Christmas 1977 was over and our plan was to take the new Chevrolet Suburban and head south. South is a relative word. Many Yellowknife residents called Edmonton south. Here in Toronto area they call cottage country, an hour or two north as going North. When we first arrived in Edmonton in January of 1972, with Alex in the oilfield during the week, I sometimes had a game of Yahtzi with a really pleasant neighbor. When she found out I came from the “east” she said . “I went East once and there were no trees!” I was a little shocked, because, although Edmonton had trees, they were not as large as Ontario’s . She kept talking and it became clear she had been all the way EAST to Saskatchewan. There you go! That would explain that.
We did an unorthodox thing(surprise, surprise) took our children out of school, armed with notebooks to keep journals, and probably a math book or two. I must say it was an amazing contrast to come from frigid NWT, to the green Fraser Valley on into Washington State and the spectacular Oregon coast. We met up with a good friend Roslynn from Yellowknife, who knew San Francisco well. What a good time we had there.
Well, I didn’t mean for that photo to get so huge. Still trying to learn the zigs and zags of this blogging. Jon, Michelle and Janine, loved the whole experience and have fond memories of Denny’s for breakfast, where they gave kids a scoop of ice cream on their cornflakes. We also listened to Gordon Lightfoot tapes (I believe cassettes were the new technology) and some upbeat music by Don Fransciso (hope I have that right), which I am sure Jonathan, especially,can still remember every lyric.
I recall at a service station, where they were checking oil etc., the attendants saw the huge battery heaters that cars in Yellowknife were equipped with, and were baffled at what they saw. Where are you from? Canada. Yellowknife. “Oh that is where that satellite came down.” It was currently in the news, and to think in California, they had heard of Yellowknife.
Some of the highlights of the trip was visiting a friend of mine, and her family not far from Sacramento California, and what an idyllic setting that was, the foothills of the Sierras. A little below them were the almond orchards, and olives, if I remember. By the time we were at their town of Tuolomne the apple orchards began, and I believe Martha and Leslie’s home was surrounded with orchards. Further up the mountain there were huge evergreens loaded with snow. What a lovely place to live, and raise 5 children.
We also went to the San Diego Zoo and of course Disney Land. We continued south to South Padre Island at Brownsville Texas,. and around the Gulf Coast to Florida, We checked out Christian Retreat, a retirement center in Bradenton, that had been recommended to us. Alex Mom spent many winters there after Alex senior died, and enjoyed it very much.
We finally headed north through Tennessee to visit an acquaintance and on to Ontario to take the rounds of friends and relatives. Alex’s Dad, was not doing well, and but we didn’t know he only had another month to live.
It was a very positive experience for us to spend all that time together, after some of the separation due to Alex contracts. We were back in Yellowknife by early April .