When I was a little girl, summer vacation meant one thing. Renting the Little Trailer.
Every summer, from when I was about 4 through when I was about 13, our little family of three rented a small travel trailer, hitched it to the back of our station wagon, and took off on a two week tour of the USA.
There was a trailer rental place over on I-35, and a couple of days before we headed out, Daddy and I would go there and pick out our trailer. I LOVED those trailers. They were so cute and compact - everything fit together just right - it was like a little mobile doll house that we got to live in for a couple of weeks. I remember the smell of those trailers - imitation wood paneling, formica, foam rubber. Every trailer had a little dinette area, which converted into a queen-sized bed with an extremely firm mattress, a separate sofa/single bed and a tiny kitchen that ran off that little propane tank mounted on the trailer hitch.
We had three routes we took from Austin - 1. Due north, through the midwest to visit Mama's family in South Dakota and Montana. Included Mount Rushmore, the Badlands and Yellowstone. 2. The South, a loop through Louisiana then the old South, up through the Great Smokies then back through Arkansas. Included Civil War battlefields and cool old plantations.
But my favorite trip was 3. The Southwest. We'd head northwest through the Texas Panhandle, northern New Mexico, southern Colorado, then down through Arizona and back through southern New Mexico and back home.
That Southwest USA trip was filled with magical, fanciful locations, which amazed me and filled my childhood imagination...
Daddy would write out detailed vacation itineraries, pouring over AAA Guides for weeks. He knew exactly how long it would take to get to each destination, and exactly how long we could stay there before we needed to move on. We would hit the road at precisely the time Daddy planned, stopping to eat a picnic lunch at exactly noon (I can just taste those sandwiches - Wonder bread, mayonnaise and pimiento loaf) and stopped at every single historical marker and landmark on the way.
We pulled our little trailer across America, staying mostly in trailer parks...
...but occasionally stopping for a couple of days to visit relatives. We loved visiting our cousins the Sommers, who had a massive ranch in Springerville, Arizona, right next to the New Mexico border.
The Sommers fascinated me, not just because they lived on this enormous working ranch, where we were allowed to dig up Indian arrowheads and pottery shards (everyone who knows anything about archaeology may now shudder), but they were also...Mormons. Which was very interesting. Every night, Mama and Cousin Nell would sit on the porch - Mama with her bourbon and water, Nell with her "Mormon cocktail"- lemonade.
I remember hours and hours of playing by myself in the backseat. Well, I say by myself, but I had as many dolls with me as Daddy would allow me to take along, and they were good company. I also had piles of coloring books and paper dolls and puzzles. And Mama was full of tons of fun car trip games. We played the license plate game and the alphabet game and something Mama called "Zip" which involved spotting white horses.
I look back on those sweet summer days driving across America with such nostalgia. And it's a little bittersweet, not just because Mama and Daddy are both gone now, but because I know I could never recreate those trips for Jude. Jimmy, alas, is NOT a cartripper. Bad back, bad patience. I keep thinking of trying to organize a moms RV trip to the Grand Canyon. Anybody up for it? I'd be happy to plan the itinerary, and I promise I'd be a little looser with the schedule than Daddy. Let me know.
More Summers Past spins...
Next week on The Spin Cycle...
Okay, this is an easy one. Or maybe not, because a choice must be made (and I'm terrible at that).
When I was a kid, summer meant reruns on tv. Which was good if you'd missed an episode of your favorite show. And sometimes, there would be an episode that you LOVED and here was your big chance to see it again.
So next week is your chance to rerun your favorite blog post. It could be your favorite post ever or just your favorite post of the year, or just what you feel like sharing again. And it will be your readers chance to read something they missed, or reread something they loved. Win/win.
Decide. Post it. Let me know. I'll link it.
See you next Friday for my Reruns spin. Oh man, this is going to be hard. I hate playing favorites. Any requests?
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