Aranda Family Vacation

In the early 1970’s (not THAT long ago), my parents packed the car and loaded my brother and I for a family road trip.  We paved the roads from Texas to New Mexico to Arizona and back.  We visited the Hoover Dam, we took photos with Fred Flinstone (at the Bedrock campground), we braved the Grand Canyon and made our way to Circus Circus in Las Vegas.

Here we are, almost 40 years later… I am the oldest of four (and yes, the shortest)  😉

In this photo, I’m standing with my parents and two of my three “baby” brothers.

It was our turn to load up our vehicles for a Family Road Trip.  It was special to see how our family has grown over the years.  A sister-in-law, three nieces, two nephews (who couldn’t join us), and significant others.  Not everyone could make this journey, but they were with us in spirit!

Our final destination… MCRD (Marine Corps Recruit Depot) in San Diego, California to visit my baby brother #3.  Brother #3, Diamond Justin, was graduating from Marine Corps Boot Camp… this was a trip we would NOT miss!

The road trip from Texas to California wasn’t really planned out.  The only thing “planned” was our arrival in San Diego.  We wanted to check-in by Wednesday and prepare for graduation on Friday.  No plans… no itinerary.  All we had was a GPS!

We left on a Sunday night and on our way to California, we decided to detour through the Grand Canyon.  In route to the Canyon, I caught a quick glimpse of Fred Flinstone waving at me!  I kicked my heels through the floor board and stopped in my tracks… I made a U-turn (probably illegally) and drove straight into the campground.  WOW!  What a flashback!

I stood still… I was in awe… I pictured myself holding my kid brother’s hand.  I couldn’t keep my jaw off the ground.  My parents had taken us to this very spot over 30 years ago.  They photographed us with Fred, Dino and the gang.  We still have those photos somewhere… we’ll have to compare pictures!

We hit the road again and made our way to the Grand Canyon State Park.  We bunked for the night and waited anxiously for the crack of dawn!  While the sun peeked over the walls of the canyon, we flashed our cameras like paparazzi photographing every moment!

The Canyon was a magnificent sight!  I realize it’s so cliche to ask “with something so large, how does God remember me?”  But it’s exactly what I was thinking!  There is so much beyond our scope of understanding.  There is so much to be thankful for.

Agent ValI am thankful for my family.  I am thankful for my health.  I am thankful for the world around me.

After our chilly 28 degree morning at the Canyon, we hit the road again.  Next stop… San Diego?  NOPE… we broke away from the map, again!  Dad and I (with just hand gestures and facial expressions), signaled for another detour.  Next stop… LAS VEGAS!

“SURPRISE!  We’re in Vegas!”  We checked into the Excalibur Hotel & Casino.  I walked the Casino floors with amazement.  I was mesmerized with the sounds of slots and the smell of money… it was spectacular… it was overwhelming!  Of course the “smell of money” was my dollar getting swallowed by the machines!  🙂

All-in-all, this trip was just what I needed.  I spend so many days working and concentrating on other families (clients) that I tend to unplug from my own.  During this trip, I fell in love with my family all over again… I reconnected.  I didn’t realize how unplugged I was until I plugged myself back in.  Thank goodness for LONG extension cords!  😀

My greatest memory during this road trip is how we ended up on the same route we drove back in the 70’s.  We re-visited the Hoover Dam, we high-fived Fred Flinstone, we stood on the Grand Canyon and we walked the streets of Las Vegas!  This venture was “accidental,” but not.  It was unintentional, but perfect!  I don’t think we could have planned it any better.

— OUR FINAL DESTINATION —

We arrived in San Diego just in time for “Family Day” with our new Marine!  I’d like to introduce to you… PVT. D. J. Aranda, USMC.

My dearest brother Diamond, the world awaits you.  You have such a journey ahead of you.  Thank you for your sacrifice… we are so proud of you!  Semper Fi!  ~Your Sis~

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