The World’s Shortest Vacation

That was the way my sister, Babs, described our trip to Big Bear Lake. Though it was never intended to be an epic adventure, merely a short break from the oppressive August heat, we did think it would be well worth the hour drive. And, quite honestly, it really was.

A generous friend has a vacation house in the mountain community of Big Bear Lake, about an hour’s drive from my home. When I texted to ask if it would be available today and tomorrow, he said I was welcome to use it as nobody else would be there. Actually, he was pleased that I would go up and check on the place as he had found it with open windows and unlocked doors, full of flies, and the gate not secured when he had gone up last weekend. Evidently, the last people who had used it had neglected to lock up, though they insisted that they had. Since he couldn’t be sure, he had changed the lock on the door and said I should look for the new key on a red flower pot, on the front porch. I keep a set of keys for the place, so I was glad he had told me where to look for the new door key.

I called my sister and suggested she meet us up there, packed an overnight bag and a cooler full of food for the dogs and me, and headed for the hills. I was gratified to see the temperature dropping and a few sprinkles of rain as I ascended the mountain.

A pit stop for the girls to sniff about
Stopped at a construction roadblock en route

No sooner had we arrived at the cabin when it began to rain. I searched the porch for the red flower pot that held the key. No red flower pot, no key.

Babs texted that she was now about 15 minutes behind me at the roadblock.

Scantily dressed, the chill 66 degrees raised goose flesh, a novel experience. It also increased the urge to …well you know… The house is in a regular neighborhood but thankfully, none of the neighbors were visible; so, I made use of what little privacy the tool shed afforded.

Babs soon arrived and when I told her of our problem, she too made use of the lee side of the tool shed. Or now maybe it would be called the pee side of the tool shed. At any rate we were not sorry to see the rain become a serious downpour to eliminate the evidence of our indiscretion.

A response to my text soon arrived from the owner of the house. He clarified that the key was on a milk can, next to the door, on the porch…at his home in Redlands. Minor detail.

We sat on the porch mulling over our options and enjoying the deluge. Popcorn-sized hail stones bounced around the yard and the dogs looked uneasy as thunder shook the porch.

Squatters on the porch

Reluctant to admit defeat, I scoured the tool shed for something to use to break into the sliding glass door that was secured with a simple stick in the track. I could get the door open about 2 -3 inches, just wide enough to get my hand inside.

Burglary tools in hand, I put my new rain jacket to the test.

Of course, nothing worked. So, there was naught to be done but go out for breakfast (my sister’s brilliant solution) at Thelma’s because they have outdoor seating (my deluded idea). We drove into town thinking that the rain would surely slacken and the sun would smile upon us. But no, if anything it intensified and Thelma’s patio was a swamp.

By now, I was soaked and chilled to the bone. I’m bragging here, certainly NOT complaining. Remember it’s 100 degrees with 28% humidity at home. But nonetheless, we decided to take a rain check and head for home.

In no hurry, I drove slowly and when I left the rain behind, I rolled the windows down and breathed in the aroma of heaven. There is nothing like a freshly-washed, Southern California forest. I detoured to a hiking trail that I like, but signs informed me that the San Gorgonio Wilderness was closed due to the Apple fire.

By now, I was feeling lethargic from the lack of exercise, so I wasn’t too disappointed. I figured a nice piece of fresh, fruit-of-the-forest pie, a la mode, at The Oaks restaurant, would be just fine. But, of course, they had only pecan pie, easily resisted.

Now this might have all added up to a disappointing vacation if viewed as a series of thwarted plans, but it was absolutely not! There was the anticipation, the beautiful drive, the thunder storm, and time with my sister, all condensed into one day.

13 thoughts on “The World’s Shortest Vacation

  1. Ah! Looking at the silver lining is the only way to go! I love the smell after a good rain. The air has a freshness that is hard to describe but also unforgettable once you’ve taken a deep breath. Perhaps next weekend will work?? If at first you don’t succeed try try again…


  2. You were two optimistic campers in the porch and in the shed (for the commodities).
    A day like this will leave precious memories in you.
    Please, say hello to Bab.
    Love ❤ .


    1. Any time we get a thunder shower with hail included, it’s considered a legitimate adventure here. I was just thinking how much I complain about the two weeks of “bad” weather we get and how I sound like a whiney baby complaining about double digit humidity when I should be reveling in how nice my skin feels.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad you two made the best of things and ended up having a good time. Many of my vacation plans have gone awry, and if you can see the humor in it and roll with the punches, you can turn a disaster into a lot of fun, or at least less of a disaster. I was surprised you own a rain jacket, since rain is so rare where you live. Adventurous you are, peeing by the shed and attempting to jimmy the sliding door. (Little aside: I saw an SUV with out-of-state tags parked with its flashers on next to a house construction site the dogs and I pass on our daily walk. As we got closer, a weary traveler emerged from the on-site port-a-potty, hopped in the SUV, and drove away. Guess that’s one way of handing an “emergency.”) Too bad the trail was closed. If pecan (my favorite!) was the only pie they had, I would have considered it a “sign” and had a slice. You’re a good sport, Judy Rutrider! 🙂


    1. I’m a sucker for jackets so when Costco had this one, I couldn’t resist. Hope springs eternal, you know. I counted the jackets in my closet the other day and found I had 18, not including sweatshirts. That was before I bought the rain jacket and a friend gave me two hand-me-downs. I also own one pair of rain pants…I’ve worn them once.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL. I have owned rain pants only once in my life, for a job at an amusement park when I was 18. Hubby had a full rain suit in his motorcycle saddle bag, just in case. We lived in Florida then where downpours were not uncommon. On cold days, I layer fuzzy sweatshirt with rain jacket, which doubles as a windbreaker. I bought a lined parka last winter and never needed to break it out, it wasn’t as cold here as I’d been warned. My LL Bean flannel-lined jeans worked out well though–the wind cuts right through sweat pants. 🙂


    1. Yes, I think Molly could very well be part Border Collie and maybe part Australian Shepherd. I often wish I had known my dogs when they were puppies because they must have been heartrendingly cute.


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