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Summertime is a popular time for many to hit the road, ride the rails or take to the friendly skies to get away from the usual routine and have a summer vacation. No matter the destination, these trips create memories that last a lifetime. Here are a few travel memories shared by some independent living residents in our community.

Mary Burchill

“Growing up in Lawrence, Kan., was a treat on the Fourth of July. The city put on a firework display in the football stadium on the KU campus. It was spectacular, easy to get to, free and fun. The fireworks were big stuff. At that time, you really couldn't buy the big ones at a stand to use at home, so a show was your only choice. One year towards the end of the show, by mistake, they set off everything that was left. It was wonderful and so well received that they did it every year afterwards. Then the university put in artificial turf and they were afraid that a spark would land on it and ruin it! Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.”

Jo Doles

“When my husband Jack retired in 1985, we sold our home in Topeka and had an auction to sell everything we could not use in our travel trailer. We lived and traveled with our trailer the next 12 years. Jack became ill and unable to continue this lifestyle, so we sold our truck and fifth wheel and settled in Kerrville, Texas, in 1997.

“Our trailers and fifth wheel were Holiday Ramblers and we were very involved with the Holiday Rambler Recreational Vehicle Club. Jack served on the engineering team for six years and helped set up the site for our International Rally every year. The next six years, Jack was on the caravan staff and we helped, or led, several Holiday Caravans. We visited all the contiguous United States. The only state we did not see was Hawaii. We were in all the provinces of Canada, including Newfoundland. We took our RVs on a ferry and in six hours crossed to Port Aux Bas, Newfoundland.

“We toured the island for 30 days, then boarded another ferry at St. John, Newfoundland, to return to Nova Scotia in 13 hours. We also went to Alaska three times. And we traveled to Mexico several times, including going down and back the same road to Cabo San Lucas and San Diego, Calif. I have many happy memories of our travels and many friends we met along the way.”

Jean Stokes

“When I was young, my mother, dad, sister and I would go to the Multnomah Stadium in Portland, Ore., for a wonderful Independence Day show and fireworks. It was all very patriotic and spectacular with enactments from World War I, pup tents and all. It made quite an impression on me.”

Mary Margaret and Ken Rowen

When the invitation came to their Aunt's 90th birthday party on April 22, the Rowen brothers (Ken and Ed) felt they should go. The problem was how to get there. It is not easy to get to Halfway, Ore., situated on the eastern border next to the Snake River. Fly in to Boise and drive, fly into Spokane and drive, fly into Missoula and drive.

The decision was made to drive all the way. It is a three-day trip. Six of us loaded into Ed's seven passenger van and headed west from Pierre, S.D. The weather worsened and finally at Sturgis, Hwy 90 was closed due to a blizzard. Luckily, there was a motel at the exit, and we got rooms. The next morning, the motel employees couldn't even get to work, so we had to make our own coffee. The cars were entirely encased in snow.

On the second day we headed out again. We knew that we had to carefully plan gas, meal and restroom stops. The conditions of the rest rooms deteriorated until it became so hilarious that the ladies developed a rating system for them.

We arrived in Halfway and expected to be directed to the motel rooms that we had asked them to reserve for us. The family was so pleased. A friend had a vacant furnished house that we could have. Yes, it had 3 bedrooms. One had bunk beds, one had an air mattress with the bed up against the wall because the room was so small, the deluxe room had a bare lightbulb hanging from the ceiling. There was one small bathroom and none of us had brought robes expecting the privacy of our motel room. We did have the experience of watching the cattle being fed in the morning.

The party was essentially a community potluck in a civic building with lots of friends, as Ken’s aunt Beth and her husband Con had lived there all 48 years of their married life in this town of 380 citizens. We feasted on leftovers for the next 2 days.

Memories. And exposure to a different, but not necessarily a lesser, way of life.

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