…a damned tricky process, that!
DogCon 5, Trip Day 1, Part 1
Only Sasha and I are awake, and then only long enough for her to pee outside and me to tell our autopilot, Data (who can now drive above the speed limit if he needs to), to drive the bus to San Diego. Yes, we are officially starting out from San Diego this year. However, we will NOT be going straight from there to Texas. Where would be the fun in that? No, we are first going up the length of the Pacific Coast to Seattle, then down a wandering path to Texas. See, the left coast of Our Great Nation is almost as rich in nutty roadside attractions as the Midwest is, and as readers of past reports know, we loves us some roadside strangeness.
Anyhow, due to circumstances beyond my control, I did not get to bed early, so I’ll take up my duties as bus driver when we leave San Diego.
(Sasha: All done peeing, Dad!)
Now I’m off to fire up Data and hit the sack like everybody else. More bloggage in 8 hours or so.
Radio Station: “SteamRock”, the best of 1880’s rock & roll
Destination Sign: Terrapin Station
DogCon 5, Trip Day 1, Part 2
After just shy of 8 hours of sleep, I was awakened by the smell of bacon and eggs and toast and waffles and all manner of wonderful breakfast smells. Turns out that we had stopped in San Diego 45 minutes earlier and my lovely bride and most of my friends had started brekky while letting me sleep. Once I was awake, I was joined in bed by critters and a tray of food, which I’m pretty sure had a strong connection.
Sasha: Dad shares his food with us sometimes. Today, I got some scrambled eggs.
Bea: That was good toast. I love marmalade.
Lucy: Mmmm, sausage grease on toast!
Abby: Sliced bananas! Yum!
Flash: Cereal milk…Cap’n Crunch flavor!
After food, tea and a hot shower, it was time to take a remarkably short drive (3.25 miles) to our very first roadside attraction, The Garbage Zoo. Located smack in the middle of a very wealthy neighborhood, it covers three acres of land owned by the wealthiest family in San Diego county. Featuring larger than life size statues of over 300 animals, all built from assorted types of non-food garbage, it apparently attracts over a million visitors a year (at only $3.00 a head), much to the chagrin of the neighbors. The place opened in 1989 after a series of lawsuits and, I strongly suspect, greased palms of politicians & judges.
Now, none of these statues are permanent, as our guide informed us. Most are kept around for 6 months or so, then taken apart and either used to build new statues or recycled. This building and rebuilding is all done by art students from UCSD and is paid for by a hefty grant from the folks who own the property. The mostly recyclable materials are donated by the county landfill.
It’s all quite cool and I reckon Grace & I took about 400 pictures. Unlike real zoos, pet type critters are welcome, so ours got to check out this place. Overall, I’d say they enjoyed themselves.
(Flash: That was an…interesting place.)
(Abby: The rosebushes were very tasty.)
(Sasha: There were squirrels living in that humongous giraffe!)
(Lucy: You wanna hear about squirrels, little sister? Oh, Flash and I can tell you about squirrels!)
Flash: Heh heh, oh yeah, we got a squirrel story alright!
(Bea: They had some pretty choice herbs growing in those herb gardens by the enormous hippos.)
The whole tour took about an hour and most of us agreed that the coolest statues were the troupe of mountain gorillas made entirely out of crushed plastic bottles and gallon milk jugs. The big silverback male was 15 feet tall and had pretty amazing detail. Several of us posed in “look out, King Kong has escaped” poses with it.
Of course, once the tour was done we hit the gift shop and bought our first round of t-shirts, postcards, bumper stickers and refrigerator magnets. Having done that, we are now on the road up the Pacific Coast to our next destination, Carlsbad and the first of not one or two, but three tourist traps.
More bloggage soon.
Radio Station: “Newsreel”, Great news reports from 1922 – 1959
Destination Sign: The Moon
DogCon 5, Trip Day 1, Part 3
We interrupt this section of the trip report to finally tell the story of: The Return Of Avis & Avis.
OK, so readers of last years report know that Avis got duplicated due to a goofy series of events that triggered some quantum level timey wimey shit that I’ll never come close to understanding. The cool thing about it all, once everyone got done freaking out, was that my good friend could finally go to CatCon (remember, the con name switches between canine & feline each year) and go to GenCon, which she hasn’t missed in decades and which you know we are missing because we are going on this imaginary con trip.
Anyway, Avis was at home a few days before we were due to leave for DogCon and she woke up on a Thursday morning to find her duplicate snoozing next to her. As she tells it, it took her 4 seconds to realize what happened and then call me. I’ll mention in passing that Avis woke up at 7 AM that morning…on the East Coast. That means my phone rang at 4 AM.
To her credit, Avis was not quite as panicky as she had a right to be, probably from being duplicated a year ago, which I think tends to reset your Weird Shit-O-Meter. She asked me what the fuck was going on, a question I had no answer for, especially at that unholy hour of the day. Generally speaking, at 4 AM I’m doing pretty well if I can give you my name. I did my best to calm her and then told her I’d get Joe right on it in a few minutes. Then I suggested that this might be a good time for her to take care of stuff around her house and such. She agreed that was a good idea, then said goodbye and hung up.
