Wednesday, March 23, 2011

30 Days of Me: Day 23

Day 23 - Favorite vacation
In early 2000, my husband decided to take early retirement from his high-stress IT job. That summer, we embarked on an epic family vacation – the first family vacation we had ever taken.

Diana and Ian at Disney World

We started out with a rough itinerary and a few basic rules:
  • Anyone could call for a stop at anything that looked interesting.
  • At least one meal per day had to be a good one (i.e. not fast food).
  • Separate hotel rooms for us and for the kids.
  • No more than two long driving days in a row.
Our trip spanned six weeks and over 6,000 miles. Here was the rough itinerary:
  • Five days at Disney World
  • Four days in Sarasota, visiting Bob’s parents
  • Three days in New Orleans
  • Three days in Houston, staying with Bob’s cousin
  • Three days in Austin, visiting Bob’s uncle
  • Three days in Albuquerque
  • Three days in Colorado, visiting my sister
In between all those stops were driving days. Most of the time we had no idea where we would spend the night, so it was always an adventure. This was in the days before broadband internet! We traveled with a “technology box” containing a laptop with a modem, and every hotel we stopped at we would see if NetZero had a local dial-up connection. We used this to find places of interest in the days to come. Nowadays, of course, we just whip out a smartphone and Google it!

Bob with the souped-up lawnmower used by Tim Allen in a Citgo commercial,
at Don Garlit's Museum of Drag Racing in Florida

One of the things that made this vacation so much fun is we decided in advance not to take anything too seriously, and to just have fun. We also had daily contests of “guess the mileage”, where everyone guessed how many miles we would drive on a given day. We also had an overall mileage guess.

Ian and Diana learn how to make baskets with Bob's Uncle Bobby in Austin, TX.

There were so many fabulous places along the way; the kids still talk about the trip as a highlight (especially regarding the food… they both got quite adventurous, eating snails, ostrich, alligator and frogs’ legs!).

Other trip highlights:
Diana with a model of an atomic bomb
(National Atomic Museum, Albuquerque, NM)

Bob and the kids with the unused Saturn V Rocket intended for the Apollo 18 mission
(Johnson Space Center, Houston)
Me on the edge of the Sandia Crest, outside Albuquerque NM.
The family with Paisano Pete, the world's largest roadrunner
(Fort Stockton, TX)
Heading home. This van had the best option a traveling family could want: rear-seat headphone plugs and controls, so the kids could listen to their own music while the adults could enjoy the quiet.


  1. What a great vacation! Love the basket-making.

  2. Oh! the memories! Reminded me of some of the "pack the car/trailer, let's hit the road and see what we can find" kind of vacations my family used to take. We did it several times when I was a kid. And occasionally did it when my kids were kids. Due to my disability, a little more planning has to be involved now, but I would LOVE to do it again!

  3. Love the vacation tales! My family "hit the road" a lot when I was a kid, especially after we got a 31' Airstream trailer and didn't have to get two motel rooms (four kids in the family - it was a necessity!)

    But there is now a larger Roadrunner! On the top of a hill just to the west of and overlooking Las Cruces, NM, it is about 20 feet tall and 42 feet long. It was built from trash in 1992 and has been on the hill overlooking Las Cruces since 2000.


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