We just returned from a rare relaxing vacation. We got together with my family at a cabin in Idaho. We haven't been all together very much since I left home, but the few times we have, it's been a harried Christmas or somebody's wedding. So, it was me and G, my sister (Myndi) and her husband (Luke), my brother (Jordan) and his wife (Tahsha) and my parents -- and then Buddy, the lone kid in the group. Needless to say, Buddy got a LOT of attention. And was extremely pleasant to be around as a result.
We stayed at an old house in the very rural community of Mink Creek, Idaho (just north of Preston, home of Napoleon Dynomite). I can see why my sister has been suggesting a trip like this for a few years. Her husband's family owns the property -- several hundred acres in the most spectacular scenery I've seen in a long time. I'm not usually one to rave about Idaho (in fact, before Buddy was born there, I suggested we just knock it right out of the union. It would make the drive to Utah a lot more bearable). But, I've changed my mind. This part at least was gorgeous. The trees had all changed colors, but the leaves hadn't started to fall yet, so everywhere you looked were brilliant fall colors.
We had a really fun time together as a family too. No one fought, and even though about half of us were pretty sick, we were all in a really good mood. We talked, ate, and pretty much laughed the entire time. It made me so thankful for the great people I call family. And this trip made me realize where I got my charm and good sense of humor.
I thought I'd give you a few highlights and low-lights from the trip.
* The drive to Utah and back. It's SO painfully long and boring. We even made it in pretty good time (12 hours there and 11.5 hours back -- a record for us). We didn't have any weather issues (unlike last Christmas when it took 16 hours of driving in a blizzard to get there) -- but still.
* What is the matter with Idaho/Utah drivers? They're almost too predicable to be for real. The exact moment we crossed the border from Oregon to Idaho (and the same thing when we were coming home) people began driving erratically. When I lived in Utah it always amazed me how inconsiderate and crazy people were on the road and every time I leave the good state of Oregon now, I'm reminded of that. Seriously, most of the people on the road were a danger. It was bad.
* Along the same lines, why is the road quality so poor in Idaho? Driving through Boise I thought I was having a seizure the road was so bumpy. And it was like that on and off pretty much the entire time.
* I had a sinus infection. I've been battling a wicked case of allergies for about two months now. First of all, who gets allergies at my age? I've never had them until last year. And who gets them this bad? Just like last year, my allergies led to a sinus infection. I wasn't feeling very well before we left, but I didn't really have much time to dwell on it. But the night before we left it hit me. Thankfully I never felt miserable on the trip. However, I have a feeling I made everyone else feel miserable -- since I was blowing my nose constantly. Sorry guys.
* The smell driving through Jerome, Idaho. Keep in mind, I had a raging sinus infection and it didn't in the least mask the horrific smell. Imagine the smell of outhouses while camping -- with a strong odor of rotten fish. That's what it was like for a good ten miles.
* We stopped to eat in Burley, Idaho. We've stopped there on previous trips and it just amazes me how that town seems to be stuck in a time warp. We ate at a fastfood joint and it was like being in the twilight zone. The woman who took our order had hair and makeup straight out of the 70's. I really wanted to take a picture because there is no way to describe it, but I thought that would be rude. There were three different families with children who had NO shoes or socks on. Is that bizarre to anyone else?
* But believe it or not, our return trip dinner was even worse. We stopped to eat in a town called Stanfield, Oregon. I've made the drive to Utah lots of times before and have never noticed this town before. First of all, there were only two fastfood joints to choose from (and they shared a building) and pretty much every farmer and trucker from around those parts were there for dinner. That's fine, but there were other characters there that made me, well, very uneasy. Let's put it this way: When Buddy announced that he had to go poop halfway through dinner, I was MORE than happy to be the one to take him. There was no way I was going to sit there alone at the table. It was THAT bad.
* We spent several hours down by the river one day. A few people went fishing, people rode the 4-wheeler, we built a big campfire and roasted marshmallows and hotdogs, and we took some walks. And Buddy had his first experiencing pooping on a log. Thankfully I had a few Kleenexes with me because of my infection. But still... It was a little traumatic for both of us.
* I already mentioned how much fun it was to be with my family.
* While we were at the cabin we didn't have cell or Internet service, so G wasn't able to do any work. Now that's a vacation!
* Buddy is a fabulous roadtrip kid. He doesn't complain and is capable of occupying himself for hours in the car with stickers, DVD boxes, crayons, etc. It's so nice and I promise to never take that for granted. However, he talks a lot and so when we needed a break, I gave him my iPod and he listened to pirate music for hours. Thank goodness for technology.
* We had the bright idea of taking a family picture. My brother suggested we wear hoodies and jeans, since that's kind of our family's style. This should have been a low-stress experience. I mean, we were out in nature having a good time. No fancy clothes, no studio, no annoying photographer, no wrestling with hairdos. But still, something about taking a family picture sends people from happy to crabby in about two seconds. It didn't help that three out of the four cameras we had with us all had battery issues. Still, we had fun, and were able to laugh about the chaos after we were all done.
* I don't love being dirty, but I also am not a fan of getting ready in the morning. This trip was perfect -- we got a hot shower every morning, but didn't have to wear makeup. How great is that?
* There is few things as enjoyable as watching a little boy having so much fun. Buddy had a ball playing with everybody. He especially loved riding the 4-wheeler and helping Luke catch and gut a fish.
* Many hands make light work. That's especially true with my family. I think I've taken it for granted that every member of my family is a hard worker -- especially Luke. No one is lazy. No one stands around. It was amazing to see how quickly tasks got done. The morning we left the cabin, I hopped in the shower and in the 20 minutes it took me to bath myself and Noah and then get dressed, most of the cabin was packed and cleaned from top to bottom. We can thank mom for teaching us that -- and for making it so important that we all married hardworkers too.
* Why does Utah have so many cheap and delicious restaurants? Cafe Rio. Mmm... When G finished up law school and we finally moved from Utah, we took pictures of us in front of our favorite restaurants. I know, it sounds kind of lame. But if you've eaten at Cafe Rio and Stans and Tucanos, you realize how sad it was to leave them behind.
* The trip was so relaxing, we didn't need another vacation when we came home. Ahhh... can't wait to do it again.