First time I saw the Ocean

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Bob Wright

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The late Jerry Clower told the story of an old timer from the Mississippi Delta. He had always wanted to see the Gulf of Mexico. So one day his son decided to make the trip and let the old timer see the gulf. They drove down to a point near Biloxi and out onto the beach. They parked the car and walked to the edge of the water, and the old timer just stood gazing out on the Gulf.

Finally, the son asked his Dad, "Well, what do you think?"

"Well," the old man mused, "I'd of thought it'd been bigger."

Bob Wright
 

Wyandot Jim

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Sep 1, 2003
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Ed,
Brings back a lot of memories of traveling as a 7 year old kid. When Dad was called back into the USAF in 1951. He was assigned to B-29s as a Central Fire Control Gunner. We went to Montgomery AL. then 3 months later we had to go to Travis AFB in Ca. That is where Dad shipped out to Okinawa from to bomb N. Korea. So we loaded everything we had in a 1939 Olds. What a trip that was. Got to see REAL Indians and the Grand Canyon along with Cowboys in Dallas. Yes the back doors were suicide doors. Mom, myself and my 4 year old sister lived in a rented one room in a big house while waiting for Dad to come home. About 9 months later when dad came home and after flying in B-36s we made the trip back to Ohio in the same car which was about a 3-4 day trip on the Southern Route. Northern route had to much snow at that time of year.
I'm still completely amazed that a family of 4 could put everything we owned in one car and go anywhere. Guess we didn't have much. I know I didn't.
You also mention Tourist homes which were big in the small towns that didn't have motels which most didn't. Wifie and I have stayed in quite a few in the early 60/70s and even on our honeymoon to N. Miami Beach in 1963. That is where I first saw the Ocean. The year before saw the Gulf of Mexico when we moved to Houston and swam in it in late Oct. I thought wow this is warm. After leaving the cold waters of Ohio most all water is warm. Until I moved to Texas I thought every time you got in the water. Parts of you were supposed to GET real small and your lips turn blue.
Anyway thanks so much.
Jim
 

FastEd

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Wyandot Jim said:
Ed,
Brings back a lot of memories of traveling as a 7 year old kid. I'm still completely amazed that a family of 4 could put everything we owned in one car and go anywhere. Guess we didn't have much. I know I didn't.
You also mention Tourist homes which were big in the small towns that didn't have motels which most didn't. Wifie and I have stayed in quite a few in the early 60/70s and even on our honeymoon to N. Miami Beach in 1963. That is where I first saw the Ocean. Anyway thanks so much.
Jim

I guess we both remember when this was a great Country...
 

Wyandot Jim

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A little side story for you. On our honeymoon to FL. in 1963. When we first came upon the Orange groves there was a sign at one of the orchards. All you can drink orange juice 10 Cents. Well this was a come on to get tourist to stop and buy more stuff. Growing up in a poor family in Ohio, Orange juice was a real treat and I loved it and never got enough. Now remember this was way before frozen juice.
So we stopped and I must have drank a gallon or more of it for my 10 cents while looking around :D :D No we didn't buy anything else.

Also on this same trip New wife and I spent one night in the 57 Buick Roadmaster at a gas station so we could save a few bucks. Her in the back and me in the front. We had toilets to use and all night lights what more do you need :D :D :D
 

Jeepnik

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FastEd said:

Well Ed, now you're only a couple of hours from the beach. I'm even less, like toss a stone close, yet I don't really "go to the beach" very often. How often do you get there?
 

