Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Character building adventure vacations

This year our character building adventure vacation was mild. And it was actually a good 6 years or so since we have been on one so I was anticipating all sorts of trouble.  Each year my parents and sister and her family head to Lake Powell.  Lake Powell is beautiful, fabulous, fantastic, and the source of most of my childhood vacation memories. 

I grew up coming here every summer for a week. My dad had a 15ft bayliner and we would boat camp.  Whereas most places I think from childhood have changed dramatically in the past 30 years, at Lake Powell only the water level has changed.  The marinas have changed a bit, but the lake itself is just as beautiful as it was when I was a kid.  

I introduced my city-spouse to the lake before we had kids.  He survived a boat-camping experience (although Flint almost didn't make it after he tried to eat a Colorado River Toad) and although impressed with the beauty camping in the sand never really agreed with him.  A few years later we pooled our family resources and rented a little house boat.  It was really little.  We called it the pop-eye boat.  


It wasn't really that small, but it was essentially just a "head" and a "galley" that we were after.  That is boating speak for bathroom and kitchen.  We planned to boat camp still and sleep in tents on the beach.  No kids and 8 adults.  Sounds good right?  Well the boat started taking on water shortly after we left the marina.  There was apparently a leaky hull and a broken pump.  By the time we beached it we were knee deep in water- on the boat -in the boat.  1/2 of us were bailing water out of the boat while the other half got all of our gear on to shore.   Then the boat started to tip to the side.  We called the rental company.  Long story short, they came out to the camp and took to the boat back.  It  sunk that night.  Yieks. That was the first and last time my father-in-law and sister-in-law did a trip with my family.  Adventure vacation.  

Then a few years later my parents bought into a timeshare 'type' of thing.  It is actually an LLC.  They own 1/12 of a really nice houseboat.  They get it for a few set weeks every year over a given time frame of so many years.  It has four cabins - two on the main deck and two below.  It has AC and a satellite and most importantly to the kids a slide. Most importantly to the adults it has 2 toilets. 

No danger of sinking this.

But if you run over some rocks, then you just may break it.  And a few years after the boat sinking experience we had a broken propeller experience.

Good thing the men in our family are brilliant.

They actually replaced the propeller, while it was still in the water. Honest to God they found a replacement propeller on the boat somewhere, got on the snorkels, and went to work.  

If I had to be stranded in the middle of a lake, or on a island beach somewhere I would want to be stranded with the guys in my family.  Funny because when you vacation with my family that actually DOES happen. It isn't just a 'saying'.  

But regardless they got us into and out of that situation as well.

So this year it was hard for my husband to really relax at first. He kept waiting for the next crisis to arise.  Our drinking water pump did break but they figured out how to take the tubing from the slide and use that pump and tubing to re-route the water filter and fix it all up.  

Once that was taken care of, eventually my husband relaxed and did something he hasn't done in about 6 years - he read a novel! 

And I got snuggle time with the kids and time to unplug and relax.  Growing up it would never have occurred to me that someday I may vacation on a house boat.  We used to come in off of the lake after 6 or 7 nights of sleeping in a sandy tent.  We were bronzed and tangled.  We would look at envy at the folks coming off of the air-conditioned houseboats with their pillows and suitcases, freshly showered with their makeup on.  As an adult now however I can't say that one is better than the other.  

My sister and her family have actually opted OUT of doing the house boating experience. They had a little camp across the bay from our boat.  They rode out the haboobs and the rain in their tents or on shore while we relaxed in side.  They swam over to the boat and played on the slide one day but that was really all.  We joined them for smores on the beach the last night and the cousins got lots of playtime, but theirs was still a camping experience and ours - well it was definitely a house-boating experience.  

We didn't sink any boats or break any propellers. But anytime you travel with your larger family your character will be tested.  Did my husband and I have much time together, well no, but that was expected right?  Unless we go somewhere alone (no kids for sure) we aren't going to get time to 'relax together'.  With 4 kids you have to relax in shifts.  My turn/your turn etc.  

We also had 10 adults and 10 kids for 5 days in a somewhat contained environment.  We had a great chance for the cousins to play and for the grownups to reconnect and for us all to relax just a little as we head into summer. 

It was a gift to share the lake with my kids.  

Are there any such memories or experiences that you want to share with your kids?

Thanks for stopping by!

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