During a project to digitize family photos I came upon an album that captured the trip in pictures. In addition to snapshots there was a long forgotten journal of each day of the excursion. Reading over the notes I took and looking at the pictures, I had to laugh out loud. What was supposed to be a lovely first vacation for our sweet little family turned out to the trip from hell.
Our vehicle was packed to the brim with trip supplies. We even carried a portable potty, so the kids could use it any time they needed to. We were on a mission to get to the mountains and didn't want to make a lot of pit stops.
According to the journal, one child vomited in the car when we were about 2 hours away from home. A stalled 18 wheeler delayed our progress and both kids skinned their knees at the roadside park in Texas. We took a wrong turn in Dallas and spent the rest of the day on backroads. After finally reaching Wichita Falls, we swam in the hotel pool until exhausted. Then we noticed that our youngest had a fever of 103 degrees. A call to our hometown family doctor resulted in us getting some antibiotics for her after visiting the ER or a local hospital. And, so we were off to a great vacation!!!
The next day we saw our first mountains as we made our way north. The highlight of this long day of driving was the swimming in the Holidome! Are you see a pattern here, yet?
The third day involved a drive into Colorado Springs and another Holidome. I was beginning to think we could have stayed in Baton Rouge and rented a room at the Holidome there and the kids would have been happy.
Cascade Cottages in the Rocky Mountain National Park were rustic and complete with our own family of mice who made appearances by falling on our faces while we slept. Upon complaining about the unwanted guests we were told that it was a privilege to have such accommodations. Our response was to check out, drive to the nearest town and buy a tent and camping supplies. The journal entry reads thusly: "That night we slept in a tent which was on an incline and we rolled downhill all night. When we woke up Dad was at the bottom of the heap!!!" The night it rained, we discovered that our tent leaked. What novices we were! But, we called ourselves having a good time on family vacation.
The park offered so many nice opportunities. The rangers presented programs that we attended and we learned about the flora and fauna of the Rocky Mountains. I even learned to cook family meals on a Coleman stove. Quite a feat, for this city girl!
Our return to Louisiana involved a boring drive across the state of Kansas. We kept thinking that there would be something along the way, but we were wrong. One has to remember this was way before GPS systems and Internet. We treated ourselves to a couple of nights in Hot Springs, Arkansas at the historic Arlington Hotel. At the top of the page I mentioned a portable potty that we had loaded in the back of the suburban. Can you imagine what that was like after 10 days on the road? Never again!!!
Our trip home was very quiet and without incident. I am so happy I saved the pictures and the journal of our first family vacation. With all the ups and downs, we had the time of our lives. Since then I have been on some fine trips including four trips to Europe, but this inaugural family trip was the most precious memory I have of family travel. Thanks for going down memory lane with me.