So, off we went without a hitch. We stopped within 5 minutes and ate our granola bars. When we got going again, I told Zeke he could stop whenever he wanted to check out anything he fancied. He immediately tried out this power and stopped to play on a little grassy area for about 30 seconds until he got bored. We hopped back on the path and were off again. A few minutes later we passed a park where we had spent a little time the previous Thanksgiving, but we pressed on with the promise of park time at the end of the ride.
A few minutes after that we found a part of the skate park that didn't have any skaters and was just a small steep hill that opened onto a large concrete circle, perfect for little boys to ride bikes up and down all day. We spent about 20 minutes there, with Zeke happily riding around and Ben running down the hill with just as much exuberance. There was another 4-year-old boy there with a terrified-looking mother. She was terrified because her boy was in full armor with elbow pads, knee pads, and a helmet, and was bravely riding his skateboard down the hill (whenever Zeke slowed down enough to let him go).
Eventually we moved along so we could make it to our lunch before nap time, and we set out again on the path. We rode for a very long time, enjoying the sites but stopping less frequently. Ben was quiet in the stroller, a little chilled and a little hungry but happy to be part of this adventure.
About an hour and a half into the journey, I get a call from Tina wondering where we are and when we'll be at the park. I try to describe my surroundings, "we just passed a restaurant named (something), I can see the pier up ahead, we should be there soon." We pressed on, enjoying some very nice stretches of wide bike path that allowed us to race a little. This was, of course, very painful because I don't ride my roller blades very often and they exercise muscles that I tend to forget about when I sit at my desk all day.
Eventually we make it to the park, a little less than 2 hours after we started, for a grand total of 3 miles. My legs are sore, my boys are hungry and restless, and Tina is nowhere to be seen. I call her and let her know that I'm here, at the park by the Santa Monica Pier, but where is she? Then we realize we had made a colossal mistake: she's at the first park we passed down in Venice, and I'm at a park we visited on Zeke's 3rd birthday the year before.
Now only Tina can save us. We can't go anywhere else because we're tired and hungry, but at least we can hang on the rings and climb the exercise ropes and swing in the swings. But Tina spent her last dollar bills on the parking in Venice, and there is no free parking in Santa Monica. She manages, with much trouble I'm sure, to locate the side street that points right to the park where we're playing and come to our rescue. We double and triple park, the boys tear into their lunches, and I apologize profusely for misunderstanding which park she was talking about.
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The journey was fun, if long, and certainly made for some good memories. I'm so proud of my boys for sticking with it on that trek, and grateful to Tina for saving us from certain destruction. And next time we know to look at a map together before we head out.
|An unrelated vehicular activity|