While my Mom and Sister were packing and looking through some of my Grandpa’s things (long story there, he’s been suffering through some rough times, potential dementia, a fall resulting in hip surgery) they came across multiple copies of my Grandmother’s journal detailing their Route 66 road trip out west. My Grandmother (maternal) Carol and her mother Ocella were avid “journal-ers”. My great-grandmother had shelves upon shelves detailing every little moment in her life, whether it was just a line saying what she ate that day or the Braves score to whole pages about her garden, visits with family and even their own travels in their motor home.
When I got home, I read her 27-day, over 15 pages, story of their travels. There were a lot of giggles and a few face palms as I read my conservative, southern baptist, rarely out of Georgia, grandmother’s daily details of their trip. As you’ll see below, the subtitle of her “report” is…The daily account of Carol and Frank DeLoach’s first and maybe only trip by automobile to the west coast.
They knew they were stepping out of their comfort zone to embark on an adventure of a life time, and while there were some less magical moments, like showing up in Vegas during a boxing match and trying to drive the strip and over paying for a motel, because of it. But then she portrays truly breath taking views that made the whole trip worthwhile.
“I can’t describe the majesty and beauty and size of the mountains in Northern Nevada. They rival the Grand Tetons to us. For miles you see nothing but flat land, then suddenly a huge jagged mountain range cuts off your view. You drive and drive and drive and all of sudden you’re in the middle of the mountain range. Then it levels out and you do it again.” – Carol DeLoach
I can’t wait to visit the places they did, stand where they stood and take in the awe of it all. Like the Harold Warp Pioneer Village in Minden, Nebraska, where there’s “Something to fascinate every member of the family. The only museum of progress in the USA where you can see how America grew. More than 50,000 items placed in chronological order of development from 1830 to the present.” Or eating at the Moulin Rouge restaurant in San Francisco for breakfast like they did, and hoping that the same Mr. and Mrs. Lee still own it 18 years later.
They were sure to still stop for church on Sunday mornings and meet as many people as they could. My grandmother never met a stranger. She loved listening and asking questions, and truly getting to know a person. While in Flatonia, TX she saw a “grizzled old man” on a bicycle pulling a small trailer while they were driving and he just so happened to stop at the same restaurant as them, Grumpy’s, she stopped to ask him how far he was traveling on his bike. He was riding from Roswell, NM all the way to Orlando, FL for his 7th Senior Olympics. He made his way traveling about 70 miles a day. Most wouldn’t have taken the time of day to get this man’s story, but she did, and what an interesting story it was.
I can’t wait to follow in her footsteps, but in a “no return ticket” kind of way. I need to get better at chronicling our adventure, obviously blogging has helped. But the little green journal above has nothing but empty pages that starting today I’m going to fill. Whether like the women before me, I only write a line or two, if one day is less interesting than the last. You think you’ll remember every single moment, but the days are already starting to run together, especially the busier we get.
I’ve been lucky to learn from and be raised by some of the most incredible women this side of the Mississippi, from my Great-grandmother’s fiery spirit, my Grand-mother’s constant chase of knowledge, my Mother’s fun and out-going personality and the ability to bend instead of break with change, and the unconditional love of my big Sister, that is there no matter what. Through these women I’ve become me. This adventure will bring me closer to each of them, maybe not in actual physical proximity, which will be a struggle at first for those of us left, but when you’re born with this perfect mixture for a gypsy soul, you have to honor it because to stay still would be a waste. Some of us are born with wings and others have roots, as my sister so perfectly described it one day, and it’s time for this Robyn to fly.