Sunday, November 04, 2012

#126. or, The great get-away give-away guest post

126 posts ago, I would have never suspected that I would have made the friends that I've made while I've been here, blogging and sharing my thoughts with you. It's truly amazing to me at how you can make a connection with somebody that you've never actually met, in a completely different part of the world.

  I've mentioned before, (like, just last post!) that Carrie, whose blog is, Hammock in The Honeysuckle is one of those people for me. We just connected and share views on quite a few levels.

  Now, she's asked me to be a guest host on her blog. So while you're reading this, This same post will be up on her site as part of her Sunday offering on her Great Get-Away Give-Away contest. That blows my mind, that see would want my ramblings on her site, as I know it will be a step down in writing quality for her readers, but nonetheless, if your reading this from Hammock in the Honeysuckle, today you have me. I'll do my best. And I just want to thank Carrie for inviting me to be her guest blogger.

  So, as part of the great giveaway contest, it falls on me to ask this weeks question. I pose to you this:

Have you ever been on a trip or vacation that while things appeared to be going badly, something happened that changed your mind, from worst trip ever to, meh....this wasn't so bad?

  OK,  so this question was inspired by a picture that Carrie posted in an earlier question post of hers. It's from a story she told about how they made the best of a family vacation that started out poorly but they were able to turn it into something much better.

You can read her story  here

    Our family had that vacation a while back now. The kids were still small enough that we all travelled together. Like, all in the same vehicle travelling together. We had finally worked up enough funds and time to head for the west coast. It was a driving vacation and we had a small holiday trailer, that we had owned for a few years at that time. It was our very first holiday trailer and it was used, but it was still in pretty good shape and we were pretty proud of it. My wife was particularly pleased with the fact that it had a bathroom. That meant, no middle of the night excursions to find the outhouse. Because outhouses can be bit off putting even in the light of day, middle of the night outhouse darkness made her shudder. Also, the only carpeted area in our trailer was the bathroom. (you need to remember this, it comes back around later.)

  The first part of the holiday was actually not so bad. The trip to the ocean was going to take a few days and aside from 5 of us crammed into a truck that wasn't the most comfortable in riding style, it wasn't so bad. Little son was still in a booster seat strapped between the 2 older boys in the back seat. Which, while did make it even more cramped, it also had the added benefit of keeping the 2 older boys separated and from actually having to touch each other.

  So we were all excited to be going to the ocean. The very first time that our children would be seeing it. And to be fair, we were having quite a bit of fun on our way to the ocean. But the ocean was going to be the BIG THING. We were all looking forward to it.

  As we travelled, we saw and did cool things. We got to Vancouver and drove right through to the ferry to cross onto the island, despite my apprehension to big city driving. Our goal was to drive as far west as we possibly could. And as we got closer to our destination it began to rain, as is often the case on the "wet" coast. And in turn, a foul odor began to permeate our humble little abode.  The closer we got, the wetter everything we owned got, and the stinkier our trailer got.

  We had driven pretty hard to get there with the intention of spending a few days camping in the area. We found a campsite and strung up a makeshift clothes-line under our awning to try to dry out some of our clothes. But it seemed that anything that hung outside just took on more moisture, plus that foul smell was becoming unbearable. It was getting hard to be inside, which is where everyone wanted to be to get out of the rain and sleeping was constantly interrupted by the phantom stink we couldn't seem to find.

  Until it dawned on us! My wife and I were laying in bed and it dawned on us. The fricken bathroom carpet was the source of smell. Our little old , used, trailer, with the carpeted bathroom, the same carpet that had had at least a few years of our sons, plus who knows how many others, dribbling pee onto it. That mixed with the constant dampness of the climate we were in, was a terribly horrible blend. I got up in the middle of the night and ripped it right out of the floor and tossed it out into the rain. But then, I had to spend the next hour or so pulling all the staples that had been holding the carpet in, out of the floor.

  But we had enough and decided to get the heck out of there to try to salvage what was left of our vacation. We headed back across the island, the plan was, we'd cross the ferry and take the kids into Stanley Park in Vancouver. Except there was some construction and I missed the parking area turn-off and ended up being the only dumb farmer, with a truck and trailer, trying to navigate downtown Vancouver. Turning around was NOT an option. I white knuckled it and didn't stop until we reached Chilliwack.

  Having felt that we had short changed the boys out of Stanley Park, we were driving along and near Chilliwack, we passed a water slide, made a spur of the moment decision, and pulled right in. And we took the boys water sliding. And it was glorious. It was still slightly overcast, but warm and we practically had the place to ourselves. We had a grand time with no lines and any slide at out immediate disposal.

  That was 7 years ago. Sometimes, when we talk about the holidays that we've been on, our boys will talk about that water slide. Of all that they saw that trip, the ocean for the first time, the ferry trip, the fresh oysters that we BBQ'd. Of all those things, the thing they always come back to from that trip is the water slide. The water slide that we stopped at almost by accident. The water slide that we probably would have driven right passed if we hadn't been at whits end and just need a break.

