Vacations – 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History
February 7th, 2012 by Jessica

Week #27 – Vacation. Where did your family go on vacation? Did you have a favorite place? Is it still there? If not, how has the area changed?

Jessica at Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park

Jessica at Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park

During the summer of 1989, I was invited to join my Grandma and Grandpa Cole with cousin Christopher on a trip “out west” from Indiana.  They rotated through the cousins, taking one with Christopher on a road trip each summer.  On this trip, we visited Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park, Old Faithful, the Continental Divide, the Black Hills of South Dakota, the Badlands National Park, the Grand Tetons, and everything in between.

I was impressed by Mount Rushmore.  Its size and scale, coupled by the serenity of the trees, was a very nice place to visit.  Yellowstone National Park was huge.  I remember us driving circles around Lake Yellowstone trying to find a place to park the RV but we couldn’t, so we had to leave.  Old Faithful was an exercise in patience.  “Sit here and sometime in the next 15 minutes, this geyser will shoot up for a few seconds.”  I remember thinking to myself how hot it was, how bored I was, and what was the point of this thing?  At that point in the trip I think being with my grandparents was starting to wear on me.

We also passed by the Continental Divide which was a non-event in my mind.  The Black Hills of South Dakota offered me an opportunity to peruse the gift shops and look at all the neat rocks available for sale.  I think I bought a few specimens which were lost to the years.  I liked the fool’s gold and anything shiny and colorful.  The Badlands National Park is what sticks in my mind most about this trip.  The hills were so colorful, like rainbows that went on for miles and miles.  I loved watching out the window as we drove through the area and counting how many color strips were displayed in a single hill.  I was also impressed by the size of the Grand Teton Mountains.

Grandpa Cole owned a huge Winnebago RV camper and insisted that we stay only at KOA Kampgrounds during the entire trip.  We drove only during the daytime, and my Grandpa also forced me to eat anything he decided to cook that night, including steak.  Yuck!  I certainly wasn’t used to that.  My parents never made me eat anything.  It was quite a rude awakening – as was the time I was using the bathroom and we hit a major bump in the road.  I fell into the toilet, and Grandma had to come rescue me.  How embarrassing!  I sure had fun though!  It’s a trip I will never forget.

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