We went to Dallas this weekend for a mini-vacation before Paul heads to Utah for drill and then to Phoenix. Whenever we travel with all the kids, it inevitably brings back memories of traveling with the family I grew up in, namely, the Mike and Donna Stanley Family.
My dad liked two kinds of adventures. First he liked things that were out of the ordinary. Gravity Hill, Zion National Park Amphitheater, and San Elijo Beach are things that come to mind right now while I write this. Things that most people didn't even know about or did know about but didn't take advantage of. Dad also liked to be at big events where there were lots of people and lots of energy. The Olympics, BYU Football games, concerts.
I know my mom loved all those things too but of course she was the mom so, at least while I was still at home, she was primarily occupied with bathroom stops, food and how presentable we looked. I know it's boring but Dad's adventures wouldn't have been nearly as fun without someone looking out for our comfort. They traveled as a couple a lot and I remember thinking as a young teenager that I hoped my husband and I would take trips together and go to really cool places.
We made the trip between Southern California and Southern Utah countless times. For a while it was from California to St. George and then it was St. George to California. Either way we didn't have air conditioning in our sweet VW van with the luggage rack on top. It wasn't bad unless it was summer and then it was a killer. The Baker Grade was the worst.
I'm not sure if Dad was serious or not but as we passed all the overheated cars on the side of the road, he would act like we were going to be next unless there some kind of divine intervention. (I said a lot of prayers on that stretch of road.) Mom would get paper towels wet with water from the dark green Gott cooler and hand them back to us. "Wipe this on your face and arms. The evaporation will cool you off." It worked a little bit, my dad would chuckle and say something about never needing air conditioning. I don't remember ever getting stuck . . . on the Baker Grade that is.
My dad would always point out the Zyzzyx Road sign and he would honk as we crossed each state line.
When I was 14 we went to my very first concert and saw the Beach Boys at Caesar's Palace. Besides me, I believe our party included mom and dad and Sara and Josh. As we walked through Caesar's Palace, we came upon a 50 foot replica of Di Vinci's David.
Donna: Don't look at it!
Mike: Donna, it's a work of art.
Donna: At Caesar's Palace, it's pornography.
I hope we are giving memories to our children that are fun and funny and adventurous.
P.S. I just learned how to spell Caesar correctly.