Tag Archives: Howard Johnson

My Mother’s Waterloo 16

From My Mother’s Journal 1970:

My mother (on right) and her sister Kay
Saturday August 8

We arrived in Waterloo, Iowa by the afternoon and went to a Howard Johnson’s Motel to rest and get cleaned up. The kids loved the indoor heated pool. I called sister and she said she’d see us at Meeting tomorrow morning. I don’t know why Kay doesn’t want us to come over tonight. She knew we were coming, I called from Chicago.

Sunday August 9

After the meeting at Downing Street Chapel (Plymouth Brethren church) we went out to eat with Ann and Al Nesbit. Then we went to Kay’s. We put the camper in her back yard. The apple trees are loaded with apples. Went to the night meeting. The kids love to see the ponies. Kay was fussing about the ponies getting in the yard and eating the apples. Too many will make them founder. (Get really sick)

Monday, August 10

This morning we first went to visit my mother in the nursing home. I don’t really like the place but as mother is unable to walk at all now, there is not much choice. Dad takes good care of her.

The Lockard’s invited us for supper. They had a big corn roast in their yard beside the river. They dig a big pit and put the fresh ears of corn in and it slow roast all day. By evening (they had invited several families) everyone gathered with their pot luck dishes to go with the corn and burgers. What a wonderful time, seeing a lot of old friends I’ve known since childhood. The kids were invited by some friends nearby for tomorrow.

August 11

Jeff was not invited with Jon and Becky. Apparently they were going out on a boat and to swim and ski on the river.

Wednesday August 12

Went to visit an old school friend who has a store and spent a few minutes reminiscing about old school friends.

In the afternoon we visited the nursing home where my mother is again. Dad visits her Monday, Wednesday, and Friday every week and makes sure she has clean clothes. She is very weak and doesn’t remember the kids’ names. 

Thursday August 13

We got up early and went out to visit the Lynchs on their pig farm, not far from Waterloo. It was mid-day for them as they get up before dawn to milk the cow and make sure all the livestock has food. The kids had a grand time jumping into the grain stored in the silo. They climbed to the top and jumped from the rafters. They had a new batch of baby pigs and it was hard to part the kids from the pigs. We made it back to Kay’s just in time to go out and eat with Kay’s in-laws.

The Lynch Family
Friday August 14

We packed up and went to see my father, he is looking well, though tired. We went back to Kay’s to eat lunch and help her husk corn, then went by to see Mother again and bid Dad goodbye.

Left Waterloo at 3:30. Mileage 58,176 filled tank with 17.13 gallons

Drove down to Gladbrook, Iowa to see the Lynchs again. Their two big dogs ran to greet us like we were old friends. The kids enjoyed the day yesterday. Today, they sent their son with us to lead the way to the Pine Lakes Park ($3.50) Ice (.75) groceries ($15.00)

We were able to park on a hill overlooking two lakes. We started a campfire and put the coffee on. The Lynchs joined us. They brought hotdogs and some hamburger meat to grill. It was great. Afterwards we roasted marshmallows. The moon hung over the lake like a painting.

Saturday August 15

We got up with sun but the sky soon clouded over. The Lynchs came and again brought some good breakfast meats and some ice-cold milk. After dishes we watched the kids work a paddle boat out on the lake. Then we took them swimming. By this time it was 1:30 and we hadn’t made up out mind if we should pull up and move to a park closer to a meeting hall or stay put. R voted to stay. So we went to town and got a small roast to barbecue, and some ice. After getting the grill started, the rain began. We moved the grill under the tarp and endured the smoky tent while we waited for it to heat up. It was touch-n-go avoiding the rain and getting the cooking done.

After supper the rain seemed to worsen so we packed up and left, rather than go through another night of leaking canvas and soaked bedding.

We made it to Des Moines (used 17 gallons of gas) and stopped at a small motel(Beacon $18.54) just finishing up a fire-remodeling. However, new paint and carpet did nothing to remedy the smell of scorched furniture.

Sunday August 16

We survived the night of heavy smoke smell and went to Ramada Inn the next morning for breakfast ($9.18). We went on to the Central Gospel Chapel (Des Moines) and met many people. They showed us what their Daily Vacation Bible School children had been doing and there some pretty handicraft projects. A couple from the church took us out for lunch. Noticed that the large department stores are open. This is unusual as it is Sunday.

