Saturday, August 20, 2011

2011 Kolmer Family Vacation

i think we drove 830+ miles in the past 4 days. during the drive, i'd chuckle out loud at two things. first, a feeling of nostalgia as i was actually living the stories played by the griswold's in the 'vacation' movies. no, we didn't go to europe. no, we didn't go to wally world. but we went to southern oregon, and these kids said some funny things.

after 5 minutes on the road, I had torn a piece of scrap paper from alex's workbook and began scribbling the commentary amidst our 830+ miles and 16 combined hours of car time.

our first stop was 3 1/2 hours south in winston at wildlife safari. what an amazing experience to drive amongst free wildlife in what felt like the africa safari. the zebras, giraffe's and rhino's ran free. some others (bears, hippo's and other) were behind fences and I do believe those pesky and disgruntled ostrich's belonged their too. thank god for electric windows.


'dad, are you a monkey liker?' -ian

'look at those beauuuutttiiifffuuuul butts!' -caden (about the zebras)

next we drove another hour south to grants pass, where we settled in at a super classy la quinta inn. This (according to the kids) was the highlight of their trip due to the indoor swimming pool. who knew 4 days of fun filled activity could be substituted with a dank and over chlorinated indoor pool? we had a nice dinner at a local brew pub where we were served free flights of beer much needed after 4 hours in a car with three kids.


'can you guys be quiet so Ian can go to sleep? -carrie
'what if I need to sniff really loudly? -caden
'well, that would be fine.' -carrie

'i've never been to a hotel before' -caden
'it's just like staying at someone else's house but nobody really lives there.' -alex

(at restaurant)
'can we go?' -ian
'we need to pay the bill first' -sean
'who's bill?' -Ian

day 2 we headed even further south to the oregon caves. i'm so incredibly proud and impressed that all three kids (without complaint) maneuvered 500+ stairs (some very steep) and over 1 mile of terrain all within temperatures of near 40 degrees. we were oftentimes in the dark with bats looming overhead. they loved the experience and even humored us for a mile hike afterwards.

later that night we made camp at our good friends parents house in medford and enjoyed some fountain play, crochet on the lawn, and a lovely visit with our gracious hosts.

day 3 was spent in central point/ashland/jacksonville with a dear friend of mine ali (and her husband jeff) who i've known since high school, roomed with in college and have kept in touch ever since. she has a spectacular family and we were lucky enough to spend the day with them enjoying breakfast, a jaunt thru lithia park and later, a boat ride on their brand new boat.


'look at that old car' -sean
'oh man, that must be from the 1970's' -alex
(it was clearly from long before then)

(jeff to carrie at breakfast while enjoying tri-tip steak omelet, and biscuits and gravy)
'i'm on a juice diet. trying to cut weight for elk season'
'how's that going for ya?' -carrie
'i'm kind of loose with it' -jeff

'BURP' -caden
'excuse you!' -sean
'thanks' -caden
'you don't get it' -sean
'hhmm' -caden

day 4, we were up and at em early for our last excursion CRATER LAKE. it took us 2 hours to get there but was well worth the trip. it really makes you realize how fantastically beautiful oregon is. we were reminded of this when we ran across a motorcyclist who asked us to take a photo of him with the snow in the background. He said, 'you live here?' we said, 'yes'. his response, 'damn, you have a beautiful backyard'. it's true, i complain many months of the year about the drear, the rain, the clouds. but it is worth every second for just this week of pure wonderment. crater lake is a must see for anybody and i was so happy to share this with the kids, and sean who was visiting for his first time.

the steepness of the cliffs, the height at which we hovered above the water (i'll be honest) scared me. i envisioned the kids falling over the edge, tripping and flinging over the hill (i know, i'm psycho). i see heinous injuries before they happen, or ever will. who knew that it's size and the height at which we perched would inflict a panic attack? i have these frequently, and usually can breath/talk myself out of them and this one was no different. had i had a paper bag, i would have been the chick in the corner rocking and breathing with my eyes squeezed shut but to no avail i had lives to save. i clutched the kids hands tighter, held onto their shirts, and sean shook his head at his lunatic of a wife.

we circled half the lake, stopping at various viewpoints for photos. we'd point and stare in awe of this giant hole in the earth. it's brilliant blue, the history, all amazing. i'll be honest, getting 3 kids in and out of their seats every few minutes got tiring and soon we set up camp for a picnic to rest for a bit before our 5 hour trip home.


'we are 5 minutes from crater lake guys!' -carrie
'eh, well. i sort of feel like riding a horse instead....MOO' -caden
'?' -carrie

'most of the volcanoes exploded when the dinosaurs were alive' -alex
'yep' -ian
'uh huh' -caden
(and this was the first time the 3 agreed all week)

'i've seen 5 different license plates. there's 6, 7.....8' -sean
'yeah, this place is like...a national deal' -carrie

(at picnic area about some fellow campers)
'look at those people, they are having a garage sale' -ian

(thinking she's talking about the crater)
'okay everybody, this is amazing. i think my tooth might fall out this week' -alex

we made one last stop for gas, got gatorades for the kids (bad idea) and an orange fanta for myself at which sean scoffed and said it looked disgusting. I drank it with glee and maybe moaned a few times in it's deliciousness. 10 minutes down the road when he got thirsty, he took a giant swig, looked at me with a grin and said, 'this is not good, it's just wet'. moral of the story is: nobody can deny the orange fanta.

from there, we endured a beautiful drive along the umqua river to roseburg where we all lost steam, and damn near got angry with each other. the iPad had lost it's luster, the seats were no longer comfortable, and the snacks no longer tasty. the bathroom breaks got old, real old. and that's when from the very back row of the car, ian says 'i'm just gonna pull all of this stuff out', and that's when we just didn't care anymore. it wasn't long after that sean slapped a dollar bill on the dash of the car and DARED caden to stop talking for a few exits, and slighty before he slammed on the breaks, pulled to the side of the road and gave ian the look of hate. this kolmer happy vacation was o.v.e.r.

for more pictures of the 'happier times', please look here.

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