It was the summer of 1975 and my family, my grandparents, and I were
traveling to the Black Hills of South Dakota. All six of us were
jammed into a bronze, 1965 Galaxy 500, equipped with a 390 four
barrel. Our luggage was crammed in between us. Even though the car
had plenty of power, we werenít allowed to drive beyond 55 mph
because Grandpa insisted the engine would overheat. It was an
unbearably hot summer, and of course Grandpa wouldnít allow the use
of the air conditioner because the engine was sure to overheat. Itís
a good thing they donít make cars like they used to.
We sat in the Galaxy listening to a scratchy a.m. radio station. Dad
describing the incredible sights we were soon to see overshadowed
the radio. Alís Oasis, Bear Country, the Corn Palace, Dinosaur Park,
Flintstone Park, Mount Rushmore, Reptile Gardens, and Wall Drug. The
list went on and on. There were so many sights to see! I didnít know
what to expect.
Then the unthinkable happened. It was something that had potential
to ruin the entire trip. Due to the fact that the air conditioner
was not in use, the windows were wide open. This gave bugs the
wonderful opportunity to enter the vehicle. Apparently, Dad was
allergic to bees. We found out the hard way. A bee flew into his
shirt. The car veered to the right and left as he attempted to
dispose of the invading insect. We slid from side to side as no one
used seat belts in those days. The next 100 miles werenít too fun.
Dad became violently sick and his abdomen swelled up like a balloon.
Luckily, he recovered and we were able to continue the trip.
As things began to improve, my brother and I saw a glimpse of the
future. The roadside brochures in our midst were great. There were
so many interesting colors, pictures, and words. The best thing of
all is that they were free. The details of the brochures prepared us
for each of our visits during the trip. The excitement of this trip
is still vivid in my mind some thirty years later.
Over the years I have been to The Black Hills at least fifteen
times. The attractions are still enjoyable, but the excitement of my
first visit is long gone. Ironically, within the last two months, I
have developed an increased interest in The Black Hills because my
immediate family is planning a trip to western South Dakota next
summer. I canít wait!
Times have changed. Dad always contacted area Chamber of Commerce
for travel information and brochures. Today, my family and I can
check out the Internet for information. Even though the method of
gathering information about vacation destinations has changed, the
joy of the vacation has not.