Truckster’s Tribute to Woody Wagons

Sidewalk mosaic

Sidewalk mosaic


For the second time this summer we have come across a woody wagon themed show! These are special times for us because the Truckster always sticks out sorely, yet is a crowd favorite. The car show in Encinitas was a classic example of the Truckster going above and beyond compared to the other woodies.
Woody celebrations!

Woody celebrations!


All of the woody wagons looked spectacular, were made of real wood and most had surfboards on the top (we are in California ya know). When I was going around taking pictures of the cars I thought the boards looked cool and thought, “Man, that would be neat if we had a surfboard on top of our car.” However, I got to the Truckster to take a photo and STILL, after almost 3 months of driving it, laughed out loud when I looked at our roof rack and saw a dead Aunt Edna. Some things will never get old…
Our version of a surfboard

Our version of a surfboard


Very old school surfwagon

Very old school surfwagon

Another interesting Truckster moment happened when we met a family who has been tailing us around California! They said we must have crossed paths on the Pacific Coast Highway when we were coming from San Francisco to Los Angeles. They live in Orange County, just south of LA, but didn’t get see us when we were there either. Finally, now that we’re in San Diego, they found us at the car show! Not only that, but the Dad was wearing a Wally’s World t-shirt—a true fan! Something tells me they might drive a bright red Ferrari…
We’ll be at the beaches in San Diego tomorrow, see you then!

-John

Surf's up!

Surf's up!

A goodbye salute to life as a Truckie

I’m really bad with goodbyes. I figured I’d get it over with ahead of time so that I will be able to enjoy my last few days on the road. (I don’t ACTUALLY leave until Sunday, but…) From the beautiful Newport Beach of Orange County, California… I typed this farewell to my summer of fun while surrounded by the serene ambiance of sand below me and waves crashing before me.

It’s strange to think that in less than one week’s time I’ll be back in Austin, Texas. For those who don’t know, I’m leaving the tour just a few days early since I am moving to New York City for my full-time job this September. This summer’s adventure has been just that, an adventure. There have been bumps and bruises along the way (from stacking and unstacking our hard-shell Samsonites, not doubt,) tired days and days I wished would never end. But all in all, I’m proud to call myself a “Truckie” and sad to be leaving that name behind. There are memories I will keep engrained in my senses for years to come – like the smell of the Truckster, and this high-pitched, fast laugh that resonates from John when something unexpected happens. I will miss turning heads when I drive down the street… some how I just don’t think my white Hyundai Elantra will elicite the same reaction.

There are things I would say I’ve become a bit of an expert at – like washing the front windshield, remembering to keep track of my receipts and to leave a thank you note. But there are some things, though almost three-months later, I still can’t get used to – like pumping gas into the trunk, ‘happily’ eating out every meal, and living out of a suitcase every day.

At the same time. I’m preparing myself for a transition period in my life. The Truckster travels conveniently mark the end of an era. Now 23, I suppose it’s time to ‘women’ up; it’s time to be an adult. I’m assuming it’s going to take determination to convince my full-time self that sitting behind a desk on your computer is a bit more normal than typing away while hundreds of miles of scenery pass by my passenger seat window. I hope my new office provides good coffee because this summer I’ve expanded my taste buds having experienced probably the very best AND the very worst American coffee vendors have to offer.

But happily, I enter this transition into the ‘real world’ with…

Steph with map

…a new found respect for our country

AdamAnnen

…respect for the daily grind (thanks to the amazingly dedicated HomeAway.com PR team)

JohninNewYork

…a new friend who I will dearly miss, but will never hesitate to call

(and never thought I’d say this one)

familytruckster

An obnoxiously obsessive love of the Wagon Queen Family Truckster.

Bye y’all and in the words of the man who saw an opportunity to create something incredible, and has brought more smiles to complete strangers this summer than he could ever imagine… as Gary Schneider, Mr. Wagon Queen Family Truckster himself wrote on the back of my favorite Truckie shirt when I asked for his autograph, “Keep on Truckin.’

Now, enough of that. Grab a tissue, get your head in the game, and watch this video of our STELLAR vacation rental in Anaheim, California! We’re hanging out here for tomorrow (BREAK DAY!) and Thursday we’re headed to San Diego!

Storming the Beaches!

Painted lifeguard towers---a colorful touch!

Painted lifeguard towers---a colorful touch!