We drove on, using our maps and signs for Nine Eagles State Park and got there about 3:40. Despite all the signs leading to it, when we pulled up the sign on the gate said “closed”. A guy came out of a guard-house and said it had been closed all summer but was opening up again next week. This was really aggravating as there was no other sign leading to the park to say “closed”. We needed to air out the wet trailer and get ice for the milk and bacon in the ice box.

We drove on to another park but it looked desolate. There were no other campers so we didn’t trust it. It is always good to trust your instincts on things like this. We figured there was something very wrong or there would be people. Perhaps the bathrooms were disgusting (as we’ve experienced at other campgrounds).

Entered Missouri at 4:10 P.M. Stopped at Cameron, MO at a small motel (Tiara Inn). It would be more economical than the larger ones but just as nice. The stay and the supper and breakfast we charged ($31.82).


Viva La Icky Snails 12

From My Mother’s 1970 Journal:

July 27

On Monday morning R called a dentist and got a 9:15 appointment. The dentist drilled into the tooth to relieve the pressure (it was a tooth our dentist at home had worked on and had anticipated trouble). Also gave R some prescriptions. Very nice young man, R said. What was so surprising was – no charge from dentist. This is a real nice thing as we are on a budget and dentistry would surely be expensive.

R has gone to get ice. (.90) This H. Johnson’s is one of the nicest we’ve ever been in. Surely the most comfortable beds we’ve found yet. It is better than the one in N.Y though it was $5.00 more per night.

While waiting for R, I spent the morning writing letters – and the children wrote a few postcards before Jon went swimming and Becky and Jeff watch T.V. Jeff is upset that he can’t go swimming because of his mastoidectomy last May. He is not to get his ear wet. He did go in at the pond in Boxford, Mass with his cousins, but kept his ear dry.

I discovered I could not get into my bathing suit. That was a shock. I knew I was getting fatter but I didn’t know I was that fat.

Left motel at 1 in afternoon. Ate lunch (of ice cream – $3.70) right before we left. They did not charge us for extra 2 hours. This motel has been here 5 years and was as clean and new-feeling inside as if it was just built. On highway saw a sign on a farm “Bought, and Prayed For”. The name on the sign was Clarence & Louise Currier” – the sign makes me happy. It was such a neat and tidy farm with a barn-typed building that was about 3 stories high, each story with open windows. We don’t know what this is – perhaps for hay.

Now we are stopped, and gazing at an amazing sight. Logs about 4′ long – thousands of them – floating downstream on a swift current. It is a wide river, near Skowhegan, Maine. I think it was the Kennebec River. So far we haven’t seen where the logs are coming from.

Jeff says he has noticed a lot of homes have moose or deer antlers over their doors. We’ve also noticed almost every other car is pulling a camper-trailer. Isn’t that something?

Today we’ve been on the road a full four weeks. Mileage 55,510 Got 10.2 gallons at 41.5 cents per in Farmington, Maine. Stopped at a few tourist attractions.

After a twisting mountain road through very pretty country we entered New Hampshire. The highways are much smoother here. We are seeing very pretty white birches and stop to take some pictures. A lake we passed stunk. It was filled with gunk and algae. Why was it so polluted?

Stopped for supper groceries ($10.55) and then at White Birches private Campground.($2.50) This could be very nice – but there is no hot water, and the restrooms stink. One shower for men and one shower for women.

Found some dead birch trees and cut them up to take home for souvenirs.

The restrooms are not tolerable, so we only stayed the one night and left at 11 A.M. on

July 28

Highway 2 is really a travel trailer highway. New Hampshire’s very much like a resort place. Very neat and picturesque. People from Florida we talked to in campground last night said the Adirondack  Mountains in N. Y. were so crowded. Campers would sit all night in cars waiting for someone to leave campgrounds.

I can’t understand people coming into a campground after 11 P.M. but 3 separate groups showed up last night and camped so close to us that I could hear them talking very clearly. One was a group of boy scouts – nice clean kids. They were just lucky to find a spot late at night with the thousands of campers on the highways.

