In 1964, when I was 11, my family (Mom, Dad, Older sis, Younger bro & sis (twins), all six of us, bought a new VW bus that my dad semi-converted into an RV with a small kitchen/cooking area in the back hatch. We stuck two roof carriers on, bought a bunch of tents and sleeping bags, and were off. From the western suburbs of Philly, it was on to Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, around Chicago, and up to Wisconsin Dells, then over to Albert Lea State Park in MInnesota, over to Mitchell, SD to see the Corn Palace, and then on to Wall Drug, the Black Hills, and the Badlands. Mount Rushmore was cool, then into Wyoming, Yellowstone and it's wonders, Grand Tetons, Jackson Hole, Idaho's Mountains of the Moon, into Oregon with the John Day fossil beds, got the bus serviced at Bend, then down and touch our toes in the Pacific at Redwood City. Lost on a mountain logging road, we followed a huge logging truck back to civilization. Down the coast, visit Uncle in San Fran, then take in Hearst Castle, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and hit LA late at night. A 19c cheeseburger at an early MacDonalds. Next day, DISNEYLAND!!!!!! Exhausted. Then a night drive across the desert, approaching 1964-vintage Las Vegas at night. Stop along the main drag, Dad went in and blew 50 cents worth of nickels at the Frontier...Next day, Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, man that's a big dam. Next, Grand Canyon. Parents had been there on honeymoon 18 years earlier Had'nt changed much, they say. No time for the donkey ride down. Then up into Colorado, Mesa Verde, slide towards Kansas, realize that we only had three days left before school started. And about 12 dollars in cash. Put the pedal to the metal, stop at JC Penney in St Louis ('cause we had a charge card..) and get school clothes. Rush across KY, WV, and back finally in to PA, with one late afternoon to spare.... but we all loved it and I remember parts of the vacation as true as yesterday, even now almost 50 years later.
We took the Bus on one more cross country trip, a jaunt down into Mexico in 1966, and a quick buzz into Montreal for Expo 68, and a quick trip to Florida in, I think, 1969, to visit some folks we met in Mexico, each time camping and cooking in campgrounds. The older sister pooped out after Mexico, I think, and the younger sister missed the Florida trip. By 1970, the bus had pretty much had it. I think my dad sold it to my older sister's husband or something...
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