Sunday, September 5, 2010

Out West 1977

"We are never going to get out of here." Mom was not happy. I was even kind of nervous when I looked at the road ahead (which there wasn't one) and the buildings to the sides (which there were a lot of).

We were in Lead, South Dakota, having just come from the Grand Canyon. It was our first trip with the fifth wheel and without my sister Pat. For the first time that I can remember, I was asked where I wanted to go on vacation and I got to help plan it. I don't know if it was because I was getting older or if they just wanted me to feel special because Pat wouldn't be joining us.

We headed north from Arizona through Colorado and Wyoming and into South Dakota for one more visit to the Black Hills. As long as it was on the way, we couldn't resist visiting again. The problem is we ran into a detour in the small town of Lead. The arrow clearly pointed straight ahead so Dad diligently obeyed. The road got more and more narrow and the incline became more and more steep the further we went. We soon realized that we had to be on the wrong road, especially when the road suddenly ended at a dead end.

Mom was about to say something to Dad when she realized, I think, that she had pointed the way on this detour. Dad, as usual, didn't have much to say at all. He just kind of rubbed his head and then started slowly cautiously turning around. I don’t know how he did it. The road had squeezed down to a single lane, and the driveways were all only wide enough for one compact car, and most of them were filled with those compact cars.

I stopped breathing until he some how got the long rig turned around. Even Mom didn't utter a noise until we were pointed back down the hill, then she let out a long sigh. For Dad it was just another day's drive.

This is one of my favorite pictures of my dad, taken on that vacation in 1977. He was only 62, but the years had not always been kind.

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