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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Wednesday, April 17

Gapers Block

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Alice / August 5, 2005 12:28 PM

Ahhh, that would be the infamous Florida road trip of 1984:

Two mothers. Seven kids. One station wagon. Lots of funny (now) stories.

We were all cousins driving down to visit my grandparents at their condo in Clearwater, and my mother and her cousin took turns driving, straight through, all night.

Rusty / August 5, 2005 12:30 PM

The time we went to Wally World. My dad packed us all in the family roadster, and we stopped off to visit family on the way. When we got there, the park was closed, and my dad punched the moose in his face. It was classic.

Staci / August 5, 2005 1:20 PM

I just came back from my best vacation with the fam. A few weeks ago, my mom and I were discussing that we needed some time away, so we decided to go together and bring along my siblings, ages 23, 21 and 18. We went up the coast of western Michigan, got sunburnt on many beaches and took a lot of silly photographs. It was relaxing and fun.

Erica / August 5, 2005 1:22 PM

The Disney trip (85ish) when we spent the night in some dump in Georgia and of course immediately me (seven) and my sisters (pre-teens) immediately had to check out the outdoor pool. We were all standing near the deep end with our regular clothes on. One of my sisters very jokingly said to the other, "What would you do if I pushed you in? Would you kill me?"

Me, the youngest, littlest and the quietest came from behind and pushed one of them in just like that.
My sister had to use a hairdryer to dry her clothes -- I remember that very clearly. I laugh just thinking about it now. I still can't believe I had the balls to do it.

Carl / August 5, 2005 1:36 PM

One week at the Effingham Holidome and bowling center. We were able to bowl AND swim!

kerry / August 5, 2005 2:00 PM

Malaysia/Singapore in 1990 and Egypt in 1996 stick out, but I think my favorite family vacations were the trips we took to Colorado every year to ski at Crested Butte. From the 2 days on Amtrak, running up and down the aisles from one end of the train to the other with my sister, to skiing off-trail between the trees, it was all great. For some reason I remember those trips as the only times my sister and I really got along as kids. Good stuff. Oh yeah, and that time our Amtrak train derailed in Saco, Montana was pretty great, too.

steven / August 5, 2005 2:17 PM

I was about 14? 15? Certainly not old enough to have much fun in Vegas. Yet that's where we landed. Circus Circus. Circus from hell is what it was. But it got much better from there. We rented an RV and drove to the Grand Canyon, San Francisco, over the Hoover Dam. It definitely ignited the wanderlust in me. Thanks Ma! Thanks Pa!

Sabrosa / August 5, 2005 2:59 PM

Starting 5 years ago, my family has decided to gather a bunch of family and friends, about 30 of us and go on a different cruise every 2 years. Since then, I've been addicted to them and I really think it's the best way to travel! How can you beat an all-inclusive vacation where you can check out multiple islands and countries all at once? It's been the most memorable time I've ever had with them. Here's to more to come!

eep / August 5, 2005 3:15 PM

My dad won a trip through his job and took the whole family to Paris for a week. All expenses paid, 5-star hotel overlooking the opera house, a day trip to Giverny, visiting Montmarte and Versailles, dinner and dancing on the Eiffel Tower after it closed to the public, amazing restaurants... I absolutely loved it. The best part was that my dad volunteered to be an "ambassador" to all the other trip winners -- which means he got paid all that week. Nice!

A few years later the whole family did another trip to Interlaken, Switzerland. It was wonderful, but it just didn't have the magic of Paris. It's really great to have such amazing memories with my parents and sister.

Paula / August 5, 2005 3:36 PM

In 1976 when I was a wee lass of 7 I went to Boston with my family and we walked the Freedon Trail and saw the USS Constitution and all the other big Boston sites.

Carl, funny you should mention Effingham - I'm headed there next week. Sadly we're not staying at the Holidome, but my Aunt-in-Law does have a pool and the St. Anthony Church festival is that weekend so I'll be parked at the bingo tent drinking cheap church approved beer and eating BBQ pork sandwiches.

Carl / August 5, 2005 4:27 PM

Paula, I am glad to hear Effingham is still the tourist trap I remember, we had wild times in other cities as well. Indianapolis to view a mall IN a train station, Bowling Green KY to see the Corvette Museum, somewhere in Iowa to walk on the field of dreams, oh yes and almost forgot about the drive to Sarasota to check out the Super Wal-Mart. The grizwalds had nothing on us!

