Monday, February 25, 2013


Posted by Beck

JP and I used to get out about once a month or so for "date nights." (We are lucky to have somewhat local, always willing grandparents to help us out with this.) Usually a movie was involved. Occasionally dinner if we were feeling really fancy. Since baby A's arrival, our date nights are fewer and farther between. Since we're both away from the kids for the better part of our weekdays and the occasional weekend for work, it seems pretty crummy to take time out for just us. However, I am also realizing more and more how HUGELY important these moments are to our relationship, so I decided that in 2013 we are going to try to do at least four different "adventure" dates - one per quarter - that take us a bit more out of our "dinner and a movie" comfort zone.

Adventure #1:  Mendocino, CA and Ridgewood Ranch

One of my best girlfriends from high school got married last weekend and, since I was one of the matrons of honor (Co-MOH if you will), we opted not to take the kids with us. We had a nice time reconnecting during the 4.5 hour drive (each way) without having to placate any little people along the way. I was pretty busy Friday and Saturday with wedding stuff, but on our way home on Sunday we had a random adventure together that took me back to our dating days and the first 7 years of our marriage when we used to take spur of the moment road trips on the weekends.

Before our trip JP did a little research about the area. In his research he discovered that the legendary racehorse Seabiscuit made his home in Willits, CA. Now, a little known fact about JP is that he is really into horse racing. Now, don't mistake him for a hardcore gambler - he's not. He might spend $20 a year going to one horse race at the county or state fair each summer. He just likes the challenge of figuring out which horse is going to win. One year he spent hours figuring out a mathematical equation that would help him determine which horse would win. Hours. That's my husband ladies and gentlemen. He buys chickens and turkeys, learns how to prune vines and make honey, and spends hours analyzing the science of horseracing, among other things...just for fun.

So, when he told me we HAD to find Seabiscuit's "house" on our way home, I knew this was pretty important to him. It wasn't an easy place to find. Googlemaps took us to the wrong place. We ended up an hour behind schedule and had just about given up when we saw the sign for "Ridgewood Ranch" off of Hwy 101 just outside of Willits. It was in this beautiful community nestled in some foothills that Seabiscuit lived and trained. It appears to still be in use, at least at certain times of the year. Temporary housing units were visible, as well as a cafeteria and a small community school. And of course, evidence of Seabiscuit himself. JP had a little moment next to the memorial, we tromped around the grounds (while I said, "I hope nobody shoots us" several times), checked out the "Stud Barn," and then we were on our way. We were only there about 30 minutes, but it was fun to go on a random "adventure" with my best friend again.

I'm looking forward to next quarter's "Date Adventure."

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