Trip Report – San Diego Phlegm Family Chaos Jam


Our recent road trip to San Diego was something we had talked on and off about for quite awhile. As with most decisions in our house, once we pull the trigger, it’s usually a really rapid deployment from the decision to move forward. We decided on the trip on a Friday morning and the following Monday, we were on the road. I booked cheap, dog friendly/dog-centric motels and we packed a lot of distraction for Leta and the dogs.

I’m not sure what I expected from the trip, except to see sun and feel warmer in California than I do in Utah. Who goes on a trip with an almost 4 year-old and two dogs, one of which is still not completely housebroken? In my mind, I pictured thousands of families making trips just like this all the time. Certainly, they survived and so would we. We had only one grown up thing scheduled, the rest was just gravy and whatever we felt like doing. We figured that with Leta, we’d only get a few hours at whatever attraction or activity we decided to do. We didn’t care. We just wanted so see the sun and if it wasn’t too cold, take the dogs to a beach or two. Maybe take a couple hundred pictures.

After a rough holiday season including the loss of an uncle, a medical procedure for a family member (I’m not going to go further out of respect for their privacy) over the holidays, I figured we were due for some slightly more relaxing times. We always talk about travel, but rarely do it. This seemed a great opportunity.

With hearts full of hope….

Day One – Monday
(after each of these subheads, you need to insert an orchestral sting from either The Shining or Law and Order.)

We awaken to a massive amount of new snow and it continues through our departure time. The snow is so deep that the four wheel drive truck, purchased specifically for weather like this, can’t get in the driveway until I clear it. I also needed to walk the dogs because they are about to be in a car for six hours minimum. We have to make Mesquite, Nevada, which wouldn’t normally be a problem. I had hoped to make it by dinner. The snow removal and subsequent delay causes friction and bad energy in the house with a couple of slammed doors. I’m becoming my father. Right before major trips, he’d lose his temper more frequently and get worked up trying to get out the door. That was with six kids. I just have the one and the two dogs, so I don’t think that my foul mood is either justified or helping start the trip right. More on this later.

We finally hit the road mid-afternoon. The storm cleared a little bit, but the roads were still a mess. We stopped in Nephi, Utah for a bio break (all parties) and later in St. George, Utah for dinner and another bio break.

We roll into Mesquite at about 7:30pm local time. Because we are now in Nevada, we’ve gained an hour and Leta gets a free pass on bedtime. We are all tired, but in good spirits and happy to be in weather that is above 20°F. The dogs seem to have no problem traveling together. All is right with the world. I walk the dogs and remember our travels with Chuck when he was a puppy. He took to house training much quicker than Coco has. Must stay on top of puppy’s pee breaks. So far, no incidents.

Day Two – Tuesday
We took our time waking up and barely made the freebie continental breakfast at the motel by 9:30 am local time. Fantastic. Everybody was rested. The adults showered and we hit the road around 11 AM, about what I figured given the circus we are traveling in. I stopped at a store for water and since my throat was so tight and my breathing so difficult, an asthma inhaler. I think our pet-approved motel rooms housed cats. I’m violently allergic to cats. I took a breath from the inhaler and it was like the world opened up. I convinced myself that was the extent of the problem and drove on.

I tried to leave the bad energy behind as we head west into the sun. We stopped for gas and lunch in Primm, Nevada. As I was gassing up, I caught a chill. Heather offered to drive, which was great. I could feel myself coming down with something and it wasn’t good.

At Victorville, California, I took over driving duties and drive us in to San Diego. Our first major meltdown occurred outside of San Bernadino as we make our way on the I-15, the hills caused Leta’s ears to clog and no amount of telling her what to do or giving her gum would stop the screaming. She finally passed out for an hour while we battled gridlock due to an accident.

We heard about Heath Ledger’s death and listened to the radio for news. Very sad and shocking.

