In 1966 we took another trip to the Kiwanis convention in Portland, Oregon. We spent our first night with our close friends, Goodwin and Mary Bray, at their farm in Clarendon, Texas.
Goodwin wanted to show everyone his farm and loaded all of us into an old, beat-up pickup. The seats were just springs with a blanket over them and it rattled so loud you could hardly talk. The three kids were in the back of the pickup and Charlotte, Goodwin and I were in the cab. Goodwin took off through Johnsongrass as high as the windows of the pickup, bouncing us across rows that had been furrowed for cotton the previous year. Charlotte’s description from the log that we kept of the trip says it best.
“Well sir, never in my entire life have I had such a ride. The truck was about to fall apart, no seats, no brakes and the windshield so dirty I could not see out of it. Off across the field we went. He floor boarded it and we were bouncing across the field and the children in the back looked like popcorn popping as they bounced up and down.”
The next day we left early and drove to Bluewater State Park near Grants Pass, NM. We went down, down, down to Blue Hole where we camped for the night. The next morning when we left, the car would not pull the trailer up the hill, so I had Charlotte and the kids get out and Chip and Tom pushed until we finally got to the top. From there we stopped at Meteor Crater on our way to the Grand Canyon.
On Sunday we had a little Bible study and worship service, as was our habit. I notice in the trip log that Charlotte mentioned, “Daddy always prepared an interesting Bible lesson for us on each Sunday when we were on the road.” That was nice to read. I remember I had each member of the family read a section of the Scripture that applied to our discussion.
From the Grand Canyon our next highlight was a tour of the inside of Hoover dam. We visited Sequoia National Park and the giant redwoods and then Yosemite. From there we moved on to Lake Shasta where Charlotte came down with a bad bladder infection. Some really nice folks next door, who had come to Shasta every summer from L A for twenty years, took us under their wing. The Riley’s had a nice boat with them and took the kids boating several times. They also had a beautiful original 1939 Packard that was really cool. The Rileys’ son and I drove the Packard into town and got medicine for Charlotte. There was a Doctor camped near us that I got to give us a prescription. It was quite a little community.
After a day of rest and medication she was well enough to travel-next stop Portland. The Convention lasted four days and the family did a lot of sightseeing while I was at the convention. We returned along the south bank of the Columbia River. We went across a bridge one time so we could say we had also been in Washington State.
Two days later we arrived at Jackson Hole at Yellowstone National Park. We stayed several days at that magnificent place. In Denver, we stopped for a visit with Dan and Polly (Charlotte’s brother and sister in law). We tried to make it to Amarillo and a KOA but after over 400 miles pulling that trailer I gave out somewhere around Dumas, Texas. We pulled into a roadside park about ten PM and called it a day.
Chip set up the cots, Tom got the lighter for the propane heater ready and Sus has the bucket for the “gray water.” Each of us had our job to do when we set up camp and again when we broke camp the next day. We sat out in the folding chairs and enjoyed the cool breeze for a little while and then went to bed. About two o’clock in the morning the roar of a bunch of Harley Davidson motorcycles awakened us. They were all around the trailer. I got my 45 out and spent the rest of the night on the gaucho at the front of the trailer with my gun pointed at the trailer door. They did leave about sunup but the rest of the family was stirring by then so we had breakfast and got back on the road. Then we made the run back to Dallas to complete another great trip.
Photo of Bluewater Lake found here.
Photo of Lake Shasta found here.
Photo of Jackson Hole found here.