Christmas Travel – Tales and Adventures

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Billy the Kid

Christmas travel is a fun and time-honored tradition for many American families. It’s probably even more prevalent than Thanksgiving travel.

I know many of my friends consider Christmas the bigger and far more important of the two holidays. It’s the mother of all holidays…the biggest holiday of the year.

So you need equally big travel adventures right?

You probably have your traditional family Christmas travel plans all laid out and set which you’ve been doing for years.

I’d like to hear about them as well as any special adventures which happened and were out of the ordinary.

First, I’ll tell you about one of my own out of the ordinary Christmas travel events.

I was about eight years old and had always loved the cold weather but had yet to leave the state of Texas. So obviously I had seen only heat… extreme heat.

Up to that point in my sheltered and uneventful life I remembered one freeze where the roads were totally iced over and we were running low on food. So me and my dad walked about 3.3 miles to the nearest HEB grocery store.

Obviously that kind of travel is not very exciting. So I was definitely anticipating and greatly looking forward to our family trip to spend Christmas with my uncle and his family in Minnesota.

My uncle is a super genius rocket scientist kind of guy with full Ph.D. and all the trimmings. He was working for 3M there in Minneapolis and still works for them here today in the city of Georgetown Texas.

Unfortunately, my family decided it would be a good idea to drive to Minnesota.

“We’ll just rent a 15 passenger van and ‘enjoy’ a good drive up there” said my other uncle.

Other than the tediousness and boredom which set in after the first hour on the road, the drive up to Minnesota was uneventful.

We only had a few quintessential “are we there yet, are we there yet” Bart Simpson moments. And fortunately for all involved they came from different parties so we didn’t have the same annoying voice sounding like a broken record grating on everyone’s nerves in the small enclosed space we were in for the 20 something hour drive.

Once we got up there the fun in the winter Wonderland began. I realize now most people don’t consider Minnesota a very wonderland place but to an eight-year-old who had never seen snow it was magical.

The first day we got the sleds out and enjoyed a day of sledding. In hindsight the hills were little more than bumps but great fun was had by all.

Then the next day came.

Me and my cousins from here in Texas had never felt such cold and we were looking forward to the snowball fight.

We enjoyed watching football and being from Texas considered ourselves tough hombres.

So somewhere along the way, I don’t know if I suggested it or if peer pressure brought it to reality, but we decided we’d be super bad asses and go out shirtless. I mean, I’ve seen the guys at football games in Green Bay and Penn State do it all the time. So why couldn’t we?

So we go out there and attempt to start our snowball fight. What we didn’t know is it’s best to have fresh powder when doing a snowball fight.

Unfortunately, the snow on the ground is what the Northerners called “accumulation” and there had been no new snow for over six weeks.

The ground was so rockhard we couldn’t even roll a snowball. So being the bright boys we were we decided to get out the shovels and cut out pieces of the snow.

I realize now we were just a bunch of southern rebels doing something that to a natural born Yankee must have been the height of stupidity.

We quickly realized our foolishness when I nailed my cousin in the back of the head with what amounted to a snow rock.

The snow did shatter but he said it was like being hit with a rock.

Then I noticed something. A definite thud and a dull pain on my right shoulder blade. Sure enough I’d been blasted with one of these rocks of snow on my upper back.

We quickly called a truce because we were in pain and on top of that freezing our balls off. We would later come to find out it reached 60°F below zero that day with the windchill included. It was 20 below without the windchill.

I’d like to tell you we were Uber tough and played outside for two or three hours like the fans do at football games but we barely lasted 10 minutes.

But it was an enjoyable trip and I had fun with my cousins.

Even the drive back was eventful as at one point I felt this G-force being exerted against me and I heard this high-pitched bloodcurdling scream coming from my aunt.

The G-force was in a circular motion and I could hear the tires squealing.

We’d hit some black ice going through Oklahoma and had gone into a tailspin. Fortunately there were no other cars on the road because they probably would’ve reported us for doing donuts.

We were also lucky because the back half of our van was hanging off the road and we almost slid into this pretty deep ditch but we came to a stop before that happened.

Then the nasty part began… we all had to get out and push the van back onto the road and damn that thing was heavy.

But we made it back home safely and it’s a trip I’ll always remember.

Now it’s your turn to tell me about your family Christmas travel tradition and your holiday adventures.

Author: Billy the kid

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