10 June 2008

Family Visits

"Julie, it's 6:00..."

Huh? Shades of childhood. Dad is waking me up, so there must be a reason. Oh yeah! We're leaving for Nevada today - at 8:00. In the morning.

I've spent the last day and a half catching up with Mom and Dad, brother, sister, nieces, and nephews. I even got to meet my new grand-niece! OK, not so new - she's over a year old *already!*

My niece just got back from a week of photographing Santa Fe - so we got out the map and marked it up. Now if we'd just remembered to bring the darned thing...

The family road trip (to visit more family) is The Quintessential American Vacation. At times you drive like fiends, other times you meander through some park or tourist trap. But your destinations are *always* determined by who is on the way.

We went to Walker Lake, Nevada to see Aunt Bev and JR. They taught us a new card game, called "21" (not the same as Black Jack). They were perfect - they let us win :D. We got there early enough that we could drive down to see the herd of wild mustangs that hang out by the lake. Unfortunately, we couldn't get very close - but we had field glasses.

The next day, we left for Bullhead City, Arizona, via Las Vegas. In LV, we met my cousins Doug and Michelle (and I mean *met* them - we had traded some emails, but I had never met them before...). We had a short but nice visit over drinks, then headed on to Arizona.

We got to Bullhead City (cousin Tommy and Edie) by late afternoon, and got a wonderful surprise! Cousin Joy was there! She deals Poker tournaments, and was in Las Vegas for one - they convinced her to come down for the weekend - yay!

Mom and Dad played pinochle with Tommy and Edie - they were a bit more cut-throat than Bev and JR - they only let Mom and Dad win 2 out of the 3 games...

Cousin Tommy with "Unc" - can you tell they're related?

Next - drive like crazy through the Southwest and onwards; gotta get to Tennessee to see my sister and her family!

Things that appear to be habits on family road trips:
  • Cards: playing "21" and pinochle
  • Maps: we break these out nearly every night; relatives tell us about interesting side trips nearby, we plan the next leg of the trip, figure out about when we will land.
  • Journals: Dad tracks our mileage (pretty darned good with the Prius), miles traveled, time we leave and arrive, expenses, etc. I blog here when I can.
  • Waking earlier (8:00) and earlier (5:45)
  • Taking a *ton* of pictures - digital cameras sure have changed how we think about taking pictures.

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