Sunday, December 6, 2009

Family Vacation

Yellowstone River -- 1950's

Hang out with us on the porch in Grover long enough and you will get to hear the unending argument between Dangerous and Utah about who had it the toughest growing up. The argument goes something like this. Utah tells everyone still listening that all he had to ride was a three speed bike with hand brakes. In his usual indignant tone, Dangerous immediately starts raving about his single speed bike with a coaster brake. Utah counters with the hand-me-down Benjamin air rifle he inherited from his older brother. Dangerous instantly tells the bored audience that all he had was a Daisy pump, and usually couldn't afford the "bb's" to shoot. The discussion gets really loud when the argument turns to family vacations. Utah talks about visiting Disney Land only once, while Dangerous explains to the captive audience that at 63 he still hasn't made the pilgrimage. As you can probably tell, neither one of them actually had it all that bad, but they love the continuing argument.

Since the camping, hiking, and riding season is pretty much over for the year, I asked Dangerous to show me pictures from his family vacations when he was a kid. Without hesitation, he pulled out stacks and stacks of old black and whites taken in the 1950's. According to Dangerous, the big family vacation each year was the annual Yellowstone River fishing trip. We aren't talking Yellowstone National Park, but the Yellowstone River in Duchesne County.

Most summers Dangerous' dad loaded the family up into their 1953 Ford Sedan and drove the 100 miles or so to the Yellowstone. Unlike Utah's family trips there wasn't a motel with pool and restaurant waiting at the end of the drive. Dangerous and his family stayed in a tar-paper cabin without running water or indoor plumbing. If you believe him, Dangerous never saw the inside of a motel or sit-down restaurant until after he graduated from college. Hard to believe, but that's the way he tells the story.

Typical Family Easter Outing

Dangerous and family didn't exactly travel in style. There weren't any bus, train, boat, or air plane trips. Everyone got in the family sedan with all the food, camping equipment, and other family and friends. In a pinch the old ford served as a camper. According to Dangerous, his father never bothered to pitch a tent on many of their fishing expeditions. Dad slept in the backseat while Dangerous crowded under the steering wheel in the front. By the way, can you pick Dangerous out in the picture above?

Tail Gate Cooking

According to Dangerous, there weren't many fast food restaurants around when he was a kid. While traveling, they didn't stop at McDonald's for a happy meal. Dangerous' dad simply pulled over and broke out the white gas, Coleman stove. They usually cooked on the tail gate of the truck, and sat in the wind and dirt to eat. They never went anywhere without the coffee pot you see perched on the stove in the back of the truck. With Dangerous' father and friends, the coffee pot was the focal point of all outdoor activities. Again, do you recognize Dangerous in the picture? I will give you a hint. He isn't the one lying under the truck and neither am I.

Outdoor Swimming Pool

Where Dangerous' family vacationed, there weren't a lot of planned or scheduled activities. You didn't reserve a tee time nor buy an IMAX Theater ticket because there weren't any golf course or movie theaters around. Since motels were outside the budget, any swimming was in the local lake or river. Dangerous' Mom is the middle swimmer enjoying the cold Fremont Lake water in Wyoming.

Preparing to Fish

Dangerous will tell you that the destination and purpose of most family vacations was to find a place where his father could fish. I am not sure what's in the cup, but I suspect that Dangerous' father Tom wasn't recharging his batteries with water or pop. Tom was an avid fisherman who kept the family constantly supplied with trout. While most people consider them a delicacy, Dangerous to this day won't eat trout. He tells me that his father cooked them often and every way imaginable. According to Dangerous, he could smell them cooking a mile away from home when walking home from elementary school. He always tried to con his mother into cooking him a hamburger to avoid having to eat more trout. Notice the fly rod at Tom's side. He won it on a punch board at one of his local coffee stops. Dangerous has the rod proudly hanging in his sheep camp. Ask him to show it to you, but be prepared for a long winded speech about how he hates trout.

A Chip Off the Old Block

I am sure you have fond memories of your family vacations. I would love to hear about them!! Drop me a comment or two and share your memories with me and others.

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