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Finally, a vacation from all of it.

Melissa works too hard. Most of her friends and family also know that about her. We are quickly approaching the one year anniversary of her thyroid surgery, and yet in the time since, she's taken very minimal time off. She has almost four weeks of vacation saved up, but her work makes her feel guilty about missing any time at all.

Anyway, I finally dragged her away from business-as-usual and we headed up to Bend, Oregon to visit with John, Mandy, and Travis. Here's what happened along the way...

Melissa's car had just had some service done to replace the brakes, and we didn't want to rack up some 1200+ miles right afterward. We rented a car instead. Now, we've gotten much more financially observant, but it wasn't just the lower price that immediately drew us to the "economy car". We still had to pay for gas, you know. Why not get the car that receives the best gas mileage? We wouldn't be in the car any longer than to drive to Bend and back anyway.

We made our plans and reservations and went to pick up the car on Wednesday morning at 8:00 am. Apparently, we found out, "economy" doesn't just mean "spectacular mpg's", it also meant that we would be without a CD player or tape deck. Harrumph. So we upgraded...


We returned home to load the car, intent on leaving by 9:00. However, it takes forever for the rental agency to finalize an agreement and we walked back in the door at 9:00.

On the street outside the house are signs that say "No Parking 9 - 5", but I had always just assumed that they were there because there was a school down the street. Except it is a middle school and I hadn't thought that all the way through. We left the car parked on the street while we loaded and when we finally got in to leave at around 11:00, I found a parking ticket under the wiper blade. Harrumph #2.

Finally on the road, we made good time. We stopped in Marin to drop off Matteo with sister Susanna, and then took off inland. We got on the I-5 and were cruising when we were stopped on the highway by a horrific accident. It changed our moods considerably to actually see a girl that hadn't been dead more than, I would say, three minutes. Melissa and I were one of the few cars that got to drive by the scene before they closed the highway - according to the article (note*link fixed). Rest in peace, Jillian Erica Keating.

We kept moving, albeit in silence for quite a while. Hungry, we stopped in Klamath Falls, Oregon, for dinner at a place called a creamery, but really was a brewpub. Regardless of what it was, they had great handmade beer and the largest salads I have ever seen. Melissa ordered one of the salads and we immediately put half of it into a to-go box. And then she couldn't even finish the remainder. It was that big!

We reached our destination - Mandy and John's spare bedroom - at about 11:00 pm and were officially on vacation.

Over the next few days, the lot of us visited a local mountian/monument called Pilot Butte, saw beautiful lakes, drove past Lava Butte, gandered at the three Sisters Mountains, marvelled at Broken Top, and even scaled Mount Bachelor (with the help of the ski lifts) to the top - almost 10,000 feet! All of these attractions were within about 40 miles of Bend! We went to an outdoor festival that is held every Thursday, where, it seemed, half of the town was in attendance. We also had the chance to partake in an Art and Wine walk. "Look at some art; we'll make you tipsy!" That should be their motto.

On Sunday, Melissa and I said 'Arrivederci' to the Knotts crew. We were both sad to be leaving, but grateful at the same time - exhaustion had set in. There just aren't the same number of mountains and hiking trails in San Jose.

The highlights of the trip home included Melissa giggling uncontrollably when I nearly ran over the gas station attendant because I thought the DODGE STRATUS was in 'Park' when it was really only in 'Reverse' and me laughing uncontrollably as Melissa was caught off-guard by a sneeze and spit all over the dashboard (note*Melissa burst out laughing again when she read about the gas station attendant).

We had had a great time on vacation, but by the end, by the time we picked up Matteo, we were both tired, hungry, and a little bit punchy. There is nothing like a vacation to make you appreciate a Cal King-size bed and an air conditioner in the window.

San Jose. Home, sweet home.

Posted by dennis @ 02:07 PM | Comments (3)
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