By definition, ‘vacation’ means an ‘extended period of recreation’ either at home or in travel. The word has also gained the reputation of meaning you get some rest while you are on vacation but that particular four-letter word did not seem to be on the itinerary for this trip.
New York State was the destination, as my time off work now is spent in going back to see family and friends there. This time, my niece, her husband and two young children from nearby Fairfield were going as well and we coordinated flights so that my daughter, her boyfriend and I could travel with them. My sister had gone on ahead and was already at my parent’s house, awaiting our arrival. My brother lives close to my parents, so we were all looking forward to having some quality time together with mom and dad, as they just marked their 59th wedding anniversary.
Getting there was not a problem. Our flight left from Sacramento and flew in to Las Vegas, a very short hop; then there was a few hours’ layover (yes, I played a few slot machines and no, I didn’t win big) before getting on the plane from Vegas to Albany. My daughter’s boyfriend Connor had never been on a plane before and could only remember one time actually traveling outside California so this was quite an adventure for him. We let him have the window seat, although, as usual, we ended up near the wing but he nonetheless enjoyed looking out to see what he could see.
We took a midday flight out of Sac on a Monday and, with layovers and time differences, we got in to New York State a little after midnight Tuesday morning. A few hours’ sleep and my niece had us all awake and hiking a trail up Vroman’s Nose, a tourist spot in my home county that, once on top, provides a great look at the Schoharie Valley and beyond into the Catskill Mountains.
Along with plenty of chipmunks darting across our walking path, we found some centipedes, a heart-shaped rock, a triangle-shaped rock, and Connor wrote his name and thoughts in the ‘guest book’ that the Vroman’s Nose Preservation Society has stationed about three-quarters of the way up the mountain.
What struck us all the most, though, was how lush and green everything was. Everywhere you looked, it was just green. No brown to be found. Green grass, green trees, green hillsides. I never got tired of looking at it. Just one of those things that you don’t pay much attention to when you have it all the time – but with so precious few weeks of green in California, we all really relished the color while we were in NY.
We had rain more days than not, but also got some sunshine mixed in and had one terrific downpour that came with a good, old-fashioned late night ‘shake the house’ thunderstorm.
Hiking, a tour of a local cavern, a combination graduation party/family reunion, spending Father’s Day at the gas engine show with my dad, the collector/restoration expert, a two-day excursion to New York City including a tour of the Statue of Liberty and a stop at the Ground Zero memorial pool – our schedule was packed. And my dad had the misfortune of breaking his ankle while he was packing up to leave the engine show, so our Father’s Day celebration ended with a trip to the hospital.
All in all, an eventful journey. My niece and her family had to leave a couple of days before we did – and we ended up leaving a day later than anticipated. Bad weather in Florida delayed the plane we were supposed to get on in Albany, which meant we wouldn’t make our connection in Chicago, so they wouldn’t let us get on the plane as scheduled on Thursday. Luckily, my sister-in-law had stayed in Albany doing some shopping after dropping us off at the airport and was able to pick us up when we learned we weren’t flying out that day. So we got an unexpected bonus, one more day with the family. None of us complained.
And our flights on Friday, the ones that our airline re-booked us on, went off as scheduled so we made it back to Sacramento late night Friday, June 20. A few hours’ sleep and I was awake and on the football field at Escalon High School for the fourth annual Relay For Life, helping emcee the event.
Good thing I was ‘rested up’ from vacation and ready to go…
Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times, The Oakdale Leader and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.