California Dreamin’

Have you ever wanted to just get up and go somewhere?  Maybe Maui?  Italy?  Perhaps somewhere closer to home?

This stuff is not make believe

It all started here.  I am ALWAYS looking for SlickDeals, whether they be for profit, personal enjoyment, or good use.  So I found this JetBlue deal for a minimum of $30 per seat, each way.  Hey, if I could two tickets somewhere and two tickets back, my wife and I could have a fun time, eh?

The fine print is that the sale was for Halloween only.  The cool thing about a one day trip is that we would totally save money on hotel costs if we… didn’t have to stay at a hotel.  JetBlue only goes to two places from SLC (for this deal, at least) and those two places are New York and Long Beach, CA.  That wasn’t a hard choice.  Did anyone hear about this?  Long Beach it is!

Unfortunately, the cheapie airfare only worked for the return trip.  I had to book Delta outgoing, at $60 per seat.  The surprising bit – it was the best Delta flight we’ve ever been on.  Clean, friendly flight attendants, smooth ride… just weird.

Once the flights were booked, for a total of $180 – with about 10 hours of fun time in Cali available – I booked the rental through Budget.  With my USAA discount, it was $50 for the day.

Make your own luck

I didn’t tell Jessica a thing about the trip.  I booked it about two weeks in advance, and when it was a week out, I told her, “I’m taking you on a date on Monday.”  I mentioned my excitement for not having to buy candy to hand out.

I told her to bring her knitting stuff, to keep her occupied during the car-ride.  She thought we were going to a pumpkin patch in Utah.  When I pulled into the airport parking lot, she still didn’t know that we would be flying somewhere.  I freaking LOVE surprises.  We walked in, and I said, “How would you like to dip your feet in the Pacific Ocean today?”  I handed her the ticket, and she looked up in shock.

“I’ve never been to Long Beach!!”  “Me either!” I chimed back.  I figured it would be good for her to know where we were going before the TSA asked her, and she appeared suspicious…

When we got off the (surprisingly excellent) flight, we walked up to the rental station. (By the way, the LGB airport is tiny and AWESOME.  We love how small it is.)  The rental attendant passed over the keys for a Ford Fusion, and I said, “Say, do you have something sportier than this?”

Budget Rental Car - Convertible Camaro SSI’ll let the picture inform you on which car we ended up with.  We spent a few minutes figuring how to get the top back and then let the 426 horsepowers meet the road.

I have so many times said to Jessica, “You know, I’d really love to drive a red convertible up the California coast.”  Guess how much magic is involved in making that happen?  None.

The Camaro was an extra $50 bucks, so the rental total for the day was $100.  TOTALLY worth it for the SS experience.  Throughout our entire trip, our car was the hottest one on the road.  Yes, we were those people.

Casey and Jessica at Long Beach

Look at beach, Jesser!

We jogged along the Pacific coast line, just so we could say we did.  What did you do on Halloween?

Once we had filled up on breakfast and toured the beach, we decided to just coast up the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH).  As a sign of pure awesomeness, Katy Perry’s California Girls blasted on the Camaro’s stereo.  It could not have been a more perfect moment.

Let’s have some more magic, shall we?

We found out through the grapevine that Jessica’s aunt was in Anaheim on business.  Disney business.  She lives in Florida, and although there are only two Disney parks in the US, it was pretty cool that she was in Cali on the same day we were.  We called her, and she said we should hang out that evening.  She almost didn’t believe me when I told her we just “came for the day,” and weren’t staying overnight.

We blasted down the highway in the SS Camaro and arrived at Downtown Disney in Anaheim to meet our favorite Anniekay.  She was still in a meeting, so we wondered around the place and had a little fun of our own.

Jessica with Woody Casey being choked by Darth Vader

Anahem is quite beautiful, with its palm trees on every street.  It’s possibly even more beautiful when viewed from a topless convertible.  (Did I mention we drove a Camaro SS all day?)

We played MarioKart in an arcade at the Grand Californian.  And while our picture was taken in front of the castle, “Put on Your Sunday Clothes” played over the loud speakers – the same song Jessica walked down the aisle to.  Then Anniekay got us into the park for free-ninety-nine.  For this, and reasons completely unrelated to this, she is seriously one of the most awesome people I know.

Disney Land Castle Casey, Jessica, and Anniekay in front of the Disney Castle

I wish I could do something like that…

When we got off of Thunder mountain – the one that doesn’t suck, like the one at DisneyWorld in Florida – we headed home on an awesome JetBlue flight.  We cut it so close that we literally walked through security, jogged to the gate, and got on the plane – and it left within 10 minutes.  It.  Was.  Awesome.

Casey and Jessica Thunder Mountain

I’d imagine that some people reading this are thinking, “Boy, I wish I could do that.”  What I want to know from you is, what’s stopping you?  Do you really wish you could do this?

This is not magic, folks.  It’s not rocket surgery either.  This whole trip cost around $320, and it was INCREDIBLY amazing.  It was all pretty much on a whim, and we did what we wanted to.  We drove a red convertible up the coast of California and spent an evening at Disney World with awesome company.  None of it was magic.  We made it all happen.  You can make this happen.

The Rich Life is all about realizing what makes you feel wealthy in your life.  For me, it’s my wife and our adventures together.  Everything else is gravy.  Find out what makes you feel wealthy, and freaking cash in on it.  Don’t wait for someone else to do it for you – make your own luck.

9 Replies to “California Dreamin’”

  1. and you know because of this WE DID THE SAME THING!  and, as you so eloquently wrote, it was beyond awesome.   It really is as easy as just doing it!

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