I always thought it was weird that my parents enjoyed going for drives. As a kid, my brother and I dreaded those days that Mom and Dad loaded us into the car and headed out for who-knows-where.
I get it now though. Drives are nice. It's nice to spend some time together with the person you love.
After the Iowa pep rally, Nate and I embarked on a journey. He started driving, and I tend to just let him do it. We didn't have anyplace we needed to be, so I just like to sit back and let him take me somewhere.
He said we were headed for the second-most beautiful road in the country, according to something he found online.
Along the way we saw a Japanese-looking structure at the top of a hill, so we pulled off into a parking lot to see what it was. Climbing a dirt hill without a path was the only way to reach the structure that we could see, so we stepped off the pavement and saw a bunch of holes.
OK, there weren't any in sight but I knew that was what those holes meant.
I speedily tiptoed and ran past the holes in hopes that we didn't upset any of them in their homes.
At the top of the hill, we circled around the Asian structure, trying to figure out what it was, but the only sign was certainly not written in English. Inside the shelter was a giant iron bell, and there was a brief description engraved on it. Apparently this was a gift from Korea, showing a goodwill offering to the people of the United States in appreciation for what we did during the Korean War.
In the distance, across a bay, Nate and I could see a dark mass of land. We wondered what the island was, and thanks to the beauty of technology, we just looked at where we were on the map and diagnosed that we were across from Catalina Island.
Four years previously we had been to Catalina, but we left from Newport Beach. From where we were standing now, we were seeing a completely different side of the island so it didn't look the same. Plus, years ago it was hazy and the island was difficult to make out from shore. It was neat to be able to see someplace we had been before from a different angle.
We hopped back in the little white Ford Focus and continued down the road. Until it ended. Hmmm, apparently we had made a wrong turn somewhere.
The GPS then took us through a few neighborhoods to get us back on the right track. And that's when I yet again realized Nate and I are becoming more and more like my parents. We had an absolute ball driving around this neighborhood, checking out the houses and guessing at just how much they cost with a hilltop view of the Pacific Ocean. We oggled at the flowers and cacti in the yards, and I laughed at the Christmas decorations that seemed out of place in the summer-like environment.
That's when Nate pointed out something in the road to our right, a peacock! The beautiful turquoise bird was just walking across the road like he belonged there. A few houses down two female peacocks walked through another yard. More peacocks in the next yard.
I had no idea peacocks walked around here like they owned the place. I know it was probably funny for people who lived there to see us excited about seeing peacocks, like we laugh at people who are excited to see deer or turkeys or like our friend looked at us like we were crazy when we were excited to see a fox in Denver.
We just laughed and laughed and talked and smiled.
The day was shaping up to be a truly spontaneous, wonderful day.