What I Did During Summer Vacation

Do you remember standing in front of the class during grade school or high school so that others might know what you did with your summer vacation?

I don’t remember exactly how often this occurred in my world or in what grade(s), but I know I recounted the summer adventures of an adolescent at least once or twice. Our family took a road-trip vacation almost every summer, so I would have had something worthy to talk about – although, I could have easily related the number of hours I spent at the beach doing nothing except swimming and darkening the tan of a German-American white girl.

I recall trips that took us up to Copper Harbor, Michigan; around Lake Superior, into Canada; up to the locks at Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, and the Soo Locks on the Canadian side; to Chicago to visit the Museum of Science and Industry and Kankakee, Illinois, to visit relatives; over to LaCrosse, WI, and down the Mississippi; and out to South Dakota where we visited the Badlands, the Corn Palace, the Black Hills and watched an outdoor presentation of The Passion Play. I found out early on (after an “incident” in the back seat of the Chevy Impala) that I easily became car sick by reading or performing any task while dad was driving, so I spent most of the time looking out the window at the landscape or napping.

Those were the days, of which I’ll get back to in a minute or two…

I recently went back to work after a 10-day “staycation.” This was a vacation where I had no plans to go anywhere outside the State of Wisconsin or the confines of a growing community unless there was a mandatory need. This was a vacation where I did what I wanted, commiserated with who I wanted, and stayed in bed as long as the cats and/or the internal alarm clock would allow (I never made it past 7:00 am). I found this staycation to be relaxing, even though I kept busy most days.

If I had to stand up in front of the WordPress peeps and give a dissertation on the highlights of this vacation, these would be the most exciting points:

  • I gave up coffee. Cold turkey. I did not give up caffeine as that would have been a complete failure, but the java is “no more” due to the havoc it had been raising with the tummy. I became tired of being nauseous almost every day by mid-morning. It’s been twelve days and counting and I haven’t strangled anyone yet.
  • I was >this< close to the fireworks on Sunday night. Natasha and I made it to the park at a good time and found a spot for us and five additional spectators at pond’s edge. Before the amazing light show, I ate a bratwurst, stood in line for the port-a-potty, listened to a great cover band and hung out with friends. When the fireworks show started, it was right over our heads. Natasha called them combat fireworks. They were loud and proud and spewing the remnants of their casings along the edge of the pond, where we were sitting. I found myself laughing hysterically during the first few minutes of the show, although I decided quickly to shut my mouth lest one of those remnants landed on my tongue.
  • I went for a walk almost every day, around 3.5 miles. Worked out at the gym a few times. Went for a bike ride mid-week. I love summer! It allows me to enjoy the outside most days and motivates me to get to the gym and keep moving. I often thought, during these times, how great this will be once I’m retired, that I can enjoy the outdoors every day it’s not snowing or -20F.
  • I have a new activity of sorts. It’s called bible journaling. The leader of our Wednesday night ladies’ group from church suggested we try this for summer rather than the usual track, and we all agreed. Journaling of this type allows one to write or draw in the wide margins of a bible to reflect, make observations, add prayers, or doodle while discussing scripture. As we got started last Wednesday, I found it to be relaxing and a mix of adult coloring, scrapbooking, and penmanship with an artistic flair. I love this, but I am wondering how/when I will add another new endeavor into my life. I also wonder why I do this to myself.
  • I went to the farmer’s market a couple of times, visited with mom and friends, had an evening meal with girlfriends, drank a glass or two of adult refreshment, watched Star Trek reruns, and RELAXED. The latter was important. Now that I’m back to work, I realize how RELAXED I was at home. It was difficult to go back to the normal routine this past Tuesday and it seems to become more difficult with each passing day. I want to be retired and RELAXED forever.

As you can deduce, this was not the most exciting vacation in terms of locale or activities, but it was one of the more enjoyable. The weather was about as perfect as I could have hoped for in a 10-day period and I truly took advantage of it and the time off work.

Now that I’m on the cusp of another weekend, surviving the penance of excessive work that seems to come with taking vacation, I think back to the adolescent road-trip days and all of the places that mom and dad saw fit to take their children. They made sure we visited places in our own state, such as The House on the Rock or Holy Hill. And mom always made sure we stayed in a “clean” motel. That was her pet peeve. It the motel was not up to her standards, we moved on. My brother and I tried to talk her into camping, but mom would have none of it. Vacation was not a time to be spent in a tent, laying on the ground.

It’s kind of funny how my brother is now a hard-core camper and how his sister seems to like it too, as long as there is a campfire at night and mosquito spray during the day.

So, in honor of summer vacations and road trips and special vacation memories, I give you a peek at my younger years and some of the places our Impala (or whatever car we had at the time) landed.

Have you gone on a summer vacation or have something planned? What’s your favorite road-trip memory as a youngster? Is there some place you want to visit again and again?


If you’re looking for a challenge at the end of July, or a way to make new blogging friends, check out the Cherished Blogfest page and sign up!

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24 responses to What I Did During Summer Vacation

  1. My favorite kind of vacation is one with no plans. As a kid it was the beach and fresh fruit and corn and eating outside. When you work 10-hr days 6 days a week NOTHING is heaven. Bon-bons and movies or English murder mysteries and a trip to the coast IF you have the energy! Bible journaling is a thang, and a lot of people (who have bibles and use them) sketch memories or images on the sides. If you do it, of course, I want to see some pics!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      You’ve reminded me that I haven’t had my first ear of summer sweet corn yet. I will have to get an ear or two at the farmer’s market this weekend.

