out.
Trying to identify a Plan B started with a simple enough premise: sun, warmth, outdoor play. And yet, one by one, the ideas we came up with failed, either because the airfare was too steep and/or the temperatures this time of year in nearly every place we could afford to fly to didn’t meet the first two criteria.
Finally, we settled on a trip to Southern California. We’d fly into Los Angeles, rent a car, and drive to either Bishop, CA or Joshua Tree National Park, two rock climbing meccas, then drive back to Los Angeles to visit some friends there, and then home.
I even found a great fare on Virgin America and came close to buying our tickets, when we received an email informing us that our son’s youth marimba band will be playing a gig at the Ronald McDonald House in Seattle on Tuesday of our vacation week…and our son insisted that he can’t miss it.
After that, we batted around a couple of ideas for shorter getaways, but nothing seemed to stick. Seeing that I was getting disappointed because I so badly need some time off from work, my wife suggested that I just take off on my own, and for a very short time I fantasized about a road trip or a train trip, I had no idea where, but it would be some time to myself, something I never do…mainly because I prefer company.
And so I emailed my friends, all working parents, and asked if anyone wanted to take off on a spur of the moment getaway, that I had no real good ideas where to go or what I wanted to do, only that I didn’t want to go to Vegas.
Yeah, like THAT was going to work.
In the end, the son, wife, and I will be heading up to Canada for a few nights late in the week and into the weekend, to Harrison Hot Springs (pictured here) and Hemlock Valley Ski Resort. Not a week-long vacation, but possibly enough of a break from normal to get us through until Spring Break.
Now, let’s see. Sun, warmth, and outdoor play in early April…