Ice (.75) At St. Johnsburg, VT. We stopped at the Maple Museum. It was lunch time so factory was closed from 12  to 1. We went to the gift shop and got souvenirs. ($3.51)

We have now been across the Great Smoky Mountains, Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian Mountains, Endless Mountains, Pocono Mountains, White Mountains, Greene Mountains, and let’s see where we go from here, right?

There was no hamburger place in St. Johnsburg so we drove to Montpelier on a twisty mountain road. Finally in Burlington, VT we stopped and ate lunch. It was 4 P.M. There was a Howard Johnson’s so we checked in because it was raining. ($38.10) Had a beautiful room and comfortable beds.

July 29

After breakfast (we waited one hour for it) we packed up and left. On highway 89 driving up to the Canadian border noticed large white dome things on mountains. We think they might be radar or observatory things. Went off here to go to St. Albans to get lunch stuff. We’ve noticed up here in north how highways are carved out of solid rock layers and it is interesting to note the various colors in the earth strata.

Left 89 to St. Albans, VT and ate at the Cornerstone Restaurant. Excellent food and service there. Perhaps the best lunch we’ve had all along the way. Mileage 55,751. 6.8 gallons at 43.9 cents in St. Albans. Exchanged two $50 American Express checks for $103.00 Canadian.

Very neat town but had to leave highway 89 to get to it. Signs say “EXIT (SORTIE)” and “NO U TURN (PAS DE VIRAGE EN U)”

Had to unload my suitcase to show customs the car and trailer title plus the Insurance certificate. “ARRET – STOP!” and “LENTEMENT – SLOW” and TERRAIN (Private) DRIVE.

Notes on Montreal: several bridges. Pont this and that. We thought Pont was a new thing not the word for bridge. We drove across the same one many times because we couldn’t figure out which way to go. Sadly, it was a toll bridge. (5 X .50)

Finally found St. Catherine’s Park to camp ($2.00) We were issued a spot way out in the middle of a field under a punishing hot sun. St. Lawrence River runs along this campground. Public swim beach at the entrance, filled with people. The park is hot and dry and no campfires allowed. Heat wave is on. 90 degrees in the shade. Unhitched trailer and opened top. Then drove into city of Montreal.

Went to Eatons Department Store and got 2 china cups and saucers as souvenirs. ($7.52) Problem now is how to keep them from breaking on the trip home. Back to car as we only had 35 minutes to shop. Drove to LaRoma Cafe for delicious Italian supper. Becky just had to have the snails. She shared. Ugh, chewy car tires with garlic. I suppose they are great to people who like snails.  ($27.70) Back on street noticed many policemen on corners. A mounted policeman was very picturesque. A lot of folks walking on street. They didn’t look afraid of thugs, etc. This is a nice change. The parking was expensive ($2.15) for 5:45 to 6:15. We saw the Metro Underground subway but didn’t have time to take a ride.

It is still very hot when we get back to our campsite at 8:15. The gnats are driving us crazy. They along with the heat are almost too much to bear. The smell from the St. Lawrence seaway is like wafts of dead and rotting stuff. There was a swift current at one side and we could hear the roar of the water rushing past from where we were. Finally temperature got down to 75 but with a humidity of 91 – it was as bad as Houston!

July 30

In the A.M. things were no better – still too hot and too many gnats – wo we got ice at the camp store ($1.00 for two dinky pieces) and started out with no breakfast. The park is on an island and as we rounded the curve in the road we could see that the drawbridge over the seaway was up and an ocean liner was being taken through the boat locks. We was it being lowered to the level of the St. Lawrence River. The french holler “GET BACK” in french and not too nicely. All this without our morning coffee!

We finally cross and find a little restaurant – after coffee – all seems better with the world, even as we sit here reeking of bug spray.

The buildings in Montreal seem clean-cut and shiny. There are a lot of tiny parks and spots where flowers bloom. All the restrooms we were in were clean with not a bit of toilet paper or paper towel on the floors. A lot of concrete bridges along the road. I noticed in the suburbs that people had locked mailboxes. This is a good idea. We read in the paper that the mailmen were not delivering mail in the 90 degree heat. Not like our postal service, huh? Rain or shine, sleet or snow, etc.

So down the road, and down the road we went.

