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The Summer Archives

Camping trips, trail hikes, family reunions, amusement parks, the list goes on... we've planned it with our parents at one point, but for me only a few memorable summer vacation trips were worth mentioning, so today I'd like to talk about a few of the summer misadventures my family had during my youth.

1994 was my introduction to Busch Gardens Williamsburg, a theme park in Virginia with different locations based on Germany, Italy and Ireland. Amusement rides, roller coasters and classic arcade games like water shooting targets were the main focus and they even had their own restaurants, though my parents thought ahead and decided to bring our own lunches straight from home in a cooler inside our car's trunk. Making it into the park though took a good half hour, first for paying the parking toll, then finding a space to park in, and finally making it through the gates after paying for the season passes.

With it being such a hot day we started off with the Roman Rapids ride, taking us down a path as each bump downstream got us all a little wet from a splash. From there we explored the amusement rides, live shows and even some shows they had with live animals, including Jack Hanna's Wild Reserve, where the hosts would have animals perform a handful of tricks, even going so far to have a lucky person in the audience catch a bird. One last trip had us going to the playground area, mostly for me to join in of course.

As you can see it was dragon themed, complete with a climbing area, a small house to walk into, and that was it. By the time I was done exploring it was getting late and we had to wrap things up and find our car in the parking lot as it got dark. We weren't up for much of a conversation on the way back home, but reflecting on my school year was interesting to hear about.

The next year after led to a few visits to Northwest River Park, which happened to be an area that my stepdad used to go to before he met my mom and it was in Chesapeake, Virginia. You could take a canoe or a motorboat downriver for about six bucks an hour, go on a walking trail or chill by the park bench area and play some outside activities and we seemed to do all three depending on the time we had for each visit. Taking our dogs was a difficult task on the other hand as they didn't get along well with other dogs that were in the park.

Before this year of summer was over however my parents scheduled a trip to Ohio to visit my mom's side of the family and had a trusty neighbor watch our pets while we were away. The trip there took a couple of days, but it was worth it upon seeing some family members whom I never met or was too young to remember seeing.

Probably the strangest memory I had while visiting was eating a cereal I'd never had before, King Vitaman. This was never sold at any of the grocery stores in my area and I remember really liking the flavor.

We spent roughly a week in Ohio and spent nights at my aunt Shelby's place which was out in the countryside, and I got to see my uncle Greg there as well who was a bit of an alcoholic at the time. My aunt didn't have anything for us to sleep on and insisted that trying to sleep on the couch would feel uncomfortable for a while so we brought our own sleeping bags.

Before leaving back to our home we visited my grandma and had breakfast there having pancakes and oatmeal cookies as she was going on about working at a printing factory. Since we left early for the trip we managed to make it home on the same night, and my stepdad must've been a trooper for staying up for so many hours without the trip droning him out.

By 1996 my sister was long gone and moved away and my stepdad dragged me along with just him on a camping vacation at the start of summer. I was envious about my older brother and mom getting to stay home since I was still at that age where video games and tv were my life, but I slowly persevered and would bunker down with interacting with nature, even if it meant the camp grills looked unsanitary.

I can still hear the flies swarming around the dried out food left on the grill and see the cigarette butts people were leaving in them.

I guess you could say this last memorable summer ended with more of a poof than a bang with my siblings slowly leaving me behind, but as the saying goes good memories don't last forever.

What memories do you have of spending summer vacations? leave a comment and as always, see you next article!
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Benjanime Posted on Jun 19, 2019 at 03:09 AM

thanks for the comments, guys! always a pleasure to put an article together.

Vaporman87 Posted on Jun 19, 2019 at 01:47 AM

Great memories here Ben. I enjoyed reading them. Thanks for this.

Benjanime Posted on Jun 19, 2019 at 12:48 AM

hey guys, just thought i'd mention that this article was originally planned to be a bit longer, but with the limitation on length i had to narrow it down a chunk. it was nothing special though, i was just going to add some funny moments from these trips. so likely in the future if i have more lengthy stories like this to tell i'll start putting them in seperate parts.

Mr Magic Posted on Jun 19, 2019 at 12:45 AM

Never heard of King Vitaman until I read this.

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