The Farm Chronicles: The Great Western Tour

From time to time, I have referred to our 1963 Great Western Tour. This was a wonderful adventure to every state west of the Mississippi. It was far different than today. Roads were narrow. Gas stations were far apart. Facilities were primitive. People were friendly. A whole different world with a lot of amazing territory that hadn’t been “settled” or “domesticated” for all that long. If you can think back to your childhood and even remember the technology that not yet had been developed, it is an amazing time. Our trip was a big deal. It made several local newspapers when we returned in mid-July. I thought it would be interesting for you to journey back in time with me to this era as recounted by the Ravenna Record Courier .

“Mr. and Mrs. Carl Wilson and son Billy and Mr. and Mrs. Warren McCarthy, daughter Cathy and son Billy have returned from an 8,000 mile trip through the west. Each family traveled in their own camper, staying over night in state parks and cooking their own meals. They traveled south through Texas, in Oklahoma they visited with McCarthy’s aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Drew Youker, Ponca City, then on to Arizona to visit Mrs. Wilson’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Albin Humble, in Phoenix. After viewing the rugged beauty of Grand Canyon, they traveled to California where they took in the sights of Los Angeles and San Francisco. The Children and adults of the party were very impressed with Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm.

“The families motored along the California coast through the majestic Redwood Forests and viewed the Pacific Ocean. On their way through Oregon, they visited Wilson’s aunt Mrs. Florence Richards, in Corrallis. They were guests in the homes of Mr. and Mrs. Bill Rosenburg and Mr. and Mrs. Lou Richards and Mrs. Rose Phillips in Ellensburg, Wash. In Spokane, Wash., the travelers visited the largest concrete dam in the world, Coulee Dam. They visited Glacier National, Yellow Stone, and Grand Teton National Parks. While in Wyoming, they saw a real “honest to goodness” western rodeo. The next stop was at Mt. Rushmore National Memorial Park in the Black Hills of North Dakota. While in the state, they traveled through the miles of Badlands and saw many beautiful and impressive rock formations…”

The article also mentions my brother Larry “who stayed home to take care of his father’s gas and oil business.” And that “Charles, the oldest son of the Wilsons and his wife Diedre came home from Ashland to welcome his parents and little brother home Sunday.” The story even mentioned that Chuck was in his senior year at Ashland and that Diedre was working as a secretary at the college. Seems my mother’s public relations fingerprints were all over this story! Psalm 8:3-4 says, “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” When looking out from the window of our camper at the vast Western terrain, even at 8 years old, I was awestruck of God’s creation. The memories could fill a book.

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Bill Wilson

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