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Friday, April 29, 2011

Laundry List Friday: Five strange reasons we've gone someplace...and the even stranger results of the quest.

Good afternoon! 

I know, I've been away for a long week.  It's been one of those weeks that sort of slides away without anyone noticing and suddenly it's FRIDAY and there's a bevy of fire trucks parked outside your office building...and you pray, YOU PRAY that the building is on fire and....

oh wait...is that just me?

Okay, so this week I'm recounting some of the oddest vacation moments of my life.  Some I can blame on my parents, neither of whom were born with anything resembling an internal compass.  Some, well, it's all on me.

5)  Disneyland...1981

We had no intention of going to Disneyland the summer after I graduated from grade school.  We were on our way to Phoenix to see some relatives.  (for those of you who have paid attention, yes, this is the camping trip.)  But when we got to Phoenix every single person we saw said, "You're so close, YOU HAVE TO GO TO DISNEYLAND!"

For the record...Phoenix is NOT "that close" to Disneyland.  It's a very, very long day's drive.  Just sayin'.

Finding Disneyland was not the hard part.  What made this side trip a quest was finding a relative to stay with in Anaheim, CA.  And sure enough...my mother's side of the family came through again!  Low and behold, there was a cousin who lived in Anaheim and wouldn't you know it?  They had some extra bedrooms!  (My mother's grandparents had 9 children...who all had packs of kids...who all pretty much stayed in the Mequon, WI area, except for a couple brave branches of the family tree.)

Disneyland was great.  Meeting cousins for the first time while using their showers, really great.  Seeing futuristic square toilets in said cousin's house?  Well worth the trip!

4)  Grey Oaks Manor, 1987.

My mother is a GIGANTIC fan of the movie "Gone with the Wind."  Christmas of 1987, yes, the prune induced farting trip, we had on the schedule a trip to the antebellum home that inspired "Tara" for the movie.  Not the actual house from the movie, mind you, but the house that inspired it.

This was the high point, my mother insisted, of the trip.  We'd spent days in the car following the Natchez Trace, eating good Southern food, (We northerners have no idea how to make biscuits.)  touring plantation homes and hiding our Northern Accent every time the tour guide mentioned damages done to said homes.  But Grey Oaks, my mother swore, was going to be the pinnacle of the trip.

Ya know how you lose track of days on a vacation?  You know, the TV channels aren't the same and your schedule is way off so you don't see your normal shows and therefore you have no idea what day it is?  Such was the problem on this trip.

We hit Grey Oaks Manor, apparently, on the one day a week they were not open...Sunday. 

We do have a nice snapshot of that stop on the trip.  My mother, her head hung low, standing in front of the "CLOSED" sign.

3)  A repair shop...Upper Michigan...1978.

Have I mentioned that, not only were my parents poor and directionally challenged, they were terrible when it came to buying cars?  Almost every vacation of my childhood involved at least one trip to a repair shop, but none was quite so awesomely funny as the year we went from Montello, WI  (central part of the state) to Washington DC, via UPPER MICHIGAN.

(My father is one of those people who will do ANYTHING to avoid driving in Chicago.)

We were driving the light brown station wagon at the time...and that beast liked to backfire flames for no reason.  This would be fine except Brother and I were the type of kids that cannot sit next to each other on a long trip.  I liked to sleep in the car.  He liked to make sure I couldn't.  So my space was in the "Way Back" of the station wagon where I would sleep for HOURS and HOURS in the car.  (And yes, it irritated my mother no end that I then was WIDE AWAKE all night long.)

But with the car farting flames, my parents thought it best that I sit in the middle seat while we drove said death trap around to find a fix it shop.  (Note...we did not actually stop and get out of the car...but sitting 9 inches farther away from open flames was very safe.)

The only fix it shop in that part of the UP at that time was a shop that belonged to a gent who was sort of the circuit mechanic for the tri county area.  I cannot make this up.  He was in that shop on Tuesdays only.  and lucky us...it wasn't Tuesday.  BUT...someone was nice enough to run to the neighboring town...this was in the days BEFORE cell phones...and get him to come and fix our car.

I believe we spent 7 hours at that shop.  Brother and I played in the parking lot.   My mother cried in the front seat.  So it was a pretty typical vacation for us!

2)  Carl Sandburg Village...Chicago...1988

My father is a literary guy.  He loves all things literature.  And American Literature is a big score for him.  So on a weekend jaunt to Chicago one summer  (while my father loathes driving in Chicago, my mother loves the city) he mentioned that he wanted to tour the Carl Sandburg village.  We all agreed, because he was driving, that this was a good idea.  He got the coordinates from a gas station clerk.  (Before the days of celebrity voiced GPS)  and searched for a solid two hours on Saturday.  With no luck, and since our short vaca time was running out, we agreed, again, because he was driving, that we would give up and come back on Sunday.

Getting better coordinates from the hotel desk clerk, Sunday we spent another hour looking for the Carl Sandburg village. 

Folks, lest you get the hankerin' to tour the Carl Sandburg village, let me save you the time....IT'S AN APARTMENT COMPLEX!

We drove in to the parking lot of the complex, my father grumbled something I didn't hear clearly and probably couldn't repeat anyway, and we headed home.

1)  Waffle House, Indianapolis, 2011

Finally, my own quest.  Hubby and I have been pretty good at planning an executing family vacations.  The secret, we believe, is to not do them every year.  So we're on a sort of every five years or so plan.  This year, since Peaches has never eaten at a Waffle House, and since there are no Waffle Houses in Wisconsin, we searched the internet to find the closest one. 

Indianapolis, IN.  255 miles away.

So, Easter Sunday, after singing in church and Peaches posing as the angel at the tomb and Hubby standing guard over the tomb all of Friday night and both Peaches and Skippy hitting rock concerts over the weekend, we got into the family Impala, loaded up the GPS  (whose name is Susan) and left for the closest Waffle House.

Due to work commitments, we had 30 hours.  30 hours, 15 of which were spent in the car.  BUT, we were able to eat two meals at a very nice Waffle House.  I got my grits, which I love, and Peaches is now aware of the magic that is Waffle House.

There you have it.  5 Quests, 5 reasons to quest, and 5 odd results.

Have a great weekend all!

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