Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Family History Writing Challenge-Trip to Colorado and the Grand Canyon

My Daily Contribution to The Family History Writing Challenge is a story about a trip we took about 33 years ago.   My children and my mother and I took a driving trip from Indiana to Colorado and then to the Grand Canyon before we headed back home.

It was 1980, my husband had died the summer before.  He was a police officer and died in the line of duty.  I owned a brown Chevrolet station wagon that my husband  had purchased for us.  My children and I were still struggling big time with the loss of my husband and their father.  I spoke with my mom and told her that I thought a trip would be good for all of us.  We all needed to get away for a while.  My mom really wanted to go see her sister and I didn't want to take the kids away by myself, they were only 3, 5, and 7.  So we decided it was time for a road trip together!

I loaded up my station wagon at home, and we headed to Connersville to pick up Mom.  We were all really excited.  I had never driven out of state before so this was going to be a real adventure.  I was really trying hard to accept that all responsibility was now mine.  I had to step out of my comfort zone.  My mother had always been an adventurer.  She and Dad had just picked up their kids and taken off across the country many times.  She was so excited to go see her sister in Colorado.  She had been there a few years ago, but she never got to see her as much as she would have liked.  They were very close, made more so by losing their mother as teenagers.  We loaded up Mom's things and headed toward St. Louis.  We made a stop at the Gateway Arch.  Mom said, "I'm not going up there.  I've been up there before and that things sways."  My oldest son said, "I don't want to go either."  He had a fear of heights. Mom didn't go but I made him try it.  After our stop in St. Louis we headed on to Fort Collins, Colorado.  

My aunt lived in the foothills there.  She had a beautiful tri-level home at the highest point in the foothills.  The drive up to her home was treacherous, at least to me.  There were sharp turns and steep drop-offs, with no guardrails. We got up there to find the most beautiful view we had ever seen.  During our time in the mountains each view exceeded the last.

My mom and her sister, Pauline, were like young girls when they were together.  She was close to and enjoyed all her sisters, but she and Pauline were closest in age and seemed to have a special connection.  My mom seemed to be so happy when we were there with her sister.

During the time there they took us to Denver to see her son, and we went sightseeing in that area.  We went to eat at the greatest Mexican restaurant, Casa Bonita.  It had waterfalls, caves, cliff divers, and other great entertainment for the kids.  We spent some time visiting with my cousin and his family.  Our aunt and uncle took us to Wyoming to sight see.  We saw elk running down the road, the wildlife was everywhere. We went to Estes Park for a day of adventure.  My kids got to experience so many new things.

One of the highlights was walking in the snow in June, in the mountains barefooted and in our shorts.  

Uncle Floyd would go out each morning and see the wildlife around his house.  He would come in and tell us what he saw.  One morning he said a neighbor had a bear bothering his horses that morning.  There were deer on the patio, black squirrels running around, and hummingbirds all over the place. What a beautiful paradise.

My cousin's daughter who was a few years older than my daughter came and spent some time with us. They had a fun time together.

At the end of the week we were heading to Colorado Springs to pick up my neighbor, Lisa, a teen age girl who had been at a Young Life camp.  She was going to go on to the Grand Canyon with us.  When we left Aunt Pauline's house, my mom and her sister were both so sad to part ways.  My aunt tried to talk us into staying another week.  We had made plans so we went on.  We had such a great time with her and it was the most time I had ever spent with her.  It was so much fun getting to know her and seeing how alike she and my mother were.  They did so many things in the same way.  It was time to continue on our journey.  We all said our goodbyes and headed out.

We picked up Lisa in Colorado Springs and headed to the Grand Canyon.  Everyone who has seen pictures or visited there knows how absolutely fantastic it is.  When we got there my older son suggested he and Grandma stay in the parking lot while the rest of us went closer.  He didn't want to fall into the canyon.  I convinced him it would safe and that they needed to come with us.  

We stopped at the roadside vendors and bought things from the Indians from the area.  When we left on the trip the kids were all too young to have cameras.  I had purchased drawing pads and pencils and crayons for them to make pictures of everything they saw to take back and show their family members what all they had seen.  The seats in the station wagon would all lay down.  At that time there wasn't all the worry about seat belts so they had blankets and lay down in the back and played and had a good time the whole time we 
were on the road.

On the trip home we took the southern route and went through Texas.  We were in the Texas Panhandle when the skies started to turn black.  We had planned on driving further that day, but the weather looked pretty scary.  We turned on the radio and found out there were tornado warnings in the area where we were.  We stopped in the first small town we came to and got a room for the night.  We listened to the storm all around us.   When we left the next day it was into a beautiful sun filled day.  

The rest of our trip home was uneventful, and we brought back all our souvenirs, pictures,  and memories.  It was a very special time that we got to spend with my mother.

1 comment:

  1. I'll never forget that station wagon. Just like the "family truckster" on the movie "Vacation". Luckily, we didn't have as many problems on our trip.