August 14, 2005
By: L.A. Kohl
(published in the Wed., Aug. 17 edition of the "Bullseye")
Summer time is prime vacation time for many Americans. A time-honored tradition for some of us. My father’s parents took him on a month long vacation the summer before he married and left home. My parents took my brother and me on a vacation to Disney World and the beach the summer before I graduated. And as our eldest is graduating this year, we decided this may be our last summer to take our entire family away on a nice vacation.
In about mid-June, when we decided the business had been doing well enough that we could afford an August vacation, the question posed at the breakfast table was this: “Where could we go for a BIG vacation?”
A fun question to consider, but in a family of nine there are sometimes too many opinions!
Immediately, some of the girls suggested the beach. They have very fond memories of a fall vacation we took several years ago, when we rented a duplex on a beautiful Gulf coast beach for a week. But, a few in our family are the adventurous sort, and longed for something new and different. Besides, some expressed disdain at the thought of going further south in the heat of summer.
The Grand Canyon, a couple of others decided, would be an exciting new place to visit. Ah, but someone quickly pointed out, “I thought you said you didn’t want to go SOUTH?!” Back to the drawing board.
I believe it was yours truly who finally blurted out, “What about Yellowstone?” Hmm, lots of thoughtful looks – a few heads nodding – a quick search for the atlas to see just how far away it was. Oh, cool – Grand Teton National Park was right next door. This was looking more and more like the kind of spot we’d like to go, especially in the heat of a mid-Missouri summer!
Unfortunately, after a couple hours researching, it looked like half the country also thought it would be a neat place to visit in the summer. Every lodge and cabin we found that could accommodate our large family was already booked, or was WAY out of our price range. After several attempts, Nate was now on the phone with a broker type of person who had found ONE last option for us. She said it was perfect – right in Jackson Hole, within walking distance of lots of shopping, and close enough to the Tetons and Yellowstone to make day trips convenient. He was interested, but told her to wait a second, as he was looking at me to give him the go ahead.
I don’t “buck” very often, but this time I had trouble agreeing. One – I don’t like making quick decisions. Two – it was a few hundred dollars more than we thought we could afford. And three – when I think of a vacation to the mountains; “within walking distance of shopping” is not what I’m looking for! I asked him to tell her that we needed a little more time to think about it. Of course she said we really shouldn’t put off our decision because it may no longer be available when we called back. As Nate reluctantly hung up the phone, he looked at me like, “I hope we didn’t just blow our last chance.”
We decided to look at the atlas again, and pick somewhere a bit farther out than Jackson Hole. A quick web search immediately turned up a place two hours south of Yellowstone that had a three bedroom, renovated farm house. Their web site used words like “peaceful… private… secluded… in the mountains” instead of words like “within walking distance of shopping!" We got on the phone and booked all four nights that they had remaining during the first week of August.
“Tune in” next week for – the Kohl family heads West (minus the covered wagon, thankfully!)