It was decided that I needed a vacation. Weekend trips were no longer doing the job.

My wife was going to drive her folks to California to visit relatives there and provide a ride back to Utah for the relative’s son. The thought of them going alone sounded a little scary so I volunteered to drive our Ford mini-van and go with them, along with my daughter who still lives at home.

What was I thinking?!

Fourteen hour drive with in-laws? Leaving beloved Utah? Gone from work for a whole week?

Oh wait…

Oh well. What could POSSIBLY go wrong?

Day 1: Fight strong head wind all the way to Fallon Nevada listening to mother-in-law chatter. (Bad!)

Day 2: Visit Bodie California ghost town. (Good!)

Bodie

Bodie B&W2

Bodie B&W

Bodie Roofs

We then drove up and over Tioga Pass into Yosemite National Park. (Strenuous but not bad.) Spend several quick hours taking pictures in Yosemite Valley. (Great!)

Yosemite Valley

Yosemite Bucks

We then lost the van’s transmission while attempting to leave Yosemite Valley and drive to Fresno California at sundown. (REALLY, REALLY BAD!) We ended up driving down the mountain in the back seat of wrecker that had to drive up the mountain to pick us up. (Not good but the driver was entertained with mother-in-law chatter.)  The relatives needed two cars to pick us up at the garage and take us (plus luggage) back to their home.

Day 3 and 4: The garage works on the van transmission while we are stuck back at the relative’s home. (Bad.) The garage finally declares the need for a new transmission at the cost of $3900. Since the van really wasn’t worth much more than that, we decided that it wasn’t worth putting a new transmission in it. (BAD!) We ended up donating the van to a charity which left us without a vehicle. (Also bad.)

Day 5: I spent the day working on another van that our relatives were considering buying and could be loaned to us for the return to Utah trip. It was 110 degrees outside! (Really bad!) I have never sweat so much in my life! In the end, the van couldn’t be saved and all my work was in vain. (Another bad.)

Day 6 and 7: Spent two days helping the relatives work on their cabin in the mountains, a two hour drive away. It was much cooler in the mountains near Courtright Reservoir and the area is beautiful! (Good.)

Courtright Reservoir

Courtright Reservoir

However, the cabin has a roof and outside walls but no inside walls, water, electricity or bathrooms. (Bad!) Basically, we were just camping out under a roof. By the end of the second day, I was exhausted. (Bad.) However, the cabin now has a working toilet. (Good, I suppose.)

Day 8: We borrowed a car and took a day trip north up to the Columbia, Chinese Camp and Sedona California area. This is a mining area with lots of history and a chance to take pictures again. (Good!)

Knights Ferry Covered Bridge

Knights Ferry Post Office

Columbia Livery

Columbia Pioneer Emporium

Day 9: Went to church, packed and rested. (Good.)

Day 10: Loaded up the relative’s full sized van, now a total of 8 passengers, and drove 14 hours almost straight through (not too bad) to arrive in Utah Valley about sunset. (Great!)

Verdict: I will never leave Utah again!

Day 11: Returned to work and began the ritual of looking forward to the weekend. (Bad, of course.)

Man, I need a vacation.