I called Joe and gave him the scoop. He then called Avis and talked to both of her, after which he called me back. It seems that Avis had been thinking of the trip last year and wishing she could go to both cons again. Meanwhile, the other Avis, who apparently actually comes from a reality almost exactly like ours, had been wishing the same thing. At this point you can insert about 15 minutes of Joe talking about “transdimensional convergences”…blah blah blah…“echoes in the quantum foam”…blah, blah, blah…”spontaneous energizing” and even more blah, blah, blah. The upshot was that Avis would be in two places in our reality for at least the duration of the trip and the con.
After that, I called Avis and told her I’d send her some money from the “Chocolate Account” (we found out last year that we could sell the chocolate from the Chocolate Room for a nice profit) via PayPal and one of her could fly out here to the West Coast to join us for the trip. Thus, a couple of days before we left, Avis arrived. She said that by the time she left, her house was shiny clean and organized, her various chores were caught up and she had read 11 books.
Lucy: We critters love Auntie Avis! She gives good tummy rubs!
Flash: Yeah, and she knows how to treat a cat!
Abby: And she likes goats, too!
Bea: She said I was very pretty!
Sasha: She rubbed my tummy and petted my ears!
We now return to our regular trip report.
Our first stop, in Carlsbad, was actually a big time tourist attraction, Legoland USA. It was fun and cool and we spent a couple of hours there, but really, you can read all about Legoland online.
The really cool roadside attraction, which coincidentally is also based around kids construction toys, is only a couple of miles further inland: Tinker Toy/Lincoln Log City. According to our guide, the now 75 year old youngest son of the original builder, this place started because his dad wanted to spend time with his three sons and all of them loved building stuff with Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs. It helped that old dad had made a bundle in cattle, oil and later, real estate, because it allowed him to buy a couple million buck worth of both toy sets straight from the factories over the years.
They put all those colored dowels, little wooden hole filled rounds and pre-cut mini logs to great use. Housed in a big warehouse now, the city measures 275 feet by 100 feet and has buildings up to 60 feet tall. There are also farms and fields where strange Tinker Toy creatures frolic. It was actually more impressive than Legoland, which was built by a big corporation.
We were there for about an hour or so and actually bought all of the t-shirts they had left. Sadly, no fridge magnets.
Next, we did a couple of hours of San Diego sightseeing.
Flash: During this time, we critters spent our time in the meadow room, where I stalked, dispatched and dined upon a few mice.
Bea: I wonder why those mice or insects never leave the meadow room?
Lucy: It’s because of those damned SmartBots!
Sasha: That meadow is fun to run around in!
Abby: The meadow has tasty tasty weeds!
Insert a quick stop to eat burgers, fries and shakes at In N Out, which for several of our happy crew was a first.
Flash: Son of a bitch! If I had known there was gonna be burgers, I wouldn’t have scarfed all of those mice! I slept through the entire lunch stop.
Sasha: Sucks to be you, Flash. I had a Double Double, minus onions.
Lucy: Ditto on the Double Double action!
Abby: Bea and I had fries & shakes.
Bea: They were yummy!
Flash: I hate all of you!
Our third stop of the day was up the road a ways and right next to Camp Pendelton, the big Marine Corps base. It was “The World Famous Camp Pendelton (not affiliated with the United States Marine Corps) UFO Museum. It’s in an old house on a big cattle ranch and if you think the old couple running the joint are a bit odd, you are on the money. As with most UFO museums, this one started off because the old couple saw “strange lights in the sky” which they soon decided were “spying on our military” nearby. Oddly, the Marines don’t have a clue about any of this, which our hosts told us was “proof of a government cover up”.
As with almost all of these places, the photos and videos were shaky and blurry, the “strange metal fragments” could have been anything and there was a self published book you could buy. Spike bought one of the books, several of us bought t-shirts & bumper stickers and we were out of there in under an hour.
Lucy: We were out in the country, with rabbits and cows and chickens and things…and we were locked in the bus! WTF, Dad?
Flash: What Lucy said!
Sasha: Yeah, we could have been going walkies!
Abby: Carnivores…go figure.
Bea: I went back in the Meadow Room for a frolic.
We are now stopped in San Clemente because there ain’t no way I’m driving in rush hour traffic in the City of Angels. Instead, we are about go walk along the beach before continuing on around 7 PM. After that, we’ll be spending the night in Malibu.
The blogishness continues later.
Radio Station: “Punk Broadway”, Punk bands doing the great Broadway show tunes
Destination Sign: Grandma’s House
DogCon 5, Trip Day 1, Part 4
We are parked in Malibu, in the parking lot of a popular seafood restaurant owned by my old buddy, Tony Sanchez. Tony and I go way back and he was more than happy to let us stay here overnight. He also treated us to a seafood dinner the likes of which we may never see again. Hot damn, was it good! He even fed the critters, which explains why they are all konked out. Of course, so are almost all of the humans, too.
Our trip here from San Clemente went smoothly. While I drove, everybody else watched half hour episodes of the live action tv series “Dungeons & Dragons”. I am reliably informed that the series did not suck. Later, after dinner, we played some boardgames and I got my ass handed to me at both Kill Doctor Lucky and Settlers Of Catan. Just was not my night.
Tomorrow, we are going up the coast where we should hit three more roadside attractions before stopping for the night. Also on tap for tomorrow, Joe expects to get the parts we need to fully repair the TARDIS unit.
I’m off to bed now, Catch y’all tomorrow.
Radio Station: “Born In The USSA”, Celebrating the music of Ruby Springsteen and the E Street Band
Destination Sign: Sunnydale, CA