Naval Training Center, 1951. Dad is holding the flag
Wednesday, July 17, 1996
It was two years since we took our vacation, cross country, to Kentucky. That vacation was supposed to have included my Dad. We were going to spend several days in his boyhood home (Ashland, KY), and visit all the family there. But, Dad could not be talked into going. Ever since he had retired from the Air Force he claimed he had done all the traveling he wanted, and then some. He was not going to go for any reason. Period. Stop asking. But once we returned from his hometown and Mom had filled him in on all of the sights we had seen, he softened a bit. I have no recollection of how it happened, or who even broached the subject. But, somehow Mom, Dad, and my family are all going on a Colorado vacation for 1996.
Dad and me, 1963
I think the biggest reasons we were able to convince Dad were we weren’t leaving the state and that this trip would only be a long weekend. The next two reasons had to do with guilt and what the state of Colorado had to offer. Because Dad doesn’t like to travel, he and Mom almost never took a vacation. Unless you want to count going back to Kentucky when his sister passed away. Not exactly an invitation for fun. But, maybe the deciding factor was the itinerary I had planned.
On our first day we would drive to Glenwood Springs, which is the home not only to the most well known hot springs in the state, but also to final resting place of the western icon, Doc Holliday. Day one would conclude with a long, but scenic drive to Durango, CO. Day Two would be spent in Durango riding an old steam train to Silverton, CO. Day Three has us driving to the Canon City area to visit an Old West theme town called Buckskin Joe, and the Royal Gorge. Our final day has us in Colorado Springs visiting a museum, the Rodeo Hall of Fame, and then a chuckwagon dinner at the Flying W Ranch.
Dad and I share similar interests with respect to the Old West and all things cowboy. I was looking forward to not only showing him these things he had never experienced, but to show him how well his son could plan a trip. I couldn’t wait.