  Sometimes it's the little things that are the biggest things of all. We haven't been back to that area since. Not   for any reason other that it's just too far out of the way. The kids used to ask to go back but I knew, it would never be quite the place that we all needed, just to get all unwound, the one stinky time.

  Now, there's only one thing left to do. Pop over to Carries site and answer this question and link yourself to her blog with the linky thing-a ma-bob she's going to add at her site. You just might win a trip, and who knows? Something magical just might happen on vacation to you if you, if you win her trip.


  1. Friend! Guest Blogger!

    It's live! Whoo hoo! High five!!

    Thank you SO MUCH for posting. You really are as cool as they say you are! :)

    Your post 'counts' as your entry for the week, by the way. You can be all official and whatnot and do the linky thingamajiggy or not. Your post IS your entry! Yippie!

    Love this story, by the way! I was already trying to figure out what the smell could possibly be - forgetting that you said to 'remember' the carpet in the bathroom. I was thinking egg salad sandwich left somewhere under something by a previous owner, or a beloved pet hamster that crawled up in there to find its final resting place. Too funny imagining you hurling a hunk of stinky carpet out the door into the rain!

    1. Hello, my friend!

      I'm so glad that everything worked out and you were able to get my post onto your site without too much trouble.

      You're so welcome! I hope that all of your readers don't mind too much having me there. It's certainly a bit of fun being a guest host and I just want to say thank you again for asking me. It's rather flattering.

      I don't know why the carpet didn't dawn on us earlier. And after we discovered it, we couldn't for the life of us, figure out why they would put carpet in the tiny little bathroom? It's just asking for trouble. It still took a few days to dry things out but we were glad to have solved that problem.

  2. Wonderful tale, Ken! One could almost feel the misery of your damp state of affairs and the ever-increasing stench. Having lived thru both dead critters and moldy carpets, I suspected one or the other might be your issue, but... I can well imagine that stinky piece of carpet as well, and I have done the rip it out and toss it thing... and the darned staples! What I loved is how a spontaneous stop turned out to be the highlight of the trip and the memory most cherished. Life IS what happens while we are busy making other plans, wise are the folks who learn to go with it! :-)

    1. Hi Josie!

      I didn't really get into it, but those staples were a nightmare! That tiny bathroom was so small, I almost had to be a contortionist to to get into all the nooks and crannies. Then, for the next few days, our bare footed bathroom trips kept reminding us of those staples that I had unfortunately missed.

      It always amazes me that once in a while, out of the blue, one of the kids will ask if we remember that time at the water slide and talk about how much fun we had there. :)

  3. Oh, that's a great story! It really shows the value of spontaneity and just "going with the flow" -- unless that flow involves pee-soaked carpeting.

    1. Hi Debra,

      Thanks so much. That's the trip that we learned to not make too many plans when we travel with our holiday trailer. We might have a destination in mind, but if something seems interesting in getting there, we take the time to stop and check it out. OH, and yes! Avoid pee soaked carpeting at all costs! :)

  4. I loved this, Ken. Sometimes I think it is the side treks on a vacation that end up being the most memorable. And that photo? Awesome!

    1. Thank you Heather,

      It's funny how that happens. Sometimes I wonder how many hidden gems we miss by not taking a side road once in a while.

      It's one of the few photos where they all seem to be happy to be stuck that close together. :)

  5. Good job with the question and the guest post! And great story! It's amazing what becomes a memory, huh?
    I love that picture of your boys. They look like happy guys :)

    1. Thanks Kianwi,

      It certainly is amazing to stop and try to think back to the things that stick in our memory that were accidents, for the most part, in finding them. We have a few of those.

      I had my wife dig out the old photo album to try to find some pictures of that trip and we came across that one and we just kept coming back to it and decided that that had to be the one. Generally, they're pretty happy guys, just not so much all at the same time. I think that might be why we were amazed to find that picture again. Sort of a side trip in a side trip story? :)

  6. Hopping over from my girl CLR and enjoyed your adventure greatly I think sometimes we have to take a side road to find something better also and funny how kids are so unaware that it wasn't on the agenda but became the main event!! We had some crazy trips go bad but not turn out well so this left me thinking and over thinking which just makes me ramble even more as you can tell in my extra long comment right ?LOL but alls well that ends soon!!! on side note form this where do you farm I am in AG as well. Not as a farmer but in the county Ag office :) ~Janice~

    1. Hello there!

      Thanks so much for stopping over, and certainly for the follow. I'll be stopping over at your blog as soon as time allows to check it out. :)

      You're so right about taking a side road once in a while. I'm certain there's so many hidden gems out there that go unnoticed because people don't want to leave the pavement these days.
      You don't have to worry about rambling at all. I'm a bit of a rambler myself, as you probably have noticed by some of the commenting that Carrie and I get into once in a while.

      I'm in central Alberta, Canada. It's a pretty nice place to live but I wish we had a bit less winter. Although, there's supposed to be snow this time of year and it's raining. I think I'd prefer the snow. :)

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