May-be it’s a blizzard

May-be it’s a blizzard

Southwest de-icing operation - 12 May 2011
Southwest de-icing operation - 12 May 2011

A quick flight from Denver to Omaha by the numbers:

3.5 – hours ahead of departure time that we left home

45 – minutes late boarding the plane

3 – passengers we had to wait for from connecting flight

4.5 – hours we sat on the tarmac waiting for take off

4-6 – inches of snow that fell in hours we sat on the tarmac

3 – planes ahead of us in the de-icing line

1 – number of times we had to be towed back to the gate so the engines could be “air started”

65 – minutes of actual flight time

5 – hours late arriving in  Omaha

7– minutes left before the rental car desk closed upon our arrival in Omaha

1 – phone call made to the hotel to get directions in the middle of the night

3:45 – hours after midnight when we crawled into bed

11 – total hours spent making a 500 mile trip

At least we weren’t on the flight to Phoenix!

photo (credit: CBS)
“. . . and everyone goes”

“. . . and everyone goes”

A Neil Diamond classic comes to mind when we pack the car to make our annual trek to Avon,
“It’s Love, Brother Love, say Brother Love’s traveling salvation show
“Pack up the babies and grab the old ladies and everyone goes
“‘Cause everyone knows Brother Love’s show.”

Loading the car for that trip is always an adventure.  Food, clothing and games for a week are standard, and the suitcases and Rubbermaid bins fill the back of the Trailblazer quickly.  We like to have a couple of portable camp chairs for lazy afternoons on the patio with a book and a little chocolate, so those purple and green cases take their places among the luggage.  We situate the bag of shoes beside the hanging clothes and then fill some random spots with a kick ball and Frisbee.  And of course, we can’t go anywhere without a couple of laptops!  Pillows, jackets, and an assortment of last minute “I almost forgot about . . . ” fill the remaining empty spaces – and we’re almost ready to go.

In addition to the necessities, we always take our recreational transportation.

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Our bikes ride securely on a rack on the back of the car.  The Vail/Avon area has some great bike trails for riding – with or without the grandkids – and we look forward to a daily ride.  We love peddling along the Eagle River while dreaming about which house will be ours.  I’ve imagined us living in everything from a tiny condo to a grand mountain home on the side of Beaver Creek Mountain.  That dreaming is one of my favorite pastimes!

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The canoe has also become a must have, so Don secures it to the top of the car.  He’s getting really good at that as evidenced by this year’s trip which was free of vibrating tie downs or a slipping  canoe!  We all love to spend a relaxing afternoon on Nottingham Lake, and even the young grandkids are learning how to paddle – sort of.

Due to some extenuating circumstances, this year we included a couple of new modes of transportation.

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Degenerative arthritis in her back is making it very difficult for Grandma Leona to walk long distances, so we added a cute little transport chair to our assortment of  rides.   Lightweight and easy to lift, it was small enough to fit in the back of the car (very fortunately) and provided easy access to the park and other attractions within walking distance.

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Just a few days before departure, Katie’s jump from the top stair resulted in a broken leg and the doctor’s instructions to put no weight on that leg for 10 days.  Briefly we thought the Sandbergs would have to cancel, or at least be very restricted in activities, because carrying Katie any farther than the couch or the bathroom is taxing.  But when I remembered the jogging stroller I picked up at the thrift store several months ago (I couldn’t pass up that $30 deal!), we were set – once Don got it strapped to the back of the bike rack.  Katie is still small enough to fit in the stroller, even if not real comfortably, and we were able to wheel her out and about with relative ease.  And Sam enjoyed it on some early morning jogs with his Daddy and Auntie Em.

Grandma and Katie sporting their rides
Grandma and Katie sporting their rides at a park in Vail

By the time we get everything in and on, we’re beginning to look like the traveling salvation show, and I’m wondering if it will all stay in place at 70 miles an hour.

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We don’t look too bad from a distance . . .

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but this is the view if you get behind us!
Yes, those flags are made of Christmas fabric.

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“Brother Don’s traveling salvation show”

Spring Fling

Spring Fling

A road trip to several points in Utah was the perfect antidote for my winter blahs.

Ault, Colorado
Ault, Colorado

Once we passed through Ault, I really felt like we were on the way.

Colorado landscape on Highway 85
Colorado landscape on Highway 85

Although the rock formations are somewhat interesting, the scenery wasn’t exactly breathtaking.  Just imagine a car full of kids, with nothing more than this to look at just 35 miles into a 500 mile trip. . . now those are some great memories!

Wyoming landscape - Interstate 80
Wyoming landscape - Interstate 80

Wyoming scenery was no better than what we had just passed through in Colorado, but the windmills were a good diversion.

don-tree-rock . . . . . . . . lynn-tree-rock

Tree in the rock is a place our kids love to hate, but we stopped and had a good laugh remembering their disgust with such a lame landmark!

A trucker's paradise
A trucker's paradise

The Flying J was a welcome sight in the desolation of Interstate 80 across southern Wyoming.

Developing computer skills
Developing computer skills

In Salt Lake on Monday morning, we did gmail training with Grandpa.  He’s definitely moving into the world of computers kicking and screaming!

Starry-eyed family
Starry-eyed family

We celebrated Kate’s birthday in Lehi on Tuesday.  The chocolate cake was delicious!

We also built a fantastic square-foot garden, but Kate will have to post those pictures.  The produce from that fertile soil will be fantastic!

Convenient to the grandkids
Convenient to the grandkids

In St. George on Thursday we toured this model home, and Maddie and I imagined how fun it would be to have sleepovers together.

Katie and Grandma trying to keep Charlie focused
Katie and Grandma trying to keep Charlie focused

Lance Armstrong in training
Jack - Lance Armstrong in training

We played at the park, shopped with Maddie, played Shanghai with Ryan and savored a much anticipated Concrete from Nielsen’s Frozen Custard.

On the way home. . .
On the way home. . .

Friday we reluctantly left St. George, hating to leave the fun and craziness that are always a part of our family get-togethers.  But after driving several hundred miles east, “our” mountains came into view and Colorado looked pretty inviting.

I wonder what it’s like to live in Gypsum. . .