The interstate highway 20 out of Montreal towards Toronto appears to be much like the highway between Houston and Beaumont – flat and smoggy. The radio announcer has just announced that the fish in the St. Lawrence River contain high levels of mercury – and unsafe to eat. Jon and Jeff couldn’t fish anyway. The water was too wild. Gas here is HIGH – 45 cents a gallon, however, their gallons are larger than ours. Liters??

So finally out of French land – though out dealings with the French were cordial.

Lunch, trailer stuff, and lock for gas cap ($12.02).

There are so many hippies wanting rides along here. Dirty, unkempt, smelly hippies. We noticed a great many of them in Montreal. Probably all of them filthy draft dodgers from the U.S. We also noticed on a downtown bldg that the Canadian Quebec flag was pristine but the U.S. flag was dirty and wrapped around the mast. Are they trying to be obnoxious? Don’t they know how we feel about that?

Hippies Try to Invade Peaceful Setting: KaPOW! 10

The Vacation in 1970 in My Mother’s Words:

July 18

Ate breakfast at a PA Dutch diner “Zinns.” Left motel at 10:45 A.M. Driving through many small towns. The thing most noticeable is the cleanliness, no trash blowing across highway or smashed along curbs in the towns. We saw a lot of signs advertising cabinet makers. Passed a large factory for kitchen cabinets. The farms and homes look neat and well-kept with lots of flowers around them.

Many towns in this area end in  “ville” like ‘Shoemakersville, or Pottsville‘, some end in “burg” as in “Millersburg” or “Gettysburg.” Pottsville is high in the mountains with beautiful views (I-81) but terrible road surface. Passed a coal mine on the left. Highway smoothed out but 26 miles to go to Wilkes-Barre. Stopped for a “so-so” lunch and got directions to Mehoopany, PA to visit with Pop Underwood (The Underwoods live next door to us on Grammar Street). We stopped at a small country store to ask and the lady knew just where we were going, knew him in fact.

Mileage 54,464 GAS 14.3 gallons @40.9 cents =$5.84

We drove a winding mountain road (before Mehoopany) and finally got to his cabin on the river. We stayed there this night and all of Sunday (July 19). Really enjoyed it. Clear river, kids swam and fished. Becky got bit by a dragonfly nymph. I’ve never heard of such a thing. It drew blood. Pop took them for a motor boat ride. I enjoyed cooking for him.

July 20

11:30 A.M. Sad to leave Pop Underwood all alone up there. It is such a beautiful property up in the mountains like that, I can understand why he spends the summers here and not in Houston a block away from his son’s family. They are all so busy during summer – not home most of the time.

We were surprised to learn that Pop’s neighbor shot the tires off a hippy van when a group of them tried to enter the property. It isn’t surprising they tried to get onto the property. They are all looking for the free handout, etc. It is very quiet up there. Peaceful. But if the hippies come it won’t be.

We traveled into New York and then into New Jersey, then back into New York for overnite. Kids went swimming. R went to the washateria. Stayed at Howard Johnson’s and ate there. Room was okay but too expensive. Had to walk in mud to the restaurant. They should watch this. Too much trouble will spell problems for them in future.

Jon’s Birthday at Smithsonian 1970 8

From my mother’s journal 1970:

July 13

Mileage: 53,713 Gas is .41.9 cents a gallon!

Left Greenwood Hills at 10:30 AM on the way to Washington D.C. for the day. It’s Jon’s birthday. He wanted seafood. Daddy Thompson taught Jon to fish. Daddy T’s joke – he asks “Do you know what kind of diet I’m on?” You reply “No”. His answer “A seafood diet. I eat all the food I see.” The restaurant was O’ Donnells in the city. (charged $20.00)

The parking is not easy. It is very crowded. We walked to the capital building, saw the Library of Congress, and part of the Smithsonian. A lot of interesting exhibits at the Smithsonian – the Hope Diamond, Charles Lindbergh’s plane, a moon rock, and a lot of animals at the Natural History Museum. Couldn’t begin to see everything. I think it would take more than a week. We’re coming back tomorrow. All the museums are free. That was surprising. Did get some ice cream at one of the cafeteria’s to celebrate Jon’s birthday some more. (1.50)It is very stuffy and hot today.

