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There’s bears in them mountains

By Tara Zandra | September 30, 2007

We just got back from a weekend trip to Big Bear Lake (popular ski area in winter). We’d been looking forward to this trip for a couple months now and Friday night it was finally here!

We started out after Chris got home from work on Friday night. Let me tell you, that was some nail biter of a drive. There was so much fog that visibility was down to maybe 10 feet and the road is very windy up the mountain. Every time another car came towards us I tightened my death grip on the door handle. Of course, I couldn’t express my fear in front of the kids, but neither one of the liked that it was pitch black and Daisy started to feel car sick. Eventually we rose higher than the clouds and it was just gorgeous under the full moon, though still a windy road.

When we made the reservations I wasn’t in the mood to spend a lot on a room so we actually went with a Motel 6. We checked in with no problems and headed to our room. Let me tell you, that room was smaller than our Pop Century room in Disney World and I didn’t think that was possible. Two double beds were squeezed in there and each one had a side pressed up against a wall. There was no clock on the bedside table and no lid on the toilet seat! Never in my life did I imagine a lid was an amenity! But the room was very clean and it was only for two nights so we didn’t mind what it didn’t have and found it rather funny in all.

Daisy had little desire to sleep despite it being well past her bedtime, but eventually she settled down. We put both kids to bed and then Chris and I sat on the floor of the bathroom to pass the time until we wanted to go to bed. After doing that two nights in a row, I must say we’ve decided it’s worth it to spend the money on a small suite on all future weekend trips. However, with nothing to do but sit in a small room, we had wonderful conversations and it really was time well spent.

We went to bed and I slept fitfully and then was awakened by Daisy and Tabitha talking to each other as they do many mornings. I was listening to them and thinking how sweet it was when Chris decided to find his phone to check the time and it was 4:21AM!! Obviously we told them to go back to sleep but Daisy was having none of it at that point. That would be when we realized she’s a horrible traveler, lol. We solved our issue by me switching places with Tabitha so I slept next to Daisy and she fell asleep by being able to hold my hand.

Morning really did come at some point and we took turns getting ready and then headed out to the Moonridge Zoo. It’s a wonderful facility that has many local animals that cannot be released to the wild for various reasons. They have one bear that was found at a mere 13 pounds. A bear! He’s now very healthy but while recovering he did have to have one leg amputated. He’s become a mascot of sorts. We toured for over an hour and then perused the gift shop before leaving. We went to lunch at Denny’s and then went shopping at The Village. The Village is a wonderful collection of what could be described as quaint shops. Mixed in amongst various biker bars, of course. The amount of bikers in Big Bear was astounding until we found out it was the first weekend of Oktoberfest and then it really made sense. There were a lot of shops though so we spent a couple hours browsing all of them. I found an adorable gingerbread man that stands just shy of 2 feet that I fell in love with. Not only was he a great price, but he was 20% off so I had to have him. Oh, speaking of had to have, we went into a children’s boutique and while they mainly carried the Roxy brand (which I like, but it’s easily found at any Macy’s or Sports Chalet) they had a few other brands I’d never seen. Anyway, I found a dress for Miss Daisy that was so adorable we bought it even though it’s short sleeves. It’s so warm right now that I very well may put her in it tomorrow.

As we got the end of our shopping trip, Daisy reached her limit and feel asleep on my shoulder. She didn’t fall asleep enough for me to transfer her to Chris though, so by the time we reached the car my back was screaming. We headed back to our room to see if we could transfer her to a bed to sleep a little longer, but it was so late in the day, we were rather relieved she woke up right away. We kicked back for just a little while and then went back out to do a quick letterbox. It was in a nice grove so I took the time to get some good pics of the girls together and seperately. The only way to get Daisy to smile while looking at the camera was to say her new favorite word, “butts.” Sad, but true. And she says it with such gusto. I don’t even know if she knows what the word means, but she sure breaks out in fabulous gales of laughter when she or anyone else utters it.

We went to a park that was right on the water’s edge and I was able to get more great pics of the kids as well as they got run around time. We then went to kill time at K-Mart of all places. We needed to buy a night light and big cups and since our kids go to bed late, we needed a way to spend the evening that didn’t involve staring at each other in our tiny room. So we looked at all the Christmas and Halloween stuff in K-Mart and then played the great “where should we eat for dinner” game. We had seen a sign for a hole-in-the-wall Mexican place which is right up our alley, but once we pulled up in front of it, we didn’t really think it was our type of place. There was a local cafe back in the village that had an excellent vegetarian menu but being 7:45 on a Saturday night pretty much meant we would have one heck of a wait. In the end, after much indecision, we settled on Carl’s Jr/Green Burrito. It was easier to go with known at that point.

