As I packed shorts, swimming suits, and plenty of movies for a long car ride my mind imagined scenes of me basking in the sun while the kids played in the pool. In my visions the ‘percentage read’ indicator on my Kindle increased drastically as I slipped into a state of mental concentration and physical coma. I made plans to have adult conversations with my husband and parents, eat food that came with no preparation and no dishes, and to be asleep by 8:30 right along with the little people. It wasn’t going to matter what we did or where we did it just so long as we were away from home seeing something new.
I should have taken the hint when the mechanic told us he would need to keep our car for an additional 30 minutes, inevitably making us over an hour late getting on the road (I know, the math doesn’t add up to me either). The second indication of possible vacation failure came about 42 minutes after getting on the freeway when K10 decided it was time to show grandma his Old Faithful impression as he gracefully emptied his stomach onto her lap. In all fairness to the little guy it was his loving grandma who had let him play with her Ipad for the 20 minutes preceding the magnificent display of human projectile capabilities. Nonetheless, another unplanned 30 minutes was spent on the side of the interstate in a fruitless effort to make the demonstrator and his accomplice smell a little less repulsive.
Lunch in Las Vegas was not only 2 hours later than planned but the food wasn’t very good and the kids were already way past enjoying the road trip. With no other real option, we pressed on in search of something magnificent to look at. Finally the day provided us all with a much needed site to see. After 5 ½ years of construction the 2,000 foot long Hoover Dam Bridge was complete and ready for the Payne family to observe.
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Back on the road we still had hours before arriving at Lake Havasu City, Az. The kids were done. Before long the car was filled with complaints of ‘she stole my toy’, ‘he kicked me’, ‘she said she doesn’t want to be my friend anymore’, and ‘TURN UP THE MOVIE, I CAN’T HEAR!!’. I’m still unsure as to how many times Grandpa got kicked in the back or hit in the head with an unidentified flying object. It was dark and everyone was hungry and tired, we needed to stop. Unfortunately my children refuse to eat fast food so we have very few options for eating on the go. Subway is one place they can typically get a few bites in so we stopped at the next sandwich shop we could find. Of course it happened to be of the variety that is in the back of a dirty gas station with a total of 5 small tables and a line of people out the front door. Unwilling to strap the kids in the car again to look for someplace different to eat (another big mistake on my part) we patiently waited in line next to a five foot tall, fifteen foot long glass display case packed to overflowing with SHOT GLASSES!!! Talk about a one-year-old dream come true! Judging from the way my day had gone, I was sure there was going to be broken glass somewhere in my near future.
Finally Logan took the kids away from the temptations of a gas station while I ordered the food. By the time we made it to the table built for two C7 was having a nervous breakdown (I’m still not sure what it was even about) so I patiently took him outside to finish his tantrum on the sidewalk. After a few minutes of watching his fit get continually worse I finally lost my temper. I won’t confess to the world (or the 3 of you reading) what happened next but I will mention that by the time I found my own head I looked up to notice an entire tour bus of Asians parked right in front of me watching the whole thing. I suppose I should have sold tickets as I can guarantee more than one of those present will go home to tell their friends and family that they saw a crazy American lady fighting with a 4 year old.
Hours after our originally scheduled arrival time we finally saw the sign of the Hampton Inn in Lake Havasu City. Unfortunately I lost my cool again with J5 when she decided to wrap herself up in the sheets like a burrito, making it impossible for C7 to sleep. I broke a nail unwinding her from the covers. It was time for bed.
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The next morning was Thanksgiving Day. We didn’t expect there to be much to do by way of entertainment but we had hoped there would be something to see. I was excited to visit the London Bridge as I recently read a bit about it in Bill Bryson’s book, Shakespeare. Soon the bridge had been viewed and there wasn’t another thing to look at in the entire city of Lake Havasu. We found a park that was too cold to play at and soon went back to the motel for a nap. After a movie and a bit of swimming I was glad to see another day fade away.
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Friday wasn’t so bad. The weather was much nicer and we found a great beach for the kids to play on. I even had a 20 minute nap in the warm sun, much like my fantasy, AND we found a great place to order food for a picnic. At nap time Grandma and Grandpa slept with K10 in the room while I laid by the pool and watched Logan play with the kids. This was more what I had in mind for a relaxing vacation.
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The trek home avoided the 40 mile detour to see the Hoover Dam and we made it back to St. George just in time for a family party. In summary our travels to Lake Havasu were horrible on the way there and very pleasant on the way home. For those who are looking for a nice warm road trip, may I suggest driving an extra hour or so and going to Scottsdale or Phoenix, and avoid Lake Havasu, unless you plan on spending all of your time on the lake (which isn’t a great plan for November). Havasu has NO shopping, No historical attractions to speak of, and almost NOTHING to keep a young child interested. I will not go so far as to say I regret going, I am always grateful for the opportunity to see new places but this wasn’t the best choice for our family. I will never again wonder what makes people drink alcohol and take off their clothes while in Havasu, what else is there?
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