Earlier this week I was contemplating an extensive write-up with photographs and stories related to my grandma’s house. However, with the limited free time I’ve had this week I will have to hold that thought till later. This week was a busy one for me as I have four projects that are due tomorrow and another due on Tuesday. I worked every day last week and over the weekend too. It’s rare that I end up doing that, but I don’t mind it when I know that my efforts are appreciated. So since I only have a bit of time this evening to share with you- I am going to share a story from my childhood again.
The summer before I entered high school I was offered a trip with my Grandma and Grandpa Alford that would take us from Indiana all the way to California. It would be a three week long road trip and we’d stop at many landmarks of America’s history. Much to my surprise it is a trip that I mention frequently in conversation to this day.
When I agreed to go on this trip I don’t think I realized just how many hours would be spent in the car. I think that during that trip I must have slept 90% of the time! I kept a journal which I found mildly amusing when I stumbled upon it a few years ago. Here’s a funny excerpt, “We are in Iowa- practically all farms. Probably the Beverly Hillbillies live around here.” On the trip we drove up to South Dakota where we saw the Enchanted World Doll Museum, The Corn Palace, and stopped at the ghost town Wall Drug. We traveled through the Black Hills and saw Mt. Rushmore. our trip through Yellowstone National Park was complete with seeing about twenty buffalos! While we were there I noticed some smoke in the woods and I wondered what was going on. That summer there was a drought and some careless person started what became a massive wildfire there.
While we drove I watched for license plates from other states and saw just about all of them except for Hawaii and Delaware. I even kept track of which Canadian province license plates I saw. I was a bit bored during the drive. We traveled through the Badlands and crossed the Rocky Mountains. When we finally got to California I wanted to stand in the Pacific Ocean and so we stopped there briefly. The water was freezing! I was really impressed and I think it was the first time I had ever seen an ocean. We went through the Redwood forest which was amazing. To see that many massive trees was really inspiring. I think it’s why I love trees so much now. After the Redwoods we went to Sacramento where we visited my uncle and his wife. We had a good time visiting with them and while we were there we took a side trip to Reno. I had fun playing video games with my grandparents gambled.
After that we went down towards Los Angeles where we went to Universal Studios, Disneyland, and at some point we went to Knott’s Berry Farm. I loved roller coasters and Grandpa was a good sport and rode them all with me. Grandma patiently waited for us to get out of the rides. Next on our itinerary was a visit to another Uncle’s house, but unfortunately they had a family emergency and we didn’t get together. We drove on to Needles and spent a few days there roasting in the sun and playing in the pool. I met many nice kids while I hung out at the pool. My journal captures some of my memories, “A few day ago I met this girl that just graduated from high school. She asked me when I “got out” of school and I said June 8th. She asked what college I was going to go to! I almost died. So I said, ‘You mean that you thought I got out of high school?’ She said, ‘Yeah.’ ‘No way. I just got out of junior high.’ I can’t believe she actually thought that was 18!”
Eventually we made our way to Hot Springs, Arkansas where we stayed with my Grandpa’s sister, Ann. We had a lot of fun there playing “Old Maid” and Gin Rummy. We went to the wax museum in town and I played Tic-Tac-Toe against a chicken. We also went to the local amusement park, Magic Springs, where we all got soaked on a water ride. After we wore out our welcome in Arkansas, we drove up to Illinois to see the home of Abraham Lincoln. I was pretty awestruck. We went to his tomb and paid our respects there too. It was a long trip, but one full of great memories and one that I hope to someday share with my own children or even grandchildren!