Every good and perfect gift is from above...James 1:17

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Triangle Of Death

1 swag wag. 2 parents. 3 kids. 7 hotels.  9 states. 18 days.  3500 miles.

The DanFam5 just took the bull by the horns, and we rode it for the full 8 seconds.

We originally had plans to go to KS for the 4th, followed up with camping at the lake with family for a couple days.  Then Abe had a work trip to California come up the for the week after the 4th.  What a great opportunity for the family to drive cross-country on family vacation, right?  Now remember from a few posts ago, there is no such thing as a family vacation.  So when I say we went on a family business trip, this time the meaning is 2-fold.

We went to Kansas, and without passing go we drove straight to Cali.

That's right.  We drove from Texas up through Oklahoma to Kansas, across Colorado, just into southern Utah, catching the tip of Nevada, and into California for a week.  Then straight across Arizona and New Mexico, hitting the Lone Star State again some 3500 miles later.  What most people would consider the Triangle of Death, The DanFam5 took head-on and came out the other side to talk about it.

We broke it down into phases, just to keep our sanity.

PHASE I: Randolph 4th of July celebration
I always enjoy bringing the kids to Randolph for the 4th so they can enjoy some Independence Day from a small-town perspective.
Watching cousin Reika's turtle in the races.
Picking which ride to take.
Riding in the parade with Uncle Steve and Aunt Karla.
official parade candy collector
party like rock stars, sleep like rock stars
PHASE II: The Lake
I cannot tell you how much I love spending time at the lake with my extended family.   It's one of my happy places.
water trampoline with cousins
tubing with cousins
feeding fish from our toes with cousins (even though it should not have been, it was actually a little scary for some reason)
'skate boarding' in Daisy-speak
Yes, that's me catching some air!
jet ski
fireworks with cousins

PHASE III:  Road Trip!
Dillon, CO
Colorado National Monument
Ghost Rock--we're so scared!

OK, here is where it gets a little weird.  Unfortunately words cannot come close to describing this experience.  The Twilight Zone may be the best I can do.  Let me give it a shot...  I found this place in Utah called Mystic Hot Springs.  Under accommodations it listed a bus with electricity if you wanted to, quote, "live like a hippie for a night."  I thought it sounded fun for the kids so we reserved it.  Abe started questioning my judgement when the directions said, "Paved most of the way." Once the pavement stopped we passed a trailer park.  But not your typical trailer park.  The kind of trailer park that makes you feel sad for the people who live there.  Sad for them and a little scared of them.

This is the office.  Yes, there is an old, empty pool, missing siding, exposed cinderblocks and shingles missing from the roof behind that appealing chain link fence.
I am still opportunistic at this point.  I mean, the bus has electricity.  Abe keeps asking, "You're getting pictures of this, right?"  Cuz you got to see it to believe it.
This little jewell was putting out a good vibe for all right outside the office.  Amongst lots of other junk.  Literally.
Upon entering, we were greeted by 3 dogs.  I definitely, like,  got the vibe that the owner liked to 'live like a hippie' not just in his blue bus, dude.  Kinda felt like Cheech and Chong were gonna stumble around the corner.  Instead out meandered some dude in his old t-shirt and flip flops.  After he checked us in he told us to go past the trailer park and down to the blue bus.  We couldn't miss it.  No key necessary.  Ever.  As in, the bus did not lock.  My optimism was starting to fade a bit.  Oh, and he told us the public restrooms and showers were located near the bus.  I was still in denial at this point.  It has electricity, folks.  It couldn't really be that bad, right?
Skid School Bus row
Big Blue in her glory.  You can't see, but Bob Dillon is painted on the side, with a puff of smoke.  I'm pretty sure he inhaled.
It happened to be raining as we were entering our hippie dwelling. I dashed through the mud (it was only paved most of the way, remember?) onto the bus to close the open windows so our beds would not get wet.  Just as in elementary school, they were stuck and would not close.  I think it was right here that reality reared her ugly head and slapped me in the face.  I came to tears, I mean terms with what our sleeping arrangements were going to be for the evening.
our humble hippie abode
  Behind that ratty closet on the right are the remnants of a bathroom.  Unfinished walls, old toilet.  Turns out, the 'electricity' spoken of on the website was a long extension cord, that, ironically, wasn't even plugged in on the other end.  Abe and I were trying to hide our utter disgust for the kids' sake.  Turned out that was not necessary; the kids loved it.
Eli could drive and poke all of those buttons without anyone telling him no.
Zeke could literally climb the walls without anyone telling him no.
It's a party!
The hot springs and soaking tubs were a little diamond in the rough.
Our next stop was the Grand Canyon.  Pictures do not express the awe and beauty.

I couldn't help being a mom and feeling terrified that our children were going to fall right off the edge and down into the canyon.
Valley of Fire, Nevada
Circus Circus
The kids were more excited about the water fountains than Hoover Dam right behind them.
PHASE IV: California
Daddy worked hard.  We mostly swam.
PHASE V: The Long Trip Home

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


We drove by a house for sale today and  we all liked it, but I told the kids it was out of our price range.  Zeke said they could do something to get more money, like sell ice cold water.    He and Daisy schemed planned their business venture the whole way home.

They were busy little beavers setting up shop.  The plan was I could get the ice and water and they would sell it for $2.  I was thinking I would go buy water bottles and ice them down in the cooler.  Oh no.  They wanted me to fill a cup with ice and water.

While I was getting the ice water they made signs and taped them up,
drug the coffee table to the front sidewalk,
brought their chairs out, and were ready to go.
They yelled to try to drum up some business.
My little workers were so busy they couldn't stop to eat.  So they had a working dinner.
Even with all that yelling, no one stopped to buy ice water so we could buy a new house.  (It wasn't like there was all kinds of foot traffic, mind you.  The street was dead in the middle of the afternoon.)
So they resorted to going to our neighbors and knocking on their door and asking them. A little door-to-door solicitation was not stopping them.  One poor neighbor was home and felt obligated to come over and buy a cup of ice water for $2.  {Thank you, Justin.}

Here are my little  entrepreneurs with their first profit!
Thanks to their hard work, we'll have that new house in no time!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Peas & Carrots

Zeke and Daisy were playing. He said she was the silliest. I said she was the silliest and he was the giggliest. Between giggles he added, "She's the silliest and I'm the laughiest. It's like we belong together." Aww.