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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Wayland

Cause for a Vacation

“It makes me so, so, so, so happy to see these young kids out here with their families, having fun and being together.”

Julie works for a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in southern Illinois and sees kids from age 9 years old come through rehab.

She says “this is what keeps kids out of trouble, spending time together with their family, doing activities together.”

I have to say, I was worried about detaching my kids from the internet for a three-day weekend. I dreaded the thought of listening to them complain.

Believe it or not, riding ATV quads throughout the densely wooded hills of southern Illinois in 93 degree heat was a welcomed education for all. There were times that we felt like crying, times that we couldn’t stop laughing, and there were times that we felt like rejoicing and celebrating our accomplishments. There were times that we all pooled together to push a quad out of the mud, or off of a rock.

We tore some clothing. We soothed a lot of skinned knees and elbows. We have a lot of stories to tell; great memories!

Julie’s comments reminded me of a mother-daughter duo I met a few years back. I was vacationing with friends at an all-inclusive guest ranch in Wyoming. The mother shared with us that she had been bringing her daughter to the ranch for a few years in a row. Her intention was to bring her high school age daughter to the remote foothills of the Big Horn mountains to remind her that there is more to life than the drama and pressures surrounding her at home.

The snow capped mountains, green mountain sides, and blankets of purple flowers were the back drop in late May.

We enjoyed deluxe cabin accommodations with large wrap around decks and Adirondack chairs. Horseback riding, sunrise hikes to watch the sun cast a red hue across the mountain, and three gourmet meals a day, were the main attractions.

The ranch was complete with a general store, a chapel, a pool, a game room, a ranch dog, and a saloon where we all gathered for nightly entertainment and to share our tales of the day.

My fondest memories were being taught to fly fish by the ranch owners patient 16 year old son, the breathtaking natural wonder of the land, and team penning with my horse “Chester.” “Go Chester!” “Whoa Chester!”

Oh, and the stars in the sky. You’ve heard of a Montana sky, right? Look up!

Ironically, we met the “Perfect” family there. They own the Perfect North Slopes ski resort in Indiana, another great family vacation spot. The Perfect family had rented a motor home RV and were staying a few days here and there, on their tour of the National Parks out west. Perhaps they were on a quest to live up to their name.

4-wheeler riding vacation

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