I love vacationing. Actually, as long as I can remember I’ve longed for discovering other worlds.
Whether it’s a family road trip to the Royal Gorge, or a day jaunt to the Topeka Children’s Museum, an adventure always awaits. Plus, I’m not expected to cook dinner.
So by the time summer creeps up, I typically have my travel folder stuffed with itineraries, things-to-do lists, flight and lodging confirmation numbers and family-friendly events. The trees of the world thumb their noses at me for annually wasting approximately half a ream of paper, but I can’t go old school and do everything on phone apps yet.
This year, however, my travel folder remains empty. Its skinny profile only makes me sad. Facebook posts of other families' summer trips are making me jealous, showing off beautiful scenery, teens actually smiling and not rolling their eyes, and tanned faces looking… (what’s the word?)… relaxed. These are my daggers for overspending earlier this year on home repairs and buying a car.
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I guess one could count our weekend trip to St. Charles, Mo., for my daughter’s dance competition as a summer vacation, but the conditions weren’t ideal. Two of my family members were sick, including my dancer. I spent a too much “vacation” time sitting on terribly hard, thin-carpeted floors of a convention center. The hotel beds were overly fluffy, and the food was just not right! Tip to hungry travelers: don’t expect a decent meal when in St. Charles.
We ended up coming home a day early. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one in my family who wasn’t into role-playing Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Right before we were packing up, my husband suggested we do something we could brag about on our vacation, or at least have photos for Facebook.
So before heading westward home, we experienced the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. For anyone who enjoys gadgets or engineering, this monument is spectacular. Even I found the history fascinating. Now if we had arrived two days later, we would have witnessed the grand opening of the underground museum at the Arch. Goldilocks was much too early.
We rode up to the viewing area in the oddest elevator I’ve ever experienced. Remember the 1970s television show, "Mork & Mindy"? Our egg-shaped elevator, made me want to “nanu nanu” my girls, but I’m sure they would have been lost to any alien greetings.
The views were amazing. In the brochure it said on a clear day you can see up to 30 miles. I’m pretty sure I saw 31. After obtaining our several scrapbookfuls of photos, we made the descent and exited westward.
Nothing like family bonding time while flying though a national monument, faster than a professional speed dater. At least we had four more hours where I didn’t have to cook dinner.
I guess it was a family vacation after all.
Stacey Hatton is busy cooking and doing mounds of post-vacation laundry. She’s holding all calls, but can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.