Tag Archives: vacations with kids

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).


Finally, the Mountains And No Surfboards 5

29px Volkswagen T1 (initially still with „dire...
29px Volkswagen T1 (initially still with „direction indicators“), seen in Altenbeken, Germany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From Mom’s journal:

July 3, 1970

Old pickup slowed traffic to 30 MPH on open highway. We were behind a Continental Trailways bus so we could see anything until we were able to pass it. We were traveling about 65 MPH when a VW bus full of hippies flashed past us. Their curtains were caught in the door. Texas license plate. Surprising not to see a surfboard on top. But then I realize we haven’t seen any surfboards since leaving Houston.

A car loaded to the max with colored people pulled onto the highway going about 35 and slowed us all down until we could get around them. The road is winding so this was not easy. Thick trees crowd along the roadside. The road is rough. We must slow to 30 in the small towns, which are few.

Not quite to Birmingham and it seems we are traveling through miles of nothing. Not even any rest stops for trucks. The big rigs cram beneath underpasses to sleep in the middle of the day. In Birmingham we stopped at a McDonald’s for hamburgers. (1.81) Took us a good hour to get through the city. They really need a highway around it for through travelers.

Mileage 52,414 Easily 100 degrees at 1:30 bought 13.4 gallons for $5.20. Took US 59 past Gadsden to Springville and stopped for groceries in Bay Springs, Alabama $2.00 included a chicken, potatoes, corn, bananas. There are pretty hills and we found a private camper park where I could cook the chicken for lunch. Jon and Jeff fished in the pretty lake. Becky swam. We are officially 1,019 miles from home. The park is lovely but there were no doors or curtains on the toilet/showers house. The tremendous heat is intolerable.

9:50 AM on July 4. Entering Georgia and it smells bad. Had to stop and get a new radiator cap for $2.33 in the first little town. Cave Springs.

Driving in valleys and then along ridges, all the landscape is bright green and lush. When we passed two silos and a dairy barn with black and white Holstein remind me of Iowa. How I miss Iowa. Rome, Georgia the temperature is 106. We stopped at a new Gulf station. 16.5 gallons for $6.60. We tried to stop at a restaurant but it was closed for July 4th. Found a little place not far down the road. We got barbecue to eat in the car. Bad. The coleslaw was warmer than the beef. Rotten cabbage. But it is gusty outside and the road is winding. I remind the children that I can only take so much of washing and re-washing to get the sauce out of all our clothes. I can see this isn’t going to be good. Sauce everywhere. I’m not feeling too good. I discovered I have some infected bug bites.  I’m going to have to stay at a hotel overnight to recover. Robbie isn’t happy with me.

We call ahead to a Holiday Inn but they are full.

Robbie called our friend Jack Innes to see if he could reserve the night for us at a hotel in North Carolina.

We tried to make good time but every town we drove through had celebrations and roads closed so there were a lot of detours. In Commerce, Georgia we found a filling station with “free” coffee and cokes for a 25 cent donation. We entered South Carolina at 4.05 PM (time changed to 1 hour ahead). It was a short drive through the tip of the state. As we entered North Carolina up in the mountains we got stuck behind a big truck going 15 MPH because of the steep grade.

Finally made it to Hendersonville, N.C.  Elevation 2,130 ft. at the Eastern Continental Divide. Ate at a Dairy Queen ($2.40) The Innes’ persuaded us to stay with them. Stayed Saturday and Sunday at their house. I’m finally able to sleep without insects.

The sun has set in mountained west

Fingers of light pierce through trees

And fading give way to rainbow hues

Bird songs mute the closing way

And night sounds bloom to end the day

Mary Louise Thompson