The spring that Scott graduated from High School we bought a Wheel Camper, Pop-up Camper and on the day after his graduation we took off for California. We spent our first night in a camp ground in central Indiana, where it was discovered that we had no blankets or sleeping bags, with us, Louise thought that I had put the sleeping bags in, and I thought that she had put in blankets, and as a result we had neither. That was the reason that, for a long time, we had three extra sleeping bags and usually had them all with us.
We stopped at Mitchell, South Dakota to visit the Corn Palace, and our next point of interest was Dodge City, Kansas where I found that you cannot buy a beer in the Long Branch Saloon.
After seeing an awful lot of wheat and Texas hill country, we finally reached the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest, in Northern Arizona. Keep in mind that this was the first that any of us had seen that country and we were soaking it in like a sponge soaks up water.
In due time, we reached the Grand Canyon where we spent a couple of days looking at a thing that just could not be.
Our next stop was Boulder Dam. Scott and I gave the Dam and the Power House a good going over while Louise rested in the, air conditioned, Visitor’s Center. We fooled around the Dam and Boulder City until it got dark, then we crossed the Mojave Desert in the night. This was, of course, in early June, but at no time, during that night, did the temperature, on the outside of the car, get below 100 degrees.
We reached San Luis Obispo, California in the wee hours of the morning and spent the rest of the night in a Motel. At San Luis Obispo we took the Coast Highway to San Simion and took a tour of Hearst Castle. This is another thing that anyone who gets anywhere near it should, by all means, take the time to see and enjoy.
After San Simion we continued on the Coast Highway through Big Sur, Carmel, Monterey, Santa Cruz and to Skips home at Sunnyvale. This Coast Highway is one of the most beautiful drives that I know of, in the United States.
After several days with Skip’s family and after seeing many of the sights, in the San Francisco area, we started our trip back home. Our first stop was Yosemite National Park where we camped in a grove of Redwood trees and spent two days enjoying the beauty of another one of our natural wonders.
Our route then took us out of California and into Nevada by the way of Tioga Pass, through Carson City to the site of the old Comstock Lode, at Virginia City. We looked Virginia City over, then went on to Lovelock where we spent the night in a camp ground at the Rye Patch Dam Recreation Area.
Our next night was spent in Afton, Wyoming because there was a storm brewing and we did not feel like trusting our luck in the Pop-Up, in a wind storm. The next day we spent some time in the Grand Tetons National Park and then went on to Yellowstone. We spent the balance of the day that we arrived and two more full days, taking in the sights. Our first visit was before they relocated many of the bears, and they were a real pest. They had discovered that if they were to sit down in the road, the cars would stop and the people would feed them. So that is just what they did. We were lucky to find a good site, in one of the Campgrounds, so we set up camp and started looking at the wonders of nature. If I were asked which one of the following that I considered to be the most awe inspiring, Switzerland, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone or Yosemite, I would have to say that it was the last one that I visited. It is a shame that there are so many people, in our country, that for one reason or another, are unable to take advantage of the many wonderful things that Nature has to offer.
Our next stop, of any consequence, was Devil’s Tower in Eastern Wyoming. I remember a sign, at the base of the monument, that read, “Tell your friends if they want to see this, they should come within the next 1,000 years, because it is rapidly eroding away”. By the time that we had finished with the Devil’s Tower we were about filled up with sight seeing, so we went straight on home.
We really enjoyed the trip and if I remember correctly, we were gone a little more than three weeks.