Wednesday, July 23, 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.

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

.

News

Six file for Dist. 2

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

 
District 2 candidates forum Aug. 14

By News Release | From Page: B1

EID ditch customers get relief

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A1

 
Veterans receive wildland fire training

By News Release | From Page: B1

Market data open for local biz

By Ross Branch | From Page: B1

 
Heard over the back fence: Attorney to warn about scams

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

 
Road zone of benefit protester reaches dead end

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Volunteers clean up national forest

By News Release | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

My turn: Special interests at EID

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A4

 
Russian metastasis

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

The Democratic-Chronicles: Not invented here

By Gene Altshuler | From Page: A4

 
.

Letters

DA hogging Main St. parking

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
CAO and staff hiring friends

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Altshuler’s hypocrisy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Small Farm compromise

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

EID and Dale Coco

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
.

Sports

Roundup: July 22, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

 
Dolphins ring up another title

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Sharks defeat Loomis Basin in season finale

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Celebrity golf at Tahoe

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Dodgeball: Not the national pastime but …

By Shane Theodore | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
.

Prospecting

At a glance: Comets to meteors

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2

 
Taste the best at the State Fair

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Tractor Supply Store recognized

By Uc Cooperative | From Page: B3

 
Amador Fair honors cowboys

By Amador County Fair | From Page: B3

 
Arbor Day book helps to identify trees

By Arbor Day | From Page: B4

Learn about lavender and its many benefits

By Christian Women's Connection | From Page: B4

 
Lee’s Feed appreciates customers

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B5

 
My Time meeting in August

By Senior Day | From Page: B5

Builders’ Exchange honors scholars

By El Dorado Builders' Exchange | From Page: B5

 
En garde at Silver Screen Classic

By Auburn Silver Screen | From Page: B5

.

Essentials

Weather stats 7-22-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

 
Crime Log: July 8-10

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

.

Obituaries

Walter Vali

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Jean Lachelle Taylor

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Arthur J. Funston

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
.

Real Estate

.

Comics

Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Flying McCoys

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Horoscope, Thursday, July 24, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Wednesday, July 23, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A8

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A8