We just got back from our week's vacation in the big town of Tyler, Texas. Well, actually, we were about 30 miles north of Tyler in Holly Lake at a great resort. We swam, played putt-putt, fished, hiked and drove a lot. The nearest grocery store was about 15 miles away and the nearest store with adult beverages was a good 45 miles away. I had no idea that so much of East Texas never got over Prohibition.
We also went the entire week without internet access or cell phone service. (OK, that's a lie. Tyler had cell phone service, but we were out in the sticks most of the time where cell towers are few and far between.) Talk about taking a break from society....
But that break gave us oodles of family time and lots of opportunities to learn. For example, we learned:
* Resorts could make a fortune if they would offer child-proofed condos for a small extra fee.
* If your unit smells like cigarette smoke, everything you take into the unit will smell like it, too. Luckily an ozone air filter machine, a bottle of Febreeze spray and a new air conditioning filter work wonders.
* We'd be a family of vegetarians if we had to rely on my archery skills for hunting meat.
* If you're going to look for the cemetery that your grandparents are buried in, you probably need better directions than, "Turn left when the road goes from four lanes to two lanes and you're in a valley between two hills." We eventually found it, but not before we drove within two miles of the Louisiana border in search of it.
* Crayons can melt in the cup holders of a mini-van. Thank you Applebee's for the free crayons.
* Your two year old can get very jealous when he sees his little brother occupying the umbrella stroller that used to be his. ("That's mine!! Move, Evan!")
* The daughter who freaked out about swimming in a lake with fish in it can turn into the world's cutest fisher
* Hanging out with friends from high school can be a total blast. (Hi Frances!)
* East Texas has more Sonics and Dairy Queens than any other kind of restaurant. On a related note, I'm beginning to understand America's obesity epidemic.
* Three children can share a bedroom without killing each other. At least for one week.
* The phenomenon of finding ourselves to be the only Caucasians at public parks is not limited to the greater Houston area. This was confirmed by our friends who spend quite a bit of time at the state parks here in Texas.
* A 95 degree day is downright cool compared to a string of 105 degree days.
* Family vacations are loads of fun, but coming home is fun, too.
Overall, we had a great time. Maybe next year we can check out the resort with the huge indoor water park. It's in East Texas, too, but I feel like we've got the area mastered and we now know that we really can survive without internet access or cell phones. But it's nice to have those back, too. :)