Living 3,000 miles away from your parents isn’t easy. Seeing them means either traveling back east or having them visit you. As work often makes it difficult for me to get back home to New York, I try to encourage my parents to fly west. Our two home-visit options are Los Angeles (where I live) and Davis, California (where my grandma, aunt and uncle live). Yes, there’s a lot to do LA, but sometimes you just want to use your parents as an excuse to do something different. And no, there’s not a lot to do in Davis, so sometimes you need to do something different. And have a real vacation.
MOTHER’S DAY: DEATH VALLEY ROAD TRIP
This year, I was able to rope my parents into doing two different trips targeted towards things we were all willing to do. For Mother’s Day, my mom came out to visit me and we drove to Death Valley for the weekend—figuring that early May would still be tolerable there heat- wise, but not for much longer. My mom has been wanting to visit Death Valley for some hippie dippy reason forever and I want to visit all the national parks in California —Death Valley being the only one that I can’t get anyone to visit with me, probably because of like, the heat.
We had a great time driving to and from and through Death Valley, seeing natural formations unlike anything we’ve seen before—from the wavy sand formations of Zabriskie Point to the lowest point in the valley at Badwater Basin. With few cars around, and coyotes roaming the roads in bright daylight, it’s hard not to imagine you’re at the bottom of an emptied out ocean.
If you visit, don’t count too highly on the food. The options were… let’s just say, limited. Although our burgers for dinner were tasty, mom was pretty picky about her tequila and missed real, fresh squeezed lime juice (don’t even get her started on the canned pineapple at the breakfast buffet).
FATHER’S DAY: SAN FRANCISCO & BASEBALL
If I were back in New York for Father’s Day, there’s no way I could get my dad to go to a baseball game. He’d rather watch it with me at home and eat hot dogs in the comfort of his own living room. Call him a “curmudgeon” if you will. But this year my work schedule precluded a visit home, and I was able to convince him to travel AND go to a baseball game!
Seeing the Yankees in Oakland, California, Father’s Day Weekend, what could be more perfect? Dad would get to visit his mom and sister and me in Davis, and then we could spend the weekend in the fabulous city of San Francisco and have an adventure somewhere we’ve never been before—not that we have any desire to go back to the Oakland Coliseum.
Along with my mom, my boyfriend, and another friend, dad and I went to brunch in the Mission, an up and coming brunch neighborhood, where as you walk around you can see the remnants of last night’s parties in the streets. Like tourists, we drove across the Golden Gate Bridge for iconic pictures, then spent time walking down by the Ferry Building and piers. It’s always fun to imagine what the city was like in Beat times, especially because it appears that many of the same colorful characters have remained. The boys went out to Tadich Grill, “California’s oldest restaurant,” for the “best Cioppino” (the best according to a friend and many others on the Internet. Zagat’s 24/30 review says of Tadich Grill that “they define Cioppino”). My mom and I enjoyed drinking tequila and nibbling on grilled veggies and pizzettes during happy hour at the Ferry Building.
Lesson learned: If you take the time to find something you want to do that your parents can enjoy with you, they can be convinced to go on some pretty cool trips. Next stop? Hoping for Portland, Oregon for the scenery, coffee, and of course, Voodoo Doughnuts.