      The woman who leads our bible journaling group is very artistic. I will take pics of whatever I scribble, but I also have to take photos of her renderings. They are amazing.

  2. Dan Antion says:

    That sounds like a week well spent. I likd the photos. You guys look pretty cute in that last one. We always went to visit family on a farm in Virginia and then to Lake Erie. My favorite vacation these days is working in my shop or on the house.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I firmly believe I could have taken another week’s vacation to do as little as possible, but that would have only postponed the penance and made it worse.

      One of my adult motorcycle vacations took us to Lake Erie and Put-in-Bay. It kind of reminded me of Mackinac Island, except not quite as grand. I loved the world’s longest bar 😉

  3. loisajay says:

    I love your staycation! Whoever said it is not a vacation unless you pack up, head into traffic only to come home and have a ton of laundry to do? No coffee?! Gee, you really went hard core, Mary. Good for you, though. Nothing worse than a bad tummy–especially when you are at work and can’t stay in bed with the cats.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Oh how I wish I was still on staycation and could stay in bed with the cats this morning. TGIF!
      My tummy has been feeling great and I’m experimenting with a few different teas. Sipping on salted caramel mate this morning…yummy.

      • loisajay says:

        I bought that same tea at Fresh Market a few weeks ago and I loved it!! Great minds, Mary. Great minds…..enjoy.

  4. joannesisco says:

    I used to dread that back-to-school question “what did you do during summer vacation?”
    In my case, it was always nothing. We never went anywhere, we never did anything. Maybe that’s why I have such travel lust now.

    Your staycation sounds exactly what you needed. A perfect taste of life after retirement 😉

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Apparently, you’ve made up for the years without vacation a thousand times over.
      This week back at work has been so crazy…retirement really cannot come soon enough. I will be so grateful when that day comes. 🙂

      • joannesisco says:

        The days leading up to vacation and the week afterwards always made me wonder if going on vacation was worth the effort.

        … of course it was 😉

        Hope work settles down for you and retirement comes soon 🙂

  5. Your staycation sounds PERFECT. It’s the kind I like also. Good luck with the coffee break – that’s why I only drink tea. And the photos of your younger family vacation times remind me so much of my vacations as a kid. We either drove up to Vermont to camp for a week, or to the NJ beach to sun/swim for a week. I’ll be doing the NJ beach with all of my family, including grandkids, this August. 🙂

    • bikerchick57 says:

      The beach vacation sounds wonderful! Enjoy! I rarely have the opportunity to sit on a beach anymore…I might have to make a point of it before summer is over. Or at least stick my toes in the sand.

      The conversion to tea is going better than I thought it would and I’m feeling so much better. 🙂

  6. joey says:

    Great photos 🙂 I really love seeing places I’ve been in other people’s photos. We took SO FEW pictures before we had phone cameras. Oh how I wish I’d always had one!
    I always enjoy a staycation and yours sounds lovely! We had seats much further away from the fireworks, for the first time in I don’t remember how long, (about 3 blocks away) because The Mister was hellbent on not paying for parking. lol Me, I don’t mind. I like to be right under it, and may have to get snippy next summer 😉
    I had brats on Sunday and they were delicious. TWO. With slaw 😛
    We camped all the time in my youth and I liked it as a kid, not so much as a teen, and now I like it again. I’m outdoorsy. It’s way more fun and a lot less work to go as a couple than as a family though, and well, that’s why we don’t go so much. Bubba and Sassy despise nature. It’s some rare recessive gene…

    • bikerchick57 says:

      LOL on the recessive gene! They must like to stay clean at all times. Camping is one time I don’t care if I stink like bug spray and worms and have dirt on my face…because everyone else at the campground is pretty much in the same boat.

      I look at those old photos and think about how much progress we’ve made in the area of photography with great cameras and smart phones. It’s a wonder how we ever got along with the Polaroids and Kodak cameras with the flash cube.

      I am having two brats for supper tonight! 🙂

  7. LB says:

    So clever you are, Mary. You wove in that classic school assignment with the story of your staycation. Great writing!
    Staycations are wonderful, and yours was full of all the good things: family, friends, food, drink, exercise, and fun!

  8. Great post and loved the pictures. I love the staycation idea. I usually do that once a year. Disappear. I pick dharamshalas instead of hotels. Dharamshalas are accommodations for pilgrims. So these accommodations are affordable and have no technology gadgets. Its just a room with windows, a bed, bathroom and toilet. There’s no TV, no room service, no fancy restaurants. The food is homemade cooked by ladies running the lodge. If you type in Navsari on my blog you’ll see a post dating 2014 and that was my escape holiday.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      That sounds like a great way to relax and get away from everything, even the TV. I bet the homemade food is just as good as any restaurant, maybe better.

      • The homemade food is so good and delicious and at unbelievable rate. Sarah and I stayed for 5 days and the total cost was almost $20 exclude shopping and travel. Rooms are available at $0.90 per day for two person. Food is available for $2 per person.

  9. The “I don’t have to be anywhere” holidays are the best. Thank you for the glimpse into Teenage M-J. I love that your parents still took you on roadtrips in your teens. I find it hard to get mine motivated to go anywhere. Maybe we should drag them somewhere next summer. 🙂
    PS I love that movie…..

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Yes, go on Vacation, just don’t strap anyone to the roof of the car.

      I’m itching to take another road trip somewhere, they are always fun no matter the age.

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