Tag Archives: vacation

Vocabulary Lessons

We are going backpacking as a family.  I’m not sure what has come over us but I guess we’re trying to force nature on our children.  It makes me feel better about letting small electronic devices occupy their time when I want a nap.

And to be honest, Kevin originally asked me if I wanted to go HIKING as a family.  Then he told his friend we were going BACKPACKING.  He didn’t think his change in vocabulary was that big a deal until I said I was going to buy a 2k cubic zirconia but was actually going to buy a 2k diamond.

I’m nervous about the backpack I’ll be wearing.  Kevin has said it’s a horrible bag but now that we need me to wear it, he is now saying it’s horrible because it’s too small not because it’s a horrible bag.  I’m usually not as picky on vocabulary as I have been recently.  But if I have to carry all of my possessions on my back, I need an amazing backpack and I think that’s why the story has changed.  Amazing backpacks come with an amazing price.

And we can’t afford it anymore.  Not after my previous vocabulary lesson.

(Dear prospective thieves: I didn’t REALLY buy a 2k diamond.  But it made for a better ending.  If you look through my jewelry box, you will find the cubic zirconia.  What if I just leave you a $20 on the front door?)

The Hiawatha Trail

We took our kids on the Hiawatha Trail. It used to be part of the Milwaukee Railroad.

“It was called one of the most scenic stretches of railroad in the country. When the Milwaukee Railroad was operating, the trains traversed through 11 tunnels and over 9 high trestles, covering a 46 mile route that crossed the rugged Bitterroot Mountains between Idaho and Montana. The “Route of the Hiawatha” is most famous for the long St. Paul Pass, or Taft Tunnel which burrows for 8771 ft. (1.66 miles) under the Bitterroot Mountains at the state line.”

Now they’ve covered the tracks with dirt and you mountain bike over it.  It’s a beautiful path.  We put tag-a-longs on the back of my bike and Kevin’s so that the two youngest road with us and our oldest road his own bike.

The first 1.6 miles are in a completely black tunnel.  You have to wear headlamps or a bike light to make it.  On both sides of the tunnel there are 18 inch ditches for water runoff.

(I highly recommend learning to ride with a tag-a-long and kid before entering a slightly sloped, completely black tunnel with water dripping from the ceiling.  It throws balancing off just a wee bit.)

It took us 3ish hours to get down the path.  It was mostly downhill.  We paused occasionally to read the historic signs along the way and to eat unhealthy snacks.  We thought of riding back up but the shuttle was right there waiting for us.  It was a sign.  And we didn’t realize how tired we were until we sat down.  And closed our eyes.

They drop you off at the end of the tunnel so you have to bike through it again.  Seeing as we were experts at riding our bikes in the dark, it went much faster the second time.
I recommend riding bikes in a dark tunnel.  It makes you feel like you’ve done something incredibly cool and dangerous without actually doing anything cool or dangerous.

We're waiting for endorsement deals.

We’re waiting for endorsement deals.

Travel Advice

I recently went on a trip.  All by myself.  I didn’t even need an adult chaperone.  And I didn’t have to wear an underage badge pinned to my shirt.

I’ve realized this year that I tend to travel a lot.  I thought I’d pass on some of the immense amount of knowledge I’ve acquired.

Tip #1

Airplanes are chilly.  Socks are a wonderful idea when you are wearing sandals.  I generally wear subtle ones so as not to draw attention to myself.

You may have to look closely.  I swear I'm wearing socks.

You may have to look closely. I swear I’m wearing socks.

Tip #2

Make yourself comfortable.

A wall is technically not furniture so obviously it's ok to put your foot on it.

A wall is technically not furniture so  it’s ok to put your foot on it.

Tip #3

Only rent cars from people who check for dents with the largest possible flashlights available.  But make sure they don’t swing around too fast and dent your rental with the largest available flashlights possible.

(Feel free to caption this yourself)

They don’t sell them.  I asked.

 

 

 

The Universe and Manilow

I’m worried about Barry Manilow.  I think karma may get him.  I’m waiting to hear.

Last time I mentioned a writing retreat I went to.  It was Thursday to Saturday.  I was pretty much in a class or discussing writing.  My friend called me and told me she had 2 free tickets to Barry Manilow.  I had an appointment I was able to switch so I could make it to the concert.  So I just happened to be in the state on the night Barry would be performing; I had free tickets and I was able to go.

I WAS MEANT TO GO.

So I got in my car and started driving.  It was about an hour drive to the stadium.  I was ten minutes away.  I was making good time.  I was pretending my name was Mandy when my friend texted:

Manilow cancelled.

HE CANCELLED. Five minutes before the doors were to open and he cancelled.