We leave at closing time – 5:30. The traffic is confusing. We drive in circles because we can’t make out the road signs for a way out of town. Finally Robbie pulled into a service station to ask for directions – it is in a rough part of town. All colored. A policeman with his hand on his billy club came into the station, staring at us. He looks as if he is wondering why we are here – out-of-place – the only white faces around. A sign on the window at the station said “No cash kept after dark – for safety” That sounds serious. This indicates the policeman’s concern.

We saw colored GHETTOS. We’ve never seen anything like that. It is shocking! Drove out Baltimore Freeway but realized it was the wrong way. Had to turn around yet again (Robbie is mad). Came to 705 to go back to Greenwood Hills.

Stopped at Howard Johnson’s for supper. We are exhausted.

Tuesday July 14 A.M

Gnats are thick around the campsite. The air is very still as if it might rain. We head out for more sight-seeing at the Smithsonian. Stop at Howard Johnson’s for breakfast(8.11). Delicious. The smog and smell of smoke is prevalent outside the restaurant (in Chambersburg, PA). Stop for gas before we get to D.C. because gas is cheaper – 39.9 cents a gallon. Got to the city about 11:00. R let us out at the Smithsonian while he went to find a parking spot. Parking is the biggest pain in the neck here. No parking anywhere nearby. Who planned this place? No parking at all. Probably a million visitors a week and no place to park!!!

We waited a long time. Finally R got back to us. Apparently he found a space 12 long city blocks away. (we know because we had to walk back to it at 6 PM). The temperature isn’t nearly as hot today as yesterday. Good cloud cover but thankfully no rain. We had to miss many exhibits because of lack of time. Every person in the US should see the different museums here, at least once in a lifetime. Everything but the parking shows good planning and care.  No elderly person could walk all day at these museums and then 12 blocks back to the parking spot – much of it uphill. We bought lunch and some souvenirs ($5.45) while here. Got supper at a Mexican restaurant but it was too much as we weren’t that hungry. (13.35)

Took lots of pictures. The original Smithsonian building looks like a fairy’s castle.

We stopped in Riverdale to see John and Carolyn Reinhardt but only John is there. He seems to enjoy living in the Washington D.C. area.

Ice, groceries, crushed ice $3.22

Wednesday July 15

R got a tool and worked on car while Becky and I hand-washed clothes. I separated the rest of the clothes. We cashed a $50 check. All went to the washateria. 7 Loads of clothes (3.00). Began to rain, hard. Sharp lightning – put out the lights just as our clothes were dried. Whew! Lunch (3.62) When we got back to camp a man Robbie knew came over and invited us to go visit. He lived at the top of the mountain yet had 3″ of water in his basement from that day’s rain. It rained all night. Awake listening to rain drip into tent top. 



Clams Make Everybody Happy 6

From My Mother’s Journal, July 6:

Left at 10:45 AM traveling along the Blue Ridge Parkway – a scenic drive. Lots of pictures taken. Stopped at the first place we could for souvenirs. Jeff got a book about rocks ($1.60) Becky bought some things and told us she’d pay us back. She owes us $4.08. We drove a while and stopped and picked up a few rocks for Jeff. Stopped at Crabtree Meadows for lunch. It was good. ($11.25). Stopped at a museum about North Carolina Miners. Saw three “long-hairs” lolling in the grass beside the highway, they had been inquiring about a job at the museum.

Gas is expensive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Almost 50 cents a gallon! Stopped for worms for Jon’s fishing at Boone, NC.

Stopped at the Julian Price Memorial, the museum, and park ($2.00). We really enjoyed the cool weather at this park. A little bear showed up behind Jon as he was fishing. Becky was swimming in the lake when the bear appeared next to the bait that Jon was using for his fish. She said he jumped into the water fully clothed when he caught a glimpse of the bear. I think the bear was more interested in seeing if Jon had any fish, which he didn’t, so the bear left. No electricity or showers here. We rigged up the portable shower (cold water hose) for Becky and me to take our daily shower. We decided to stay here a while as it was only $2.00 a night.

