Almost a year ago – we sat with Steve’s brother and wife at his parent’s 50th wedding celebration and we determined we were going to go on a trip together this year, as a birthday celebration for Bob and a graduation celebration for Steve.

We originally had grand plans to visit someplace exotic, you only graduate from your masters once, right?! But then reality sets in and it’s hard to leave the kids and there’s not enough vacation days and when it boiled down to it – we were looking at a long weekend getaway. We each submitted our ideas for the ideal weekend getaway and we landed on Catalina Island, California.

Last weekend we made good on that trip just two weeks before Steve finishes his program – it was just what we needed to push us across the finish line.

First, let me say that although we claim them as family, Bob and Virginia are really our friends. We built our relationship while living near them in Wisconsin and we look forward to the time when we get to see them every year.

They flew into Arizona and we drove together to California. The 6 hour road trip was one of my highlights. Constant conversation – great insights – plenty of jokes and fun. These two are brothers by blood but they share so much more and I can’t help but watch them when they’re together and when they get laughing at each other’s jokes. It made for an enjoyable ride.
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We parked the car and boarded a boat that took us to the island.
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About half way through the ride Steve went and stood on the back of the boat to unwind just a bit. I found him like this:
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He has been so heavy lately with stress and responsibility – all he was looking to do was unwind for a weekend. He got most of the way just standing in the wind listening to the ocean.
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By the time we arrived at the island, we were 8 hours into our trip and it had already exceeded our expectations. And it got better.

The island is small – the city (at a square mile) was even smaller. Everyone gets around by walking or golf cart and there were beautiful colors everywhere. It was picturesque and we felt much further than 30 miles from California. The place we rented had the most beautiful views and it came with a complimentary golf cart that allowed us to explore.
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There were plenty of activities on the island – although with the chilly weather we were served, we stayed clear of any water activities. But the land activities kept us entertained and occupied.

We went on a segway tour that was more fun that I would’ve imagined. Although Bob and Virginia had both been on them before – Steve and I were newbies and we had a blast. We went on a tour that took us to the top of the island ridge with beautiful views. But I’m convinced it doesn’t matter where you take a segway, it’s fun. My cheeks were hurting from smiling and laughing and my legs were sore from the physical exertion. (Surprisingly, your calves get a little sore as you lean forward to accelerate!)

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Because part of the weekend’s agenda was to relax and rejuvenate – we couldn’t ride segways all day (although we did try to ride them a second time and the weather didn’t cooperate). Instead we spent an afternoon at a spa. My first experience with a spa and I get what all the hype is about. I enjoyed it – Steve needed it. And we made sure to spend all afternoon there. It was a beautifully remodeled facility with the guest in mind. I thought for sure Steve was going to bring his suitcase and unpack there for the whole weekend.
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And once we relaxed for a day – we went on another adventure: zip-line. 5 different lines equaling over 3/4 of a mile. It was fun and exciting. It was evident in this trip that I have a need for speed. The faster the better. I kept wanting to see a longer/faster line!
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We took the golf cart and toured the island. I’m not sure how I was nominated, but I became the weekend chauffeur in the cart, the only one who drove it. And if I’m being honest – I was pretty good. There were some tricky parking situations and I nailed them!

We came across the funniest little pet cemetery that seemed so displaced.  photo 20150425-DSC_7516.jpg
We saw historical sights of the island like the old casino and Wrigley mansion. We saw beautiful views of the ocean.
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Another aspect of this vacation was the food. I enjoyed each place we ate. We made sure to pick up a treat each night and we had more than enough treats and snacks in our rental. With each meal came more conversation and fun. We ate breakfast from our place each morning overlooking the ocean in all is glory with boats coming and going.

We went bowling. We played cards. We walked around the city.

We had a great time. The weekend was everything we’d hoped for and more. Our travel companions were awesome – we miss living close to them. We’re so grateful that we were able to pull this trip off and reconnect.

Even better is now being able to relive the memories of our trip with them for years to come.