Ashley LodatoBy Ashley Lodato

Families headed out on spring break last week, dispersing to destinations both inside and outside the country. Some traveled in tandem with other families, others struck out on their own.

Some of those who thought they were traveling as just a family unit were 11-year-old Travis and 9-year-old Jori Grialou, who were spending a rainy Monday at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park with their Grammy Di. Little did they expect to bump into 10-year-old Payten and 5-year-old Ben Kaufman, along with their dad and grandmother, who were taking an afternoon off from camping on the Mendocino coast.

The unexpected and joyful encounter led to lunch together, which became even more enjoyable when the two groups spotted 11-year-old Maggie Moore and her baby brother with their mom, Adrianne. And incredibly, this last party was waiting for Phil and Stew Dietz’s family to show up — the only planned rendezvous amongst any of these families.

Had they all strategically planned this meeting — which occurred on the jam-packed campus of an already crowded urban area — the encounter could not possibly have gone more smoothly. The fact that none of it was prearranged made it all the more delightful, and makes my own family’s chance meeting with the Hall, McCabe, and Strome families on the rocks at Skaha, B.C., seem far less incredible.

A couple of weeks ago my family went to the closing day at the Loup and on one of the rides up, my 7-year-old noticed that we were in the “Ann Henry” chair, which gave her a great thrill since Ann volunteers in her second grade classroom every Monday. That night we attended a play at The Merc Playhouse and coincidentally one of our seats happened to be, again, the “Ann Henry” seat. My daughter is beginning to think that wherever she goes, Ann has already been there and left her mark. Little does she know …

Nicole O’Driscoll, Amanda Gehring and Gina Pastore took their young kids on a bike ride around the Riser Lake loop last week. A 3-mile bike ride is demanding for anyone under kindergarten age, but it borders on punishing when the bikes being ridden are strider bikes — you know, the ones without pedals. The kids basically scooted their way around the loop (well, OK, with one semi-getting-lost detour, from which they were rescued by Kristen Smith, but that’s another story), completing what must have been about 8,000 small pushes, according to my calculations. Welcome to biking season.