Tuesday 16 May 2006

SPT my travels

I chose this rather drippy photo because it reflects today's weather. I've not posted for Self Portrait Tuesday in ages. This is me aged 13, standing with my brother (11) beside the Welcome to Georgia sign. As you can see we are not impressed at being forced out of the warm dry van into the cold rain for this shot. But it had to be done, it was part of our summer 1984 LA to New York Road Trip in a slightly dodgy but much loved old Yellow Dormobile and Mum & Dad insisted we have our photo taken by each State sign if possible.

Most of the trip was very sunny, like in this shot of us and the beloved van at Lake Mead...

I loved Lake Mead, the water was so warm, like being in a bath, and the sand was so strange when wet and made better 'dribbled' castles than any I've encountered on any coastal beach (cause I guess it was earth, I've only just thought of that, how embarrassing).

We were heading back to Scotland after having lived in LA for 2 years (well, only 1yr + hols for me).
Have I mentioned this on my blog before? I know I have in emails to some of you but maybe not here? Anyway, they decided that rather than fly from LA we should drive to New York and then fly from there. What a trip. Lets just say we are not the Waltons, and we had not fully considered the repercussions of cramming the 4 of us into a very small space for the summer to drive through roasting deserts, places about to flash flood and States with more mosquitos and humidity than I thought possible outside a jungle.

There were a lot of tears, there was a great deal of yelling, perhaps some huffing (moi, huff?) and of course, an intolerable amount of mosquito bites. Actually, the mosquitos really only went for me and my Dad, were the ones with the ligher hair and thinner skin. I know, my brother looks white blonde in some shots, but that was the sun and he's turned brown now.

But despite all the fights and bites, it really was the most spectacular trip I've ever been on, especially for a 13yr old kid from Scotland. We were naturally awed by all the expected wonders like the Yosemite, The Grand Canyon, The Washington Monument, the Whitehouse and all that New York has to offer. But the things that really made an impression on me were often smaller things, like going to a ghost town and seeing real genuine tumbleweed, tumbling, just ike on the films.

And the wildlife, things we don't have here in Scotland like fireflies (although with global warming apparently we do now, though still pretty rare I think). I will never forget the smell of a dead skunk on the road. We smelled it 2 miles before we reached it. I knew what it was though cause I had a scratch and sniff skunk sticker. Honestly, who would make such a thing? I don't know who gave it to me but they must have laughed when I sniffed.

I'll post more about this because it'll be nice to look back on when my memory goes.


Anonymous said...

Oh the memories. I remember one night Cally went out to drain her vein (do girls do that?), and came back in to the Dormobile shrieking that something sat on her back. This didn't get much sympathy from mother, who asked "What? A horse?".

Susan Schwake said...

what an endearing and adventurous post! those faded photos remind me of our cross country family travels ... emphasis on cross. my own family has handled such adventures much better in smaller vehicles across germany, but with the beach wagon and states like nebraska to cross, well, we just got cross!

Cally said...

Oh Bro you are VILE :0)

It's true, I nipped out of the van for a pee in the bushes (we were in the middle of nowhere) and I was concerned about revealing any flesh to the mossie infested air and got a bit freaked when I felt something land on me. My mother, as ever, was most unsympathetic but I am delighted to have provided (thus far) 22yrs of continued family amusement about that.

I feel I ought to return the kindness of my brothers words by pointing out that he didn't need to go outside as he had ingenously rigged up a system of taped straws from McDonalds, attached through the bottom of a bubble bath bottle (or shampoo) and then going out through the back of the van to the road. For at least a week he delighted in watching the 'trail' he left as we drove along the freeway without needing to pull over.

As Scots we are not into the whole 'British' thing but we do have a fully developed sense of British toilet humour.

Anonymous said...

cally, what a wonderful post - a truly amazing experience to get to have at that age i think! i'm so jealous - our family used to drive to and around europe on holiday, but it wasn't in anything as cool as a yellow camper van!

my boyfriend (who is american) and i did a road trip around the states in 2003 and it was one of the best experiences i've ever had - 3 months of open spaces, camping, visiting friends and some of the most amazing scenery i've ever seen.

i love those pics - they just remind me so much of the holiday i was on in the same year and being made to pose in the heat next to each and every 'landmark' and like you in all of them i'm clearly in a massive strop!

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