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2012-366 Day 331 – Thanksgiving Vacation Finale

I don’t particularly like talking about the specifics of our vacations while we’re on them because, well, this is a public blog and advertising the fact that we’re out of town isn’t particularly smart (despite the fact that I doubt the general public reads too much of this blog). If you know me or my family fairly well (or we told you before we left), you’ll know from the last several day’s posts that we were out at my grandparents place in Grand Junction, CO. A short 800 mile drive each way. 🙂

It’s always great to visit my grandparents, and sadly we don’t get out there often enough. I covered the basic highlights of our trip in the last few posts, and it was wonderful just to be able to spend some time with Nana and Grandpa. We were able to help out some around the house and enjoy a lot of home cooking. A lot of exploring, a lot of hanging out, and a lot of eating made for a very full holiday weekend.

Grand Junction is essentially my second hometown. My grandparents moved out there when I was 10, and I spent several weeks to a couple months out there every summer until I graduated high school. Since then we try to make it out there every couple years, and we were overdue (our last trip out was Spring Break 2010, if we remember correctly), so we decided to head out for Thanksgiving. We left Wednesday morning with the intention of stopping somewhere in Utah and arriving on Thursday morning, but it turns out that I felt pretty good and decided to drive all the way through (although we did decide to grab a hotel in Grand Junction since we got in late, a decision we knew we’d get some scolding for, but worked out fairly nicely since we found a good, cheap place – should you be in Grand Junction and not have access to my grandparents, we recommend the Econolodge by the airport just off the 70 on Horizon Drive). I was able to re-familiarize myself with the area fairly quickly, as the town layout hasn’t changed much (though some of the stores have).

I made two major changes which made the drive to and from (we got back a little while ago tonight) much easier, although I’m not certain if either had more of an effect. I mentioned in my Traveling post a few days ago (which, though I was being intentionally oblique at the time, you now know was from day one of our trip) that our frequent trips out there have made driving long distances fairly standard to me. I had noticed, however, the last few times that I was getting fairly tired towards the end of our trips. Nothing too serious, but definitely something to keep an eye on. The first change I made was deciding to change my fueling habits while I drove. Rather than eating several larger meals during our stops, I would instead make sure that I had food that would last me for a while and I could continue eating in the car. Same with caffeine and beverages. While this resulted in a couple more restroom stops, it completely banished the fatigue at the end of the trips.

The second major change was that we rented a car this time instead of taking the Yaris. It has already made the trip a couple times and we’ve put over 80000 miles on it in seven years, so we decided it needed a rest. We have a rental place just down the block from us (a Hertz with very friendly people), so we reserved a car and I went to pick it up when they opened Wednesday morning. They offered me a Chevy Cruze, and not knowing anything about it, I said sure. Turned out to be a fantastic decision. The technology in the car was fantastic, but there were two items that made our trip much easier. The first was the heated seats. Jess had an achy back going into the trip, and I’ve been known to have a flare up or two, and having seats with a heating pad built in made the trip much better. Not to mention the fact that it was occasionally cold in Colorado (no, really?), and getting a little boost of heat was quite nice.

The second, and by far my personal favorite, however, was the technology in the steering wheel. The right side had the stereo controls and allowed me to scroll through the favorites (and XM radio), which Jess said made me a “flipper”. Song I didn’t like? Boom, next station without taking my eyes off the road. The left side, though? The left side changed the way I do long distance trips. The left side had the cruise control, but with one important addition. I could set the speed from the steering wheel, but I could then use a rocker switch and adjust the speed up and down in one mile increments. No longer did I have to step on the brake, disengage the cruise control to maneuver around traffic, and then resume the previous speed with both my legs and my arm. Nope, instead I could drive large chunks of the trip using only my left hand as long as I was paying attention to the traffic in front of me (which, you know, you’re kind of supposed to do anyway). People slowing up ahead? Click down the speed by five miles an hour and see if it clears up. Speed limit change? Simply adjust to where the new point is without having to disengage and reengage at the new speed (by the way, Utah has a couple areas where it is testing an 80 mph speed limit. Kinda fun). I was able to maintain a consistent speed throughout much of the trip, which also helped with the gas mileage. I’m really going to miss that feature on our next long trip.

So now that you got that extended commercial, I now return you to your regular post. Actually, I was pretty well wrapping up, as, again, you can get a pretty good idea of the last few days from here and the previous posts. We had a great time and are glad to have made it back safe and sound. Sadly we have to go back to work tomorrow, but we planned ahead and took the morning off for a little more rest and to take the rental car back. It’s nearly December now, and another vacation is around the bend (though it won’t be quite so far), which I’m already looking forward to. In fact we already have a family gathering schedule for my other grandmother’s house in December which we are excited about (she lives in Apple Valley, so we get to see her a couple times a year, although we definitely owe her a visit or two as well). I am extremely blessed to have such a wonderful family, and I love them all very much (even Christine).

Weight: 222 Loss: 18 lbs – Running Yearly Mileage: 358.7 miles
Fitocracy Level: 26 ID: disciplev1

Posted in Matt 2012-366, Matt General. Tagged with , , , , , , , .

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  1. Mom said

    Even Christine! Aw, whadda brudder (Giggle).

    For future readers, the Salvation Army Thrift Store in Grand Junction is the bestest and most organized I’ve ever been in.

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