Non-stop gas pee and go.

Road trip.
Almost every summer our family made a road trip from Los Angeles all the way to Wilson, Oklahoma. Non-stop. Approximately 1500-miles. Usually during the month of August. The hottest month of the summer. August was the only time available for my dad’s vacation. He was low man on the seniority totem pole at his work. We made several trips starting back in 1948 each summer until 1964. My dad for the most part was the only driver. Yes, for approximately 24-hours straight he drove us to Oklahoma from L A. Wilson was my parents ‘motherland.’ They moved from there march of 1941 to southern California. Okie migrants looking for new and different opportunities. Yep, they found it.
These August road trips took us mostly southeast crossing the Colorado River at Yuma and followed a southern route along the lower routing of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and making a left turn north at Brownfield Texas headed northeast to Wichita Falls Texas then north over the narrow Red River bridge up into Wilson, Oklahoma.
Sounds easy? Seems routine? That’s a big Nope! First of all, there were six of us and sometimes seven in our little 1950 Ford four-door sedan. A car with absolutely no air conditioning. Just lots of open window time. We kids would be packed in amongst bags of food and jugs of water. A bit cramp. My older brother and sister would take possession of the window seats leaving my younger sister and myself to just make the best of it. Trying not to touch my older siblings or suffer loud complaint.
Next, there were NO Interstate highways back then. Mainly narrow two lane roads. Sometimes driving over gravel roads where they were constructing some wider Interstate highways. Slow driving and a bit dusty.
Did I mention driving the southern route? August was the month of monsoon rains. Heavy rains with lots of lightning. When it wasn’t raining there would often be dust storms. So dusty you couldn’t see two feet in front of the car. Cool huh?
Arizona and Texas must have generated toll revenue by issuing speeding tickets. I can remember my dad being pulled over on occasion by some state trooper claiming excessive speed. And once a ticket was issued the trooper said it had to be paid before leaving the county. Paid in cash none the less. So, we had to drive back into town to the
courthouse and pay the fine.
I mentioned these trips were non-stop. Right? So, the only stopping was at the gas station and just enough time to use the bathroom, my dad get another cup of coffee, myself quickly guzzle down a very fizzy Coke, jump back into the car, and begin to belch for the next mile or so.
Then there was this, my dad must had become a bit bored with the long trip himself. Out on a lonesome stretch of road he would say, “I wonder if this car would really get up to a hundred-MPH?” So off we went into Indy-500 mode. Then my mom would say, now Carl slow this thing down before you get another ticket. It would be two in the morning and we couldn’t see anything for twenty miles ahead.
But anyway, we would drive through the southern deserts of Arizona, through the southern mountains of New Mexico, and drive through the very humid cotton fields of west Texas. We never drove the northern route over the famed Route-66 because it took us too far north of our destination, Wilson, Oklahoma. Home of my grandmother and her terrific cooking and nearby Lake Murray. The visits to Lake Murray almost always included ample picknicks and a big ice-cold watermelon. So, Such were our summers.

Published by OkieMan

I come from a family who migrated from the parched red dirt Plaines of southern rural Oklahoma. Migrating to blue collar working class community of East Los Angeles. There is where I was born. I am Mr. Writermelon. I can only write what my grammar and spell checker allows. I am neither profound nor profane. Boy howdy! Send comment to:

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