Summer Vacation 2021
By Marcella S. Meeks
Summer vacation has finally arrived. Plans are already being made for summer vacation… but there is a setback – two of my grandsons (fellow travelers) have to do summer school until June 30th. Oh yeah, this traveling Grandma is having fits. But at the same time, I saw this coming because one of them was really struggling hard with Math. Come to find out, they both were. I told them both that I was aware of their struggles and therefore I didn’t plan anything for June. But July – watch out because I’m hitting the open road and getting out of this place for the entire month! I’m headed west again this year.
Traveling is one of the many things I enjoy. I am a 61 year old grandmother, have battled Stage 4 mouth cancer twice and am still cancer-free (I still have a four year margin on the last cancer before I can confidently say it’s gone for good), and I have the blood pressure of a twenty-five year old. Traveling keeps my blood pressure normal because I am happiest when I’m on the road. And laughter and happiness is good medicine, especially when you have someone special to share your time with.
We’re just a normal family, live in a normal town, do the normal things families do, but once or twice a year, this grandma becomes Super Woman. I get into high gear, start putting plans together for the ultimate vacation for me and some of the grand kids and we load up the Trail Blazer and go! Go! Go!
In April on Spring Break, we went to Florida for a couple of days and come back and spent one night in Mobile, AL, and stayed the following three nights in Biloxi, MISS. I didn’t know there was such a thing as Black Spring Break! Talk about racists! We had no idea when we booked the rooms there was such a thing going on but on Friday evening, I finally had the nerve to ask the lady at the front desk and she informed me it was ‘Black Spring Break.” Not that I minded in the least because I have mixed grand children and two of them were with us. And no, I’m not prejudiced in any shape or form. But we were in a different world. That day it was wall to wall black people on the beaches with only a sprinkle or two of whites amongst them. And we whites stood out like a sore thumb!
But the people were super nice. No one was mean to us and not once did I feel like they were prejudiced against us. But I do have a question – what if we had a holiday called White Spring Break? That would never fly!
It was interesting enough and even though it wasn’t actually in my plans, at least I got to be there and witness it with my own two eyes and it wasn’t half bad! The barbeque pits were cranking and my taste buds were on the rampage!!!
So, we’re off to the Rocky Mountains again this year but not before we head farther west to Arizona and Nevada – oh yeah, Hoover Dam is in our plans! The grand kids promised to do the best in summer school, so we’ll go full sail ahead with our plans, leaving out on July 3rd or 4th. I need the month for packing anyway and getting things in order.
I have four amazing friendly and sweet cats who live outside and keep the rats and snakes and other creepy-crawly’s at bay, and they well be taken care of in our absence. My daughter Theresa and our neighbor will be making sure they’re fed and watered everyday.
I am kind of sad in some ways because our little traveling dog Phoenix will not be with us this year. He was killed back in March in an accident. He was off his leash in the yard and I was watching him but I was busy watering the plants and he slipped away unnoticed and crossed the road and was hit by a pickup truck. It tore my heart up. But for almost three years we made some wonderful memories with our little fur baby and I am thankful for the time we had together. It will take a long time to get over him.
My daughter and grandkids got me a new little fur baby named Isabelle for my birthday but she gets car sick and won’t be able to make the trip this year. I bought some motion sickness medicine for dogs but I just think this time, we’ll leave her with her aunt! It’s still too soon for me, and I need to heal after loosing Phoenix. He was like one of muy children.
Isabelle is a wonderful new addition to our family but with her motion sickness and my feelings, I think she’d be better off staying with her aunt! I was hoping for a short excursion to Hot Springs, Arkansas in August for a couple of nights anyway – and I will take her then and get her accustomed to traveling. It’s only a four hour drive from home. Going out west we’re looking at a good 3500 round trip jaunt in July and I think that’s a little much for Isabelle, and for me, especially with her getting sick so easily.
I am excited about our upcoming trip! I just spent about $1800 getting my car in good shape and I hope we don’t run into any problems after spending that kind of money. I’m getting the oil changed and the tires rotated in June! The tires are practically new so we’re in good shape (I have a new spare on hand to be on the safe side).
We’re starting out in Albuquerque, New Mexico for a few days where the boys can enjoy Cliff’s Amusement Park, the zoo and aquarium, the dinosaur museum and a walk around Old Town before heading over to Laughlin, Nevada. While we’re there, we’re going over into Arizona and see what we can get into and then back to Las Vagas! I can hear my brain kicking in humming “Chi-Ching!” Just keep on humming because I don’t have the money for that! But it will be exciting to visit all the same!
When we leave there we’re heading over to Durango, Colorado for a week. Mesa Verde National Park is on the agenda, and just hanging out and having fun. I think we may be rafting again this year down the Animas River… We’ll drive over to Silverton and then on to Ouray and spend a few hours before heading back to Durnago.
When we leave there we’re making our way across Wolf Creek Pass and staying in Del Norte, Colorado for the next five nights – it’s a small town and not much there except a laundromat, grocery store and a dollar store and my favorite – a thrift store! But across the street from our motel is a huge skate park and the boys spends every day there and the best part, it’s free. It’s usually not very crowded but there are other kids who come to skate and practice off and on during the day. It’s walking distance so I stroll over several times a day checking on them and taking them lunch! We’re going to the Sand Dunes and the Colorado Gators while we’re there.
When we leave Del Norte, we’re heading over to Canon City for the next 5 nights. We’ll drive over to Leadville and ride the train one day, and one day, off to Colorado Springs to the Manitou Cliff Dwellings for the day before heading back. Then it’s off to the Royal Gorge Bridge the following day! No rest for the weary!
This is going to be an awesome vacation and I can hardly wait! I’m almost through packing but there is always those last minute extra’s. Even with all the careful planning I still manage to forget something!
Well that wraps up our trip for this year! Looking forward to every minute of it. If you want to go, pack up and come along. It will be so much fun. See you there!