So here I am, sitting at the desk in my kitchen with a cup of coffee, overwhelmed with memories of an incredible trip. I never imagined things would go so smoothly, and feel more in love with my family than ever before. As we get back into the daily routine, I'm missing them! Amazingly enough, we never got sick of each other. I didn't look forward to a family of six sleeping in one motel room for over two weeks, and yet, it was nice. There's something pretty wonderful about all going to bed at the same time and talking about the day as we fell asleep. Two weeks of vacation was wonderful! And yet, I come home so refreshed and ready to get back into life! Because although the "mountaintop" of vacation is awesome, it truly is good to come down off the mountain (figuratively and literally!) and get back to a pretty wonderful life!
Before I give a few final comments about the trip, here's how our last day went...We had a great visit with Dwight Robertson at Kingdom Building Ministries on Tuesday morning. I could really see a couple of the kids going out to the "Laborer's Institute" someday...we were all really impressed with the whole organization. We actually made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare. Had a two hour layover at O'Hare, during which time Caroline threw up. But after that she seemed better and the rest of the trip was uneventful. Oh, except for a lady passing out in the aisle during the flight...kind of scary, but she was fine. Then the worst part was that when we arrived in Harrisburg, they couldn't get the gate to move out to the plane, so after a 15-minute forever wait we had to go down the emergency steps. Being "home" but stuck on the plane was frustrating, but soon enough we were off and there was my mom, waiting to pick us up!
If we had to do it over, what would we change? Well, besides little things here and there, the only thing I would have done differently is to come home after two weeks. That was long enough...the last two days were fun but the thing we wanted to see more than anything else was home! Was 2300 miles of driving too far? No...not really. (But maybe I should ask Alan, since he drove 2275 of them!) And yet, I wouldn't have wanted to do it any faster than we did. Staying two nights in the same location wasd always nice. The only thing I can think of that I may have skipped would be Silverton (the Old Hundred Gold Mine!) and Ouray, they were not that huge of a deal. But to get from Durango to Colorado Springs we almost needed to go through those towns, and it was an experience (notice I didn't say a good one!) driving over the Million Dollar Highway! I also would have found a way to whitewater (if I did it at all!) through the Glenwood Canyon on the Colorado River. The area where we went rafting was nothing spectacular as far as scenery is concerned.
And the highlights of the trip? Definitely the four-wheeling at Red Canyon in Utah and the horseback "steak ride" in Rocky Mountain National Park. But also all that time in the car was pretty special. We played games, told jokes, sang songs, and laughed a lot (except when the girls realized we were on our way to the Grand Canyon!) At one point we eavesdropped on a conversation Coleman was having with Emily. He likes thinking of things to invent, so said to her, "Emily, tell me everything you like to do and I'll tell you some things I could invent for you." Alan and I listened, and looked at each other and smiled. Long car trips make for captive audiences, and we had some great family conversation during those times.
We are home happy but broke! Our expenses shaped up as follows, listed as a percentage of the total...lodging 30%, car rental & gas 23%, food 20%, attractions 19%, and souvenirs 8%. The souvenir percentage would have been much higher had the Four Corners jewelry stands not been closed when we went by. Darn! Can you believe I came home without turquoise jewelry?! Alan did get me a pretty silver bracelet on the Navajo Reservation, though, so I'm not complaining too hard!
Here's the good news...all those expenses went on our credit card and the bill came today. Alan asked me how much it was and I said, "Don't worry about the amount...think of it in terms of how many frequent flyer points we've accrued towards our next trip!" He looked at me and rolled his eyes! I think he might cancel the credit card!
I close this journal with thanks to God for a vacation of a lifetime...not a day goes by that I don't feel blessed beyond measure. After two weeks of fun & adventure, I come home refreshed and looking forward to cooking, cleaning and taking care of my precious family.
Thanks for "coming along" with us on our trip. I know so many of you kept us in your prayers, and we thank you for that...so many little details "fell" into place, and I know that wasn't by chance. So happy trails for now, and may God bless each of you this summer!
P.S. I may continue writing on this blog from time to time, so bookmark it and check back from time to time (but not too often!)