We pulled into San Diego, the sun streaming into the car making me feel good, despite still having the chills and shaking a little bit. I stepped out of the van and immediately knew I needed to rest up and that I’d be going to bed very early. We checked in and unloaded. The rooms (Leta gets her own and it means we get to watch TV and/or open our laptops without disturbing her sleep) were like a college house populated by single men who had cleaned up for a party. The couch was scary (Leta was the only one brave enough to venture onto the couch) and Heather refused to sit on any of the furniture except the bed. Heather picked up dinner and I half napped, half conversed with Leta as a major fever hit me. I was in my coat, fully clothed, sweating and shaking from the chills. After Heather returned with dinner, which most of us ate squatting on the floor like refugees because of Heather’s fear of the furniture and her fear of what Leta might contract with any further furniture contact.

I slept for a few hours, sweating and trying to not hurl.

Heather took the dogs to the beach and the chaos of that experience, compounded with the awful rooms we had booked, along with my illness, compelled her to hint very strongly that we needed to move. I found a more expensive, but better pet-friendly place in Coronado and tried to book us there for the rest of our time in San Diego. They said to call back in the morning when their reservation staff was in. On top of my fever, I had to worry that we’d be stuck in our hellhole room.

We decide to stay the night due to my illness. I take NyQuil and pass out.

Day Three – Wednesday
I woke up feeling worlds better, but coughing a lot and had limited energy. I booked us in the new place and we hit the beach with the pups. Leta was excited to see the ocean and wanted to make a sand castle. We did a quick morning beach walk and the dogs were in heaven. Leta didn’t really want to get on the sand, so we stay on the walkway and talk about seeing dolphins and otters. She replies, “Daddy, I love penguins and monkeys.”

I told her we’ll see monkeys another day and we loaded up and headed to Sea World where she might (but did not) see penguins.

We boarded the dogs ($5! ) and headed in for brunch. It wasn’t that crowded and the sun made a good effort to break free, if only for an hour or so. We saw the sea lion/otter show and checked out the seals and dolphins. Without crowds, it was really quick and easy to get around and see stuff. I got to hold Leta while the dolphins were being fed and she loved it. When the dolphins would come up, she’d scream and pull away, but she kept wanting to see the dolphins. Heather gave me a break and tried to hold her, but Leta preferred the way I was holding her. Either that or she thought that I had magical dolphin mind control powers. Which I do, but I haven’t really shared with the family yet. We stayed for the Shamu show (Leta couldn’t have cared less) and left after that. Leta was obviously out of it and starting to look and act like she might be coming down with something.

We headed to Coronado and check in. Sweet resort. Expensive. Sweet. Rooms were very tastefully done and Heather said ,”We are moving in and never leaving.”

We looked at room service and decided to order in after the day of re-packing, Sea World and unloading. Quote of the trip from Leta when the table was wheeled in: “This is lovely!”

She was right, it was lovely. This was the last enjoyable meal as a family on the trip.

Day Four – Thursday
Leta was sick. She wasn’t down for the count sick, but sick. I needed mucous drugs and cold meds. I was worse than I was on Tuesday. Heather took the dogs to the beach and got everybody meds. She tried to publish, but the family illness was conspiring against her. After taking the meds I begin to feel much better. Leta was looking up, but still not 100%. A calm day was in order. No zoo, no nothing.

At night we headed to a party in San Diego and Heather forgot to eat much or drink much water, pretty much the whole day. The party was lovely and it was great to meet others who publish online. We thought we left our camera bag at the party, but realized after turning around and then stopping that neither of us remembered even putting it in the car. It was a late night and Heather drove us back to the hotel. When we arrived at the hotel, the camera bag was sitting on our bed.

I woke up about an hour after falling asleep and Heather was vomiting. She had a fever. She was getting sick as well. I figured if it’s hangover sick, we’ll have another chill day in the morning and maybe head out to do something in the afternoon. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Day Five – Friday
Heather was up most of the night vomiting and slept horribly. I started to feel a little better. Leta was not doing well. I was on dog duty and try to keep Leta happy and let Heather sleep. I was hoping that mid-afternoon, we’d be up for a beach trip or some sight-seeing. Didn’t happen. I resigned myself to the fact that our last full day in the sun would be another quiet one.

The dogs and I headed to the beach, where I tried to absorb as much sun as possible given the wind and cloudy conditions. It was a beautiful day on the beach, even with the windy weather. The dogs loved it. I loved it. I considered making an offer on a number of beach front properties. The thought of never seeing winter again warmed my heart, but was fleeting when I realized the mortgages would likely triple or quadruple our current mortgage. Besides, Leta loves her cousins and grandparents. We’d be fools to take her away from them (and the free babysitting). I returned to the hotel, savoring every bit of sunshine I’ve seen on this trip.