Leah W / August 5, 2005 4:34 PM

The visits out to see my mom's family in Monterey, CA were always the best. Beaches! Otters! Kids going into liquor stores to buy candy (a novelty for little Okie me)! Clint Eastwood! I also have vivid memories of my mom standing next to the window of my great-grandparents' house, gazing towards the ocean, sneaking a smoke and then putting the butts in the acorns of a nearby tree. All this plus day trips to San Francisco... bliss.

I suppose anything beats trips with my amateur geneologist father, who often planned trips to include stops for gravestone-rubbings.

TK / August 5, 2005 4:52 PM

I think it may be yet to come - Holidome & Bowling Center?? I'm there!

Eamon / August 5, 2005 5:29 PM

All of 'em. Including the one on which my hand was caught in the door as we were leaving and bled straight through to Ohio. And the one starring five million toads outside our room and seven million spiders inside of it. Even the one on which my dad boiled my pet lobster and I cracked open my sister's skull.

John / August 5, 2005 6:15 PM

Going up to the Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota was something that my family did 4 or 5 times while I was growing up. It was always a good time. Canoeing, attempting to get a good nights sleep in a wet sleeping bag because it rained constantly, killing all of the mosquitoes before they killed you and fishing for our food when we ran out. But the scenery makes it all worth it.

Steve / August 5, 2005 8:12 PM

The sole saving grace of our family vacations was that they allowed us to see much of the country, except for the southwest. And since we drove *everywhere* (my first plane trip came at age 24), we saw and felt every last mile.

Mom and dad up front, my sisters and me in the back seat -- constant war, with dad's vengeful swatting arm coming back every hour or so to deal out some old skool justice in response to our border skirmishes. Didn't matter who did what; the guilty party was whoever got smacked.

Did I mention we never had air conditioning in those cars? And that mom would bring cereal for us to eat in the motel room to save on meals? And that mom would get out and ask at three or four different motels when we were headed toward nightfall to inquire about rates and shop around? Good tims, good times.

Actually, they were. My sisters and I still joke about them to this day.

Michelle / August 5, 2005 8:52 PM

The vacations I remember most nostalgically are the summer weeks spent at friends' summer homes in northern Wisconsin and the UP. I remember wandering the woods with other kids, picking wild blueberries, chewing on fresh wintergreen leaves, skipping stones in the lake, catching polliwogs in a net, swimming in the cold water and screaming when seaweed tickled our bellies. The haunting and beautiful sound of a loon's call will always make me feel 10 years old, happy and carefree.

Leelah / August 6, 2005 10:33 AM

Every summer when we were young, my parents drove with my sister and me from Texas to the Jersey Shore. My dad's parents had a beach house there. In retrospect, it was far from fabulous. There was always sand in the beds (I am pretty sure the sheets were never changed), and there were open wires in the shower, but it was my favorite place in the world. We were at the ocean (well, it was a block and a half away), there was a delicious bakery on the corner, and Seaside Heights boardwalk was just a short drive away (and that meant Maruca's pizza--the best in the world.)

When I was about 20, the beach house was sold out of the family. As a 35 year old, I am the only member of my immediate family that goes back to the Jersey Shore whenever I can. (The only reason I didn't go this summer was because I was in England when my mom's sister's rented a place at the shore.)

fred / August 6, 2005 10:33 AM

Oh, canada.

Benjy / August 6, 2005 1:26 PM

For the past 10 years or so, my family has been going to Puerto Vallarta for two weeks around the end of the year. We and family friends have timeshares in the same complex, and there are always an additional assortment of significant others, cousins, other family friends -- either with us or also visiting down there at the same time. It was the only extended time I used to see my parents when I was living down south and even now that I'm back in Chicago, it's still nice to spend that much time with them and the rest of the group without worrying about work, etc.

Amy / August 6, 2005 3:20 PM

My grandparents used to take their vacations to revolve around me. So when I was about 10 we took Amtrak out west and went white-water rafting, went to the Tetons, and for 6 days went on a wagon train trip in the mountains of Wyoming. It was amazing! We actually slept in a covered wagon and I got to ride my horse 'Dollar' for 6 hours a day through some pretty rough terrain. But I'll also never forget my 3 summers at the Jersey Shore and the hot older lifeguard I made out with. Sigh

Kelly Block / August 7, 2005 7:04 PM

Cedar Point

Calagry Stampeed and Lake Louise

Camping in Door County

Boundary Waters

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