Noah's Birthday in Rota, Spain
The closest support site out here for American military is Rota Naval Station, a 7 hour drive. Certain things cannot be taken care of in Madrid and once in awhile we have to take the looooong trek out to the coast and make things happen. Getting on base is a hassle... doing anything on base is a hassle with all their outrageous regulations. We avoid going there at all cost. Unfortunately we had to go, and on Noah's birthday! Thankfully the trip was mostly paid for.
We started off a little late, but we were just dandy. About halfway there our brand new tire blew. We had noticed a bulge in the rubber, but we didn't have time to send the faulty tire back to the states, wait for them to send a new tire to us, and then wait to be able to put it on. We took a risk. Bad idea. Whatever. We made it the rest of the way on a donut which Josh so fabulously changed in a mere 15 minutes. This was good because the traffic was ridonkulous on the highway and we almost died at least 3 times, but I was really good at waving my arms and jumping so they'd swerve back away from my poor Josh. Stressful... very very stressful.
So we arrive on base (day before Noah's birthday - Sunday). Every hotel is booked. Everywhere. Not just on base, but everywhere. Now, you'd think a family with orders in their hands would take priority, but no... apparently it's first come first serve for the hotels on base. Right. Perfect. Did I mention we despise going to Rota? None of it makes any sense. It's like their goal is to stress everyone out by doing everything contrary to common sense. Anyway. They finally found us a place that was over our allowed expenditure for lodging, but we had to sleep somewhere, and it was the only place available. I doubt they'll take that into consideration and cover the cost. Regardless it was a really nice aparthotel and we really enjoyed it.
The next day happened to be a Spanish holiday (and Noah's birthday) and we had all kinds of responsible crap we had to do. We tried to find a tire to no avail. They called 9 different shops in the area with no luck. We brushed it off, it is what it is. Thankfully we got everything done by lunchtime, including the purchase of a brand new bicycle, so Noah could finally celebrate. He requested pizza for lunch and we were happy to oblige. I didn't take any pictures there because I was still stressed out from the hoop jumping of the day.
After lunch we headed to the bowling alley. Noah was so excited to finally be strong enough to play real bowling. He did pretty well! Brennan and Tristan used the slide and were thrilled to do so. They jumped and cheered no matter how many pins they knocked down. We went to the shoppette and let Noah pick out his birthday dinner. He picked chicken, pasta roni, stovetop, corn, and garlic bread... so healthy ;) We also grabbed some hostess cupcakes for our makeshift birthday cake.
We went back to the hotel to wait out the heat wave and get a short rest and then were off to the beach!! It was right across the street from the hotel and it was nice and not too crowded. We hung out, built a sandcastle, played with seaweed, splashed in the waves, checked out the barrier, poked at some little crabs, watched the sunset, and then walked back for a late dinner.
It took a long time to cook on those 2 tiny burners, but we made it happen and dinner was delicious. We all passed out shortly after.
The next morning they found us a tire that was slightly too big, but safer than a donut, and we made it just in time for them to put it on for us. We were on the road by 2:30 and finally home at 10pm. It was a long few days. It was fun though, and definitely memorable. Noah rode his bike as soon as we got home and it fits him perfectly :) The rest of the pictures of our trip are here.