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It's Memory Monday so here's a little story about our trip out west.
It's spring break and I'm sitting on my couch looking at a backyard blanketed in snow. At least it's a pretty snow with white fluffy flakes piled in layers on the trees and covering the still brown ground. All of this snow is making me want to take vacation someplace warm. We've been fortunate to take some great vacations with our kids, but the best was the year we traveled out west.
It was hot July when we packed our van with our three kids and all we would need for several weeks of travel. The sun sizzled as we put the final items into the van and closed the doors. We were traveling from Ohio to Washington state, then through Oregon, down to California, over to Arizona, and home. To cut down on the cost we planned to rotate between camping and staying in hotels.
The kids were excited when we placed them in the van with a cooler of food packed for the journey. We were headed out west to see my aunt, uncle and cousins living in Oregon and Washington. This part of our family had lived out west all of my life, but I'd never been there. I think I was as excited as the kids as we jumped in the van with our maps, snacks, and gear.
After setting up the tent, we got back into the van and went to see the sites. We saw bison, moose, and elk roaming the park. Later that evening, we came back to our site and ate dinner. We set up our sleeping bags and began to call it a night. I listened for the sounds of bear. I don't really know what I was listening for as I have no idea what the sound of bear entering camp to grab the food from the careless campers behind us or the trashcans beside us would sound like.
We settled into our sleeping bags as the night grew colder. It was July, but we had come prepared for cooler temperatures. We were all sleeping in warm clothes with our sleeping bags and mats under us. We had added a blanket for warmth, but it was still cold. Soon we were grabbing our coats. We had warmer coats with us, but not our winter coats. It was July and we thought this would be enough, but the temperature continued to drop. We huddled closer together in our tent trying to get warm, but the cold ground below us and the cold air around us began to sink into our bones. Finally we got up and all piled into the van to warm up. We decided to sleep in our van for the rest of the night.