Luxurious Vacation | My Family Travels
colbetahoe

I must begin by saying two things; first, my father loves going on vacation.  Dad is never happier than when he has atlas in hand searching out a new destination for us to visit.  It may be an awe-inspiring national park, bustling city, peaceful colonial town, or a crowded amusement park.  It doesn’t matter he is in heaven highlighting our proposed route on the pages.  Secondly, I must say that my father is extremely frugal.  Our family trips are always planned in the most cost effective manner possible, utilizing every possible minute of the day so we can enjoy each “vacation” to the fullest.  We have slept in parking lots, beach chairs, and tents waiting for parks to open or check in times to arrive.  There has never even been a hint at the possibility of getting a room early.  When we go to Disney World or Dollywood, my father wears a fanny pack the size of a small trunk filled with snacks to avoid buying costly amusement park food.  He searches for coupons, special packages, or any promotion that might possibly save money.  While this quality can be annoying, it does enable us to travel to places that we probably couldn’t otherwise afford.

    Trust me, my family would not have gone to Lake Tahoe to ski if my father had not gotten such a fantastic deal on the trip.  Plane tickets were purchased using air miles Dad had accumulated on many business trips.  Suitcases were packed for this wintry vacation with the constant reminder of the 50 pound weight restriction.  There would be “no paying extra for additional poundage or luggage”.  Snacks were stowed away in bags to tide us over between flights and arrangements made to park our car at a friend’s house (which was 1 and ½ miles from the airport).  Dad would drop us off at 5:00 a.m., drive the car to his friend’s house, and then walk back to the airport.  This would avert having to pay for parking during our week long trip.  When we returned, my dads planned to walk back and retrieve the car and then pick my mother and me up at baggage claim.  I did say Dad was cheap; however, he is never inconsiderate.  So, he would never dream of asking anyone to get up that early and drive us all to the airport.

     The trip to Lake Tahoe did not start out as we had hoped.  Our luggage was lost, but the airport assured us it would arrive within 24 hours.  During those 24 bone-chilling hours my entire family had to purchase new coats and gloves.  We discovered two things: one, it isn’t such a good idea to check your coats when your destination is a ski resort no matter how warm it was when you left Knoxville.  The second thing, coats are not cheap during ski season in Lake Tahoe.  I was also dismayed when I realized I had packed my seizure medication in our checked baggage as well.  Not to worry, Dad trekked the two miles (each way) to the nearest pharmacy and paid the twenty dollars per pill (insurance wouldn’t cover since the cost because it was not my refill time) that would tide me over until our suitcases arrived.  Our luggage did arrive as promised; so, the remainder of the trip was quite enjoyable. 

     Each day we enjoyed the fresh mountain air by walking several blocks to the public transportation which transported us to our planned activity of the day.  Dad had searched out ways to ski, snowmobile, and tube very economically.  Of course thousands of others had discovered this as well so our patience was tested as we stood in very lengthy lines.  The only source of trepidation on this vacation was the promotional sales pitch we were expected to attend on our last day.  The wonderful deal my father had gotten was a high pressured promotion to sell shares in the resort where we were staying.  The first young salesman knew immediately he was no match for my father but the second, seasoned, salesman lasted three long hours before finally giving up and wishing us a safe journey home.

     The day our departure for home came extremely early, we had to catch the bus at 6 a.m. to Reno for our flight to Salt Lake City.  We had a substantial layover in Salt Lake City which would be ample time to finish up the granola bars left in Dad’s backpack.  The hours spent at the terminal in Utah slowly passed as more and more people arrived.  Before long all the seats were occupied; people began sitting in the floor and hovering around the check-in counter.  My father quickly recognized what was going on.  He casually walked up to the counter and asked how many seats they needed.  The lady said, “How many do you have?” 

     A few hours later, we were dining at an upscale restaurant at our posh hotel in Salt Lake City.  Delta had covered all the expenses plus given us 400 Delta Dollars each in exchange for our seats on that particular overbooked flight.   Delta associates assured us we could use them on any flight within the next year, and we would land safely in Knoxville the following morning.

     The next morning, as we were settling in our first class seats, I looked over at my mother.  She was excitedly choosing what she wanted from the breakfast menu, her second juice in hand.   Mom said, “I would have given up my seat just for the chance to ride in first class.”  As Mom told the flight attendant her order, I spotted Dad pulling his seasoned atlas out of his backpack as he began planning our next adventure-filled trip.

    

 

 

 

 

 

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