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Granddaughters on Board - The First Day

Our trip to California had one commitment, taking care of our two granddaughters, ages 5 and 3, during their two week school break. The school is on a year round schedule which explains the vacation this time of year. We look at this as a special privilege of grandparenthood.

Monday we stayed with the girls at their house. Tuesday morning Dad dropped the girls off on his way to work. The girls would be ours for three days and two nights. Mom had several night events at the school where she works. Dad's schedule runs in 12 hour shifts. We'd save traveling to and from and the girls get the fun of staying with us in the motor home.

All of our grandchildren think that the coolest thing about our motor home is that the couch folds out into a bed. We have wheels, a big engine, we can go anywhere. We have satellite TV, satellite radio, hot running water, cold drinks in the refrigerator, air conditioning and heat on demand. But none of that matters ... the first thing the girls want to do is turn the couch into a bed! It's ten o'clock in the morning and they want to turn the couch into a bed.

We had plans for the day, a trip to the local zoo and amusement park, Micke Park in Lodi, California. After two weeks of near 100 degree weather, the weather has been rainy and cool this week. We arrive at the zoo after several attempts to navigate an area with roads that have been rerouted after our GPS data. There are about a dozen cars in the parking lot. We pay to enter, where are the restrooms? We enjoy walking through at a child's pace. Check 'em off, eagle, snow leopard, turtles - yawn, baboons - he-he!, iguana, doves and ibis. Thirty minutes later, we're leaving the zoo.

The attendant at the zoo had told us she didn't think the amusement park was open but a short walk and we found the open gate. The young man who sold us the tickets for the rides left the booth to be the train engineer for our first ride. This is a small amusement park, the most challenging ride is the scrambler which grandpa rides with the girls. They both love the scrambler. The girls ride the cars, the airplanes, merry-go-round, the strawberries and the fish. Along the way the girls make friends with a boy who is here with dad. They exchange names, become friends in an instant. They are the only three children in the amusement park. The two boys who are running the entire park today take turns escorting us all from ride to ride.

There is a Japanese Garden so the three children and adults go to see the carp swimming in the ponds. The girls love fish and enjoy watching the carp, marveling at all the interesting colors and patterns. Did I mention that dad is an avid fisherman and the oldest girl has a stuffed fish that she sleeps with? Yes, as in a mafia novel, she sleeps with the fish! The fish was with us this morning, waiting in the car while we enjoyed the park. Both girls give their new found friend a hug goodbye and we're off to the parking lot.

Lunch comes next. We're off to Denny's where the girls start with a trip to the restroom. They order kid pizzas and smoothies. And yes, there is another trip to the restroom for both. We need a quick stop at Wal-Mart which turns into another trip to the restroom for both girls. Boy, grandma is getting a real work-out doing restroom duty. A quick stop for gas and we're on our way home. Day one comes to an exciting close as we fold out the couch into a bed! The girls sleep well through the night.


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