99, 100 – Ready or not, here I come

Bea & Baby EdMy great-grandmother, Bea, and great-uncle, Ed, in Arizona’s Petrified Forest, 1915. 

About a hundred years ago, my great-grandparents took an incredible trip in their Buick, with their baby, sometimes on roads and sometimes on wagon tracks, across a big chunk of the U.S. My great-grandfather, Edgar, was (among many other things) a photographer. He took photos along the way and developed them at night as they camped out with a tent connected to their car. Many of the photos were made into postcards that he and the other travelers sent to their loved ones.

To Miss Kitty WilliamsDear Kitty: Rec’d your letter and since then have been to San Diego fair and expect to start to Ventura Thursday (21st) roads were fine and if it does not rain think we can make trip in auto fine. If anything hinders will drop you a card tomorrow eve (Wed)  If we have good luck will get there some time Thursday evening. Ella Morris. 

In less than two months, I’m going to fly to Kansas City and then drive with my dad’s siblings along some of what’s remaining of the route their grandparents traveled. We are compressing two separate treks taken over two years into seven days on the road. We’re going from Kansas City to Colorado to Utah to Southern California to the Grand Canyon to Santa Fe. We’ll have air conditioning and sleep in hotels and yet not be nearly as well-dressed as they were. We will stop and take photos in as many of the places they did that we can, and we are hoping to meet up with some of my great-grandfather’s other descendants along the way.

When I was a teenager in the 80s and thought about taking this trip, the thing that struck me most was how OLD I would be – I couldn’t imagine it. All of a sudden, here it is and here I am, ready to go.

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