Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Funnies from the Past

Packing up the desk I found these 4 little pieces of paper that I have moved with us more times than I would like to think about. I decided to type them up here to give people a laugh. They are notes from a speech I made in my public speaking class that I took at FLCC in the fall of 1997. Enjoy :)

"In the summer of 1965 the family of Ed and Jean Nelson took a 4 week family trip west. It was a lively 4 week adventure the summer after Alyce, the eldest of the 5 children graduated from high school. Stories of how 2 year old Paul had supposedly fallen into the Grand Canyon and great grandpa declaring [in his thick Swedish accent] "The sun came up in the vest dis morning" still fill family parties with laughter. Using their trip west as an example and seeking to carry on the tradition as children we'd made plans to make a similar trip 31 years later in the summer of 1996. As kids we thought it would be ideal because it would be the last family vacation before I went to college and both my brother and I would have our licenses and would be able to help drive.

As the years went by I figured that the trip would not happen and more and more I didn't want to go but.... the Gideons International Convention was planned for Anaheim, CA and we were on our way. I had dreamed of traveling in one of those plush travel trailers such as the ones that retired people travel in but the family business got a good deal on a '73 camper that was to be our home. With Timber Harvester Portable Bandsawmills plastered on the front and sides for advertisement we started off on July 14.

Bessy, named after the old mare, 'she ain't what she used to be,' took us to many well known as well as quite a few unknown tourist attractions thanks to her many breakdowns. It is some of these places that I would like to tell you about this evening.

Our first unplanned stop was in South Lebanon, Ohio. 2 of Bessy's 6 tired had blown on the second day of our excursion. We walked around while Elmer, a man who had just had bypass surgery 3 weeks before, changed our tired. It was a small town with not much to see. We were told by some of the local folks that we had a distinct NY accent.

Considering the fact that Bessy only averaged 6-7 miles per gallon we visited many gas stations. One very unique gas station was in Possum Junction in Kentucky. With every fill up you got a free plant. Ours lasted most of the trip but died on the way home.

Along with using lots of gas Bessy also required lots of oil. We visited WalMarts in many states to buy cases of oil. We spent a couple of nights parked in the WalMart parking lot waiting until morning when it would open and we could run insides for a couple cases of oil.

The summer of 1996 was the summer of the Olympics and the summer before the presidential election. As a faithful Republican my father thought it necessary to stop in Bob Dole's hometown of Russell, Kansas. We bought postcards and took pictures - Russell [my brother] in Russell.

The final challenge before reaching CA was the Mojave Desert. 119 degrees. Of course Bessy had no air conditioner so we used squirt bottles and ice pops to try to keep cool.

Anaheim KOA was right by the Disney Land parking lot and the Convention Center was on the other side. We never actually went to Disney Land on this trip but we did walk through the parking lot every day. It was neat to walk back to five 4th of July's in a row.

At the end of the convention we headed home. One of our stops was Yellowstone National Park. 4 Buffalo, a doe, 2 fawns, various other wildlife, gysers, Old Faithful 6pm, Great Griper 1st time in ~1 year.

SD interesting state... "Call of the Wild" taxidermy place, Wall Drug full of motorcyclists for Sturgis"

That ends my notes. The other thing I remember from the trip home besides being afraid of killing several Sturgis motorcyclists as Bessy's breaks went out coming down from Mount Rushmore is that my poor brother Russ got strep throat on the way home and we had to stop at a few different medical clinics on the way home. He lost 25 pounds and didn't really get to enjoy the sights because he was so sick.

Well, there is 4 more little pieces of paper to be recycled. Thanks for reading as I save this for posterity's sake. I hope someone got a chuckle out of it. Back to packing for me.

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