The last couple days we took advantage of the Southern California sun and hit the beaches. LA has some of the country’s most famous beaches including Santa Monica, Venice, Hermosa, Manhattan and Long Beach. Turns out an old woody wagon is a hit here in SoCal! Both Truckster fans and old school California lovers appreciated the Truckster for its cosmetic glory—not to mention the fact that we were giving away beach balls and frisbees AT the beach!
Venice Beach

Venice Beach


We find ourselves in Hermosa beach right now which is great because I hear this is one of the best surfing beaches in the LA area. I’ve been doing some surfing since we got here and trying to convince Steph to do the same but she claims the water is too cold. I also just grabbed a sweet deal on a longboard skate board—$30! When he said I could have it for $30, I asked him what’s wrong with it. His response, “It’s in really good shape, wheels are good, no cracks in the board, it’s just really ugly is all.” Clearly, I’m not one to judge the appearance of my transportation so I took him up on the offer. I told the him I’d give him a ride in the Truckster for giving me such a sweet price, I’m pretty sure he just made the best deal of his life!
Hermosa Beach street signs

Hermosa Beach street signs


One thing to note about the west coast is that most days start out hazy and end up completely sunny. This is a trend we’ve been spotting since Seattle. We thought the “burning off” was just a northwest thing, but as I write, I can see the haze disappearing from the Hermosa Beach horizon. If you’ve been following our blog, you’ll see how Steph and I can never seem to come to grips with this miracle of Mother Nature.
Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier


Tomorrow we’re headed to Anaheim, home of Disneyland. I’m going to be looking out for Donald Duck because I’m seeking an autograph from the King of Quack. We might come back to LA for a Dodgers game or visit Newport Beach to add to our SoCal beach experiences. Talk to you soon…

Truckster does the “Drive of Fame”

Preparing for The Academy!

Preparing for The Academy!

We decided to head in to Hollywood today to give tourists a chance to have a celebrity sighting. Since, I’m pretty sure most celebrities just drive up and down Hollywood Blvd. when they’re not filming, we were afraid the competition might be tough!  As you can see, we grabbed a lot of attention, probably more than Brangelina!

-John

P.S. We’re pretty sure we’ve seen about 15 celebs so far…but that could easily be “zero” because neither Steph nor I have any sort of facial recognition skills.

A very Truckie bday in Southern California

I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting much for the big two-three this year on the birthday calendar. Mostly because I hardly know what day it is anymore… thus the fact that it was ALREADY birthday time really caught me by surprise.

But alas, the day has now come and gone, and I – for one – am all the older and wiser because of it.

How does a Truckie celebrate while on the road? you ask.

Well, It started with a surprise ‘mission.’

“Get in the car” John requested ever-so-pleasantly.

And away we went, cruising down Santa Monica Boulevard.

Destination: Cupcakes.

We soon arrived in Beverly Hills at the world’s very first cupcakery, Sprinkles. There was a line out the door, but John strutted past the sweet-toothed hopefuls and reemerged only moments later with a package that had my name on it.

My surprise was from HomeAway headquarters who had ordered me California’s finest birthday treat – 12 gourmet cupcakes that spelled out “It’s Your BDay!”

bday cupcakes

YUM!

The rest of my ‘break day/birthday’ festivites included catching up with one of my favorite people who lives just south of LA, laying on the beach, watching the sunset behind the cliffs off the California coast line and hiking through one of the ‘local trails’ (the kind that’s not for tourists – word.) and finding a light house!

hiking pic of steph

Wait, I think I found a light house...

lighthouse on Cali coast

...I did!

My day was all very memorable and fun. Thanks for all the texts, tweets, Facebook messages and wall posts, and silly phone calls wishing me a very “Happy Birthday!”

❤ (The now twenty-three-year-old) Steph

PS – We’re still enjoying the Hollywood scene these days. Check out the presents that arrived today from HomeAway headquarters in Austin!

shipment from HQ

All for me? You really shouldn't have.

Those boxes may or may not be cozies and beach balls and frisbees and more…you’ll just have to come to this evening’s Anaheim Angel’s tailgate or tomorrow’s 10th Annual Uptown Whittier Car Show to find out!!!

An Emotional Day In the Truckster

My best travel companion

My best travel companion

Saying goodbye to an old friend can be gut wrenching. However, I can’t say I didn’t see it coming. She had been through so much, yet remained by my side the whole time. It may have been the 43rd state, multiple continent shifts or the roughly 2,937,199 stairs she was battered against.

Countless beatings were incurred throughout the entire journey—but not so fast! They weren’t all from me…Frequent punches from hydraulic arms, endless jostling and bumping for hours and constantly moving in and out of cars and houses all contributed to the decaying of her exoskeleton. Or maybe it was that one time I pushed her down a flight of stairs, constructively.

The damage began with her right shoulder…what started as a tiny tear evolved into a full rip, with frayed bits of cloth as proof. Next thing you know, teeth were not lining up correctly and began falling out— almost daily. “Only a few more rides,” I told her, “just a few more.”
Soon our trip ended and, for the time being, she was laid to rest. A year later, after a phone call about a new trip, I knew I needed her more than ever. I opened up the closet and there she was, well-rested, yet still damaged. I looked straight at her— “Let’s ride.” She was game.

