Friday, August 1, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

A dose of Dan: Summer road trip, Clark Griswold-style

By
From page A4 | July 15, 2013 |

Most fathers will admit to having a little Clark Griswold in them.

Important Subscriber Update

We will be switching to a new online subscription service on Tuesday, August 5th. If you are already a subscriber with login access to MtDemocrat.com you will need to re-register under the new service. This will not affect your bill. Please take the time today to click "Subscriber Verification" to verify your subscription with us and continue your access to MtDemocrat.com before the new service takes over.

We apologize for the temporary inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your patience and continued support while we make this transition.

- Mountain Democrat

1-Month Access
Subscriber Verification
Help?

Clark Griswold is the goofy yet doting father portrayed by Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Vacation movies. Griswold always planned vacations with the right intentions for his family to enjoy memorable experiences, but of course, life keeps getting in the way of Griswold’s plans.

We relate to the films because all of us who have planned vacations generally share the same emotions, the excitement and the disappointments, on the getaway. And who can resist that catchy Holiday Road song from the films — I’m humming it right now. I had no idea the song comes from Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac fame.

Indeed, we plan vacations with the expectation that events will unfold exactly like we envision. We sense in the back of our mind that may not be the case, but we can all be in denial as we map out the trip and begin picturing the sweet memories before they even happen.

Each summer we try to plan a road trip where we head somewhere to not only experience the destination, but also enjoy spending family time together and ideally unplugging from the digital world for a few days. For the second consecutive year, we chose my parents’ cabin in Idaho’s Sawtooth National Forest as our destination earlier this month.

The trip had its share of anticipated highs including relaxing with the family, reading by the river and plenty of fly fishing. But like a Vacation movie (a rather tame, G-rated version at that), the trip also had its share of unanticipated challenging moments that we didn’t see coming. Interestingly enough, all of the moments involved members of the animal kingdom for some reason, and we didn’t even bring a pet.

Our first incident occurred at a stopover in Virginia City, Nev., on the way east. We wanted our sons to soak up some Old West culture in a place they had not visited before. We pulled into town on a Sunday afternoon, and Main Street was packed with few parking options.

I eventually spotted on open space on the street that I figured I could parallel park my truck into, keeping in mind I had a bike rack on the back with three bikes. I also noticed over my shoulder what I assumed to be a life-sized display of a donkey set up by the car adjacent to the open parking spot since the donkey was not moving an inch and didn’t look real at first glance.

As I backed carefully into the spot, I heard a roar from the people standing on the wooden sidewalk next to us. Turns out the donkey was alive and belonged to the old timer who poses for pictures in town. Apparently my bike rack got close enough to the donkey to cause the uproar, and I drove off to pursue another parking spot with my sons chastising me on the way. “Dad, can’t believe you almost hit a donkey, c’mon.”

The other two unanticipated challenging moments involved the lovely horsefly. Excessively warm weather sparked a bumper horsefly crop in the Sawtooths, and they pestered us frequently. One afternoon while I relaxed reading, my 10-year-old son got the idea to kill a horsefly while it rested on my hat. On my head. The lad swung his hand, smacked me square in the head and actually killed the fly. Of course, my head rang for several minutes afterward and I questioned his judgment, but Mr. Miyagi would have applauded his stealthy quickness.

The horsefly kingdom earned its revenge on us the next day. On a mountain biking trip, a horsefly bit me in the chin while we headed down a steep hill. I had both hands firmly gripping the brakes. When the fly bit me on the right side of my chin, I instinctually raised up my right hand to swat it. But taking my hand off the right brake and fully breaking with my left hand caused the bike to flip over with me going head over heels.

Yet as we discussed trip highlights on the way home, we kept laughing about the mishaps. While they are generally annoying when they occur, sometimes it is the mishaps in an adventure that provide the impromptu special moments or the comic relief. Even if they involve donkeys and horseflies, surprises can create the clearest memories.

Dan Francisco is an El Dorado Hills-based public relations consultant to the high-tech industry. 

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    News

    Cameron Park house burns

    By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Supes delay petition

    By Chris Daley | From Page: A1

    Fire generated small city, inspired volunteers

    By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Sand Fire 95% contained

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

     
    Two fires in town

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A3

    .

    Opinion

    Missing the point

    By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

     
    The weekly Daley: The wrong side of history

    By Chris Daley | From Page: A4

    Billingsley’s bullets: Advice from my psychiatrist

    By Bob Billingsley | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Letters

    Second Amendment

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

     
    Pollock Pines’ Fourth of July Parade

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

    Water conservation

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

     
    Koby

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

    Debt reduction at EID with Coco?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

     
    Time for change in CP

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

    Olives need less water

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

     
    EID rate discrimination

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

    .

    Sports

    Camp draws good numbers

    By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A9Comments are off for this post | Gallery

     
    New law tackles gridiron concussion problem

    By Mike Bush | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Outside with Charlie: Rafting denied

    By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A9

     
    Racing returns with big 5-division card

    By Bill Sullivan | From Page: A9

    Roundup: July 31, 2014

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Prospecting

    Sing while you paint

    By Placerville Arts Association | From Page: B1Comments are off for this post | Gallery

     
    Plenty of golden fun during SlugFest

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Things to do: Aug. 1, 2014

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2

     
    The making of a champion

    By Special to the Democrat | From Page: B2

    Art on the Divide is showing new exhibitor

    By Art On The Divide | From Page: B3

     
    ‘The Flu Season’ stirs emotions

    By Ovation Stage | From Page: B4

    Guitar group performs in Sutter Creek

    By Sutter Creek | From Page: B5

     
    Time to register for classes at Center Stage

    By Center Stage Dance Academy | From Page: B5

    Get a groove on in Sutter Creek

    By Sutter Creek | From Page: B8

     
    Chris Young in concert at Carson Valley Inn

    By Carson Valley Inn | From Page: B8

    The music continues at Bear Valley Music Festival

    By News Release | From Page: B8

     
    Sacramento Museums are celebrating

    By Sacramento Association Of Museums | From Page: B9

     
    .

    Essentials

    Weather stats

    By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

     
    Crime Log: July 17-19

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

    .

    Obituaries

    Mark A. Smith

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

     
    Jeffie “Jeff” Lee Callahan

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

    Patsy Ruth Wing

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

     
    Lisa Oliver Rose

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

    Larry A. Randall

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

     
    .

    Real Estate

    Decorating your home by the numbers

    By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS4

     
    Avoiding the deal killers

    By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

    Hilltop home views outrank water-front views

    Press Release | From Page: HS7

     
    Luxury home sales jump

    Press Release | From Page: HS11

     
    Pending home sales decrease in June

    Press Release | From Page: HS13

     
    Sheryl Lindroos joins American Heritage

    Press Release | From Page: HS17

    Sunny Rosabella exudes a warm ambiance

    Press Release | From Page: HS23

     
    .

    Comics

    .

    Home Source

    Decorating your home by the numbers

    By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS4

    Avoiding the deal killers

    By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

    Hilltop home views outrank water-front views

    Press Release | From Page: HS7

    Luxury home sales jump

    Press Release | From Page: HS11

    Pending home sales decrease in June

    Press Release | From Page: HS13

    Sheryl Lindroos joins American Heritage

    Press Release | From Page: HS17

    Sunny Rosabella exudes a warm ambiance

    Press Release | From Page: HS23