Heather started to look up around 6pm. We ordered room service because the thought of wrangling the dogs and a sick Leta to a dog-friendly restaurant sounded about as fun as having a limb severed. I hoped that Heather would get some food in her and start to feel better. We were due to head home on Saturday and the local media was talking about the storm of the century bearing down on California.

When the food arrived, Heather took one look at it and fell over. Leta did pretty much the same thing. I had dinner, but was wasted. We fall asleep at 8pm, Leta in bed with us. We were all that sick.

Day Six – Saturday
I woke at 12:30am to Heather running into the bathroom. I fall asleep and re-awaken at 3:45am to Heather talking on the phone. Room service brought her a clear sports beverage, which she is able to keep down, but Heather told me that she was delirious. I called the hotel doctor and he said that she needed immediate medical attention. We headed to the local hospital and checked in to their ER. Two liters and a shot of Demerol and anti-nausea meds later and we headed back to the hotel after a stop at the pharmacy where I picked up anti-nausea suppositories. Which Heather told me wouldn’t do anything but make her sleepy. Heather at this point is still very sick and didn’t want to move. I made a command decision to head home, hoping that getting a little closer to home will help everybody feel better.

I loaded up after letting Heather sleep for a couple of hours and we headed out of California as fast as I dared drive. At this point all I could do is think about getting us home. Anyone who has read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas might take note that I felt exactly the way Dr. Gonzo feels at the end. Like I barely made it out alive. The hotel bill was staggering.

We got to Mesquite and everybody promptly went to bed. It wasn’t cold enough for a full coat when I took the dogs out for their last business trip of the night. We were alive.

Day Seven – Sunday
We all felt a little better and Heather managed to keep down some free continental breakfast. She was still shaky, but she rode up front with me for the duration.

Of note on this day is our gas stop in Beaver, Utah. It’s a self service station, but an older guy approaches and asks what octane I want. When I roll down the window to respond, I’m hit with a blast of freezing air and blowing snow. We are a long way from the beach. I tipped the nice man for pumping my gas.

We made it home with little fanfare and without incident, despite driving through snow most of the trip.

It has taken over a week to recover from this trip. We tried to hit the ground running last Monday, but couldn’t sustain the energy and promptly spent the next several days in bed.

Heather has asked that we never speak of this trip again and I have no idea if she’ll write about it. She’s still in bed as I finish this post. I don’t know how she’s managed to post anything given how sick she’s been. I’ve never seen her this bad.

Lessons? Sure. Don’t get a puppy in winter. Don’t travel with said puppy, even though you want to expose puppy to new experiences and dogs and people, puppy will pee everywhere (but not in the car!) and drive you insane. Child did great and despite a couple of hour-long tantrums in the car, was a great traveler despite the illness and malaise of her care givers. Distraction is key.

I keep thinking that the universe is trying to tell us something. We took this trip knowing that it wouldn’t be like other trips without kids and pets. We knew this. We knew that we’d be lucky to get out much or see much, even if we were healthy. We knew that the trip would be challenging. We just didn’t think it would be the ass kick that it was. Families the world over take trips together, including their children and pets in the experience. Who ends up in a hospital? Who ends up with everybody sick? Who ends up fleeing, felon-like and hunched over, driving above the speed limit to escape chaos?

If I wrote this up into a treatment and tried to sell it, no one would buy it. I’M NOT BUYING IT, EITHER AND I LIVED IT.

  • Melinda

    Hrmph. It was a cosmic fluke I tell ya.

    I worked at Disney World for 7 years and saw lots of family vacations–good and bad. Can’t explain why some people have everything go wrong on a given trip…

    Here’s to everyone’s improved health and the next trip being all good things!

  • Spinner

    Sounds pretty stressful!

    Hope you managed to pick up some reggae mud on your road trip to ease the pain!

