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Four Day Weekend Not So Relaxing

     Jeepers! You’d think a vacation in February just wouldn’t make sense for a Southern California gal. Why leave the sunshine behind?

     I had a four day weekend ahead. The plan was to drive to the sunny, sunny shores of Arizona and camp out at the Embassy Suites in Phoenix with hosts of hockey players from high schools all across the country.

     Actually, we didn’t know about the hockey players until we got there. Everywhere you looked there were hockey players with their team jerseys - filling the elevators, the lobby, the breakfast bar.

     We got up kind’a early that morning and loaded our satchels in the car. Just as we were going out the door, our son called to tell us Interstate 8 was still closed.

     I chose the one weekend in a hundred years that a snow storm hit San Diego County! We’d heard about the I-8 being closed the afternoon before, but figured it would be open by now. Figured wrong.

     We stopped for breakfast and hung around for a while, waiting. Finally we got tired of looking at our empty plates and headed out. It was a pleasant and quick drive to Alpine where we joined hundreds of travelers parked on the freeway. We moved occasionally, but mostly just we just sat there. After about forty minutes the line broke loose.

     We didn’t fare much better in Phoenix. I couldn’t get an Internet connection at the hotel, they don’t have newspapers on weekends and the gift shop went out of business a year ago. We drove around for hours trying to find the family-type restaurant on 40th Street I’d seen earlier that day near our hotel. I swore it was on 40th Street but it wasn’t there when we went back to check so I called and the guy at the restaurant said it was on West 40th Street. We were on the East side, but that’s what he said, so we set out west to find Chelsea’s Kitchen.

     We drove and drove and drove. It was getting late. We came to a detour, which we experienced bump by bump. By now there wasn’t much of Phoenix left so we turned around, drove south to escape the detour and headed east again.

     Chelsea’s Kitchen was right where it was supposed to be. On East 40th Street. The parking lot was jam-packed with people and cars and a “Valet Parking” sign greeted us expensively. We left.

Fortunately, I had a backup plan. I’d seen a restaurant in a little shopping center a few blocks back. We found it - no problem, parked our own car and went in.

     The place was noisy, crowded, and the menus had prices without cents. We were greeted and seated right away. I ordered soup for fifteen; he ordered “Mark’s own spaghetti recipe with organic sauce” for twenty-eight. More like acidic sauce, but then what can you expect for twenty-eight dollars? The soup was good. I especially enjoyed separating the clams from their shells. I don’t get to do that very often.

     The drive back was uneventful – other than the large iced tea, full, spilled all over his trousers while we were traveling sixty miles an hour down – you guessed it! Interstate 8 - and the vending machine at the rest stop that took my dollar and a quarter and wouldn’t give me the bottle of water. There was a button to push to get your change back, but nothing to push to get your dollar bill back.

     This morning I went back to work. No traffic hold-ups, no detours, my Internet connection worked fine, and the 7-11 was right where it was supposed to be. I kind’a missed the hockey players, but otherwise it was all quite relaxing.

     I really should go to work more often.

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