Pho - Vietnamese Soup

Pho - Vietnamese Soup
One of our favorite dishes - Pho

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


...Hopefully in our Sugaree soon.  These mechanics have been promising that we'll have her back for weeks on end.  We caught on fire for the second time while bringing her home from their first repair job.  I'm doing my best to keep a positive vibe about everything.  NAMASTE!! 

Here it is Thursday, July 2nd, we were supposed to be on the road last Sunday, June 27th.  And we're still at home waiting to hear from these people as to when we can begin on our journey in our beloved bus. The Grateful Dead's first show is tomorrow night in Chicago, which is about 16 hours away from Dallas.  NAMASTE!!  

It was the last moment for us to make the show on Friday.  It was the time of this painfully, long drawn-out truth...We got word at about 5:45 that our Sugaree would not be road worthy.  David, the kids and I scrambled to get our already packed bags loaded into David's car and we were off to Chi-town, determined to make it for the first show.  

After we were well on our way and a little less stressed, we did a few rounds of Mad Libs, which I've now taught my family how to do quite well.  My Mom, Aunt Bette, my sisters and I are Mad Lib pros, although not always using the g-rated topics.  We've spent many, many a late night laughing until our cheeks and stomachs hurt.  Those are memories I will forever cherish.

Of course, with David in charge of our music selections, we listened to entire albums from Elton John, The Who, Bob Schneider, to name a few...and oh yeah...the Grateful Dead!

We drove until the wee hours, or I should say David did.  We finally landed in the lovely town of Blytheville weary and tired.  We noticed that a lot of town names in Arkansas end in ville.  Anyway, after exiting the highway we found the first motel 
we could find, which was the Deerfield Inn and we were all just too happy to rest our weary heads.  The first thing we noticed about Blytheville were these ginormous mosquito's...everywhere.  Open a car window for a second and at least five would get in.  We had to run from our car to our upstairs room.  And just with opening the door long enough to get our luggage in, we had unbelievable amounts of these huge pests in our room.  Most of us McQuaid's are the mosquitos' delicacy.  We had these huge beasts dive-bombing us left and right.  We had to cover every inch of our body with at least a sheet, and even then they would go for our exposed faces.  

We all were in one sadness of a room too.  Poor Dylan was left to sleep on this horribly uncomfortable trundle bed.  We could hear his every move as the springs squeaked loudly.  The next morning Dylan said, "That was the metal, deathbed from hell!  It was like sleeping on a chain link fence!"  Dylan definitely has his Dad's sense of humor, even when he's not a happy camper.

We all rallied and were up at the stroke of 630a, determined to get to Chicago ASAP.  But thankfully the little sleep we had helped David tremendously.  A side note is, I don't like to drive with David in the car because he's the world's worst backseat driver and that stresses me out.  Cassidy tried to help with the driving and she agrees.  Sorry my love, but it's true.

We're all are quickly tiring of our fast food meals during the last couple of days.  We actually rejoiced when we happened to stumble upon a Jimmy John's.  We never thought we would be so happy to see JJ.  I look forward to making our own home cooked meals in our bus.  

On the road again, feeling great about the time we've made.  Thinking we might possibly get into Chicago by 1p.  That was not to be.  We rolled in at about 3ish and oh boy, the traffic was horrendous.  It took us at least 45 minutes to get from Soldier Field to our hotel, which was not but 5 miles away.  

We finally got to "Shakedown Street," which is this unbelievably fun, festival-like, parking lot scene.  You have people selling tie-dye t-shirts, all kinds of amazing jewelry and of course, intense grilled cheese sandwiches.  There's so much love and camaraderie, you can't help but be drawn in by it all.  