  • Azron

    It bums me out that you had such a crappy time in my town!
    It was nice to meet you. I hope you give SD another go…

  • Laura

    Aw, Jon. I’m so sorry the trip was not the relaxing, fun, sunshiny vacation you guys deserved! I hope you all feel worlds better and get a bit of a break from the snow. Ya’ll can come see my in NC if you want to! i have a fenced in yard for dogs and plenty of sunshine bc we’re in a drought. And I’d tell you how warm it was today but I don’t want to depress you further.
    Take care. The Internet loves you guys!

  • brenna

    I’m glad you are all on the mend.

    Would you feel any better about your trip if I told you about our trip to Kansas 7 years ago, when I vomited the entire thousand miles there? And then we all passed around the same 48-hour bug the whole trip, which had to be extended instead of cut short, because my grandma died very unexpectedly while we were visiting? Maybe? A little?

    Bad vacations suck, and all you can do is hope the memory fades. Because some things will NEVER be funny.

  • JesGooch

    If I had known you were in Coronado I would have called my aunt and had her bring you all some homemade chicken soup….

    She is a FABULOUS cook and what she does for a living is drive around and bring food to all the old (and sick) people on the island(well, it WAS an island until somebody built a bridge to it), runs errands for them and keeps them company….

    That sounds like a miserable trip….you guys need a do-over.

  • minxlj

    It’s just bad luck and a combination of drastic weather shifts, bugs and viruses kicking you down at the wrong time. Don’t go thinking the universe cursed your vacation or anything, because the next one will rock I’m sure. I’ve had a couple of really crappy trips but the vast majority have been amazing.

    You all did very well, considering. Anyway the sooner you get Leta and the pup used to travelling the easier it will be for next time :-) Well done, and enjoy being back home!!

  • Sarah

    “The snow removal and subsequent delay causes friction and bad energy in the house with a couple of slammed doors”
    – sounds like our household – this was my dad to a tee, and is me, now. This line is hilarious Jon (though not at the time, I am sure…)

    We had a similar trip 4 yrs ago – driving from Montreal to NYC to see my sister – 3 kids in tow .. the younger at 2.5 yrs throws up 1.5 hrs out of Montreal at the border, I mean, literally as the lady say’s “Passports Please”. The trip was meant to be sightseeing for the kids – yet it was a sleepless, marathon of sick kids – and had just glimers of something fun. We’ve yet to go back with the kids – I am thinking maybe spring break .. am I brave??

    It is crappy that your vacation sucked – but I am glad there are parts that were memorable for you.. it would be how much Leta enjoyed being in the hotel and the novelty for her – her ‘lovely’ line is priceless. Focus on the good points! Hope you are all feeling better really soon! Don’t be afraid to travel again soon too – however, maybe you and Heather need some time for a trip for yourselves? You have BOTH earned it!

  • Daniel

    You should try again with the family trips. You guys just got unlucky with the sickness. That shit is going around right now. I just got over exactly the sickness that you described. Takes about two weeks, the second week you mostly just feel exhausted all the time.

    We made a trip to the mountains one Thanksgiving with 2 small kids and a dog. We had visions of hiking the hills and cutting down a christmas tree, drinking hot cider, blah blah blah. It poured with rain the entire time and we were all stuck in a tiny hotel room driving each other crazy. We turned up the heat, put cartoons on the tv and let the kids use the bed as a trampoline while the dog huddled in the corner.

  • sarah

    Dear Blurbodooceryfolks,

    I have a hunch that your family unit is one of god’s special projects. (Easier for me to say, from a distance.) It boggles my mind to think of the astronomical amount of love that must hold you together. Get well, stay well, keep up the great work. — s

  • julie

    My mom and dad speak of a family camping trip they took when I was a baby. We lived in upstate NY and camped in St. Augustine, FL. Long roadtrip. Apparently everyone got sick on the trip. No end to the horking. So, although your trip was awful, take heart that it does happen to others.

    Sorry you didn’t get to enjoy your trip. :(

  • delia

    Jon, we traveled from Tucson to LA two years ago for my husband to attend a conference. It took us 12 hours to get to CA due to snow in the mountains outside of San Diego. My husband was peeing in empty juice bottles while stopped in stand still traffic, we were forced to stop at Denny’s to feed our 4 and 7 year old 3 hours past dinnertime , we finally arrived in LA annoyed and exhausted.

