written by liz on Saturday, October 18 2008

We decided to go to the pumpkin patch today.  I thought Half Moon Bay might be a fun day trip. As we set out on the highway, we heard on the radio, that it is the weekend of the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival. I hesitated. Knowing the traffic and distance, I considered abandoning the plan. Throngs of people and traffic were not exactly the day I had in mind. Michael suggested a closer alternative. Not being one to choose convenience, I drove past a number of lots that sold pumpkins. I just kept pressing on. We have the whole day I reasoned. Let's go on an adventure. When we are on vacation, we take off mid day and follow the road to where it leads us, why not make today like vacation. Off we went.

The drive through San Francisco from Marin was not that bad. Traffic was normal. We headed out on Highway 280 to Highway 1. Once we spied the Ocean we had fun talking about which ocean it was.  Alex is studying continents and Oceans in school, so we used it as a moment to reinforce. We talked about how to spell Pacific. Then talked about creatures that live in the Pacific Ocean. This led to a conversation about other oceans and which creatures live in those. So far so good.

We got to Half Moon Bay around lunch time, and took a walk onto a pier where we had our picnic lunch. There was a man fishing off the pier. Because two boys around a man fishing off a pier are so curious, we started to chat with him. We hung around for a while and watched him fish. The boys got closer and closer and the fisherman told Alex if he caught something he would let him reel it in. Moments later, he asked Alex to bring the line in. He said nothing about a fish on the line but when we all looked down at the water, there was a tiny fish on the line. It was a wonderful surprise. The fish was itty bitty, but I think we all got a thrill when we saw there was an actual fish there. Alex was all smiles! The man took the tiny fish off the hook and handed it to Sam who held it tight in his fist, and then put it in the mans bucket for him. Blue sky, warm temperature and Alex's first fish! Pretty good stuff. We also had fun watching the pelicans, enjoying the harbor views, and even spied a sea lion.

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After Alex caught the fish, we decided it was time to head off to the patch. There was quite a bit if conversation about which one we would go to, where it was. What I loved the most was Sam was calling pumpkins, "punkims" and every time he said it I smiled.

Once in town, the traffic was THICK. It took about 25 minutes to go 1/4 of a mile. Two lanes, and throngs of people don't mix. We decided on a closer place than the one I had in mind, because we didn't want to sit in the car any longer. Punkims were waiting!

Luckily the place we chose  had a corn maze, a tractor for a hay ride, and minimal crowds.

It was a sight to watch little Sam struggle to lift the bigger pumpkins. Is he expressive or what?

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The corn maze was a challenge for us. We got lost and never did find the right exit. We just got to the end of the field and sort of stumbled out.

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The boys picked out some great big pumpkins and were empowered to maneuver the wheelbarrow.

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These last two pictures are a couple of my favorite photos of the day. Worth the drive and traffic, without question.

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After picking some great big pumpkins we headed into town to wander the festival (large street fair with music, booths, etc). I told the kids they could get a treat when I saw they were selling pumpkin ice cream. That is what I offered. After he ate it, Alex was in practically in tears because I had told him that he could only have pumpkin ice cream. Am I a dictator or what?

We wandered the streets till close to 5:30, and then decided to get back on the road to go home. Once we were in the car again, the traffic was worse than ever. With the streets jammed, and what appeared to be the cub scouts directing traffic, it took another 30 minutes to drive 2 blocks. It was a test of patience. Finally reaching Highway 1 and realizing that was a parking lot too, we pulled over to The Three Amigos taqueria for dinner. The place was wall to wall people but we found a table and had dinner. Soccer on the television kept the boys happy and then we got back on the road.  Traffic had subsided by then, and we made it home in about an hour and a half. Almost equal to the time spent standing in lines to use bathrooms.

I would say it was a great adventure. Hooray for punkims!

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