Saturday, February 16, 2013

Jelly Belly Factory and In-N-Out Burger

This was what the morning looked like in Californa (and a real pic of the hotel where we stayed).  We enjoyed the blue skies (albeit hazy) upon waking up.  We also enjoyed the free breakfast offered by the hotel.  That was a huge hit - and a lifesaver/money saver in terms of getting the kids bigtime fueled up for the day with all the protein and carbs the buffet had to offer.  It was also nice to not have to get on their case too severely about trying something and deciding they didn't like it - while it was a touch wasteful, it didn't affect our budget.  

Our first agenda of the day was to visit the Jelly Belly Factory and participate in one of the free tours offered there.  

Participating in the tour required that you wear one of the paper hats.  Given how much hair still remained out of the hat, I'm really not sure why this is so important - but the kids all got a kick out of it.

We came at the right time as there wasn't much of a line and got started right away.  We had a very amusing tour guide that kept the 45 minutes of moving and information quite entertaining.  We were told that the top three flavors of Jelly Bellies are cherry, butter-flavored popcorn, and licorice.  Does that surprise you?  It did us.  The newest flavor release is "Tabasco".  The kids all thought he said "Tobacco" though, and were quite bothered until we'd heard about this misunderstanding and clarified that Jelly Belly would want to promote a candy flavor so nasty for you.  =)

We were also told that no candies got wasted.  Even the jelly beans that ended up on the floor were put into bins and eventually sold to pig farmers - the claim is that they are good for a pig's digestion.  Hmmm, another "not sure why", but a fun fact nonetheless.

After the tour, we all got to sample any flavors we wanted (pomegranate was very good...) - and then spent a whole lot more money on candy than we'd ever reasonably expect too.  However, our boys back home (and later on, my Bible Study) were all very thankful for our thoughtful indulgences.

The next stop to our day was a run into Target.  We picked out a few things left behind in our outfits for "Wicked" and do what most people do in Target - find other things to purchase not on your list.  I was in for a rude awakening at the checkout, though, when I discovered California's sales tax is 7%!  As we live in a state with no sales tax, it was beyond irritating to realize I'd spent extra money on items I could have found in Eugene... and not had to pay the extra money.  Since I don't get the benefit of a lower property tax rate/income tax rate in my visit to California, I'm not very keen on contributing to their sales tax!

Finally, on to a place you can't find in Eugene - In-N-Out Burger!  Shocking that a place with such a simple menu can be such an attraction, but it definitely was and is for us.  It was also a hit for a whole lot of other people as the drive-through line nearly extended the parking lot, and the "eat in" line circled the interior of the restaurant.  Fortunately, we found a table and got our order in before the crowd got to its worst.  In a rare moment of success, we heard praises uttered from all five of us regarding our meals.  (We have very picky eaters, mine being the worst....and I know I did nothing in my parenting to help that).  The girls were also impressed with the Bible verses on all of the wrappers.  While I wish they had a location in Oregon, having it so far away makes us all the more appreciative of it when we vacation.  (Not to mention the low cost of such a novelty meal). 

Happy and satiated (with food purchased at the store for dinner, preventing us from having to leave the hotel premises), we arrived back at the Fairfield Inn and hunkered down.  Later that afternoon, we ventured off to the pool.  For sure, our girls all love swimming - and the fact that we had the place to ourselves was an added bonus.

I did eventually hop in the pool - but certainly, the hot tub is my preference.  =)

And, here's how the night concluded.  Michele and I shared one of the queen size beds, while Nati and Mikayla shared the other to sleep in - and Ellie slept between us on a makeshift bed made the hide-a-bed cushions and extra blankets.  It sounds uncomfortable, but it was cozy and she was happy.  The sunset was a nice sight to see.  Clearly, the lack of Disney Channel didn't prevent our daughters from hotel room fun.  They hi-jacked all of the computers in any free time to play "Minecraft" together.  Hey, whatever works....we were busy with our Kindles sampling and devouring books.  And, you can see by the final picture of the collage that our dinner menu was not exactly nutritious.  That's what vacations all about, right?! 

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