In late January of 1978, my wife and I, along with our only son (six years old) at the time, set off on the second leg of our year-long odyssey of vanning around the US.
We had purchased a 1973 Chevrolet long-wheel-based van a number of years earlier and used it to not only travel in, but also to sleep in.
The first leg of our trip started the day after Labor Day in 1977. We covered states in the Midwest and then headed over as far as Bar Harbor, ME before heading back down south, arriving at home just before Thanksgiving.
The second leg was a three-month odyssey that had us hanging along the Texas Gulf Coast and then along the border with Mexico all the way to California.
Back then we were young and somewhat carefree, not thinking about anything bad happening.
But nowadays, I would have second thoughts about taking that same route.
All one has to do is read the news.
There is a lot of gang-related activities occuring south of the border and sometimes filtering into the US.
Back in 2010, Mexican pirates reportedly murdered a Texas fisherman on Falcon Lake. That brought back memories of the fact that we had spent a night camping at the reservoir.
In 1978, we made our way to Big Bend National Park, then farther west to El Paso before heading south once again into New Mexico and then over to Tombstone and by Fort Huachuca, AZ where I had spent eight weeks in advanced basic training.
We visited Nogales, Mexico and then headed over to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument before heading up to Death Valley and then into California.
During the course of that trip, we took precautions for our safety, although it was mainly trying to evade would-be homegrown thieves.
As previously stated, things have changed. I think about “would I take that same trip today.”
If by myself, yes, I would. But If I were responsible for others, I would think twice.
But since I’ve made that journey, and there are other places to visit, I don’t have to worry about it.
Next post: Feb. 7, 2017