Friday, July 2, 2010

Vacation, Part II

I mentioned earlier this week that I'd be including more about our recent vacation/3,000 mile road trip. Hence, this post.

We had originally planned only to go to Vail, Colorado (why there? Because we won a raffle), but then we found out about a 90th birthday to be celebrated in Dallas, Texas for my late grandmother's last surviving sibling.

Not wanting to miss that, we decided we wanted to go both places, although we weren't exactly keen on the idea of traveling with the seven of us in our minivan over that great of a distance.

Then my parents proposed a solution: they'd go with us, and we would rent a 12-passenger van.

That turned out to be a great idea, as the extra space made traveling easy and relatively comfortable.

For purposes of this entry on this here weblog, I couldn't possibly (and nor would I want to) include the sort of details I would include if I were writing a "What I did on my summer vacation" sort of account. But in lieu of these, here are some observations (in no particular order) of things I (we) saw/experienced/learned:

I enjoy nothing more than spending time with Jocelyn and our kids.

We spent a lot of most enjoyable time in Texas with many second and third cousins that I had never previously met. All of them are great people — warm, welcoming, generous, etc. — the kind of folks you're glad to be related to.

This is the third time I've been in Texas this year. The weather in Texas is hot. I mean, really, really hot.

Throughout the trip generally, and along U.S. highways particularly, we saw countless numbers of shuttered businesses — most notably gas stations. Some had "For Sale" signs, but many others that didn't looked as if they'd been abandoned for years. Kind of reminded me of Radiator Springs.

Although Metropolis Coffee is brewed only a few blocks from where I used to live, I first tried it 1,100 miles away in Vail. And, as Agent Cooper would say, it is indeed "damn good coffee."

The air in Colorado really did seem a lot cleaner.

Most of the people we encountered in Colorado seemed remarkably friendly.

We barely scratched the surface of the hiking trails in Vail, but what's there is phenomenal.

We saw dozens, maybe hundreds, of wind turbines during the course of the trip. I haven't decided what I think about wind energy (is it a boon? or a boondoggle?), but I will say this: wind turbines look really creepy.

In the corn uber-producing state of Iowa, we found that the 89 octane gas is actually cheaper than 87 octane, because the former has a higher ethanol content.

The cinnamon bread and pumpkin butter (made in the Amana Colonies) that we bought in Iowa are mighty tasty.

And now for a few pictures:


The Dutchman said...

The best German dinner I ever had was at the Amana Colonies. I hope you are more than just bread and butter there!

Allison said...

Thank you for sharing your impressions and your photos of your beautiful family. I don't know you, but for some reason this post gave me goosebumps. God is good.

sunnyday said...

What a beautiful way to bond with your family. And will you look at the beauty of nature? Were the pictures with the snowy mountains the background taken in Colorado? I always hear people raving about that state -- the clean air, the picturesque views, glorious mountains.

Thank you for sharing, John.

John Jansen said...


God is very good, indeed!


Yes, those pictures were from Colorado. I suspect that everything you've heard about that state is true.