July 8

Left the Julian Price Park at 11:25 AM. The Rhododendron are beautiful. We see only one genuine hillbilly in all the state. He was walking along the highway with a staff like he was used to walking from place to place. The last park was so pleasant we would have stayed longer if there were hot showers. Stopped at Cherry Hill shop for souvenirs ($2.15) and coffee (.47). Lunch at Bluff Lodge. Stopped in Cherokee, NC as we usually do. We love the Indian ceremonies but don’t take the time to explore as we normally would. At Mabry Mill we watch corn being ground the old fashioned way. Streams were diverted through a wood trough to turn the old wooden wheel. We visited the blacksmith shop. The blacksmith was forging some scissors. We stopped at the souvenir shop and I bought a spoon and some corn meal. Bought some post cards to send a thank you note to the Schleifs and to Jack Innes. At the end of a winding road we found Doughton Park.This park doesn’t look nearly as appealing at Price Park did. We only stay the one night.

July 9

The Parkway enters Virginia at 2:15 PM. We notice the beautiful orange wild flowers mixed in with yellow and white. I don’t know what they are. This Parkway, though not so smooth here, must be the most beautiful road in the world. Only saw one group of colored the entire time. I don’t know if they try to keep them out. I don’t know. The speed limit is 45 MPH and the road is litter free. The flowers look like they were planned but I know they are wild flowers. Park rangers patrol around the clock. The car uses almost twice as much gas in these mountains and hills than on the flat highways. Plus the gas is more expensive. What a way to run things, right?

We stayed overnight at a Holiday Inn in Roanoke, VA ($27.56) Washed hair, etc. Kids went swimming. Ate supper here. ($15.97)

July 9

As we start out again Jon starts a huge fight with Becky and Jeff. Both Becky and Jeff crying. They are unhappy and saying they want to go home. Robbie sides with Jon. I don’t know what the fight was about and I don’t care. Just wish they would get along. Stopped for lunch at Howard Johnson’s (11.60) Becky orders clams – we all ordered the clams. Seems to make everyone happy. Got some good apple candy made in VA.

Next stop is Natural Bridge Caverns. ($8.10) There are hymns playing from somewhere taken from right out of our hymnal, it seems. The long walk around the cavern and the bridge was worth it. The kids seem to be more calm and we are all in a general good mood. Post cards and drinks (.52)

Mileage 53,333. Mt. Crawford, VA 13.4 gal. $5.33

Cajun Soup and the Interesting Thing about Mississippi in 1970 3

English: The Horace Wilkinson Bridge in Baton ...
English: The Horace Wilkinson Bridge in Baton Rouge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From my mother’s journal(1970):

The roads here in Louisiana are so much nicer now than they were when Robbie and I first visited twenty years ago. There are people here called “Cajuns” (KAY’ – juns), which means they are part Canadian French. They have an interesting dialect. It’s fun to listen to them talk between themselves. I hear things like “I gar-raan-tee!” which is supposed to indicate that they MEAN it.

We have good friends here and they are “wonderful-good” cooks, whether they are just cooking soup or a big crawfish boil. There are a lot of people with the last name ‘Hebert’ , pronounced “A-bear”. The Herberts we know are handsome and dark.

One of our favorite restaurants is Pat’s Seafood in Henderson, LA. But we don’t eat there this time because we are nowhere near it and so must keep moving on.

The woods along the road are real thick and lush. We are really noticing the absence of camping places. It’s getting on dark now and we do need a place to stay overnight. We see some campers have pulled into rest areas and roadside parks. There is not protection from bandits and such so we don’t understand how people can do it.

We’ve got to pull over because Becky noticed the gas tank is open, just as Jeff announced that the gas man left the “door” open.

We finally reach Lafayette. It’s only four hours from Houston but it seems a lot longer than that today. Mileage 51,749

We’ll stay at the Ramada Inn because there are no places to camp. Supper at Don’s Seafood is $18.29 for the five of us including tip. They have great crawfish. Never thought I’d ever eat such a thing but they’re good. A little like shrimp but with a richer flavor.

Tuesday June 30

Breakfast at the Howard Johnson’s at 9:30

Robbie balanced the load in the trailer better so it won’t sway as much. Jeff announced that Humble Oil is not Enco here but Esso. He is so smart for seven years old.

Filled the tank in the afternoon near Baton Rouge. 16.5 gallons for $7.10. Seems high. We pulled into a roadside park to eat some snacks and stretch legs. The roadside parks here are not as nice as the Texas ones.

