The “Vacation Part” of tour:
We all woke up around the same glorious time of 9:15 (which is sleeping in these days) and our first thought, other than Rudy’s “Pop-Tarts”, was, “Let’s go swimming!!” We all got ready and headed out, only to be smacked in the face with the s&@# stick. The pool didn’t open til 1:00!!! HOURS from then. Oh well, we’re on vacation and there’s no hurry. Let’s go enjoy the continental breakfast…that closes at 10:00!! Quick, hurry!! Some fruit, eggs, yogurt and biscuits later, we all headed up to our room to wait. Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock. Dad fell into searching online for nudist parks and open mics (which, coincidentally I think would make a great album title) and Rudes and I got to work on an activity book we’ve been doing all year. We’re into numbers now and, although he “pretends” to hate it and acts bored, he’s a willing participant and we laugh a lot.
1:00 FINALLY came and we all eagerly headed to the pool. Typical of the motel we were staying in, the water was cloudy with “cleaning agents” and freckled with bugs, but we didn’t care. Cannon balls, Marco Polo, noses full of water, and wet, sunshiney cement were all the rage for a good 2 hours! It was perfect. It reminded me of a story from my own childhood. I’ll side note here, because I am the author…and I can.
*When my brother, Jeremy, and I were kids, we were pretty poor but I never really felt it. Mom kept us fed, clothed, imvolved in extra curricular activities and treated us whenever she could with special dinners, playing hooky from school, and generally making our lives enjoyable. Part of that was her insistence that we take a vacation every year. It was important to her to get us out of our routines and into the world, meeting new people and doing fun stuff. One summer was a particularly difficult one monetarily. I was older and understood a little better about that kind of thing, but mom still said we were going away. I couldn’t imagine where we would go on the budget we had, but go we did! Packed in the car we drove a whopping 15 minutes away from our condo, down the Camarillo grade and pulled off to the historic Wagon Wheel Inn. Now, anyone from the area can attest to the turquoise blue eyesore with a gigantic wagon wheel on the sign, bowling alley/motel/diner that adorned the Oxnard exit for many years, like a plastic jewel in a golden crown, barely hanging on to keep claim to it’s realestate in the beautiful Camarillo valley. I saw my mom’s excitement and took in her honest laughter, as she admitted that, although it was not glamorous, not far, and not even appealing…it was our vacation, and we were getting away and were gonna have fun!!! My baby brother and I took the pool like fish and not one word of ungratefulness nor one complaint was uttered. It was probably 113° that summer and mom got us to a pool, and a room with a tv, and a bowling alley! We felt like it was a success. I remember my brother and I made a game out of throwing wads of hair we found in the pool at each other. Gross? Yes. Fun? Hilariously fun! I can’t remember all the stuff I got that year, or how much money we had or didn’t have. But, I will never forget this vacation. It was just the three of us…and some pool hair…and nothing else mattered.*
We couldn’t possibly be in Great Falls, Montana without seeing some great Falls. So, see we did. There’s a road that travels along the river, get this, it’s called “River Drive”, and on the drive you can just pull off and view several different falls. Now, Jared grew up right by Niagra Falls and I have seen them as well, so really, no falls can compare. However, it was the landscape that these Falls were presented in that made them so lovely. The falls just naturally traveled through hillsides and mountains, wheat fields and cliffs and just blew our minds. My favorite of the few we saw, was “Rainbow Falls”. 2 Falls, side by side, one of which produces a giant rainbow when you view it from one side. The other fall is pretty too, but really overshadowed by it flamboyant brother. I’m sure it’s kind of like if a horse had a unicorn for a sibling. “Sure, you CAN run fast…but HE has a shiny horn, and is all mythical and shit.” Horse can’t win.
My absolute favorite part of the Falls was at our very first one. So, like I said, Jared and I have seen Niagra, but Rudy…Rudy’s never seen anything like these Falls. We get out and walk to the guardrail and look over. We’re all just kind of admiring the water and the noise and the bigness of it all and Rudy grabbed our hands and quietly said, “I love you guys that big.” Even as I write this, even in the retelling, it’s just as powerful and pure as anything I’ve ever heard.
The Rest of the Night:
We found a beautiful park for Rudy and Dad to hide-n-seek in, while I got absolutely devoured by mosquitoes. 17 in a matter of minutes. I took to the air conditioned truck while the boys finished their game.
Grabbed a couple salads at a local Chili’s and Rudy comforted a crying baby a couple times, making everyone around actually like a child for a moment. Then ruining the moment by screaming at a table video game he was playing…(the table behind us even moved) Can’t say he’s not passionate.
We surprised him with Incredibles 2 (which was awesome!!!) and by the time we were headed to the hotel, we were all pretty beat. Rudes was kind of emotional and at one point said, “I need some alone time, but I know that’s not gonna happen right now.” I tried not to laugh cuz I didn’t want him to think I was laughing at him, but Dad and I definitely agreed.
Once we were back and some cartoons were on, we all curled up in the bed and enjoyed the luxury of pillows for one last night.