The Toddler and I visited my cousin and her Significant Other at their flat for lunch.  My Cousin just so happens to be the best damn cook of my generation in the family, and she never disappoints.  Soy sauce pork with tofu, parboiled asparagus with mayonnaise (surprise yum!), and stir-fried tofu and chives.  Oh, and little tiny Cokes.  (Smaller can, less calories…so I am told.)  And to top it off, she packed a lunchbox for us with all the leftovers, complete with bags of fruit snacks and a banana.  Thanks, Mom-Chi. 🙂  (And yes, bad Ang for forgetting to take pictures.  Sorry.  Next time, guys.)

The Toddler spent the entire time running laps around their apartment, chasing after their younger dog.  They must have done 40 laps, no kidding.  They were both pink and out of breath.  Their older poodle looked on with what could only be described as disdain.

So happy together...

We left around 4:30 p.m., way too late for Certain People to be taking their nap.  I was hopeful that the Toddler would stay awake until we got home, but the gentle rocking of stop-and-go Friday traffic to the sound of Coldplay was too much, and she passed out into a coma.

So I did what I always do.  I kept on driving.

I love to drive.  It’s my meditation.  It’s my peace and quiet.  It’s my thinking time — I do a lot of plotting in the car.  The Toddler is a great little traveler, and we both enjoy our “nap drives”…plus all the cool places we’re always finding.  (We know every petting zoo in the county, it seems.)

But driving for the sake of driving also gives me chance a chance to discover new things.  It seems when I take new routes, it opens up new pathways in my brain.

So today, instead of heading for the hills and the mountains like I always do, I turned south and explored Yucaipa Valley.  Never been there in my life.  It was like falling down the rabbit hole into Ireland.  It was raining softly, and there was a partial rainbow peeking out of the clouds.  The road is just a two-lane country road meandering through green, soft-folded hills studded with occasional farms.  I took it all the way down to the end and caught San Timoteo Canyon back up to familiar ground.

I love driving with my mouth hanging open in surprise and awe.  I feel so lucky to live in such a beautiful area.

I had an EPIC idea later on.  I attribute this directly to making a right turn instead of a left turn at a most auspicious moment.  🙂

The other great thing about nap drives is I get to take lots of pictures.  We don’t get too much weather here in Southern California, so when we do, I get all excited over all the castles in the sky.  Hee.

Yucaipa, California ~ April 8, 2011

Mentone, California ~ April 8, 2011

Greenspot Road ~ Mentone, California ~ April 8, 2011

Coming in for a landing in Highland, California ~ April 8, 2011

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