last week.

decided it would be

fun to take

advantage of the

long weekend and take

madeline on a little

road trip to

a place i’ve

wanted to visit for

many years.

our friend, lauren

came into town

and joined us.

we hit the

road on friday

morning, on our

way to

sequoia national park.

now…it’s been

a few months since

our last long

road trip.

back then,

11 month-old madeline

was known to fall

asleep as soon

as she was

buckled into her

car seat.

15 month-old madeline?

turns out she

likes to scream.

and not just a

little bit.

from the moment

we hit the freeway

to the moment

we arrived

at the park,

madeline screamed the

loudest, shrillest scream

i have ever heard.

for 3.5 hours.

no stopping, except

when i stopped

and removed her

from her car seat

while i was

fueling up my car.

i should have

known this was

gonna happen.

i mean, she’s

been doing that

a lot lately…

on the way to

work/daycare,

the record store,

and just about

every other time

she’s strapped into

her car seat.

i’ve gotten used to

it and i’ve even

started to find it

rather enjoyable.

that is, during short

car rides at

or around sea level.

it becomes

excruciating when it continues

for hours with no

signs of stopping,

and it becomes

suicide inducing

at elevations of

3000+ feet.

also, i figured at

a certain point

she would simply

stop because she had:

a. lost interest.
b. lost her voice.
c. fallen asleep.
d. become distracted by the blood dripping from her ears.

none of those

things happened.

we made a

few stops along the

way, ostensibly to

take photographs,

landing.

auto theatre.

but mostly so

i could get

the hell out of

the car for

a few minutes.

and i tried everything

to get her

to stop.

toys, snacks, my phone.

nothing worked.

the worst thing?

she was happy

nearly the entire time,

so i felt

guilty that i was

even mildly annoyed.

eventually we arrived

at our destination

and i unleashed

the screaming beast

in the backseat,

sending her into

the forest so

she could

yell at something

without ears.

she found some

giant pinecones,

huge.

huge.

lauren found some

photography subjects,

and i found that

i couldn’t hear anything.

(i’m writing this almost a week later and i still hear ringing in my right ear).

we made our

way through the park,

stopping to take

photos when we

saw something awesome.

ride.

us.

sitting.

up.

tree.

breaking my glasses.

resting.

we took a

short but intense hike

with maddy on

my back.

back </p>
<p><a href=hiking.

warning.

maddy & me.

lauren.

on the edge.

haven’t had a

workout like that

since i hiked

waynapicchu with

liz

when we went to

machu picchu in 2007.

me and liz in peru.

we finished up

our hike

guarding her food.

and continued

driving through the park.

found a spot

that had been burned

in a recent wild fire,

and stopped

for a couple of photos.

alone, but not really.

sitting.

burned.

upside down.

madeline.

from there we headed

back into town

for some dinner

and eventually some sleep.

i figured that maddy

would be exhausted

after the day

we had.

of course i was wrong.

despite my best

attempts to sleep,

maddy decided to

jump up and down

because she wanted to

keep me awake.

after a few hours

of this, i decided

i would try to

take her for a

drive to see if

i could get her

to pass out.

she was out within

1.5 mins.

amazing how driving

at night can put

her to sleep.

guess that means

we should change

the start time

of our future road trips.

the next morning

i woke up

early and took

maddy to breakfast.

caught up with

lauren afterwards and

we all headed

back into the

park for a hike through

a cave.

waiting.

outside.

park service doesn’t

allow baby backpacks inside,

so i had to carry

maddy throughout the tour.

turns out she

isn’t keen on

being held anymore,

so she struggled

to get away

from me, preferring to

crawl through the

cave on her own.

that certainly wasn’t

gonna work,

so i held her

tight and listened

to her scream

into my already

partially deaf ear.

that was way

fucking fun.

people on the tour

seemed like

they didn’t appreciate

hearing her scream

in a cave.

in a cave.

luckily, the tour

was a short one,

soon enough

we were back

out in the sun.

we made our

way back up the

trail to the car,

stopping long enough

for a few photos

tree.

waterfall.

and to laugh at

lauren when she

slipped on a rock

and soaked her shoes

in the river.

we made it to

the car

and i saw

what may be

the best way

to preserve what’s

left of my hearing:

i may have to try this with maddy if she continues to scream while i drive.

we continued our

trip through the park,

stopping to take

some photos in

a meadow.

flying.

in a meadow.

us.

i did my best

to get back at maddy

for everything she had

put me through

i am not a very nice father.

later she found

some sticks

on a log.

and a friend.

maddy made a friend in the woods.

we spent a

little time hanging

out under

some giant trees

in the giant forest.

that's a really big tree.

sitting.

then we drove

and hiked to

(by some definition)

the world’s largest tree

madeline.

being the genius

that i am,

i decided that

this would be the

portion of the trip

where i would

put maddy in a stroller

(my back was sore so this seemed like the best option).

smart move, considering

there were like,

600,000 stairs to

get to the tree.

and of course, i

had to do this

on the way

back up to the car.

up.

(love the look of horror on the woman’s face).

got to the top

of the hill and

gave maddy her

last moments of freedom

maddy with stick.

before we made

the long trek

back to los angeles.

the good news is

that all of the

fresh air, activity and

screaming must have

gotten to her,

’cause she passed out

before we got

out of the parking lot.

we stopped for

a few photos

as we made our

way down the

mountain and out of

the park.

catch.

falling.

dandelion.

maddy continued

sleeping as we got

back on the road home

nap.

empty.

sign.

broken.

eat.

it was getting dark

as we pulled up

to the house.

i put maddy to bed

and stood in

the middle of me

street, watching

the people at

the bottom of the

hill light the

neighborhood up with fireworks.

lauren headed off

to her hotel,

and i spent a little

time reading before

finally falling asleep.

sunday morning.

madeline slept in,

and i spent the

morning trying to

decide how we

should spend the day.

settled on a

trip to huntington gardens.

met up with lauren

and spent the

afternoon wandering the gardens.

maddy in the japanese garden.

maddy in stroller.

madeline was obviously thrilled.

happy.

after a bit of time

in the stroller,

it was time to let

maddy play.

we took her to

the children’s garden

and let her get soaked.

she was a

little tentative at first,

about to get soaked.

"wait...can i really play with this?"

but eventually she

went nuts.

and again,

she was thrilled.

screaming with joy.

we dried

off a bit

on a table.

before maddy

went from crawling

crawling in a tunnel.

to stretching out

her legs

into the tunnel.

for what would

become the big event…

and just like

that, it was over.

what wasn’t

captured on the

video, was maddy

starting off with

a push from me,

5 steps,

a fall to the

ground, followed

by her picking

herself up off

of the ground and

walking again.

she’s taken a

few steps before,

but this is what

i would consider walking.

so, so proud.

bittersweet moment for

me though, realizing

this is another

one of those monumental

moments that

liz

will never get

to witness.

on the way

back to the car, i

got a phone call

from my brother, nick.

as always, he had

me laughing my

ass off with

a story, in this

case, a story about

him ending up

in the hospital to

have a fish hook

removed from his hand.

reminds me that

i need to

get maddy up to

alaska sometime

soon so she can

see her uncle and auntie.

ordered in some

thai food for dinner

before dropping lauren

off at the airport.

maddy was asleep

before we reached home.

got her out

of her car seat and

into her crib with

out her eyes opening.

i fell asleep reading

on the couch.

the best trips

are the ones with

no agendas,

ones during which

you can stop

where you want

without having

to worry about when

you’ll get to the

next place.

that’s the trip we

just had,

and it’s exactly what

we needed.

hope we can

take another one soon.

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