palo duro disaster….again.

so, it’s kind of a running  joke that whenever we go to palo duro, there is some sort of catastrophe. up until now, it has been weather related.

  • oct. 2002-the angelo and i visited palo duro for the first time. we woke up after our first night and found water in our tent, and a murky swimming pool surrounding it. we had to make a pretty impressive leap out of the tent door to the left to clear the puddle (there is a picture around here somewhere). the rest of the trip went off without a hitch and we even stayed an extra day.
  • march 2005: this trip was to include the angelo’s family, my mom, the ian, luis (foriegn exchange student living with my parents at the time) the angelo, the two big kids and myself driving north to palo duro while the conor and the amanda drove south from lincoln, NE to palo duro. the conor and the amanda still drove in, but only my mom, the ian and luis ended up making the drive from our neck of the woods. problems with the family business caused the angelo and his parents to stay, and i didn’t want to go without him, so i stayed as well. anyway, it snowed that year. yeah, IT SNOWED.
  • march 2006: the ian, the two bigs and myself drove north (once again, the angelo had to stay behind due to work) while the conor, the amanda and three of their friends drove south. winds like you wouldn’t believe. winds that broke a telephone pole in canyon, tx (the town near palo duro CANYON). winds that snapped a tent pole on the conor and the amanda’s tent as well. fortunately the gusties lasted for a day and once again, the rest of the trip went off without a hitch.
  • march 2007: this time, the angelo made it up with myself, the bigs and the ian, while the conor, the amanda, the amanda’s brother and his girlfriend at the time made it down. this year…fire. fire never made it into the canyon, but it made it close enough that we almost had to evacuate (so i guess there wasn’t a TRUE disaster that year, but it was pretty fuckin’ scary).
  • march 2008: we didn’t make it this year because the amanda had the AUDACITY to have a baby when we would have gone. obviously, we knew the moment she announced her pregnancy and the due date was figured out. can you believe the nerve of her?
  • march 2009: so, the angelo and my mom were supposed to leave at 6am 3/13. the van we borrowed to pack all of the gear in had a broken windshield wiper motor. it was discovered on 3/12. the part is being overnighted but it looks like nobody will be leaving here until 10am tomorrow. oh, but it doesn’t end there. the amanda and the ethan were supposed to fly into houston the afternoon of 3/13. the kids and i were going to pick them up. little ethan (whose first birthday was on 3/13) was running a high temperature in the late afternoon of 3/12. little ethan’s dad (the conor) had been diagnosed with strep. the amanda called me at about 10:30pm CST which would be 11:30pm her time). when i answered the phone, i said

            “i don’t want to hear bad news!”.

            she replied with…get this…”so you want me to hang up?’

           “lay it on me.”

ethan was still running a high fever and had a nasty cough. oh, and her flight into houston to land at 1pm on 3/13, had been cancelled. yeah, something about mechanical problems in dallas with a handful of planes and a bunch of american airline flights had been cancelled. i’m not really clear on the details.

she scheduled another flight to land in amarillo (just north of canyon) at 12:40pm on saturday 3/14. i was pretty bummed about having to drive up there without her.

ethan had croup and was pretty miserable for the first couple of days.

as my mom and the angelo drove closer and closer to palo duro, the temperature was dropping, and IT WAS SNOWING! it didn’t stick, but we were pretty worried.

saturday afternoon, my mom, the angelo, the amanda and the ethan met my dad and i at the top of the canyon when we arrived. when we all drove back to the bottom and made it to our site, the van died. like dead.

we had some nasty wind on saturday night that knocked our collapsible pavillion into a tree, but otherwise it was undamaged (and had it not blown into the tree, it would have been across the canyon…so…you know…small blessings).

sunday through wednesday were beautiful. aside from a croupy ethan, everything went great. beautiful weather during the day, chilly at night. perfect. angelo jumpd the battery on wednesday and the van seemed to be agreeable.

thursday morning, things changed. the van didn’t want to cooperate. so the angelo and i drove into canyon and picked up a battery. put it in, the van was happy. until, it wasn’t. the angelo made it about two and a half hours before it died again. the amanda and i with the kids continued on home, while my parents and angelo bought three more batteries that would get him home.

because of a stop we made, the amanda and i ended up back behind my parents and the angelo again, but everyone made it home. the kids did wonderfully until about two hours until home, the babies started to protest. we drove for about 20 minutes with jason mraz turned way up to drown out the sound of baby banshee screams (i checked to make sure nobody was visibly in pain and even dosed out some teething tablets just in case). we stopped for a bit and cuddeled our babies which calmed them down then stuck them back in their seats which pissed them off, but they gave it up very soon after and the rest of our normally-a-nine-hour-ended-up-being-a-twelve-hour trip home went well.

the good:

on st. patty’s day, the angelo, the amanda, all the kids and i tried to hike out to the lighthouse. we hiked for two hours, then had to turn back due to the walking kids about to violently protest going any further. we were very close.

on that same day, olivia started to sign “more”!

that night we ate at the big texan. two years ago, the amanda’s brother, chris, tried to eat the 72oz. steak meal. he, unfortunately, did not finish. the night we went this year, two people tried it. we did not stay to see if they finished as our table was right up front and there was a throng of people standing around the stage watching the contestants. this meant we had a lot of butt right at table level. not cool.

my mom played camp cookie and made wonderful meals for us every night (except the night we ate at the big texan). so while our camping neighbors were downing ham and cheese sandwiches (ok, i don’t know exactly what they were eating), we were feasting on beef guinness. it was awesome.

it was nice to sit around every evening and not be tempted to watch tv, play on the www, mop the floor (not that i’m tempted to do THAT at home) or anything else that distracts from just enjoying the beauty of the world around us.  at night while laying in our beds, we would hear the coyotes howling in the distance or listen as deer wandered around our campsites.

a great time was had by all, and i look forward to doing it again (yes, even with the chance that something even more undesirable could happen to TRY to prevent us from returning).

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Dad on March 22, 2009 at 8:29 am

    It was an adventure, not a disaster. That was one of the best vacations I have ever had. Just being there with everyone and no distractions was great.

  2. Posted by Amanda on March 22, 2009 at 9:21 am

    It was LOTS of fun! And Moira did NOT fall off a cliff =)

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