My Best vacation

December 18, 2008
By Noah Timko, Columbia, MO

The best vacation of my life so far was when I traveled west from Missouri to many points of interest. My family does not take many vacations for a number of reasons. Both my Mom and Dad have jobs, we have pets, and there are always a lot of things to do at our house and in the neighborhood. House and yard maintenance keep us very busy all year round. My brothers and I help some of our neighbors by mowing their yards and doing other small jobs for them. Personally, I enjoy traveling but I just have not had much of a chance to do so. I left Missouri three years ago during my summer break and traveled with my Mom, two brothers, two cousins, and an Aunt. This trip was the most interesting vacation so far in my life.
After traveling for most of a day in my Aunt’s van, our first stop was in Hayes, Kansas. We stayed in Hayes at our Aunt and Uncle’s house. On the first day we spent time with our Uncle and he treated us to ice cream at Dairy Queen. On the second day in Hayes, we celebrated my brothers thirteenth birthday by eating an ice cream cake. I think he really enjoyed the cake but would rather have had his birthday party at our home in Columbia. Luckily, he was able to speak with my Dad who told him “happy birthday and I miss you all” over the telephone. After three days in Hayes we were back on the road again heading west.
On this second leg of our trip we passed through the following states: Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. What I remember most about Colorado is approaching and driving through the scenic Rocky Mountains. This was the first time I ever saw mountains and, quite simply, they blew me away! Beyond the Rockies our next goal was to get through Utah. There were many salt flats to either side of the road as we got closer to Salt Lake City and it was really hot. The Great Salt Lake seemed to go on forever in the distance. We kept driving. After Utah we entered Nevada which must be one of the hottest places on Earth in the middle of the summer. We saw a lot of signs indicating that there were no gas stations for many miles ahead. This is a state where a driver definitely has to pay attention to his or her gas gauge.

What I remember about entering Oregon is that the roads changed. Unlike Nevada, where the roads tended to be long and straight for many miles, Oregon roads seemed to find the only possible path through the hills, valleys, and mountain ranges. In some of the areas the elevation was high enough for hang gliding. We had to find our cousins farm in Medford. This took us a fairly long time because we got lost looking for it. When we arrived at the farm, we were very tired and went to sleep. The following day, we woke up at five o’clock in the morning and helped our Uncle with feeding chores for their chickens and cows. On the third day, we went to Crater Lake to take pictures and buy some souvenirs. That same day we went to hike up Table Rock which is a mountain with a flat top. It was great to spend time with our cousins and help out on the farm. I really think my brothers and I surprised our Uncle with our willingness to jump in and help (even before sun up) with the farm work.
After all the sightseeing and helping out in Oregon, we packed up all our belongings and traveled to San Francisco to visit another Uncle. Again, we spent a long time on the road. When we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and entered San Francisco, it took us a long time to find his apartment because of all the rush hour traffic. At the apartment, we talked and rested until we went to sleep. The next day we went to a couple of museums and then to an amusement park where we did some paddle boating and rode in something that was a cross between a go-cart and a bicycle. Next, we went to the beach. There was a storm coming and the waves were rough but we were still able to build huge sand castles with high walls that lasted until the tide came in and washed them away. On our second day in the city, we visited a few more museums and also took pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge. The last thing we did in San Francisco was to go see and take pictures of Alcatraz as well as other historic sites in the down town area.
Finally, we headed home but we had to stop a few more times on our return trip. Our first stop was Las Vegas where it was very hot at one hundred and ten degrees. We stayed overnight with some of our friends. On the following day, we went to an inside amusement park where we had a lot of fun playing. Later that evening we went to eat at Olive Garden. The next day we left Las Vegas and traveled to Arizona where we visited the south rim of the Grand Canyon. We took plenty of pictures and then went on a guided tour of the area. After leaving Arizona, we drove through Colorado and pushed on Kansas where we again stayed with our relatives In Hayes for two days.
Missouri never looked so good after taking that long road trip. When I got home I ate a delicious supper that my Dad prepared for us and I sure felt comfortable being back in my own house. That night I went to sleep in my own bed for the first time in a very long time. The next day it was great to wake up, look around, and see things that were familiar to me again. Overall, I had seen and experienced enough of the Western United States for awhile and was glad to be in our peaceful home.

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