This week has been full of traveling: the small, day-trip sort of travel, but travel nontheless.
Last Monday, for instance, my father and I went to Big Bear, up in the San Bernardino Mountains, to research my ghost story Company. Curtis, a ghost, and Jenny, an imaginary friend, are stuck in a big house in the middle of the woods. For the purposes of setting, I needed the house, the woods, and part of a small town. Big Bear fit the bill.
First stop was a nature hike, a nice 1.5 mile trek with numbered posts and a pamphlet full of interesting facts. Did you know, for instance, that the bark of the Jeffery pine tree has a sweet aroma that some liken to vanilla? Or that live Western Juniper trees can sometimes grow out of dead ones, twisting together into a single entity? I kicked around the loose beige soil, listening to birds sing "cheecheechee" or "Tweer Tweer." Once I saw a baby rattlesnake. It side-winded into bushes, its tummy buldging.
After that, I took photographs of houses and churches. We had lunch by the lake and walked around town. The last time I'd been to Big Bear was at least ten years ago. For some reason, I assumed the town would be slowly dying. Ha! It was newly painted, full of tourists, and chock full of events. In fact, it was far too interesting for my novel. I'll have to fictionalize the place.
I spent the week in Victorville, furiously editing The Changelings, hanging out with friends.
Then on Saturday, my mom, aunt, uncle, and cousin all traveled to Vegas to visit my Aunt Mary, the sister of my grandma. We passed around old photographs and chatted. Usually, we spend the night, but this time, we decided to drive home to save money for the buffet at Caeser's Palace.
It took 97 minutes just to get in, but when we did, wow, it was big. I tried lamb for the first time. I also ate a wagyu slider, truffled potatoes, various dim sum, sushi, hot crab, and a slice of goat cheese and mushroom pizza. My family developed a system of dividing the tiny portions so we got a little bite of everything. For dessert, my cousin and I split churros, a chocolate molten cake, a strawberry cupcake, mango pudding, and a red velvet whoopie pie. Then my mom and my aunt passed around creme brulee (green tea and regular). I let them eat my macaroons.
So that was my week, and it was fun. Lots of good memories.