Ah, despite this God-awful heat it's good to be home.
I mean, home is where all my stuff is and where my people are always close by. But it is nice to get away every once in a while.
By now most of you know my family and I went on our semi-sorta, yearly Colorado vacation.
Most people (including my kids when they were growing up) would think my idea of packing up and going to the same destination year after year would be the most boring idea there ever was.
Maybe I'm just a boring guy.
It all started pretty much by accident the first time my wife and I hauled our little popup camper and three kids out to Colorado.
We got a late start leaving Topeka and didn't get to Colorado Springs till somewhere around midnight.
I was tired, the kids were fighting, and my lovely wife was bitching about something or another so I pulled into the very first campground (still inside Colorado Springs city limits) we came to, played my "man card" and boldly announced this was where we were going to spend the night, now shut up.
Those of you who know that lovely wife of mine already know how far playing my "man card" got me.
She looked around and said something like, "you're crazy if you think the kids and I are going to spend a single night here, it looks like a damned ghetto!"
We pulled back out onto the road and headed west toward Woodland Park, and there it was.
A few miles west of Manitou Springs, on the south side of the road, we saw a sign that led us to what was to become our family vacation destination for the next 20 years, Lone Duck Campground.
We pulled in and I wasn't surprised to find the office already closed but what did surprise me was the sign on the door saying something like, "go ahead and pick an open spot and come see us in the morning."
I knew right then that the owners of the place were probably good people.
And meeting them the next morning confirmed it.
Much like my own family they were young and had little kids.
Among the things we hauled out there were bicycles and skate boards.
Scattered around the office were bicycles and a little kid's wagon.
After a few years we ditched the popup and got a bigger travel trailer.
The kids who by now were teenagers decided they needed their own tent site.
As they grew older their toys got bigger and eventually we'd have a caravan with my wife, youngest son, and I hauling the camper, my oldest son with a trailer hauling his jeep, his best friend, Fred with a trailer hauling a couple dirt bikes and 4 wheelers, and my daughter and her husband hauling themselves and my first grandson.
Over the years we had multiple vehicle breakdowns along the way that at the time seemed like game changers. But looking back we all just laugh about it.
It'd take all day to tell you about the adventures we had back in those early days so I'll just describe them in one, simple word.
Things were easier back then, too.
For the most part the only thing we had to consider when scheduling the whole thing was when school started.
Now that they're all grown, married, and have their own kids and lives to take care of it's a lot harder to make it happen.
But we keep trying.
Since they now have trailer and cabins for rent we no longer haul the camper out there which is fine with me.
It's funny, once you get older, you finally realize you're not going to live forever, so for me this a way to give them all something they'll remember the rest of their lives.
Whether it's fishing in the pond, playing pin ball at the arcade, swimming in the pool, stumbling out of bed at 6:00 in the morning for breakfast, or sitting around the campfire rehashing the adventures of the day, they'll all remember at least bits and pieces of it.
To me, that's what it's all about.
Go ahead and ask any of my kids or grand kids where we went on vacation.
Obviously, we went to Colorado but they're all going to tell you, "we went to Lone Duck."
And Steve and Lisa, if you're reading this, thank you so much for being a part of it...