Monday, May 26, 2008

Fun Monday - Holiday Road

It's Monday again, and not just any Monday, but Fun Monday! It is also Memorial Day, kickoff holiday for the summer vacation season. That must have been where
RDH Mom's head was when she came up with this little challenge:

Vacations...this is the time of year when most of us go on vacations. Show us and/or tell us about your favorite vacation - where you went, what you did, etc. Pictures would be great. Let's all take a trip around a the world via our FM friends!!

At the ripe old age of 46, I've gone on a few vacations. I've been to England three times and traveled across the USA numerous times. I've had a couple of honeymoons, and trips for reunions and funerals. And I'm happy to say that MOST of these trips have been pleasurable in one way or another.

But when RDH Mom set forth this challenge, we had already been in the throes of vacation-deciding. Between work, a new roof, an unexpected car repair and soaring gas prices... our finances are a bit tight. Not much room for a real vacation. My son is nine now, and I want to give him a memory of vacations as he grew up - but so far, haven't really provided any.

All of which made me think back to vacations we took when I was child. My parents were usually in similar straits - plus they had five kids (at the time) to provide for. But somehow, they managed.

My Fun Monday vacation is the last real family vacation we took - before I left the immediate family and started my own life. It was 1977 and I was 15.

The Road to Pine Mountain Big Blue Bus
Because of the largeness of my family, most vacations started out on a beautiful country road in our trusty Volkswagon Bus. In those days, there was no law about restraining children. We had free run of the back seat and a playpen was set up where the middle seat used to be for whatever little kids needed to use it. On this trip, Matthew was really the only little kid. The rest of us were in various stages of older childhood.

Sayre - the Real Thing Roadside Stand
One of the joys of traveling by car was the ability to STOP. We stopped a lot. Roadside Tables (which I don't think exist anymore), tomato stands, antique shops... anywhere there was something interesting to look at.
Our destination on this particular trip was Pine Mountain, Georgia and Callaway Gardens. FDR State Park rented campsites and cabins and that's where we always went when we vacationed here. Cabins for us - Mom wasn't into roughing it for too long with such a large bunch. After arriving and putting our stuff in the cabin, the first thing that happened was swinging!

Andy and Matthew Swingers!
Andy and Matthew adored these swings. We all did. Funny that it was always the first thing we did! That and we had to go say hello to the lake. It was just a glorified holding pond, but it had ducks and geese and was very peaceful.
Matthew pushes Mom Lake at Pine Mountain
No one went swimming there. There was a large community swimming pool a short hike through the woods for that. No trail actually existed, but trees were blazed with orange stripes so that you could find your way.
I have no pictures of the swimming pool, but I do have memories. Mostly of diving contests between my brother John and brother Jerry. Those contests were very good measures for the kind of men they turned out to be. John's dives were always spot-on perfect. He worked very hard on form and his dives were a work of art. Jerry was more... uh, freeform. They seemed to have no form at all - and yet, when they hit the water, John splashed and Jerry produced barely a ripple.

Music, music, music FSU Flying High Circus
We got passes to Callaway Gardens and after the prerequisite tour of the gardens (which I didn't appreciate at the time), we got to go to the OTHER part. The part with the swimming lake, the pavillions with snackbars and concerts and the FSU Flying High Circus which summered there. You could go as many times as you wanted to - it was an all-inclusive pass. There were bike trails and waterski shows... children's paradise!

Sayre on Horseback
And HORSEBACK RIDING! Every girl's idea of heaven. Luckily, my dad indulged me in this from time to time. I've never had any formal training, but I loved to get on the back of a horse and go.
Trail Ride
Our time there was OUR time. I have no idea how long we stayed when we went to Pine Mountain. But there was time for swinging, and playing, and telling stories. That was the summer Matthew was introduced to the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff. The little bridge that crossed the creek was the perfect setting for this, but it did take him a while to feel comfortable crossing the bridge. We finally convinced him by showing him that no trolls lived under this bridge. At which point he rather gleefully decided that he would be the troll!

