Monday, September 5, 2011

Road Trip - 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Week #36

Week 36: Road Trips. Describe a family road trip from your childhood. Where did you go and why? Who was in the car? How did you pass the time?

I could probably write a book on all of the road trips my family took, but one trip is known in my family as "The Trip". We had a small poptop camper and in 1974, we took off in June for a 3 1/2 week trip that started in Florida and spanned several National Parks and many other interesting places. We had never ventured west before, so this was a chance to see many new and different places.

Our well-traveled camper
On travel days, we were up really early and sometimes covered a few hundred miles in a day. My parents, my sister and I had setting up and taking down the camper down to a 5 minute activity where each of us took care of one part of the camper. My Dad was asked at one campground how he "trained" us to do that! We passed the time by looking at the different scenery, playing car games like the old Car Bingo, and sometimes taking naps to make up for the early starts.

Approximate route for The Trip
We started the trip in Florida and headed up to the Panhandle and I-10. Our first major stop was New Orleans, LA where we spent a day touring the sights in New Orleans and had dinner at Antoine's. While we enjoyed New Orleans, the campground we stayed at in Slidell, LA is remembered for the mosquitoes!

Mom in White Sands
We continued west and hit Houston at rush hour (oops!). My Dad had always wanted to see The Alamo, so our next destination was San Antonio, TX. We were a bit surprised that it was in the middle of the city and very small, but it was interesting to see.

Once we got through Texas, we entered into one of the most interesting stretches in the trip. In New Mexico, we toured Carlsbad Caverns and White Sands National Monument and went through Albuquerque and Taos.

In Arizona, we saw the Grand Canyon, Oak Creek Canyon, the Petrified Forest, and Tombstone. Then it was on to Utah, where we visited the gorgeous Zion National Park. We went as far west as Las Vegas and debated going to California, but decided we wouldn't have enough time to see everything still on our list.

Old Faithful in Yellowstone
We continued north to Wyoming and saw Yellowstone National Park and the beautiful Grand Teton National Park.

Grand Teton National Park

We didn't have any reservations anywhere and only encountered a problem finding a place on the July 4th weekend when we were in Cheyenne, WY. We finally found a campground that was out of official sites, but let us and many others park out in a large empty lot. We didn't realize how many others were out there until we got up the next morning and were sure glad we had found the place. From there we headed into Colorado.

My parents at Pikes Peak, CO
One of the highlights in Colorado was going to the summit of Pikes Peak. The car ride was a bit more than we bargained for with steep drop offs and sharp turns. The view from the top was worth it though and a surprise for us Floridians was to see some snow on the ground in July! We made it as far north as the Badlands and Mount Rushmore in South Dakota before starting the long trip back south. This post could go on forever, so I've only listed some of the highlights from the trip. It was certainly a trip that we'll never forget!

This is a weekly challenge from GeneaBloggers called 52 weeks of personal genealogy history.

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