SO. Where to begin.
Let me start out by saying I love my in-laws. They attempted to do something grand, and for the entire family - by taking them out west (up to 18 people at one point) for a wild trip. And while there was fun for many, and despite their best intentions, it may go down as one of the craziest and most anxious vacations I've ever been on.
My wife Heidi and daughter Alice left for Kansas City on 6/30 to meet up with most of the 'kin, stay a few days there before all getting into my father-in-law's 360,000+ mile Chevy Astro Van and heading to Denver to pick me up on 7/5. Or rather, they WOULD'VE picked me up, had I not missed my first flight out of Augusta. Thanks to my friend Ashleigh for helping me re-route my trip without too much fuss, and ended up meeting the crew in Jackson Hole, WY later that night.
Once I got to the family, I noticed a spot on my wife's right inner thigh, a spot she initially thought was an ingrown hair or mosquito bite. NAY NAY. Turns out, after a expensive trip to the Yellowstone Park Clinic and a FOUR night stay in a Las Vegas Hospital, it was the likely product of a brown recluse spider bite - something that probably happened while my wife was in Denver waiting on me. From 7/6 - 7/9, it was pretty much bickering back and forth on what needed to be done, example:
Wife: "I don't wanna ruin the vacation - if we go to the hospital, it'll cost an arm and a leg"...
Me: "Uhh, if you don't go...it could cost you an ACTUAL leg".
So once we drove into Las Vegas on 7/10 around 9pm, the in-laws dropped us off at University Medical Center...and the wife didn't get back out until Friday 7/13 at 9pm. Heavy IV bags of antibiotics...and apparently we got there just in time.
IF you're a fan of Dr. Pimple Popper and other videos like that, then you'll LOVE these pics:
I mean, when you're staying in THIS room, as my Stephen King fans can attest...you kinda expect the worse, right?
Before I go any farther, I need to say this - my wife is a CHAMP. She put up with so much pain and more on this trip, and still tried to do everything she could, probably more than she should, but she wouldn't let this get her down. Love her for that. In saying that, however, something ALWAYS seems to happen to her whenever we go on vacation; she gets sick, she gets hurt, lose her luggage for the entire trip, etc. Maybe it's time to start vacationing separately. :P
Anyway, like I said above, this resulted in a much longer stay in Las Vegas for just the wife and me. And lemme tell ya this - you haven't experienced Las Vegas 'til you've stayed all night in a Vegas ER. WOW.
We were only supposed to be in Vegas for about 10 hours - a lil' time gambling, a lil' sleep, then push on. The rest of the family had to get on with the vacation, and left us on Wednesday morning. As a result, I missed out on the Grand Canyon, Arches National Park, Grand Junction, CO, and wrapping up back in Kansas City. Had to scrap our return plans, pay through the nose to get last minute return tickets, etc., and I can't WAIT to see that hospital bill.
Keep in mind that the farthest out west I've ever been was YEARS ago to Denver...and thanks to 'sewing my oats' much earlier in life, I don't recall a lot of that trip. Let's just say I didn't wait for the recent laws to come into effect up there.
NOW, in saying all that...and this post still doesn't accurately depict all the things we were still able to do...I still had some amazing experiences, things I had never done before:
I visited San Francisco, rode horses in Jackson, WY, tackled the Snake River rapids, walked through the Redwood Forest, saw the Pawn Stars place in Vegas, and after almost 46 years...dipped my toes in the Pacific Ocean.
Here are some pics of the trip, in no particular order...
All in all, with the hospital stay, the obligatory bickering that will always happen in large family groups, and last minute travel plan changes...I gotta say it was an unforgettable experience.
SO...how was YOUR summer vacation?