Don Lovel

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Traveling in a big 1952 Desoto to the Anadarko PowWow with my Great Grandmother in the back seat with us and when we got to Anadarko, she was our guide and interpreter, she was half non-tribal role Cherokee and half Commanche and spoke Kiowa, Arapaho & Apache & read Cherokee as well so we met all kinds of native folk in ceremonial dress, we pigged out on fry bread and roasted corn and meat on a stick my dad said was jackrabbit. Us boys went whole hog Indian all day and then slept on a big quilt bed under a tarp between the Desoto and two fence post at the campground.
The big Dance went all night and you could feel the drums pounding your body on the ground, all the chants and songs, very spooky for little boys having their very first full on native heritage consumption.
 

opos

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We lived in Denver when I was a kid...I had a Cousin that lived in Tulsa and the Tulsa folks would drive to Denver and we'd all "caravan" to California for vacation..this would have been in the very late 40's or early 50's...We always drove the desert at night and I remember the early day Chevron gas stations...they were tan and white colors as I recall and always gave maps, some dishes and often green stamps...We carried a canvas water bag on the front of the car for drinking water..it was an 'evaporator" bag to keep it cool...now days I think of how many bugs got "strained" through that canvas into the drinking water...

We'd go to Santa Monica and stay near the beach...still recall the salt water smell...On the cliffs near Santa Monica there was a building that was round with sort of a dome on top...you could go inside and there was a flat round table in the center and a periscope affair that you could rotate and see what was going on all up and down the street and over the ocean..projected onto the table.

My Uncle worked for Parish and Clark Dodge in Tulsa and was their service manager....Still recall when we'd be driving he'd build up a big head of steam going up a rise and then throw it into neutral "coasting" down the other side to save gas...My Dad used to really get upset trying to follow him because his speeds were all over the place as he drove, coasted, drove, coasted.

I recall seeing "muscle beach" at Venice beach near Santa Monica and going to the big amusement park that was on the pier at Long Beach...they were the real deal amusement parks in those days...no watered down "correct" rides...they were fast, loud and dangerous but man were they fun.

Been living within a few miles of the beach (several places up and down the coast) since the 60's but just never go to the beach any more...Used to drive near it when I had a boat in the marina but to go "to the beach" and swim, etc..nope...too crowded
 

wwb

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Wyandot Jim said:
........ The year before saw the Gulf of Mexico when we moved to Houston and swam in it in late Oct. I thought wow this is warm. After leaving the cold waters of Ohio most all water is warm. Until I moved to Texas I thought every time you got in the water. Parts of you were supposed to GET real small and your lips turn blue.
.........

Ohio ?? Ohio ?? Try northern Minnesota. On most of the lakes, ice-out was mid-May; swimmable by mid July. And Lake Superior NEVER gets anywhere near what could even be called "tolerable".
 

FastEd

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Don Lovel said:
Traveling in a big 1952 Desoto to the Anadarko PowWow with my Great Grandmother in the back seat with us and when we got to Anadarko, she was our guide and interpreter, she was half non-tribal role Cherokee and half Commanche and spoke Kiowa, Arapaho & Apache & read Cherokee as well so we met all kinds of native folk in ceremonial dress, we pigged out on fry bread and roasted corn and meat on a stick my dad said was jackrabbit. Us boys went whole hog Indian all day and then slept on a big quilt bed under a tarp between the Desoto and two fence post at the campground.
The big Dance went all night and you could feel the drums pounding your body on the ground, all the chants and songs, very spooky for little boys having their very first full on native heritage consumption.

I've toured Colorado several times, beautiful Country. Loved that I-70 drive through the Rockies.
 

Don Lovel

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opos said:
We lived in Denver when I was a kid...I had a Cousin that lived in Tulsa and the Tulsa folks would drive to Denver and we'd all "caravan" to California for vacation..this would have been in the very late 40's or early 50's...We always drove the desert at night and I remember the early day Chevron gas stations...they were tan and white colors as I recall and always gave maps, some dishes and often green stamps...We carried a canvas water bag on the front of the car for drinking water..it was an 'evaporator" bag to keep it cool...now days I think of how many bugs got "strained" through that canvas into the drinking water...

We'd go to Santa Monica and stay near the beach...still recall the salt water smell...On the cliffs near Santa Monica there was a building that was round with sort of a dome on top...you could go inside and there was a flat round table in the center and a periscope affair that you could rotate and see what was going on all up and down the street and over the ocean..projected onto the table.