It was showtime and we only had 4 tickets and of course, there are 5 of us.  David has forever wanted to take our "kids" to a Grateful Dead show.  Now, with this being their last 3 shows, this was the time.  David insisted I take the 4th ticket and he would just hang out.  I DON'T THINK SO!  I was tired and very happy to go chill at the hotel.  Plus, there were going to be 80,000 people and you should have seen the lines for the restrooms, and to get into Soldier Field.  It was true craziness, but peaceful craziness.  As soon as I got back to the hotel I had my pj's on and room service ordered.  I was a very happy camper as were my peeps at the show.  This truly was a moment David has been looking forward to from the day they were born, he's now had the opportunity to share the "Dead" experience with Avery, Cassidy and Dylan.

4th of July is here and tickets are very hard to come by.  But, we got to spend a fantastic day with our wonderful friends, Julie and Rus from California.  They are our friends who are responsible for Dylan getting to spend a week at Wavy Gravy's Camp Winnarainbow  in Northern California.  Then, we got to briefly see our Dallas friends.  As David said so well about our day:
"Today, we met our tribe at the Stanley Mouse Pop-Up, where Eric Schwartz was DJ-ing and they had lots of Stanley Mouse art. So fun to hang with all of our friends. The Boys didn't disappoint tonight...with a beautiful Standing on the Moon, One More Saturday Night and a US Blues encore. During the Stella Blue, I was standing in a puddle of my own tears it was so sweet!"

David helped hail me a cab and sent me on my my way and again I was very happy at the hotel in my "cozies."  

Sunday, was yet another spectacular day because we got to see and hang with some of our most special friends from Dallas while overlooking the enchanting Lake Michigan.  The weather all weekend long could not have been more perfect.  We were sitting in the shade in some soft, green grass with the wind softly blowing.  Watching the boats come and go is mesmerizing, especially because they are like our Sugaree, a nice, mobile, vacation home

Sunday was a repeat of the two nights prior, bustling with many a colorfully, tie-dye cladded hippies.  The "Shakedown" scene is what I love, but even that was overly crowded for my liking.  You used to be able to browse around and look at everyone's wares and enjoy all kinds of homemade yummy foods, meet so many super cool folks and of course, great people watching.  This time it was like herding cattle, we were all very jammed, packed just trying to make it through with the teaming millions.  It was definitely claustro-city.  

Monday, we slept in and we all so needed it, especially before venturing homeward bound,where  hopefully we'll be able to scoop up our Sugaree.   We contemplated on taking a little less direct route and go to Memphis or just get get home.  We decided on Memphis and we're all so glad we did.  We got to Memphis around 9:00. We got to hang out on Beale Street, hear some good music, and eat at Silky O'Sullivan's. Midnight rang in Dylan's 16th birthday, so a fun way to bring in 16!  Happy Birthday Dylan!  I love you to the moon and back a gazillion times. 

For a not too crazy-expensive hotel, we had a pleasant stay at the Hampton Inn and Suites just off of Beale St. in Memphis.  Great location, very clean, great service, comfortable beds and a nice breakfast buffet with make-it yourself waffles.  A band raged outside our balcony on Beale Street from the moment we arrived until the stroke of midnight, at which point, they packed it up...which suited us just perfectly.

Tuesday, we were on the road not too early but, we had another good 8 hours ahead of us before we would be home.  David, in usual fashion, was making us laugh almost the whole way.  Well, in between us having to break up the constant argument between the kids as to who was going to sit on the hump in the back of D's car.  We finally got home.  All of us sore and tired, but hoping that Sugaree will be ready.  David makes the call, we waited as painstakingly as long as we could.  He talks to the cheerful man who answers the phone and he was told it should be ready in an hour, so we should head that way in about 30 minutes or so.  We all cheered and started figuring out our course of action.  20 minutes later we get a call from Mr. cheerful to have him say, "She's not quite ready yet...blah, blah blah."  Here it is July 8th, it's so hard not to be frustrated.   Oh well, it is what it is.  NAMASTE!!!

Bottom line is we had one of the best family vacations ever, even with the obstacles.   We're so fortunate that we all truly love hanging out with each other, hopefully that will still be the case at the end of our trip.  Either way, the best is yet to come!  :-)

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