Tuesday, July 06, 2010

It's Vacation Time!

My eyes were drooping so I lay down for a while with the dog curled up beside me.  As I was trying to drift off towards sleepy-bye, I began to process on what I could write about today.  I'm fairly certain there were some great ideas, but in that 40 minute period between creative thinking and now, sleep took over and washed everything away.  I'm sure it was great, though.

What was the best vacation you've ever taken? 

Last week as I traveled the interstate with millions of other vacationers, I thought about how silly they all looked, decked out for traveling in clothes they didn't usually wear, with kids tucked into their seats and desperately wanting to be anywhere but with their families, heading to see more family or walk around historic or beautiful sites, doing what we do best - rest?

I don't think vacations were ever about rest.  We traveled and traveled, saw the sites, visited family, jammed ourselves back into the van to travel some more, see some more sites, visit more family, jam ourselves back in the family to go home and promptly pass out from all the vacationing.

Don't get me wrong, we saw great stuff, had interesting times with family and managed to never kill each other in the van.

The very best vacation I think I ever took with my family was a trip to northern Canada - Dad wanted to drive as far as the road would go and we did.  We traveled hard to get there, unloaded the van, set up camp in a gorgeous campsite and stopped moving.  We slept, fished, read, walked, cooked and ate, slept, fished, meandered around the lake in the canoe, slept, fished and read some more.  I had just come through the first year of my first real job and I was exhausted before I left.  I've never done anything quite so peaceful as that long week in the wilderness.

Camping with Dad was never difficult.  He planned for weeks, didn't miss anything as he put together lists of what we needed and planned a map of how it would all be packed in the van.  Fishing with Dad was always fun.  He took care of everything because he was so good at it.  His tackle boxes were filled with anything you might need to have a great time and he understood the water so well that most of the time he would land right where the fish were biting.  It always drove him a little crazy if he took someone out fishing and they weren't successful.  So, he made those types of trips pretty great.

We always camped when I was growing up.  Dad didn't have the money for motels, so the tent was our shelter.  I can remember, as a kid, driving by motels with "Vacancy" signs lit quite nicely late at night while Dad looked for a campground and crying a little inside.  Beds always seemed like such a nice idea.

When I was in junior high, Dad made a plan for a big vacation.  We were going to travel to Yellowstone, but we were going to go through South Dakota first.  We had just moved from Morning Sun to Sigourney and while in Morning Sun, had gotten to know a foreign exchange student really well.  Doris was from Germany and loved us three kids.  It was a great opportunity for her to see more of the country and Mom was thrilled with an extra near-adult along to be with us kids.  That was a vacation where we traveled and traveled to see the sites.  But, my goodness, I don't think any of us kids look back on that vacation with anything but a sense of joy and wonder.  We had a blast.

Later, our vacations became part of the youth group trips that were taken each year since Dad only had so many weeks he could be gone and he always wanted to spend two solid weeks at the cabin as a family.  But, on those youth group trips, I saw a lot of world since he alternated every year an adventure trip (canoeing the Boundary Waters - one year white water canoeing in Wisconsin) with a work camp trip down into Kentucky/Tennessee.  My grandmother lived in the Boston area so we went out a couple of times, finally bringing her back with us.  Those were trips where we dealt with interesting family ... she was nothing if not interesting.

A couple of years ago, Max and I took a vacation that had nothing to do with family.  That was new.  Off to the Grand Canyon we went.  Ten days of traveling and seeing sites.  The last few days we settled into a strip motel in Utah so that we could spend time in Utah's Canyonlands.  I was completely overwhelmed by the beauty of God's creation during that trip.  Max still has some of his photographs posted here

Vacations have never meant resorts and cruises to me, though I have friends who absolutely adore those.  Who knows ... maybe someday.

What's your favorite vacation memory?

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