For the second time in 3 years we were out on the open road, just me and her, free as birds. We had a deal, she carried my things around for me and I brought her wherever I went. Like nachos and cheese, we were inseparable. Although we both thought this was a new beginning, we had really just picked up where we left off. Soon, time began to take its toll on our relationship. About a month ago I noticed some parts of her just…falling off. She’d roll into town in one form and leave in another, shedding bits and pieces along the way. Who did she think she was? I thought we had an agreement!

Then, the unthinkable happened. Last Friday, her skin sustained a blow it couldn’t recover from. I could still recognize her if I looked at her, but when I pulled the zipper around her, it was like zipping a ghost. “ZIP!” I cried, hugging her tightly, sitting on her just to keep her closed. “ZIIIIIIIIPPP SHUUUTTT!!!” I glanced down at her, none of her teeth were still attached, not even close. In fact, the “gums” holding her teeth in place had been demolished, only floss-like bits of string remained.

Keep yourself together!

Keep yourself together!

This morning, I carefully gripped her in my arms and swathed her in bungee cords for one last ride. On the way from Pismo Beach to Los Angeles we stopped at a mammoth, ritzy department store to pick up a newer, sleeker model.
“This is the one you want,” the saleswoman told me, “Very sturdy, even has a 10-year warranty and for a great price.” I wanted to look at her and say, “Can you put a price on tossing your friend down a flight of stairs? Can you give me a 10-year warranty on companionship? CAN YOU EVEN TELL ME IF THIS THING FITS IN AN OVERHEAD COMPARTMENT?!!?!” However, all that was summed up as, “I’ll take it.”

After a quick transition of items in the parking lot, I held my old pal’s arm one last time and we slowly walked to the Panda Express dumpster across the parking lot. I hoisted her up, never feeling her this light and weak before, and gently (to avoid having chow mein splash in my face) laid her to rest in the dumpster. I’ll never forget you my functional friend.

“Chap” and I have a lot of building to do. I still don’t understand some things about him, like why he has to have 4 wheels instead of the standard 2. He needed coaxing when I put all my belongings in him and didn’t even have an efficient way to handle my dirty clothes! It’s going to be a learning experience for both of us, but I know we can do it. Heck, we’re Hollywood’s newest powercouple!

Who's that new Hollywood couple?!

Who's that new Hollywood couple?!

Oakland Athletics vs Texas Rangers and driving down the California coast

*I must preclude the following story by noting that my description of the event below does not do justice to the surprising reality of what took place at the yesterday’s ballgame. I promise. It was weird in a memorable, “that was cool,” kind of way.

After a few hours of meeting the fun fans who were tailgating before the game, we made our way into the park. We waited and waited to see someone slide into home base, but the score remained 0 – 0 for a good portion of the game. Finally the Rangers scored two runs! I cheered loudly in the mostly Oakland fan filled crowd, in hopes that the boys from Texas would hold onto the lead until…

“Ladies and gentlemen, please rise and join us in the seventh inning, Oakland Athletics tradition of singing ‘Take me out to the ball game,’” Boomed the announcer’s voice.

Everyone promptly rose to their feet, music began to play, and before I knew it the crowd erupted in song. The stadium filled with the voices of spectators and players alike, in a harmonious display of unified sportsmanship and group effort.

The vocal styling of each participant increased in a crescendo with “one, two, three strikes you’re out…”

And the moment it was over, everyone returned to the seated position to calmly continue viewing the game.

Never in all my experiences of attending live events, sporting or otherwise, have I ever been more shocked to see such enthusiastic collaboration of attendees. It was incredible and unexpected involvement from the otherwise stoic – aside from the occasional outburst of cheering at a good play or the rare ruckus coming from a pair of battling vuvuzelas – audience.

John and I could not help but exchange bewildered glances and attempted concealment of our chuckles. I loved it. Besides watching the Texas Rangers lose the game to an incredible finish by the Oakland Athletics, this quick rendition of the American classic was by far the most memorable moment of the day’s event.
_____________

Today was also eventful as John, the Truckster, and I made an appearance at the Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California. We seemed to have created a buzz in the social networking building because by the time we’d finished eating breakfast with a new friend there, the Truckster was the talk of the office! I have to say, I feel a bit privileged. Today I saw the inner workings of a website that – at least in my world – dominates a little thing called the Internet. So cool.

The rest of the day was filled with beautiful scenery as the Truckster made it’s way down California’s Pacific Coast Highway. Here are a few shots we captured of the awe-inspiring views!

We’re in a Pismo Beach vacation rental for the night, and tomorrow we’ll continue the journey south to Los Angeles.

Night everybody, Steph