Murphy is Alive in Arizona

Vacation Misadventures (Vacations Gone Wrong)

I almost wish this had not been asked; I’ve been trying to be more positive!
I haven’t taken all that many actual vacations in my life. Not any real get-aways with family, and or even alone. I wish we had; I wish that I had. I have taken a great many day-trips which were wonderful, mini-vacations throughout my life which have left me with a great number of warm-and-fuzzy memories.

But let me tell you about the first vacation my husband and I planned as a family.

We were living around Denver, Colorado and planned to visit my aunt and uncle, with whom I had been close all of my life. They had moved from the Washington, DC area to a retirement community north of Phoenix, Arizona shortly after our immediate family moved to the West. It was 1986 and we were both anxious to see Haley’s Comet. We figured we’d have a nice visit with my relatives, (who found themselves quite lonely in AZ), and have a nice clear shot at the comet in the dark, desert sky.

Unfortunately, the one week that we could visit was the one week that Haley’s could not be viewed, either coming or going.

We met up with the friends I had known from DC, (the ones who had convinced my aunt to move to Arizona), and they offered to show us around. We hopped in their van with my uncle, the women’s dogs and our two very little sons.

The friends wanted to show us everything, everything except what we wanted to see. We stopped at one Indian center where my husband, then a social studies teacher, wanted to explore and to watch a video presentation, but the women nagged to get us back into the van to see ‘more’.

I had been a huge fan of the TV westerns, especially the ones from the 1970s. More than anything, I wanted to see Old Tucson. I wanted to see the saloon, walk the plank sidewalks, experience the stores that I enjoyed watching the TV characters visit. Nope. We could not do that. We had to get on the road to yet another stop which they wanted to show us.

Just after we passed the sign to Old Tucson and I made one more futile request, the van came to a halt on a highway because of a vehicle accident ahead of us. I could see Old Tucson from the high vantage point on the bridge on which we were stopped to a dead halt for two hours. Needless to say, I wasn’t happy.

With us we had a camera that one brother-in-law had sent, one he said was an extra that he had enjoyed. He’d given it to my husband with complicated instruction. We stupidly took that one instead of my trusty Kodak. We blew a lot of nice photos.
On the way back, the 9 month old got carsick on me; carsick on me.

My aunt agreed to watch him the next day while we took off with my uncle. We went to see a number of places that we had hoped to see, including Sedona, which I had visited a few years before with my aunt and the friends. Unfortunately, we were heading north, not south toward Tucson.

The car overheated. We stopped in Cottonwood, a beautiful and also familiar area, (familiar from TV). While my husband and uncle saw to the car and enjoyed themselves looking around.( with the powerful binoculars my husband had planned to use to see the comet), I took my 2 year old shopping. I bought gifts for family and I still have a cloisonné bracelet I indulged in for myself. We didn’t get as far as we would have liked, since we started later and we lost daylight waiting for the car.

The next day we set out, (again without the baby), and the car really broke down in Sedona. Sedona is a fantastic place and back then, it had not been built up and had yet to be taken over  by those seeking the peace of the place, (which is not now as easily found).

Once again, I left the men and said, “C’mon, Anthony; we’re going shopping”. I shocked my husband with the amount I spent. (To most people it wouldn’t be a great deal of money. We had a low income, but we lived in our means. I figured on splurge wouldn’t kill us.It didn’t, and my husband didn’t kill me.)

I have those items, plus I got the ones I bought for my aunt and uncle, now that they are no longer with us.

My aunt’s friends had to drive up and rescue us. AAA towed the car the next day, when we got on a plane for Denver and planned a return trip for the following year.

[I won’t even tell you how bad that trip went!]

I did get some more fun shopping because of the trips there, though. Once back in Denver, I bought gifts for the friends who took us around and rescued us, and I replaced a tablecloth for my aunt which the two-year old had stained. (Which apparently was an insult to her: “We don’t do that! We’re family! I should send it back to you!”)

With some people, you just can’t win.

I’d like to forget that trip altogether.


About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
This entry was posted in big plans, experiences, Family, Friendship, Life, memories, Miscellaneous, Tonette Joyce, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Murphy is Alive in Arizona

  1. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I’m sorry my topic brought back bad memories! You’ve had more than your share of problems. Car breakdowns can put a real crimp into plans.


  2. Jeff Salter says:

    I’ve been on trips with other folks, where they were directing all the itinerary. It’s a struggle to be a mere passenger on someone else’s trip and seemingly not have a voice in where and what and how long. Not my cup of tea at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Elaine Cantrell says:

    I hate that you missed Tucson. It’s a great place to visit.


    • So much of Arizona is phenomenal that I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t be,(my last guest has chosen to live there), but to see the places in the shows would have been all the more so.


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