My Uncle worked for Parish and Clark Dodge in Tulsa and was their service manager....Still recall when we'd be driving he'd build up a big head of steam going up a rise and then throw it into neutral "coasting" down the other side to save gas...My Dad used to really get upset trying to follow him because his speeds were all over the place as he drove, coasted, drove, coasted.

I recall seeing "muscle beach" at Venice beach near Santa Monica and going to the big amusement park that was on the pier at Long Beach...they were the real deal amusement parks in those days...no watered down "correct" rides...they were fast, loud and dangerous but man were they fun.

Been living within a few miles of the beach (several places up and down the coast) since the 60's but just never go to the beach any more...Used to drive near it when I had a boat in the marina but to go "to the beach" and swim, etc..nope...too crowded

"Uncle worked at Parish & Clark Dodge in Tulsa"
I guarantee you he knew my father in law, he bought all his cars & trucks at Parish & Clark and was a royal pain in the butt about car stuff, he did not know crap about maintaining vehicles and had his cars sitting in Parish & Clark all the time, and my mother in law would have been at the cashier's window or service mgr's office complaining about the prices
 

737tdi

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May 31, 2006
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Howdy, I am a touch younger then y'all but I have memories of the first time I actually saw the expanse of the Pacific Ocean (I had seen the Gulf of Mexico several times before). We young jarheads and sailors decided to take a road trip (ca. 1980) to Pismo Beach. Someone had read something about it being great due to the dunes and beauty. I had a 1971 Pontiac Grand Ville that my dad had sold me for $200 so we decided to cruise down to Pismo and enjoy the beach and just be bums for a weekend.

Well, it did not turn out so well, Pismo beach in the spring is quite cold, I mean freezing cold. We were not prepared at all. Beautiful days but good God the night was frigid. We tried sleeping in the dunes, no Bueno. We all slept in the land yacht that night and headed back to Lemoore the next day. We were all there with gals trying to have a good time. Wasn't going to happen, talking about shrinkage when you dove in that water???? Oh well it is still a good memory.

Semper Fi:

Karl
 

vito

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Growing up in Brooklyn, NY the ocean (Coney Island) was a short subway ride away and something we took for granted. But other than a few family vacations to upstate NY and a road trip to Baltimore to see some relatives, I had not traveled at all. When my wife and I married in 1966 (still together after 49 years and counting!) we didn't even leave the state of NY for our honeymoon, going to Niagra Falls. A few months later my active duty orders arrived and in my brand new VW Beetle we set off for officer basic training at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. Trust me that in 1966 car travel across the country was still an adventure. The Interstate highway system was far from complete, so most of our travel was on U.S. highways which ran right through many large cities. The helpful clerk at AAA mapped out the route for us in what was called a "Triptik" which we stuck to religiously. Along the way for this several day drive we would find inexpensive local motels, the kind where you checked out the room before commiting to a night's stay. I think the only chain of motels in those days was Howard Johnson's but they were pretty expensive for a brand new 2nd Lieutenant with hardly a nickel in his pocket at the time. Stopping to eat in local diners and Mom and Pop restaurants, none air conditioned, gave us an education in the different locales that we passed through. No chain restaurants, no chain motels and few chain gas stations. That's where we learned in that in Texas and some adjacent states they served you coffee BEFORE every meal, regardless of how hot it was outside and regardless of what you were ordering to eat. When we said we were used to having coffee after we ate, not before (as was the custom in New York City in those days, and maybe still today) we were looked at like we were aliens from another world. Once, in a southern state not to be named, I stopped for gas in a small gas station that was unpaved, and with one of the old fashioned gas pumps. An elderly black man came out nervously to my car and asked what I wanted. When I replied that I needed gas, of course, he gently informed me that the "white" gas station was just a bit further down the road. I said that mattered nothing to me and I just wanted to buy some gas. He nicely asked me to please move on, stating that to serve a white person might put him at risk with some of the locals. On that same trip (remember I was traveling with NY license plates and it was 1966) I was stopped by State Police and asked if I was "one of those northern troublemakers come down to stir up the colored". I told them that I was on my way to report to active duty and then he apologized for stopping me and sent me on my way.

