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Judy Spooner Viewpoint: Prepare for the memorable and the unexpected when planning vacation

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When asked what they remember from a vacation, most people recall a humorous story or something that went wrong. Although you loved the Rocky Mountains or that Broadway show, at the top of your list will be the time you had a flat tire and ended up having a wonderful meal at an out-of-the-way local restaurant.

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Since it's the time of the year when most family summer vacations are in the works, I asked my family what they remember from trips we took together.

Daughter Laura always brings up her experiences on our trip to Colorado. We rented a motorhome for two weeks. Yearning to experience the wilderness without going too far from civilization, we spent one night at a rustic campground without electricity.

As Laura and her sister, Margie, were exploring a nearby stream, Margie told Laura that it wasn't really all that deep. Laura crossed and went in up to her knees. We never really knew whether Margie knew how deep it really was.

Laura's tennis shoes, her only pair, were soaked.

That night, Laura and Gary built a fire. It was hilarious to watch them. Gary was relying on what he learned as a Boy Scout, but I looked at some very green wood we got from a park ranger and didn't hold out much hope it would burn. As a Camp Fire girl, I knew it was going to take a lot of kindling to get that fire going.

Gary started with newspaper but soon used up most of it. He headed toward the trailer as Margie and I were eating our supper. "Eat quick, your father is coming after your paper plate," I told her.

The girls and I gathered a lot of tree bark and a dozen or so paper plates later, the green wood caught fire. Soon, it was roaring. But it was also way past bedtime.

Gary and I stayed up until the fire was down to glowing embers. I put Laura's shoes at what I thought was a safe distance from the fire to dry.

Next morning -- you guessed it -- the soles of the shoes were melted.

Laura will never forgive me for making her walk into a shoe store in her stocking feet.

On the same trip, Gary was backing up the trailer when he ran into the side of a mountain.

"I didn't see it," he said as we heard a crunching noise.

"I don't know," I said, "but a mountain is a pretty big thing."

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