Road Trip to Southern California


California Road Trip - HapaMama

A few months ago, I learned that the Mixed Remixed Festival was going to be held at the Japanese American Museum in June — one week before the V3 Digital Media Conference was also going to be held at JANM. Since flying to LA two weeks in a row would be pricey, I came up with a brilliant idea: why not make a ROAD TRIP to Southern California? I pitched it to HapaPapa as a family vacation, but he was worried that he couldn’t take that much time off of work. So then I came up with another bright idea: I’LL DRIVE TO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BY MYSELF! WITH TWO KIDS!

This may not be a big deal for many road warriors, but I really don’t like to drive. Especially in LA.

While our family goes to Southern California all the time, I’m never the one behind the wheel. I might take over for an hour or two, but I never drive the whole way. I was not raised or encouraged to be a confident driver. In my family, men drive. Women find men to drive them places. When I was a teenager, for some reason, my parents were more assured of my safety if I was riding with a male — didn’t matter who — than if I were behind the wheel. Any guy, whether a 16-year-old with a freshly minted license or a dirty old man — was automatically a more capable driver than I was. Or theoretically was, since I didn’t have too many opportunities to find out just how good I might be. Before last week, I had driven the entire way from the Bay Area to LA exactly once, the year I graduated from college.

The thing I was really afraid of was not the wide open highway–in my one-man band reporter days, I often sped across the high desert of southern Idaho to news stories hundreds of miles away. I was most terrified of the weaving, swerving, tailgating at 80 mph, left-lane exiting mess that is the LA freeway system. To add to my fear, a few years ago, we were sideswiped by a teenager talking on her phone while on our way to the Long Beach Aquarium.

But I really wanted to go to these conferences, and we didn’t have any other plans for the week.

So why not? I can never resist a knife-fight with a dragon.

We left at the crack of dawn to beat the traffic. Which was a great idea. Such a great idea, that once we hit the I-5, it seemed that the entire state of California had the same idea. I had big plans to eat lunch at a pupuseria in the Central Valley, but after getting stuck in a traffic jam for two hours, I decided McD’s would suffice.


LA Freeway Driving - HapaMama


Yes, it’s really this bad. Everywhere.

So I relied on Siri and Google and Waze (which makes these noises that sound like you’re running over a gold coin in Mario Karts) to tell me where to go, which explains why I missed turns Exit right? Right now? How about giving me some advance notice, so I can get out of the carpool lane? ended up taking a detour through the warehouses of the City of Industry, and ended up at the WRONG Din Tai Fung. Pro tip: there are THREE Din Tai Fung restaurants in Glendale, so make sure you type in the right address.

Din Tai Fung Americana - HapaMama

The xiao long bao were still delicious, though. We gobbled up four steamer trays of dumplings!

Oh, and some pictures of the conferences:

Mixed Remixed New Media

L-R: Elizabeth Liang, Mari Naomi, me, Channing Sergeant, Abby Allen

I kept staring at this one little girl who was in the audience during my panel. She was really cute, and I could tell she was an actress. My mind kept wanting to think she was the girl from the Cheerios commercial, but this girl was more of a tween. About an hour later it hit me: Rue. From the Hunger Games. If I had my wits about me, I would have taken a picture with her.

Speaking of taking pictures with people, it seems I will never get the whole blogger “Let’s take a selfie” thing down. I completely forgot to take any selfies at the V3 opening reception, but did shoot this picture of the lovely decor.

V3 Conference - HapaMama


Not to be pithy… but I have to admit, after driving down from the Bay Area and then driving around LA a few times during the week, I may actually be a bit more relaxed about Southern California traffic.

But I’m still glad to be home ;)



  1. Boutsaba Janetvilay says

    I know exactly what you are saying about having men in our lives drive for us. I have such a good laugh of your comment about that. I just recently drove my mom to her doctor’s appointment on the freeway and I felt quite accomplished. Don’t get me wrong, I am capable of doing many things, but I always have my husband drive me around. Thank you for sharing.

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