Column: Vacations Past
August 10, 2022
Being an adult in the summer is far different from childhood innocence, where it was a magical time, often being outside from the early morning to when the streetlights came on.
Instead of enjoying the weather and putting hundreds of miles on my bike, a successful summer day now includes keeping the house somewhat cool as the temperatures outside are near 100 degrees.
I often look back at the summers as a kid with fond memories, including many amazing vacations.
I was blessed to go on some great vacations, and, from time to time, I wish I could recapture the magic of a trip to Disneyland or Yellowstone National Park.
Some of my best memories of summer vacations were with my grandparents and our visits to the area near Jackson, Wyoming.
My grandparents were probably the kindest people I’ve ever met; their grandchildren meant the world to them. Each summer, they would take a few grandchildren in their camper to stay in the “Hoback .”Our mornings would be filled with fishing, and the rest of the day would be packed with activities. We would spend a day going to the park, another exploring downtown Jackson, and would always go swimming at the Astoria Hot Springs. We would visit a local chuckwagon for dinner at night and sometimes cap it off with a trip to the playhouse. There were also plenty of visits to see the Tetons, which I feel are one of the most beautiful mountains in the world.
I cherish these memories so much and wish I would have behaved better. While it probably seemed fun at the time, I often misbehaved on these trips, and they had to be saints to never get too mad at my cousins or me.
Of all the great memories in the Hoback, the one thing that stands out most of the trips is when I got an upset stomach after some barbecue. My grandma Smith walked around downtown Jackson telling everyone who cared to listen that her grandson had diarrhea. She let complete strangers know she needed to find some Imodium AD.
Along with the fabulous travels with my grandparents, I also went on fantastic vacations with my mom, including several trips to southern California. As a kid, riding on an Elephant at the San Diego Zoo and going on the Matterhorn at Disneyland are life-changing experiences. At this time, I also realized that the “It’s a small world” ride was incredibly creepy, and I felt the same thing on a return trip decades later.
And speaking of a small world, these trips were planned at a time long before the internet, and with the help of a travel agency. Because of this, there would always be some surprises at destinations and hotels.
On one occasion, I stood in line at Disneyland and ran into two classmates who had probably gone to the same travel agency. A few days later, I was sitting poolside at Humphrey’s Half Moon when I saw my cousin Zac and his family walking toward us. I’m almost certain they had the same travel package as us without any of us knowing, but it was such a great surprise.
On one of the California trips we drove, I can still remember the never-ending car ride in the back of the trusted red Honda Accord. Perhaps it would have been more fun listening to music on the phone, but that would have just taken away from the experience and I gazed out the window at the Vegas lights and Death Valley.
Looking back on these memories makes me really want to take a summer vacation. Perhaps I’ll start with a trip to the “Hoback .”It will obviously be a lot more expensive and crowded, but seeing the Tetons would do me good.
I might skip on ribs this time, though, I don’t want Melissa parading around downtown Jackson letting everyone know I’ve got an upset stomach.