Sixty nine year old woman, five year old kid, driving 3195 miles across the U. S. of A, alone. Why not?
We left early on a Saturday morning after saying good bye to everyone in the neighborhood. Somewhere there is a picture of Skip and the other kids in front of our house seeing us off on this adventure. (like others, will add it to this page when I find it again).
Adventure it was to be. Back then they did not have "child seats", at least we did not. In order to see over the dashboard, Momma put a cracker box on the passengers seat and I road it all the way. No seat belts, not even anything to hold that 8x8x16 wooden box to the seat, but I could see everything. Shifting that old flat head eight into first gear, waving to everyone and we were off.
Being close to the winter months, we took the "southern" route West by Southwest. Two lane roads, occasionally three lanes, and driving only in the daylight we took ten days to get there.
I remember looking for Burma Shave signs along the road and the big Mail Pouch tobacco ads painted on barns across America.
As the miles went by I discovered a great big beautiful country with wonders to behold. Miles of wheat fields, forests, deserts and rivers with bridges that were long and high. Sometimes the railroad ran along side the road for miles, with an occasional train passing us by. There were always little motels, with my job being to watch for "vacancy" signs in the late afternoon, family run and every one different.
We stopped early each evening and found a diner for supper. During the day we would eat sandwiches at the many picnic table rest areas that dotted the highways. Gas stations were actually "service stations" and they would check your water and tires when you stopped to buy gas. Sometimes we paid almost twenty five cents a gallon, but usually less. One night finding "no vacancy" for miles, we slept in the car under the covered area of a gas station. The owner went across to the all night diner and told them to keep an eye on the old woman and kid so we would be safe. What a country we had back then. Everywhere we traveled, people went out of their way to be nice to us.
The Painted Desert and the Petrified Forrest were wonders to behold. Back then you could get out of your car and walk anywhere you wanted to and we did. Momma picked up a piece of petrified wood as a keepsake and we kept it at home for years with other mementos of our journey. No tourist traps for us, we had the real thing. Arizona and the badlands, awesome..... I kept looking for Roy Rogers, but did not get to see him until later. (Yes I did).
We stopped in Carlsbad, New Mexico, but Momma did not know that you could get wheeled thru the Caverns, and missed going into the Carlsbad Caverns. We did stop for gas at an out of the way station that advertised Gila Monsters on display. Beautiful as a beaded purse and very poisonous. Being an inquisitive five year old, I tried to put my hand thru the chicken wire cage and pet one. Almost gave the gas station owner and Momma a heart attack.
As we traveled we were often stopped on the road while real cowboys drove real cattle across the roadway. As we got into California we saw military convoys of troops responding to the Korean War. Everyday had some new and exciting adventure. When we arrived at Aunt May's house it was all worth it.
May had been having a cup of coffee and a cigarette when we pulled in her driveway. She came out the front door to see who was visiting and when she realized it was us she "flew" off the front steps with the coffee thrown in one direction and the cigarette opposite. Momma loved the fact that we had pulled off this surprise.
Next page I will tell you about May and Cyril and the turkeys, and Sunday School and kindergarten and the cottage we lived in and pork and bean sandwiches and ............
But, that is for next time