Sunday, July 29, 2007

Road Trip, 70's style

When I was about eleven my mom and sisters and I piled into our station wagon and headed across the country on a trip to Colorado to visit my oldest sister. It was a trip that was memorable for me, but only in sketches. I remember a big sign that said WELCOME TO INDIANA that stretched across the highway, I remember my one sister who was half sleeping - half carsick- all bored who barely lifted her head to look when we went across the Mississippi River, the endless flatness of Kansas, and seeing the Rocky Mountains loom on the horizon from seemingly hundreds of miles away. The road that lead to my sister's town was a winding one with hairpin turns which just kept going up. At each turn you could look down hundreds of feet and see where you had just come from, not a road for anyone afraid of heights. By sheer coincidence, we had decided to visit my sister's family at the same time that some friends of hers from back here in Ohio had. Her house was tiny and I remember there being several people sleeping in the same room as me. Besides my sister's husband and her friend's husband and my three year old nephew, I was the only boy there so it was a pretty yucky situation- for an eleven year old boy. Funny, as I'm writing this now I remember a little more. Like the stream that ran behind their house, and how I was hoping to catch some huge trout in it even though it was only a few inches deep.

Visiting the ranch where my brother-in-law worked was fun and exciting. The field that stretched toward the mountains looked like fields back home, but I soon found out that distances are deceiving in the mountain country, and that field went on forever it seemed. Cattle (or horses, not sure which) grazed in that field but couldn't be seen because of it's vastness. There was an old refrigerator in the ranch's bunk house which had a menagerie of animals in jars of formaldehyde; baby mountain lions, rattlesnakes, bears... it was slightly scary yet exciting to know that I was in dangerous country with animals that we didn't have back home.

Right before we left we went to Royal Gorge, which has a suspension bridge that is a quarter of a mile high. With the excitement of a young boy I couldn't wait to go across that, but it wasn't to be. It was late evening and a horrible thunderstorm and downpour was making it almost impossible to see the road, and at the last minute my mother decided she didn't want to go across the bridge just then. I remember there was a ghost town close to there that they used in a John Wayne movie that we drove through, but I don't think we even stopped as there was nothing much to see.

On the way back we went north through Wyoming, which had the most awesome scenery of the whole trip. Huge mountains, endless fields, incredibly large herds of deer and antelope right along the road, and a sky so big it took my breath away made this my favorite state right then and there. I also remember that it was somewhere in Wyoming that I lost one of my favorite possessions, a bone handled hunting knife. Being the man of the trip I naturally was in charge of protecting the females, so I had brought this knife along and had put it under my pillow at one of the motels we stayed in. I guess in the commotion of leaving I had forgotten it because when I went to get it it was nowhere to be found. I sort of made up for losing it by buying a really neat, western style bb gun that I loved the look of. When I got back home I found it didn't shoot nearly as well as my old, worn out one, it just looked a lot prettier.

That was most of what I remember about our western trip. This story is in bits and pieces, like my memories. I wish my eleven year old brain would have told me to buy a camera, even though back then they were out the price range that my paper route sales limited me to, and I probably would have still saved my money for that BB gun anyway.


Blogger Michelle's Spell said...

Hey Tim,

Gotta love those bb guns! Anyway, I love the details of your trip. Strange what the mind remembers, huh? It got me thinking about a few childhood trips (not many to speak of, but the few stand out in the mind) and all that. Happy Sunday!

12:21 PM  
Blogger Cheri said...

I love this post! I might have to make my own post about childhood.

10:03 PM  

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