The California vs. Florida “Don’t Think, Just Surrender” Trip Report, Part 1

We’ve been agonizing over whether to use our plane tickets to Florida this year or cancel the flight and reschedule the trip next year when we can “do it right.”

The original purpose of this trip was to see how we feel about Florida now. Could we live there again? Should we move back to the Bay Area? Or should we hold out for moving back to my childhood hometown in Orange County? What we do know is that we’d like to take advantage of the spring real estate market to sell this house in Las Vegas and move on. But where? And will taking a trip help us make that decision?

Talk about overthinking. We’ve booked and unbooked Orlando resorts, Tampa Bay resorts, Anaheim, and Huntington Beach resorts too many times to remember. I swear, if I see another “cancellation confirmation” email one more time, I’ll scream. We started to joke that we won’t know if we’re going to Florida or not until 10 minutes before the flight, which is the deadline to reuse the tickets within a year of the original booking. Unfortunately that eliminated saving the flight for Food & Wine next year since we booked in early September. It’s time to surrender and see where life takes us.

So we took a last minute trip to Orange County this past weekend to get away from Las Vegas. We checked into our usual Residence Inn Huntington Beach/Fountain Valley, hoping to get that corner room we’ve been loving. Apparently, we arrived too early on Friday and there were only 3 rooms available to actually check into and none of them were that corner room. The first room faced west and after living in Las Vegas for 8 hours, I detest west-facing rooms. Rich went back to the office and got us another room that faced east. I much prefer the morning sun in my room. Still, the place had lost its vibe it had just a month ago.

We took a short nap but noticed how soft the bed was, and my back was starting to hurt.

We wanted to go to the beach but weren’t sure if we should try a new place or go back to Mutt’s in Newport Beach that we enjoy so much. We headed north toward Huntington Harbor but it was all so busy. We turned around and headed for Mutt’s. We peeked in and Rich snagged a booth for us.

We enjoyed a gorgeous sunset at Mutt’s from our booth vantage point while eating dinner. We ordered the same drinks as before – Mai Tai for Rich and Margarita for me – but this time Rich had the Om Pa Pa Burger (Bratwurst shaped like a burger) with garlic fries (free on Fridays), and I, trying to keep my calories down, had the plain beef sliders with no cheese, no condiments (grilled onions only), and pickle chips. The bread was too bready and so I ate the sliders without the bread. The whole thing was quite boring! I stole a few of Rich’s garlic fries and a bite of his burger. The fries were delicious but the burger tasted way too salty.

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After our meal, we did our usual walk past the vacation homes (in the dark), grabbed a couple of chocolate cream-filled donuts for dessert, and then back to our car to get our beach chairs. We sat on the beach, ate our donuts (half for me), and listened to the surf for awhile. Finally, we dragged ourselves away (it was getting a bit cool out), and headed back to our hotel room. Even now thinking about it, I’m picturing that previous corner room – I can’t get it out of my mind – we were so comfortable there.

When we returned to our room, we thought about how soft the bed was and remembered another time when we’d stayed there and had gotten one of those beds and woke up with back aches, so we called the front desk. The hotel was full but they did call their hotel near Disneyland so we switched hotels. Unfortunately, this was one of those that has a 1-bedroom only (no studios) and each room is very small, creating a claustrophobic atmosphere.

We might have opened the bottle of wine we’d brought with us and had a sip before going to bed. And we read that day’s installment from Sue’s Food & Wine trip report at WDW.

The bed was quite nice and we got a good night’s sleep.

 

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Novelist & Music Producer