I watched a program about Disneyland and DisneyWorld this morning and it brought back memories of my family's first big vacation. It was 1958 or 59 when my parents decided we'd go to California to visit Disneyland. Talk about being excited! But getting there was almost as big an adventure as the park itself. We drove all the way. We borrowed an air conditioner for the car. Borrowed? Yes. Air conditioners were an expensive accessory for a 1957 Mercury, but there was a unit that could be attached to a car. It was a 6 inch diameter, foot long cylinder with a kinda evaporative cooler inside and attached to a car window. You would fill a tank inside with water that would drip onto a spun straw mat. A fan at the front would spin as the car moved to force air through the mat. That air was blown through a vent to the inside of the car. The faster the car went, the faster the air conditioner went. You wouldn't get cold, but it was better than nothing since we were taking the southern route and driving through the desert. From Waco, we made it to El Paso to spend the night. The next morning we made the big jump to the desert of New Mexico. Before we went too far we had to make a purchase,,,a heavy white burlap bag filled with about a gallon of water that we hung on the grill of the car. We were told it would be enough water to get us to the next town if the car overheated. We picked up some Indian souvenirs, too. The deserts of New Mexico and Arizona were totally foreign to us. We'd never seen such tall cactuses, the mountains in the distance seem enormous, and we'd never seen so much sand. The distances between towns scared us and the thought of the car breaking down terrified us. Potty breaks might have to be taken in the side of the highway in a little blue plastic potty that was emptied as far off the highway as possible and rinsed with some of our precious drinking water. After we left El Paso, it took us 2 days to cross the deserts and get to Disneyland. Sleeping in motel rooms and eating all our meals in strange places made for great adventure. Vickie and I were kept busy with coloring books(until the crayons melted) and we played "I Spy", and car tags, but we spent a lot of time just looking out the windows and asking, "Are we there, yet?" Disneyland was great, but getting there was truly an adventure.
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