Monday, August 13, 2012

1965 South Dakota Vacation Revisited Part 2

My siblings and I in front of the Apache camper on that 1965 trip.
(I'm the hatless one.)
How did my family become happy campers anyway – pulling our pop-up camper around the U.S.A?

Well, although tent trailers had been around in some form for a long time in the U.S., the introduction of several popular new pop-up camper models in the late 1950s led to a veritable camping renaissance. Suddenly, families could travel around the country and tow their accommodations right behind them.

My parents joined this camping bandwagon in the early 1960s, as it would have been too expensive for us to travel and stay in motels. So after a few years of tent camping locally (at places like Mill Hollow) for the family to get the hang of it, my parents purchased an Apache camper so that we could begin to see the USA while we were all still young.

So in early August 1965, we hit the road to South Dakota.

Part of the family ritual back then was leaving around 5:00 in the morning, and I still associate that early departure as part of going on vacation. (Of course, it would be unheard of for the spouse and I to leave that early nowadays; in fact, even faced with an eight or ten hour drive ahead of us, we are still groggily packing at 10 A.M. on the day we're leaving!)

Anyway, my parents were pretty cagey about keeping my siblings and I occupied in the car on these trips.

My mother doled out some fresh fruit every once in a while, as well as old-fashioned chewy candy. My parents also made sure we had comic books and Batman paperbacks to keep us from being bored (and less likely to fight in the back seat) and encouraged us to keep a travel diary.

We also amused ourselves watching for unusual license plates, and waving at truckers.

And of course, there was Zit-Zingo – the Travel Game!

Zit-Zingo was played like Bingo. As the directions stated, "Players watch for objects along the road and cross them off on cards. First player to mark five objects in a row is winner."

Looking at the score cards today is kind of interesting. Here's one (below).

Seeing as we spent much of the trip on major highways, it wasn't very likely that we were ever going to see a 4-way stop! I'm also surprised at the equally creepy portraits of the policeman and the hitchhiker! I can't decide which one looks more menacing.

Part of the fun of playing Zit-Zingo (I'm ashamed to say) was distracting another player from noticing one of the much-needed objects on his/her card as it slowly loomed into view outside the window (such as a water tower). Pretty rotten, right?

Anyway, we made Wisconsin Dells the first night, and arrived in South Dakota the second.

Next: South Dakota here we come

1 comment:

The Treacherous Worm Writings said...

Hey, nice blog! I was trying to find information on the old Gaylord stores, but there's not much on the net about them.
We used to have them down here in Louisiana, and I was just reminiscing about them.
We had A&P, too. And, it was cool to see Tennessee Tuxedo and Chumley here. :)