The universe had symbiotically come together to allow me to go to Barry. THE UNIVERSE wanted me to go to Barry Manilow.

And he cancelled.  I’m worried what the universe might do.

I own this but I don't have a matching boa and now I never will.

I own this but I don’t have a matching boa and now I never will.

Brothel Days

We took our kids to Virginia City and Nevada City.  They are historical towns with living museums and stage coaches and handmade ice cream and candy.

We got there Friday night and ate at the Star Cafe.  It was better food than we’d had in a while.  Then we checked into the Nevada City Hotel. There is no air conditioning and all of the fans had been checked out.  The breeze was blowing the wrong direction — it wasn’t going in our window.  So we left and went on a ghost tour.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  And then our 10 year old told our 8 and 6 year old he could hear voices.  I did not enjoy that.

The next day we woke up to find out it was Brothel Days in Virginia City.  A friend told me not to worry because our kids wouldn’t understand; as long as we skipped the lecture they had at 1pm about Brothels.

I had a feeling, however, had they seen the Bed Races they would’ve asked questions about why a woman dressed in her underwear and garters was riding on a bed while four people pushed it down the street as fast as they could.

Luckily, the train came.

I've always wanted to work in a living history museum.  But not when it's 96 degrees.

I’ve always wanted to work in a living history museum. But not when it’s 96 degrees.

Arches: the Gateway to Patience

I took my kids to Arches National Park.

Here’s how it went in their words:

We hiked Park Avenue (so named because the red rock is as high as sky scrapers on both sides of the path).  It is down hill at the beginning but flattens out quickly.  The hike is .9 miles one way.  We probably did .75 and turned around due to lack of shade.

10 yr old son:  I like this place way better than New York City.  There are too many people there.

8 yr old daughter:  New York City is WAY better.  I hate this place.  There’s too much sun.

We had water.  I may forget lunch for school but I don't forget water in the desert...

We had water. I may forget lunch for school but I don’t forget water in the desert…

We’re almost back to the car:

8 yr old: I’m gonna die of a heart attack.

She sits down on a rock.  I tell her I’m going to take her picture.  She poses.

We hike The Windows.

Me:  This is Turet Arch.

8 yr old:  It should be called Tiring Arch.

We approach a little hill with slick rock.

8 yr old: We’re going there?

   5 yr old son: Look! No hands!

We go to the visitors center to watch the introductory film so everyone can become Jr. Park rangers.

5 yr old: Is this 3D?

We only hiked Park Avenue and The Windows.  We walked around Balancing Rock and then headed back to Moab.  We went to Milt’s for burgers and shakes, swimming at the pool, and a chuckwagon dinner.  The next day we hiked Delicate Arch.  On the way out of town we drove 3 miles to the middle of nowhere to see fossils still in the rocks.  I almost got stuck in sand.

I asked my kids if they liked the trip.

10 yr old:  I liked the arches.

5 yr old:  I liked the dinosaur fossils.

8 yr old: I liked everything.  Except the hiking.

This is not "almost there."

This is not “almost there.”

Disneyworld!

Great picture of the kids?

Great picture of the kids?

We went to Disney World last week.  This picture sums it up. I put it on Facebook so a lot of you may have seen it, but it’s still my favorite.

I’ve decided I may put a little too much energy into planning vacations.  Because they never go as planned and no one is every perfectly happy.  And even when your kids beg to go on a ride, they duck for the picture.

I studied for this trip for hours but not the right way, I think.  Disney World is an EXPERIENCE not a ride.  Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot are also about shows and just being there.  We tried to run from ride to ride and we got in a lot of rides, but I wish we’d seen more shows and worried less about the rides.  There’s a life lesson in there.  Mickey would be proud.

The last night we were there, I told the kids we were staying for the fireworks at Magic Kingdom.  They’re at 10pm.  Our youngest 2 had been going to bed at 9pm (or earlier) and waking up at 7am.  We got to the park when it opened, took a two hour break in the afternoon and then headed back.

At 8:30pm my 5 yr old asked if it was time to go to bed.  At 9pm he asked again.  At 9:30 he asked once more.  I told him we were waiting for the fireworks.  He asked if they could light them now.

At 10, we started watching the fireworks.  During a pause, he asked if they could be over now.  After the fireworks, we had one more scavenger hunt map to complete before we became pirates.  I asked him to go with me.  We became pirates.  It wasn’t as big a deal as I was expecting.

I asked my 7 and 5 yr old to go on Pirates of the Caribbean one more time to celebrate our pirate-hood.  He fell asleep 2 minutes into the ride.

I took him home after this.  I can take a hint.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have two birthday parties, and a triathlon this week.  (One party was last night.  15 kindergarteners.  Fill in the blanks.) And laundry.  We’ll see if I’ve learned to enjoy the experience…