    The next morning my husband headed off to his conference and I took the kids to the beach. After 5 minutes at the beach my oldest started having stomach cramps and we ran to the bathroom. The diarrhea didn’t stop and we stopped 6 times on the 10 minute drive back to the hotel for him to use the bathroom. By afternoon he started feeling better so I took the kids to the 3D IMAX. 3/4 of the way through the movie my daughter vomited all over me and we had to trudge to the car with mommy covered in chunks of puke.

    The kids crawled into bed with fevers and chills and later that evening my son got up to pee. I heard a disgusting noise in the bathroom and found him standing there with diarrhea streaming down his legs. Turned out he had tried to pass gas while peeing and it forced out all that diarrhea.

    We packed the car up and cancelled the remainder of the 6 day trip.

    I feel your pain.

  • jen

    This account gives Sartre’s No Exit a run for its money as a description of Hell.

  • Amanda

    The Universe is a lot like Rick James (riprj).

  • De in D.C.

    I’m so sorry your trip ended up memorable for all the wrong reasons. I was in San Diego the same week with my 7yo (my partner was there for work, so his company paid for the hotel). Thanks to some of the comments on Heather’s blog with suggestions on things to see in San Diego, we had some amazing experiences. We had done LegoLand and the zoos before, but this time got to see the Harbor Seals up in La Jolla and went out to play in the tide pools at Point Loma. These were fabulous (and free!) ideas I never would have come up with on my own.
    I have a huge debt of gratitude that I owe you you, Heather, and all of your fabulous readers who commented. If you ever make it out to D.C. I hope I can repay that with some suggestions of my own. Until then, best wishes of a speedy recovery and warm chicken soup.

  • Lisa

    We’ve all had a vacation from hell. We had a Mothers Day camping trip to the beach we always went on. One year we all had various stages of the flu that was circulating through our family (there were 6 of us). It was the kind of flu where wierd stuff (like guacamole) comes out from both ends. Oh and the worst toots….. My husband at the time was determined that we go on this trip because the reservations were made at the campground and the supplies were purchased. So just the loading of the van was miserable with 4 cranky kids and a husband who wasn’t feeling too good himself. I remember we had just gotten on the highway and the kids said they saw their sleeping bags flying down the highway behinds us. That was just the beginning of a two hour trip with a moaning and tooting. Once we got to the campsite, each kids took their turn barfing in different areas of the campsite during the weekend. My husband was determined not to throw up. I’m not sure if he ever did. That was probably 10 years ago……we can laugh about it now. At the time I swore we would never go on a family vacation again…..

    Now that you’ve have the worst vacation ever… you can plan for the worst and it probably won’t happen. Yes, and the flu bug that is going around has hit a lot of people really, really hard. You might want to consider getting a flu shot next year.

    There’s a big world out there….you guys deserve to experience it. Hang in there and take your vitamins and eat your fruits and vegies…..

  • southerngirl

    I really was concerned about your sanity when you said you were going on a road trip with a not quite house-broken puppy. You are a brave, brave man.

  • julie

    “Who ends up in a hospital? Who ends up with everybody sick? Who ends up fleeing, felon-like and hunched over, driving above the speed limit to escape chaos?”

    honestly, we’ve ALL had vacations like this! usually more than one. it happens.

    my father had a heart attack and then we spent 2 months in a weird hotel in Mexico while he was in the hospital. my mom had 4 kids and a husband potentially dying in a hospital full of flies and ceiling fans. and she did it in a different langauge and before credit cards were widely accepted.

    so c’mon! flu? FLU? and a puppy? look around the world, Jon!

  • alexa

    I am so sorry to hear about your nightmare of a trip. I hope all of you are back to 100% soon. I am thinking good thoughts about everything.

    On another note, Steve Jobs is trying to bankrupt me. One of the reasons I was not one of the people in line for an iPhone the first day was the lack of memory. I held out for a couple of months, and of course the iPhone, albeit imperfect, was still the best purchase I have made in my life. However, I desperately need the 16GB version released today. I hope you are not having the same dilemma.

  • laney

    Vacations can easily go wrong. I think nearly anyone who has experienced the “family vacation” could tell you a tale or two.

