I’m seeing lots of vacation photos on Facebook. It reminds me of long ago family trips when I was young. Most were spent with relatives just a few hours away.
But when I was twelve years old, my parents loaded us up and headed to Great Falls, Montana, where my aunt and uncle lived. We left before dawn and made it to Denver. With little money for extras, we stayed at a tiny travel lodge where Mama cooked meals and kids slept on cots. For lunch, we stopped at a grocery store and bought crackers and bologna then ate at a picnic area along the road.
After our visit in Montana, we headed back to Oklahoma by way of the Teton Forest and Yellowstone National Park. I loved watching bears walk up to car windows and seeing Old Faithful erupt almost on the hour.
Surprisingly, our family revisited the Rockies when I was fifteen, traveling up and down more switchback mountains than I cared to count. It was a white-knuckle ride with only two lanes and no guardrails. We survived and spent a few days in a little motel on top of a mountain in Idaho then drove to Great Falls before returning home via the Black Hills.
Though my mother loved the mountains, she was not happy when the only affordable motel near Mount Rushmore was situated on a high bluff along with a stormy night. Then, heading toward home, we had one more night on the road. What a surprise when Daddy pulled into a motel with a swimming pool and a restaurant.
My parents had a little vacation money left over so they decided to give us kids a fun time at a pool and allow Mama a break from cooking. Sounds like a small thing, but the memories still linger.
I’ve taken a lot of vacations with my own kids since those childhood days and here’s what I’ve learned. It isn’t the place or price that really matters. It’s doing things together as a family.
Hope you had a fun summer, even if you vacationed at home.
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