In 1984, my father, his girlfriend and I took off on our own version of the nuclear family’s summer vacation. Dad strongly suggested that I keep a travel journal.
I didn’t. As a result, here’s what I remember:
We flew into Stapleton in Denver (this was 11 years before DIA opened). We rented a navy blue Chrysler K-car (with great disappointment all around) and spent the next two weeks driving to California along the route that AAA had planned for us in our road-bible, the TripTik. One night, we ate dinner at Fred & Sophie’s in Winter Park, Colorado (it isn’t there anymore). Named for the owners’ dogs, it may have been the first time I’d ever had tortilla chips that weren’t Doritos. We drove through Moab before it was mountain bike mecca, we drove through Winslow and sang “I was standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona; such a fine sight to see — it’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford, slowin’ down to take a look at me.” We were in Bluff, Utah on my birthday. We saw dinosaur tracks, petroglyphs, buffalo, Dead Horse Point, the Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, the Petrified Forest, and Canyon de Chelly. We drove through Las Vegas at night, and I couldn’t believe the spectacle that was the Strip. I asked my dad to turn off the car lights, which he did, and it made no difference at all on the road. There was a torrential rainstorm when we drove through Death Valley. We ate dinner at Sonic one night, and I was ill all evening. Every day, we would stop at a supermarket for cheese and a box of crackers (I remember a lot of Triscuits, but we may have mixed it up a bit) and we’d eat a picnic lunch somewhere. Eventually, we reached Los Angeles, and spent a week at the house of a family friend who lived in Pasadena. Los Angeles was completely decorated for us, I mean the Olympics, in festive pastels à la the Memphis design group. We walked past Tower Records, ate dinner at Spago, and fit our hands and feet into the sidewalk impressions at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. We took a day trip down to the San Diego Zoo, and spent an afternoon on Venice Beach
I guess I didn’t need that journal after all.