The Pine Pulse... 'National Lampoon Family Vacation' - Baumann styleThere I was, enjoying the view of greater Seattle out the window and the smooth ride of the rented Lincoln Navigator, as I sat in the “way back” of the vehicle. My parents were up front, while my sister and her husband sat in the second row. As I jokingly yelled, “How much longer?” I realized I was a kid again, on a trip with my family, reminiscent of the classic “Vacation” movies.
By: Jana Peterson, The Pine Journal
There I was, enjoying the view of greater Seattle out the window and the smooth ride of the rented Lincoln Navigator, as I sat in the “way back” of the vehicle. My parents were up front, while my sister and her husband sat in the second row. As I jokingly yelled, “How much longer?” I realized I was a kid again, on a trip with my family, reminiscent of the classic “Vacation” movies.
This short weekend jaunt, over Memorial Day Weekend, was a tribute of sorts to all our road-tripping vacations across the country and Europe. Of course the luxurious Navigator itself told us we were not on family vacations of yesteryear. Back then we cruised around the country in either a gigantic 1970’s Buick or a tiny early 1980’s Honda hatchback.
Thankfully, and because most of us don’t have two weeks anymore to spare for a road trip, we flew to Seattle. That part was relatively painless, although getting through the airport security checkpoints these days can be as harrowing as a road trip. As we were not checking any luggage, we debated whether things like tweezers would be allowed on the plane. Once at the airport, my parents wore sandals and grimaced as they walked barefoot through security. None of us being detained, however, we re-dressed for the day and made our way to the gate.
We met my sister and her husband at the first hotel of the trip and decided that lunch, outside by the water, was a must. After some classic family discussion, it was determined that the place was not a tourist trap and that the hotel concierge probably gave us decent advice. So we sat and enjoyed a vast array of seafood and local beer.
I can’t even remember now, but somewhere along the way the tale was re-spun about how my poor parents tried to eat a decent meal while on a trip to California with us as youngsters, and I, as a nine-year-old, simply wasn’t cooperating.
“Why is the restaurant so dark?” I had to know. And when my fancy hamburger was presented sans bun-top, I expressed some less-than-favorable opinions as well.
On this trip, however, because we were dining in the bright light of day, and because I have a much wider palate today, the meal went off without a hitch.
After lunch we wandered up to the Seattle Pike Place Market to witness the infamous “fish throwing.” As has happened before, my sister and I at one point lost our parents. I caught up to my sister and asked where they were. She had no idea either. Of course, now that we are adults, “losing” our parents in the U.S., where we spoke the language and could find our hotel up the street, was far simpler than losing them on our European trip in the late 1980s. That time, we somehow lost our dad in the Milan train station. Clearly we eventually found him, but we won’t
talk about the crazy ordeal that was…
As we found out later in Seattle, however, our parents were unfazed at losing us, and proceeded to shop for wine and cheese.
On Saturday, we checked out of the hotel with our goodies and set out for a two-hour drive to Anacortes, Wash., where we would take a ferry to the San Juan Islands.
All went relatively well although I couldn’t help from bothering my sister a little bit while we rode, prompting her to “tell” on me. Nothing new there.
Once we got to the ferry at the appointed time, 90 minutes early, we walked up to a restaurant. Unfortunately, so did everyone else waiting for the ferry and after hanging around waiting for a table, we got bored and went back to the Navigator. A café near the water beckoned and we finally got some sandwiches. We ate in the Navigator, and that’s when I started getting squirrelly.
I believe it had something to do with the “way back” seat not having access to a door, essentially trapping me in
there at the mercy of my sister, who paid me back for my previously annoying behavior by refusing to let me out of the vehicle.
Finally, we drove onto the ferry and I was allowed out. We arrived on the island of San Juan and at our hotel at Roche Harbor and more fun ensued regarding the location of my rollaway bed. As we checked in, an older man came down to complain that someone had mistakenly set up my rollaway bed in his room and he wanted it out. That had my loving family in stitches and the rollaway jokes began flying. They even got the staff involved and everyone had an even better laugh upon learning that the bed was inflatable!
Anyway, after settling in, we had a fabulous time drinking wine and cheese before walking a couple blocks to dinner. Maybe because we were at an island resort, I took my not-quite-empty wine glass with me and promptly
got “busted” by security.
My sister and brother-in-law found that hilarious and joked with the man while I hurriedly slurped the remainder of the wine.
Dinner was lovely, but perhaps the best part of the evening was the colors ceremony involving flag-take down for the day. Various anthems played over a loudspeaker while an announcer welcomed new guests, told of birthdays and anniversaries and riled up the crowd as the flag-lowering crew finished the ceremony by jumping into the water. Yacht horns blew and everyone from the dock to the restaurant cheered!
As a family, we never encountered anything like that before but it seemed reminiscent of family resorts from back in the day.
The rest of the trip was fun, no other major snafus to speak of and we all survived traveling back the way we came, by ferry, Lincoln Navigator, airplane and light rail.
When I finally returned home from our travels, I spent an hour in front of the tube, “vegging out” and flipping through channels. When I found a “Vacation” movie marathon, I had to watch for awhile and laugh.More from around the web