Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Findley Family Vacation

was reading a wonderful Childhood memory of a vacation from a friend and I just can't help to be reminded of the worst vacation our family ever took. It scarred me for life and has since limited my desire to vacation farther than 3 hours away.

One summer my parents had a business event in Albuquerque New Mexico. Well from SE Kansas it is a long drive. It felt like weeks.

There were 3 other families following us out, actually just couples as they didn't tote their kids along and tag it as a family vacation. However, I had proved myself untrustworthy of staying home alone. I was still in high school and my sisters were in Middle school so while we did have fun together, the age difference and the fact that I was a "high-schooler" led me to sleep or have on ear phones, most of the trip.

Now my dad is a constant visionary. His big invention for this trip was he rigged up a rack under the hood so that we could throw some potatoes in there and after a hundred miles, they would be cooked and we could have a baked potato with our Peanut Butter and Jellies. MMMMMM. I figured if the trip there didn't kill us, then the potatoes surely would.

At one point in the night we had stopped somewhere in Oklahoma to stretch and use the restroom. We got back on the road, however, it was just a frontage road and we could still see the highway, however there was a field in between. We drove about 2 miles and there apparently wasn't going to be an on ramp so rather than just turn around and go back, my dad took off through the field, in the dark of night, in our old 1971 Suburban. My first thought as it's bucking and kicking through all the holes and ruts was, "this thing is going to fall apart." It was only being held together by the rust spots and the two huge "turtle" looking things on top of the beast that carried all our luggage. Why would we need them when we have a suburban? Who knows! This thing looked bad! It was the vehicle that for punishment I had to drive when I was grounded rather than my cool little Chevette.

So we make it to the highway and move right along. Then we hit something and I could have swore I heard a scream. But there was nothing in the road and upon inspection didn't seem to have been anything wrong. Us kids all slept through most the remaining way there.
When we pulled up to the hotel we were staying at, The Ralph Lauren Polo Hotel. They had a valet parking cars. I thought, "man is he in for a treat getting to drive this old jalopy!" As he is walking up to the car he is starring at something and says, I think you've hit something with your luggage rack. Sure enough. The scream I thought I heard was from non other than that of an owl, a rather large one at that. And it was still careened around the luggage rack. I'm guessing the massive turtles on top probably confused the poor guy. Well, there was splatter of every kind every where.

So us hillbillies check in to our 1 room. Which was fine, they brought in an extra cot for us. Mom and dad attended their meeting that evening, we watched TV and enjoyed the pool. That night we all got settled in and the bed felt so good versus leaning against the window to sleep while all the passerbyer's saw me drooling all over myself. I had no sooner feel asleep when my dad started snoring. I'm not talking just the raspy snore, I am talking hurt your head, bear sounding snore. I pinched his nose, it didn't help. I tickled him so he would roll over, he didn't miss a beat. My bed was only 2 feet from my mom and dads, there was no escape! Needless to say, night one I barely slept, I just lay there starring at him visioning putting marshmallows or something in his mouth.

The next day there were more events for them and more TV and pool for us. I did manage to find a pair of earplugs in the gift shop....hallelujah! However, that night I discovered they only slightly muffled the sound. I couldn't take it! I pick up my bedding and went to the bathroom, stuffed towels under the door and slept in the tub.

In the morning my mom was frantic looking for me all the while I snoozed in the tub. It caused a little uproar but all was soon smoothed out.

We loaded our luggage and got ready to head home. However, decided it would be nice to tour the hotel and get a bite before we got on the road.

When we headed back out to leave, we discover that someone had broken in the Beast and stolen my carry on bag. Probably because it looked like a camera case. However, it was all my makeup, contacts, hair dryer etc. All which had to be replaced before I could return to school!
On the way out of town we see a big sign that says Adult Bookstore. All of us were very naive at this point thought it was probably something like the Barnes and Noble we've heard about. They have them in the big cities. So we pull up and go in. Only to quickly discover what "Adult" meant.

We drove on another 5 minutes when one of the couples following up had smoke billowing from their car. It is Sunday so getting parts wasn't going to be as easy. However, my dad's trade is mechanics so he quickly got to work. Now New Mexico is stinking hot in the summer. And working on an over heating car is hotter. So the guy's car who broke down takes his shirt off. And he is no small man but not huge either, however, he has a set of breasts that made me envious. I felt embarrassed for him and embarrassed for me as I turned and walked away to go looking inside some of the shops for a man bra!

About 2 hours later we're up and going again, potatoes in the cooker and we are all happy to be heading home.

We drive for about 2 hours and stop for a stretch. It is dark by now, everyone is tired and getting a little cranky. We get back in our cars and head out again. We drive another hour and a half to see a sign that says, Albuquerque 30 miles. We had somehow all managed to get turned around and head right back to where we just came from. Ugh! So once again my dad attempts his cross country driving to drive through the middle median of the two highways to get on the East bound lanes inspite of signs posted everywhere not to do this. We make it, the first couple behind us makes hit, then as the 3rd car attempts, red lights come storming at us. So after tickets for everyone, we once again head toward the yellow brick road.

We made it home in one piece, stolen luggage, tired to the point that no one said a word hardly on the way home, a bloody smashed up luggage rack and the knowledge that we took out a protected species. I am guessing this is exactly why I can relate to the National Lampoons Vacation movies so well.

1 comment:

Amy Hornek said...

I just love this story. Hilarious!

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