It’s a new year

We are starting the year with some positive moves toward a being the RamblinRoods we hope to be. Right at the end of the year we put a deposit on a 17′ Liberty Deluxe Travel Trailer from Castia in Rice TX. Its a fiberglass “egg” and it has a great reputation. RVSue lives in hers and this is what first brought the Casita to our attention. With luck we will have it by the end of April or beginning of May.
Last week the Subaru was replaced with a 2017 Pathfinder to act as TV for us.

2017 will be 70 years since my Grandfather took his family on the road.

We have 3 accounts of the trip to Mexico in 1937. My Grandmother, Mary D. Rood and her two sons Robert (12) and David (10).

Mary starts with the family already in the Rio Grande Valley and recounts the how and the why of this adventure. Her entries are set up as “Chapters”.  Also, Mary and her sons used the vernacular of her times so please be understanding. I will add more pages as I go along. I expect it will take some time.

Mary Starts:

1937 Diary Entries: Mary

Dedicated with affection, to the family that enjoyed with me the adventures and joys which I have attempted in part to portray in these pages.

After note: Left Michigan on Jan. 11, 1937

Chapter I

South to the Rio Grande

I had moved my chair at least three times, in what seemed an incredibly short space of time, trying to keep in the ever changing shade of the lemon tree.  Its fragrance was all around me and it still seemed unreal that I should really be here, when but a short month before , I had been shoveling coal into an ever hungry furnace and watching the snow pile deeper and deeper in the dooryard.

The warmth and fragrance of the Rio Grande valley lay all about me, and as I sat enjoying it all, I thought of the events that had led up to my being here so unexpectedly.

Back in Michigan – far in the north on that Lake Superior shore, where winters are long and cold, life had been going on uneventfully.  There was my husband’s work and though he had not been feeling well, there was no thought other than keeping on as best we could.  At a time when we were most discouraged, we received our good news.  The college that he had worked for, for almost fourteen years, had granted him a leave of absence of six months to rest and travel.  How wonderful it was and how grateful we were to the Institution, for it was the thing he needed most.

When one is looking ahead, six months seems an unbelievably long time, and we began to plan on what we should do.  There was the house to dispose of, for the time being, and there were three children in our family.  We had to plan our time to include them.  They are not so easily disposed of as pet cats and canaries, even with kind relatives who would gladly take care of them.

No, we wanted them, no matter where we went!  There was Bob – past twelve – who could be a big help and companion on any trip.  Then came David – not quite eleven – red headed, and full of adventure.  Last of all was small Mary Jo, not quite four – whose red copper curls and smiling brown eyes would be missed too much to ever leave behind.  There was event the family dog that the boys would ever think of leaving, if there was any possible way out.  They couldn’t imagine a life without Spot, their wire-haired terrier, who had shared all their adventures almost from the beginning.

We settled the entire problem by joining that great army of people who take their homes with them; by buying a trailer.  It was our “house on wheels” and become our home for six of the most interesting months I have ever lived.  It solved so many of our problems, and in months to come, I was grateful for that house jogging along behind.  It is a happy solution of traveling with children.  When a long day is finished, and small folks are weary, how easy it is to go back into your house and have them well fed and to bed long before it would have been possible any other way.

Our starting point was at “Granddad’s” down in lower Michigan, close to the Indiana line.  It was here that we finally bought and equipped the trailer, while old friends and neighbors looked on with interest and advice.

David issued a proclamation inviting everyone to come to the christening of our new home at a certain day and hour.  We all assembled very solemnly to see just what was to happen.  With chest thrust out, legs far apart, he began a speech worthy of any diplomat.  Flourishing both hands, one of which grasped a bottle of pop, he began: “Ladies and Gentlemen:” and so on to the end until – “I do hereby christen thee – ‘Lady Conestoga.’”  Then defying tradition, he drank the pop with hurried gulps instead of wasting it over the ‘bow,’ for, as he said, “There might be too much broken glass and besides, that was pretty good pop.”

I read this and thought about our little trailer and what Kim and I would christen it. Maybe LC2? Still working on that bit.

I googled “Conestoga travel trailer” and found a link to a museum in Michigan that has one of these trailers. Here is a picture from Matt R. Kyle’s Flicker page;

1937 Covered Wagon "Conestoga" Camping Trailer  (1)

Matt’s comments on his Flicker page:
1937 Covered Wagon “Conestoga” Camping Trailer
An “unpleasant” camping experience in 1929 found Arthur Sherman, of Detroit Michigan determined “to find a better way,” and he soon built a prototype camping trailer. He exhibited his creation at the 1930 Detroit Auto Show. His children dubbed it “the covered wagon” after the prairie wagons of old. Within a year Sherman had established the Covered Wagon Company, and by 1936 he was the nations largest manufacturer of travel trailers.

Mary continues:

By this time we were having so much advice on where to go and what to see that we would have been dizzy carrying out half of them.  However, we listened politely, knowing we would do out own deciding when we were once on our way.  We didn’t want any particular destination (we were running away from routine and worry), so we wanted to wander wherever and whenever the notion struck us – without schedule or rushing to get there. We did know we wanted to get where there was warmth and sunshine and flowers; that was all that mattered.

Jan 11, 1937 entry from Bob and David coming soon.


Dan & Kim


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