After dinner we went back to the room where I set up a train track for Daisy, Tabitha drew interesting pictures, and Chris and I lazed around until we put the kids to bed. He and I then settled onto the floor of the bathroom for a few hours of talking. We headed to bed a bit after midnight and here’s where the downside or our motel choice came into play. Remember all the bikers in town for Oktoberfest? Well, our motel happened to be across the street from Oktoberfest and they apparently all chose the Motel 6 to crash. So not only could we hear Oktoberfest going on, but all the bikes pulling into the parking lot made it hard to sleep. As did the couple two doors down who were having some type of spat. All we know is he wanted in and she wouldn’t let him in. Much banging and arguing ensued for the next couple of hours. The family next door to us did not take kindly to this matter and called to cops. So at 2:53AM we were treated to one cop banging on their door commanding them to open it (I guess the arguing guy was finally let in) and a sheriff repeating over and over that he was the sheriff and they were there investigating a crime and they were to open the door immediately or they would break it down and the couple would be liable. Apparently the arguing guy said he had no pants to which the sheriff said he didn’t need pants on he needed to open the door. It was threatened that they were to stand clear of the window as they were about to break it in and then the door was open, arguing guy was ordered to the ground with hands over head and eventually handcuffed. Screeching woman was also handcuffed and they were both put into the squad car. Family next door pack up and left while the sheriff apologized saying they almost never have to come out there.

Thankfully Daisy slept through the whole thing, unfortunately Tabitha didn’t fair as well. She was in and out of sleep for over an hour while all this was going on. Chris and I once again retreated to the bathroom to talk because neither of us were able to fall asleep even after all the commotion stopped. We went back to bed and finally fell asleep around 4:30AM. Daisy woke up screaming at 6:30AM and I pulled her into bed with us where she promptly fell back asleep. At that point I was not even going to attempt sleep again so I went to read by myself in, of course, the bathroom. Everyone else woke around 8:00AM and I was feeling the affects of 3 hours of sleep that weren’t even in a row. So after we were dressed we stopped at CVS and I grabbed Excedrin, Red Bull, Twix, and a Diet Coke. The clerk probably thought I had tied one at Oktoberfest. Let me tell you, that little combo did the trick. I was wide awake for the next 6 hours feeling perfectly fine and alert.

Oh, I have to interject a little Tabitha funny. Before I hopped out of the car at CVS, Chris asked me to buy him a Red Bull as well. Tabitha turned to him and asked very sadly why we were buying beer, lol. The child was much relieved to find out it was simply an energy drink and non-alcoholic.

Anyway, today’s destination was the Big Bear Lake Discovery Center which was small buy interesting. We made some souvenir purchases in the gift shop and then headed to a nearby nature trail. It served the purpose of a nature walk for us, but also finding another letterbox. Daisy did not appreciate having to walk and in fact, Chris carried her a good portion of the walk. It was only a mile and a half, but rather uphill, hot, and high altitude so it was the easy walk I had envisioned. We weren’t planning on “hiking” per se, just wanted to experience the beautiful area. Turns out, it’s not that beautiful. I really hate talking ill of my state, but it was kind of ugly. It’s a dry area and mainly brown as opposed to colorful and even the evergreens were brown which defies their name. We did have a wonderful view and saw a few bits of wildlife. Once again I was able to take pictures of the kids.

Once we were done with our trek we grabbed lunch at Subway and started the long drive home. We planned it so Daisy would nap and figured Tabitha would play her Gameboy but the windy road didn’t agree with Tabi so she just listened to my ipod instead.

And so we’ve been home for a few hours now. It was a wonderful weekend despite the very odd motel occurance. I’ll try to get up a picture page soon, but Monday is my busy day so I’m not going to even try to make a guess of when that might be done.

Topics: Life |

2 Responses to “There’s bears in them mountains”

  1. Vanessa Says:
    October 1st, 2007 at 10:01 am

    Wow, that was quite an eventful weekend! Something about the image of you and Chris sitting on the bathroom floor just makes me grin. :D

    We’ve been to Big Bear twice in the last year — once on Christmas Eve when it was all snowy, and once sometime in the spring — and the twisty mountain roads scared the you-know-what out of me both times. I really do like it up there, though. It’s pretty cool that we have the mountains, beach and desert all right here.

  2. Aunt Kari Says:
    October 1st, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    I am sitting here in my office reading this and I am laughing out loud! Tears are running down my cheeks. Good thing my boss isn’t here, he would think I was looney.

    I can just picture your Saturday night. But really, sitting in the bathroom on the floor, is too funny. It probably wasn’t funny to you Saturday night, though.

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