Wednesday, 23 November 2011

"O. darling, there ain't no appeasing you" AKA 'Two Honeymooners and a baby vs two American cops and a yellow fluffy duck'

For today's blog post I'm going to take you back to March 2008 - the date my wife, our eldest daughter O. (then 11 months old) and I went on our Honeymoon.
We had decided to do something a bit different for this. Rather than spending 3 weeks on a beach somewhere hot, we booked to travel by car from Las Vegas to San Francisco. One of the influencing factors was because we thought it would have been unfair on O. to be in the soaring heat of a tropical beach destination. It was a great decision and without doubt the best 3 weeks of our lives - we saw the Grand Canyon, we drove through Death Valley, stopping off at Ghost Towns along the way, stayed in Yosemite National Park (our favourite place on Earth) and drank wine in Napa Valley before finishing up in the amazing San Francisco.
O. had a great time too and charmed the Americans no end and they made a huge fuss of her back.
Actually, I say she had a good time but we did get off to a bit of a shaky start and the whole Honeymoon could have turned out a whole lot differently...
We landed at Las Vegas airport in the late afternoon and once we'd got through customs headed to pick up the hire car. We'd also requested a car seat for O. cause we didn't want to lug ours halfway around the World. Unfortunately it was perhaps the worst car seat known to man - uncomfortable looking, threadbare in places and bloody hard to fit. We asked for help and were met with "sorry that will invalidate your insurance". He agreed to help eventually, his conscious, and our jetlagged mannerisms, probably got the better of him.
On leaving the car hire place, the heat of the afternoon sun finally hit us and O. started freaking out! To her it was about 10pm, so way past her bedtime, and instead it was bright sunshine.  She must have wondered what the hell was going on!
She was inconsolable, we'd never seen her like this and on top of that we were lost - we'd only just left the car hire place as well! We saw the sanctuary of a retail park so pulled in there. When we pulled in we were grateful to see a nice friendly looking Policeman stood by his car so I approached him, local map in hand.
"DO NOT APPROACH A POLICE OFFICER,SIR!!!", he shouted, with his hand on his gun. Gulp!
"Sorry, erm...hi. We've just flown in from England, please can you tell us where Las Vegas Boulevard is please", my voice resembled Joe Pasquale as if he’d just been hit in the nether regions (also note the double use of the word 'please').
"Sure, turn left out of here and take the first right.  Have a nice day!" he added cheerfully.
We made it to the hotel shortly afterwards. The first thing I did was change my underpants.
However, it wasn't to be our only brush with the law on our Honeymoon.
On leaving Vegas, en route to Death Valley, O. Woke up from a deep sleep and again threw a strop, I think it was the uncomfortable car seat that was mostly to blame. We decided to pull over and let her have a cruise around (she wasn't quite walking at this stage).
There wasn't a soul for miles as we walked her up and down the side of the road but suddenly a police car appeared out of nowhere.
The cop pulled over, got out and asked me "what's your business here, Sir?"
"Oh, hi officer" I replied "we're here on Honeymoon. My daughter was a bit upset so we pulled over to let her have a wander around".
"Please follow me, Sir" - he walked around to the front of our car. "Did you see a sign back there?" he asked. "Yes”, I replied “but my daughter was so upset I didn't get a chance to read it properly".
"Sir" he continued "you are on the boundary of a restricted military zone" (double gulp, more clean underpants required). "Okay" I replied, my voice wavering, this time resembling a 12 year old boy going through the ‘changes’.
"Sir, (I was going to tell him at this stage that he had probably overused the word ‘sir’ but I decided to keep quiet) if you had been 2 miles further down the road, I would've had to have taken you 'in' (triple gulp - should’ve worn one of O's nappies!). The nearest jail is 60 miles from here. Could I have your passports please. You can now re-join your wife and child".
The next few minutes are a bit of a blank, I can’t remember what I said to my wife, what she said back, all I remember was that the cop sat in his car looking like he was doing something important, then came back over to us.  “If you'd like to follow me in your car past the sign then I will give you your passports back to you” he said.  Phew!
We followed him in our car and stopped behind his.  He got out, went into his boot and pulled something yellow and fluffy out of it. "Here are your passports and here is something for the little one" he said. He gave a yellow fluffy duck to O. "Have a safe journey".  And he was gone…
I can't remember for the life of me where that duck is now. Maybe we binned it as it triggered issues in my tummy region every time I saw it - the memories of that encounter coming flooding back.
I really wish I'd taken a photo of the sign but we decided not to, we didn't even look back just in case - I'd probably be in a Louis Theroux jail documentary now rather than writing this.
It was the last run in we were to have with the US Police Force while we were there. We nearly got attacked by a coyote in Yosemite National Park later on in the Honeymoon, and had to be rescued by a nice German lady called Claudia, but that's another story...


  1. Ha! What a great story. Of course, you're completely nuts taking an 11-month old all the way out west, but what an adventure.

    Oh and first time I ever drove abroad: Los Angeles. Baptism of fire much...?

  2. I agree. Like some of my other family related blog posts - "what the hell were we thinking?!" Sometimes we were driving for 6 hours at a time, no wonder she was cranky!

    Never made it to LA but I bet driving there was tricky. Loved driving in the rest of America though (apart from the starting bit in Las Vegas), if you go wrong, it's easy to correct yourself - not like in London.

  3. Agree on Yosemite, spent 4 nights there a few years ago in a log cabin just outside the park and was fab. But those US police really are scary, you worry that even as an innocent person you get a trigger happy cop to deal with

  4. The bit in Yosemite where you come through the tunnel and you see Inspiration Point in front of you - has to be one of the most beautiful views in the World.

  5. Wow, what an adventure! Definitely not a honeymoon to forget in a hurry! Thanks for joining in with this week's Loveallblogs Travel section! Emma :)