    I waited and watched for updates on your trip, horrified to find out you were all so ill. Not knowing you personally, yet worrying about you like you are all family.

    In a strange way, I felt a kindred connection only because I was taking care of an incredibly sick husband during your nightmare Utah to Cali trip. He was suffering from a wracking cough and two (or possibly three) broken ribs. We made an ER trip a few days before Heather’s in the middle of the night after he had passed out from coughing. I look back at that week with awe and a lot of fear. Being that sick is scary. So is taking care of someone who is.

    I love the vacation review…even though it is not all that pretty. It is honest. And that has to count for something.

  • rich

    lame trip. A few years back we had my wife’s family visit from Utah for a Disney trip where everyone (about 9 people) got a nasty bug that left everyone violently ill. In my little house. Nothing worse than being trapped away from home puking sick. But you look back after twenty years and you’ll still remember this trip, and mostly just the good parts, and the worst of it all will be something to laugh about as well. On an aside, as a parent of toddlers who now frequently makes the trip from Utah to Socal, I highly recommend the Discovery Park in Cedar City as a rest stop. It’s a big jungle gym, climbing wall, castle, swingset play thing that even has a dinosaur pit (a big sandpit with bones cast into the concrete at the bottom). We usually stop for lunch there and let the kids burn off some calories. If we time it right and run the kids hard I can usually make it the rest of the way (to Riverside) with only a pee stop or two, in a day. It’s right off the last exit in Cedar, where the new stuff is, I think there may even be a highway sign. Hope you guys feel better soon, thanks for sharing.

  • chloe

    Went with the b/f to Jamaica. Great vacation. Last day woke up at 3am with food poisoning. Hooked up to an IV for four hours while the van for the plane was supposed to leave at noon. They rushed the liquid into my veins to the point where I still have bumps and scars in my veins. I had to endure a 3 hour ride to the airport, bumping and juggling my guts the whole way. I looked like I was going to die. A woman gave me xanax. Got to the airport and had to walk through customs, etc. and miles and miles of lines and such. I don’t know why we didn’t get a wheelchair because I definitely needed one. It was a miserable ending to an o.k. trip. Luckily the travel agent gave back about 800. for my trouble. Horrid, horrid experience. I’ve never been more sick in my entire life. Most people get to lie down when they feel like that though.

  • Kim

    It is great that you still have a sense of humour after the week of horror. I loved the suggestion to read each day with a Law and Order sting … I actually did, and COULD see this as a film treatment! Am contemplating a 5 hour car trip to the wilderness with a wild, not entirely housebroken beagle (and it’s a tiny car) in a couple of months and maybe rethinking it now …

  • Mental Pause Mama

    So, so glad you all made it back safely. My old age makes me quite the worrier! You are all better sports than I.

  • Sassy Lassie

    Ooooh, Jon! I’m so sorry to hear of the trials and trevails! SO not fun to be sick away from home. Glad you made it home safely with everyone intact.

    Now you guys need a vacation from your vacation!

  • Jaap

    Sorry you guys had such a bad trip. Fly to Amsterdam next time 😉
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Michelle

    I’m sorry you were so sick on your vacation. I live in San Diego and EVERYBODY here has the flu. It took me almost 3 weeks to get over it. Hope Heather is feeling better soon.

    As an aside, I love the second hotel you stayed in (I recognized the furniture). It’s one of my favorites. I’m glad you enjoyed it, too.

  • Marsha

    You’ve evidently angered the vacation Gods. We know all about this phenomenon. When we rent a condo on the beach we take hurricane supplies. And we always need them. The good news is that really bad vacations make for great stories later and when you have a great trip you can really appreciate it. Glad you folks are home safe. Best wishes.

  • tulip

    Aw. I was almost teary at your description of yourself turning into your dad. I hate that this trip was so horrid for everyone.
    It’s amazing to me that you can write so well about a situation that was terrible on it’s best day. Hugs to you all.

