Road Trips and Weather

Those family vacations in the car always have the unplanned adventure here and there along the route.  I suppose it is that element of encountering the unknown and unplanned that adds a little spice to those trips.  Sometimes those trips really could use some spice.  My mom, bless her heart, loved those road trips in the car.  When I was young that was the only kind of vacation we could afford.  We would plan to camp out along the route for about half the time and then stay in some inexpensive motel the other nights so we could have baths and showers.  We would take along camping gear and the cooking gear and those huge old ice trunks for the food.  The food was always sandwichs with perhaps a little chili or hot dogs grilled.  If we caught any fish along the way then they could be added to the mix.  The car was always loaded to the max.  The trunk would be full and we would have some kind of carry all up on top.  Naturally the seats and floor space would get filled with stuff somehow even if we started off with space there.  Except for one really hot and boring trip east, we always headed out west and to the mountains and the sweeping landscapes of the mesas and llano estacado country.  

Poor dad most have worked himself into an absolute tizzy getting everything organized and packed although I never remember him complaining or cussing about having to load anything.  Wish I could say that I was as good at that as he was when it came my turn to load up the family vehicle for road trips with our kids.   The first couple of these trips were before we had air conditioning in the car.  So they have special memories for me because of the heat and dust that was always flowing into the car from the open windows.   We always went in the summer because of school.  It was hot.  One year mom made dad get one of those new fangled gadgets that was guaranteed to cool the car.  It was about the size of those old floor model vacuum cleaners and round.  It fitted with clasps onto the window on the passenger side up front.  The end facing forward was open so the air went through it and then over a wet sponge and that air then passed out into the interior of the car.  The damp cool air was advertised to be refreshing and as good as air conditioning at a fraction of the cost.  Well, dad rigged it up as we started this particular trip in about ’52 or ’53.   In the morning it was relatively cool and we always left early in the morning so we didn’t even try it out for several hours.  As we hit west texas and the sun was ascending in its timeless arc across the sky we finally decided to give it a go.   You had to pour water into the device so it was soak the sponge for the hot air to pass over.  We stopped and loaded the water and then took off again with great anticipation about how cool this was going to be.  We even rolled up the windows so the effects of this refreshing cool air would not be dissapated.  There was a chain hanging from the device inside the car and you pulled it to open the front and let the rushing air makes it pass.  Mom had the honors and gave it a pull.  Water came spewing out almost like from a showerhead all over her.  She was pretty soaked we all laughed and assumed there was a malfunction on the first try.  She tried again with the same result.  We quickly learned that you couldn’t drive very fast or the pressure of the air passing through was too great and it just blew out the water rather than a fine mist. 

We slowed down and then slowed down some more.  Finally it would work at about 30 miles an hour, sort of.  Of course we were driving all the way to California and had to be back in a week so that speed would get us maybe to Midland and back, not exactly what we had in mind.  There was the small problem of the other cars wanting to go much faster also.  Even at the slower speed it didn’t do the trick as promised.  It just made the car into a steam bath.  You couldn’t tell if you were wet with the sweat or that darn mist from the infernal machine.  We finally laughed about it.  What else could we do?  Dad took it off at the next rest stop and wanted to junk it but mom insisted that he keep and and work on it when we got home. It was her idea and she wasn’t about to give up on it that easy.  Moms can be very stubborn.

We finished that trip the old fashioned way with all the windows down and the hot wind coming in to dry off the sweat.  Naturally we all got bad chapped lips and sunburns from the hot winds.  But heck after a while you adjust and after all  you are seeing things you never get to see at home.  There were the real mountains, big and they even had snow caps on the top of them still in the middle of summer.  We drove all  the way to California on that trip and went to Sequoia and Yosemite Parks.  I have somewhere old pictures of us driving through one of those giant redwood trees.  My brother and I most have been a handful for lots of that trip arguing about who was intruding on who’s space.  I didn’t want him touching me because that just made everything even hotter.  We didn’t have all those hand held games and electronic gizmos that the kids do today and certainly not videos they can watch while you drive through boring scenery.  I love lots of the scenery in the mountains and even in the deserts sometimes.  But that flat sagebrush land could get really old to me.  Mom loved it all though.  I swear she would get all excited about just seeing sorgham crops growing in the fields.  She was the compleat traveler.

The red blood cell and the sperm are the only two cells that don’t have the complete dna record to recaptitulate themsleves in your body.  The red cells need bone marrow to be replicated and the sperm has to join with an egg before it can rejuvenate.


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Filed under Culture, family, geography

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