Travel today is a lot simpler and easier to plan for, what with chains of motels, restaurants and a totally complete highway system. I check on my smart phone for motels to consider on Trip Advisor and also for where it might be good to stop to eat, reading traveler's reviews right from my car. My GPS navigation system takes me across the country without missing a turn. Easier, but not the adventure that travel once was. Recently my wife and I (and our little dog) traveled almost 7,000 miles in a bit over 3 weeks, visiting some of the great National Parks that I had never been to. Other than while in Death Valley I don't think I was ever where I could not receive a cellular signal. Had a great trip, but hardly an adventure to compare with that first 2,000 mile ride from Brooklyn to San Antonio.
 

Wyandot Jim

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Yep Everbody needs to traval the way we did at least once. That would allow them to know how great it is now.
Another story. While traveling across Texas and the deserts of AZ in 1951 we knew we were going to die from the heat. And yes we had the water bag on the front of the car.
Even in the early 60s going back and forth from Texas to Ohio it was a pretty tough drive. I did it several times straight through and it took 26-28 hours. We couldn't afford a motel.
By the way Motel 6 got it's name from costing $6 a night. Holiday Inn was $10.00
 

Wyandot Jim

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Jimbo,
That is GREAT.
When we first moved to Texas you could drive on the beach as in your pictures.
Wifie and I would take our little grill and grill stuff with a sand toping. We didn't really care it was fun and cheap. We would swim and surf fish.
A long time ago with GREAT memories.
Jim
 

Colonialgirl

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Well, My Dad was in the Navy when I was born in Portsmouth, VA; How we traveled a lot of the time I have no idea except that we lived in Bremerton, Washington; San Diego and then up in Costa Mesa while Dad got shipped to Hawaii, then in Hawaii we had some sort of automobile and I can remember driving up over the Pali and stopping at the viewpoint where it was rumored that IF you were to leap off, the winds would blow you back up (NO ROAD AROUND the Island at the time) Then I know we lived in Chicago at one time and should I mention Pensacola, FL and trips up to Shickshinny, PA to see my Grandma Dunn and then out to California to see Aunts and Uncles with passages through Oklahoma where the OTHER grandparents lived, Then a trip to Millington, TN and then DOWN to Jacksonville, FL; Once across the Southern route with Grand parents, aunt and uncle and cousins with a stop over in Pie Town, New Mexico when one of the cars broke down. Then a drive from Port Lyuatey, Morocco up to Tangiers
And back. Then from The East Coast to Oklahoma where we stayed for Four years before a move to Portland, OR. (I drove the '56 Ford towing a travel trailer while my Dad drove s Flatbed truck with Household goods.) Finally I drove from SoCal to Okla City for the first year of college (Nice little '50 Ford with the V-8 and overdrive); then down to Dallas, TX and then out to Calif. Several trips up to PA while still in High school with my parents. Final MAJOR drives were from Calif to Maryland due to a job change and then down to Orlando, FL for another job change and FInally to Tampa Bay area. Well yeah, Up to Ty's place for the October Ruger Gathering a coupls of times.
I aint no stranger on the road for sure !!
 

FastEd

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By the way Motel 6 got it's name from costing $6 a night. Holiday Inn was $10.00[/quote]

And they will keep the light on for ya...
 

Critch

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Aug 30, 2000
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I grew up in Memphis and Missouri, I didn't see the ocean until the USAF sent me TDY to Vandenberg AFB in 1974. I remember driving the van they gave us to the edge of the base and just staring at the ocean...the cool thing was that a Navy destroyer was a few miles offshore..made it all the better...
 

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