  • workroom

    “Even his griefs are a joy long after to one that remembers all that he wrought and endured.”


    glad everyone is safe

  • L

    When I was six years old, my parents took me and my siblings (ages 9 and 11 at the time) on a round-the-world trip that took us from SLC to living in Johannesburg, South Africa for two years. We traveled for nearly a month on the way there, about a month after the first year, and another three weeks at the end. We traveled through europe, asia and across the U.S. I guarantee we had crazier times. Like when I threw up on the taxi drivers shag carpet dashboard covering in 100+ degree weather in a traffic jam in Bangkok. With six people in car. Or when my mother had her purse stolen in Singapore. Or when I ate about a pound of fine chocolate in Amsterdam and puked for days. Or when all the kids got sunburned so badly we had blisters and were violently ill in Phuket. (There was a lot of vomit involved in those travels. Lesson learned: bring clothes that wash well in hotel room sinks and dry quickly.)

    I am so sorry to hear about what a disappointment this well deserved vacation turned out to be. I hope you get a vacation from the vacation!

  • Kylee

    Perhaps it is San Diego? Last time I was there, as I was boarding the plane with my 12-month-old son in tow to come back home– literally as I step onto the plane–he pukes his entire day onto me. Of course I had extra clothes for him, but not for me….

    My husband and I have decided that traveling with little kids sucks. At least right now for us. I don’t know how some people do it. And then throw an illness into that mix and you’re doomed for disaster. I’m sorry you had a nightmare trip. Did you at least get to enjoy an In-N-Out burger?

  • susan m

    noooo, don’t blame it on San Diego! We did our best to show the Armstrongs a good time. Couldn’t do anything about the weather, honest.

    I’ll second what Azron said – it was great to meet you and I hope you’ll come back again. I’m glad you were able to have a good time at Aaryn’s, at least for a little while. Next time try Paradise Point on Mission Bay. Still has that waterfront feel but much cheaper than Loews!

  • libraqueen1963

    Hang onto those thoughts of the beach and sunshine. We all need them to get through the winter!

  • libraqueen1963

    Hang onto those thoughts of sunshine and the beach(es). We all need them to get through the winter. Your intentions were good…your next vacation will be GREAT.

  • becky

    Ah! So glad you posted about the trip – I could feel Heather’s aversion to writing about it and now I completely understand why. Bless your hearts.

    On another note, I truly read Heather’s post about Leta’s birthday thinking,”Is that Leta’s uncle? Does Jon have an attractive younger brother?” I have always been such a fan of the beard but I have to say it: Jon, you look fantastic. I was floored by her pic of you. Shave away those SD memories, friend!

  • Nancy King

    Look at it this way…. I think you’ve used up all your bad trip chips so you’re now free an clear to travel with little complication from here on out.

    It’s a theory…

  • Aimee Greeblemonkey

    Geez louise. That’s worse than the Gridwold family vacation.

    Glad you’re all safe and sound.

  • Aimee Greeblemonkey

    Um, that would be Griswold. I am still asleep.

  • Renae

    I FINALLY finished reading this trip report, and I just have to say I AM SO SORRY you had such a shitty time. Ugh. *HUGS* to every one of you, even the dogs. And I’m not that fond of dogs. Hah.

    I am a California native living in New England, and I always try to think up ways I can move my family back (Bay Area though, not Southern) and the realization that there is NO WAY always hits me in the ass. *sigh*
    I hope the universe gives you at least 100 awesome trips in reward for this one.

    Take care!

  • Rachel

    I’m sorry your trip wasn’t the vacation you and Heather needed. You know, reading this entry reminded me of the all crazy family trips of my childhood. My parents did the camping method and we would visit countless National Parks out west. Except, my parents gave up on that idea at some point and such ambitious trips simply ended. I never considered the stress my parents must have felt on these vacations. Today my parents go on cruises- perhaps this is their alternative? Anyway, your entry made me consider this. What a great post.

  • Cathy

    Once when my family was driving from San Diego to Vancouver, we were staying the night in Eugene, Oregon, when my sister woke up at 2 in the morning with a fever of 106. We took her to the hospital where she stayed for a week (and we racked up quite a hotel bill) because as it turns out she had an inflamed fallopian tube (what the hell?!?) and needed it removed. Not a great vacation, but definitely a memorable one.

    I’m so glad you guys are recovering. Feel better!

  • n

    Older and wiser, and with no guts or glory: