You call that a vacation?


What’s brown, has three kids, a dog, fishing tackle box, and two hot tired parents?No guesses? A 1966 Mustang with no air conditioning, traveling two thousand miles in July. Everyone had their seat, their instructions, and books. The dog was a medium sized dachshund.

I was totally organized. We only stopped to use the bathroom. That was one of our first trips from Houston, Texas to Gaysville, Vermont. Yes, it is still named Gaysville. We had a two week vacation and I use the term vacation, loosely. 

When we were in stone throwing distance of our destination we stopped at a grassy rest area. Each child was washed up and had a sparkly new outfit to see their grandparents for the first time. While my husband walked the dog, I rearranged some of the car. I turned to check on the kids and they were merrily rolling down the grassy hill. I called them to come get loaded into the car. An all too familiar odor was coming from the first child. They had rolled around not realizing there was dog doo on the knoll. I had to rewash each kid and change their clothes from the bottom up. I mentioned the fishing tackle box because on one occasion using the restrooms, we came back to the car and found our little dachshund tangled in all the fishing line, hooks and lures. That took quite a while, but she wasn’t injured.

When I say organized I’m not just talking placement inside the car. We had a cooler and a frugal driver. The cooler held milk for dry cereal, turkey, ham and roast beef sliced for sandwiches. Peanut butter and jelly a given. Bread, mustard and mayo were your choices for condiments. You could switch from noon till dinner time your choice, such as turkey for lunch, beef for dinner. No stopping at restaurants was allowed.  

Similar rules applied to skiing. If you wanted to go skiing, the lodge was off limits. You carried a homemade sandwich in your coat pocket and it was eaten on the lift. You arrived early and left late. The whole day you skied. This was okay with all of us. Skiing was expensive then and there were five of us. We learned (four of us) at A Basin in Colorado and later went to Keystone and Vail. Vail only once. Trails were not marked well and it was more expensive. Keystone was our favorite and they also had a skating rink.

Our trips back and forth from Houston to Vermont and Colorado where my husband’s parents lived, took almost all of our vacations while the kids were little. Later on we purchased a big blue Chevy station wagon which made traveling much easier. From Colorado to Vermont could be accomplished quicker by having the three kids bed down in sleeping bags in the back of the bigger car. We all saw a lot of the US on these trips. We went to Canada and Mexico. The only state I haven’t been to is Washington. But I still have time!

Keystone Ski Area, Colorado

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11 thoughts on “You call that a vacation?

  1. You’re a stalwart soul, Cheryl. Soon after I was married, I realized that time with the families, either his or mine, were NOT vacations. Since then, I’ve had a very clear idea of when vacation happens and when it’s family visit. Both are fine, just not the same. 😉 xoM

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  2. Car trips I can handle. I love driving the Nullarbor, it’s not the loneliest road in this country because even in the busy season you’ll see at least 1 car every hour but I just like being out in the middle of nowhere hundreds of ks from towns with less than 20 regular occupants.

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    1. highway speed limit here is 100, (just over 60mph), some freeways are 110, suburban roads are all 50.

      In my car I rarely speed, especially on long trips, I usually sit around 95, the extra time difference is negligible, but the fuel saving substantial and in the heat it does make a difference to the car.

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    2. We’ve got plenty of roads around here where the speed limits get ignored, we’ve been drifting around dirt roads for a lot longer than it’s been a popular weekend motor sport.

      I’ve done some stupid and dangerous things on the road and gotten away with it, I’m not proud of them and although I have been tempted to write about some I don’t want to appear like I am glorifying boy racers. But each one of those episodes I will use to teach the kids that the road is to be respected with the hope they don’t do it.

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