Baton Rouge has a high bridge over the Mississippi River. Industry on one side and woods on the other. We turn to go directly to New Orleans and the highway here is awful. So bumpy. I suppose since they are working on the new Interstate 10 that they haven’t paid much attention to this old road.

We arrive in New Orleans just as the five o’clock traffic is homeward bound. I notice a pelican on the bridge in Gretna, La. It is supper time so we pulled into a place called Buck 49. Jon’s shrimp is better than Christy’s. My catfish is too strong. We take the tunnel at Belle Chaise. We arrived at Vernon Schlief’s and they had a surprise – An apartment for us to stay in – very nice two bedroom with air conditioning.

Wednesday, July 1

We went to the French Market. On the way there we saw about four fender-bender type accidents. At the quarter we had plenty to do: Perfume shop, souvenir shops, coffee shops, creole lunch.

Jackson’s Square. The Schliefs said there would be a lot of hippies there (almost part of the must-see tourist view) but we didn’t see that many. Those we did see looked miserably hot and uncomfortable. Probably all that hair. The Schliefs told us if they weren’t there it was because they were on Bourbon St where there has been many robberies and murders done by them.

The souvenirs and curios are so pretty to look at but much too expensive. Took in the Wildlife Museum in the French Quarter.

The day’s total came to $32.

We drove back to the Schlief’s before the five o’clock mess that we got into yesterday. The Schleifs are famous for their hospitality and it is true. They keep the apartments for missionaries that need a place to stay. They fed us well and wouldn’t let us pay for the apartment stay.

July 2

Up early but didn’t leave until 10:45. These kids are slow as pudding in a sieve. Drove over the Mississippi bridge and saw no accidents. On the other side we pulled into pastry shop and got jelly donuts, fried pies, and a soft loaf of bread while R cashed a $20 traveler’s check.

Took the Interstate 10 truck route up onto the big highway. As we drove we saw a group of wild-haired, dirty hippies thumbing a ride. No one would pick them up, surely.

At 12:25 we entered Mississippi. No comment from the kids as they were all asleep. The #59 freeway is long and smooth so far, but I have seen no rest stops or Howard Johnson’s. There aren’t even a lot of filling stations. I hope we make it on what little gas we have.

About four miles this side of Hattiesburg there is a little rest stop but it didn’t look like much so we kept on driving. Robbie only had one cup of coffee this morning so he sure is yawning. Hope we make it.

Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Bought 13.8 gallons for $5.65, and some lunch stuff so we could eat driving along. We turned off the good highway through Pachuta to Quitman to Clarke County State Park. Between Pachuta and Quitman the winding road was bound on both sides with ruts of deep red/orange dirt. The state park is primitive with a pretty lake with no place to boat or swim close to the camp grounds.

We decided to keep going.

Drove to Meridian, Mississippi. 4:15 PM Stopped at the only campground in the area. Private so it cost a dollar to stay. The restrooms are filthy. The camping area is noisy and dusty as it is very near the highway. We were able to pop the camper up and get set up to cook some supper on the camp stove. We kept a little fresh meat on the ice in the box and knew we’d have to cook it soon. The box drains the melted ice away and we saw it wasn’t draining much. Cooked the steaks. So good though a little gritty with all the dust. Beans from a can. It was enough.

Settled in for our first night in the camper. I was awake as people were walking their dogs until at least 12 and the big trucks were blasting past us all night.


Packed up and left at 7:45. We ate a good breakfast at the Howard Johnson’s. Mileage 52,227.0 Meridian Mississippi 13.3 gallons for $5.70. By 10 AM we were in Alabama on a two lane highway, which was very bumpy all the way to Tuscaloosa.

An interesting thing about Mississippi – We noticed an absence of colored drivers or of colored people anywhere. Now in Alabama they are everywhere. They tend to drive very slow on the busy highway where the speed limit is 70. This means sometimes we are in a long line of cars behind a slow car like that. It really is nerve-wrecking. I wouldn’t have thought anything of the lack of colored people in Mississippi except that once in Livingston, Alabama we got stuck behind a slow-moving car. I had a chance to take in all the well-manicured lawns and houses and saw the colored people tending them.

I thought about this.

We never had any help growing up or since but I do think a nice, neat home like what we see here is a thing of beauty and a joy forever.