Sayre & Matt on the Bridge Matt the Troll
We played cards, played music, drew pictures. We overheard odd snippits of conversation from neighboring cabins, including "Mr. Beemish say you be stupid!", which has become one of those code phrases that families have. Apparently the recipient of this comment was about to be fired by Mr. Beemish!

Andy Playing Go Fish
And at night, we slept on the screened porch with a symphony of owls to sing us to sleep.


Patience said...

Most of our vacations involved traveling to see one set of grandparents or the other. Probably more fun for us than our parents.

For several years, until I was into high school, we would meet up with extended family - cousins, etc. - and rent a couple of cabins in New Mexico in the mountains. That was most fun!!

We didn't have dvd's in the car, nobody played their Ipod, there were no video games or computers. There was the license plate game, though. And see how many times you could hit you're brother before getting in trouble.

Sayre said...

Hahaha... I know ALL those games!

IamwhoIam said...

Sound like good childhood memories, hope your little one get to have a few too.

No post for me I'm vac from bloging and visiting others.

Mom said...

Do you remember our formula for travelling with children? Drive 50 minutes, stop for 10. We would pull off the road and toss a football, play tag, leap frog, or any other simple game that let kids and parents let off steam for 10 minutes. We arrived at our destination relaxed, in good spirits, and not too tired to enjoy the rest of the day. Ah, those were the days.

storyteller said...

How fun to see your family vacation with your parents and siblings … reminding me of some similar experiences from my past. I started thinking about those trips myself, but since none of those photos have been ‘scanned’ into my computer, I gave them short shrift and moved right on in my post at Small Reflections. Thanks for sharing … triggering MY memories ;--)
Hugs and blessings,

Jan said...

I am from a smaller family, but we went on memorable vacations every year. They were all "on the cheap", but I didn't really know there was another kind. Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories.

ellen b said...

Such great memories. I love those
"inside" code phrases. We seem to come up with on long vacations.
Have a great Monday!

Alison said...

what a wonderful post Sayre!! It brought back memories from my childhood, there was 5 of us also and we rented a cabin every year in a place similar to your's...I love it!!

Thanks for playing this week!!

grace said...

Sayre, this post brought back memories from my childhood too. We went on vacation over Christmas, my dad had a small renault, and my parents and my brother would be jammed in it, and my mom would carry a tape recorder since the car did not have a radio and we would sing the songs on the road, it was fun. we always went to my grandparent's place. Thanks for sharing, it was fun to read

Pamela said...

I hope our children remember the little trips we planned with them. Your nostalgia made me sigh and smile.
(My parents didn't take vacations --another story, another day)

Anonymous said...

A memory that will stay with you forever. It is always good when family is together taking care of each other needs. Pine Mountain sounds like a wondrous place with so much to offer.

Anonymous said...

A memory that will stay with you forever. It is always good when family is together taking care of each other needs. Pine Mountain sounds like a wondrous place with so much to offer.

Cruise Mom said...

Thanks for sharing such beautiful vacation memories. Reminds me of the days when we'd pile into the car and head out for our summer vacation. Even though I love my far-flung travels, I miss those simpler days in the midwest.

nikki said...

Hey, I played the hit the brother game a lot when I was a kid. We didn't even need to be traveling when I played!

Love the photos.

Faye said...

This has got to be one of the top vacation stories for this Fun Monday. What a special time this must have been for you to have such vivid memories. And the family togetherness--making your own fun. Just great!

I too love Calloway Gardens even today--but for the gardens.

Peter said...

A great vacation story, the joy of holidays with family are great.

Gattina said...

I loved to read your holiday description, I almost felt to be there too ! what a wonderful childhood vacation !

Sauntering Soul said...

I live within a couple of hours of Calloway Gardens. Sadly, I can't remember the last time I was there. I need to get back down there soon.

Camera Girl said...

Wonderful photos! Love them!