A Jiffy Vacation from “Hell”

He was trembling. The wolves howled as they picked up his scent just outside of the borrowed RV where we sat. Cubby Joe, our family dog, was petrified and didn’t find solace in my calming voice. Even the kids were concerned that the wolves would soon break into the rickety camper.

I suppose it was my fault, since I planned the week long vacation. And, I suppose looking up in advance of our departure that the attractions and theme parks opened the week following our vacation might have improved things a bit. But, I did have a plan that should have been filled with fun and adventure.

The first order of business after arriving was to build a big campfire and cook dinner, which didn’t go so well. However, I had an ace up my sleeve in planning a great time of sharing stories around the campfire, as we made Jiffy pop.

The campfire ring was under a gnarly looking tree and my story started off a little too scary sounding for the kids. I was trying to share a mystery with a funny ending, but it sounded more and more like a horror story to their little ears. And, right when I got to a creepy moment…


The Jiffy pop exploded, tossing hot, burnt kernels onto everyone. The shrieks and screams quickly turned to angry pouts. Story time was over and everyone wanted an early bedtime. And, to think it was only the first night.

It was one of our most adventurous vacations. We deemed it the “vacation from hell.” We toured New Salem in the drenching rain and prayed for the ability to overcome pneumonia. The temperature dropped significantly during the night the heater broke. The next night, we got to the hotel with seconds to spare before the tornado hit.

In the morning we found the dog cowering in the RV with the deafening CO2 detector blaring to notify us of poisonous gas. The kids demanded that we cut the vacation short, so we headed onto the highway. Once we got in the middle of nowhere, the transmission fell out of the RV.

Thankfully an auto hobbyist came by and offered to help us. Even though the auto parts store was closed on Sunday, he knew the owner and drove over to his house to get the keys. Within a few hours we were headed home again.

Speaking of home, when we pulled into the driveway the kids and I hopped out of the RV, kneeled down, and kissed the ground – Thankful we made it back.

While I wouldn’t recommend anyone starting their vacation off in the wrong direction with Jiffy pop, I do suggest that no matter how good or bad the adventure, our family bonded during the simple times when we were together waiting out the storms or quietly waiting for the wolves to retreat.

While most people prefer luxury hotels, our partial vacation gave the kids weeks worth of material for various conversations at school, church and social events. The funny thing was the unexpected bonding we had, as we teamed together and fought for our survival. One day I might edit the video footage and put it on this site.

In the meantime, I suggest you make plans for your next family adventure instead of waiting for me to cut our vacation clips from several years back. The kids are much older now and I’m confident our next family vacation together will include a five star resort and a lot of pampering.

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