Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Vacay - Or Was It?

You know it's going to be an interesting vacation when, five minutes into the trip, your car starts acting funny. Funny, as in RPMing up to 3,000....4,000 and NOT shifting. Good thing I had built in extra shopping time into the trip before Amber's orthodontic appointment.

A quick drive back into town to our car dealership revealed that we were NOT in for a quick fix. We loaded everything into a rental car (warning: Arkansas charges a 22% sales tax on rental cars), learned that the extended warranty on our broken car had expired, and hit the road again, a little gloomy. However, I kept telling myself it could have been worse - we had been back and forth to Conway (a three-hour drive one way) twice in the prior week...and the roads between here and there are isolated. A break-down on those trips, or further into our vacation, would have been horrible. Oh, and the trip to Conway was to take Amber to choir camp, where she worked hard and had a BLAST:
She's the one in the front, on the left. I still don't know why I pay for jeans that look like they have been molested by a werewolf.

Amber had not-so-good news at the orthodontist. Remember those stubborn baby teeth? Well, by not falling out, they have diverted the paths of her adult teeth. She will need oral surgery to remove the remaining baby teeth, cut open her soft palate and attach metal handles to her upper canines so the orthodontist can move them into place. I don't know what they will plan for her twelve-year molars that never erupted. Poor thing.

BUT, I keep telling myself it could be worse - she can survive this. My pocketbook may not survive, but she will.
Speaking of my pocketbook - one of my air conditioning units at the office building took a dive. Sigh. Sometimes it's great owning your own company.

When we arrived in Mountain View, AR....it was raining...but our cabin did have a view of the river:
The worst part about the cabin? No cell service. I thought Amber was going to have a coronary. Every so often she could get a text message thru, if she contorted her body behind the living room futon. We had to drive two miles into town to get service.

The next morning, when we DID drive into town before visiting the caverns, I got a fun little text message telling me my office building back home had flooded. Try focusing on vacation after THAT little gem.

Oh well, at least our adventure was NOT going to be ruined by rain, since we were going into Blanchard Springs Caverns. Check out this formation that resembles a ship:
It was a fascinating tour - my photos didn't do the caverns ANY justice. I was completely amazed. We took the "Dripstone" tour - which took us through the most highly decorated level of the caverns, after an elevator ride 216 feet down into the earth.
I was impressed with the lighting, which was done by a man who usually assembled lighting for opera houses. It made the caverns all that more beautiful. Once again, I was in awe at the wonderous beauty of our earth, and remembered how tiny we all are in the face of its majesty.
Roger had never seen this level of the caverns before, so he was impressed, too. He even got to visit a music store in downtown Mountain View, and joined a "pickin'" session with several other musicians. He must have spent an hour there, while Amber and I poked thru galleries and found treasures here and there.
Our last stop before leaving town was this rock:
That's Roger, standing underneath. Years ago - like over 17 years ago - his best friend took a photo almost identical at this very spot. It was neat to find this again, and almost two decades later, take a similar photo...which we then emailed to his friend.
We are back home - and have taken care of all the office flooding. It wasn't as bad as I had imagined, and Roger did a lot to help clean things up. Amber came back to a new cheer coach for the varsity squad - her coach from last year - which made her very happy. Shorty missed us terribly, but having Lucas house-sit definitely eased our minds about the care of our three animals. He did, however, start a new trend by allowing her to sleep with him in the guest bed. So guess who is sleeping with us now?
Tell me about your vacations, if you had one this summer!


Anonymous said...

No vacay for this little piggie...yet. This time last year, we were looking ever-so forward to a trip to the North Carolina coast.

We're wanting an extended weekend and are thinking Eureka Springs. My natal anniversary is on a Friday this year, so, MAYBE then...not for sure, tho!

GLAD you had a safe time...even with the car drama and the office drama and the "teeth" drama.



Desert Songbird said...

What a crappy way to start your trip. Like you said, it could have been so much worse. Whew! Dodged a big bullet there.

The caverns look amazing. Love that ship-looking stone.

We went to Coronado, CA early this summer (last week in May). Now it seems like a life-time ago since it's disgustingly hot here. School starts in three weeks, though, so then we'll be busy again.

WT said...

Oh no, Poor Amber!! That's my worst nightmare, I hate dentists, and that just sounds nasty. Bad mom!

That car situation sucks, but you're right, had it happened the week before, you'd have a story that you wouldn't soon forget.

richies said...

I've never been to the Blanchard Springs Caverns. They look really cool. I will have to try and get up there sometime.

Sorry to hear about the car trouble.

An Arkies Musings

Real Live Lesbian said...

Hey...so glad to see you back!!!!

I love the photos of the caverns! Looks like a gorgeous place!

I bet Shorty is in HEAVEN!

lisaschaos said...

I am so proud of you! You didn't just throw up your hands and stay home - which I'm sure was tempting! Sounds like you had a rather full plate to come home to though. :( The cave is beautiful!!

bermudabluez said...

LOVE the cavern pics!! We went out to the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico a couple of years ago...and they were fabulous! and HUGE!! I am sorry to hear of your car trouble. The good news is that you discovered it BEFORE you broke down. And I'm sorry to hear of the orthodontist situation...not fun...at all. We're headed out on the road again for about six weeks...towards Mt. Rushmore this time...lots to blog about! Glad to see you posting!!

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C said...

Wow beautiful caverns! Reminds me of the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. My parents took us there as kids. Glad your flood damage was not so bad!!! :( I have recently had a lot of car trouble but things are better now too.

Pamela said...

Your attitude was great.
And you were right -- you could have been stuck in the middle of no where.
... and she has beautiful teeth just waiting to be seen!!

Kila said...

Loved the photos.

We are going to spend a couple days in Door County, Wisconsin next week.

Karmyn R said...

Poor Amber! I hope she gets to drink lots of yummy milkshakes while healing.

Looks like a cool place by the pictures...my husband would definitely enjoy it - he is into rock formations.

Bond said...

broken car, broken AC, flooding...oh man you needed that vacation...

Love caverns. Have been to many on the East coast (Luray etc)

That is one big ole rock

my vacation begins in 34 days - but we are calling it a honeymoon!

Junebug said...

We took our vacation to Ouray, Colorado this year. It is even more beautiful than Arkansas!! We stayed seven days and four-wheeled trails between Silverton and Ouray. Oh the awesomeness of mountains. We will be coming back to Arkansas in October.

Kaytabug said...

Enjoyed the photos! Sorry to hear about all the bad things! When it rains it pours! Sounds like you made the best of it and didn't let it bring you down!!!

We just went to Ks for most of July. The older 2 got to meet Jordy Nelson at a football camp they attended!! We went on a float trip with friends and camped in our tent, heard coyotes that night too! Also visited Prairie Air/Jenni in Ks and her family. Good times!!

Occidental Girl said...

It's great to visit caves in the summer! The big, tall kind that you can walk around in... because they are so nice and cool. Looks like a fun vacation, except the car and the raining and the office flooding!

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