Tag: travel with kids

High Plains Blizzard: Discontent on a Montana Highway

 

Move across the Great Plains in November and you are chancing sudden, serious winter weather. My parents did this twice in the 1970s with four young children. As we recall, the family dog was flown instead of sharing in the road trip both times. This was before hotels and motels catered to people with animals.

November 1977 found the Brown family convoying west from Fort Knox, KY, to Fort Lewis, WA. Dad had been reassigned from an Army hospital, commanded by a colonel, to an Army medical center, commanded by a one-star brigadier general. This was very good, as it meant he was moving into position to be promoted, as a clinician rather than administrator, from lieutenant colonel to colonel. What was not so good was the weather.

Our two-vehicle convoy’s make-up had been driven by family size and the oil crisis. When we had driven east, we rolled in Detroit steel. Then the oil crisis hit, and it was time to consider new vehicles. Dad got himself a Mercedes 240D. “D” is for diesel, the superior fuel economy and fuel price per mile choice at the time. Mom wanted something other than a station wagon around 1975, so she got Bessie the Bus, a VW with a bus shift lever linked to the four-on-the-floor transmission by a long wire. The engine was around 65-70 bhp.

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