Memorable family vacation

from our February 2013 issue

By Mildred Balzer – Saskatoon, Sask.

For our 25th wedding anniversary, my husband and I decided we would give ourselves and our family a treat, so on July 14, 1972 we set out for Disneyland.

We rented a camper to fit on the back of our half-ton and off we went with our four children ranging in ages from seven to 23.

Half of us rode in the front and half inside the camper. For sleeping, we had decided that one of our sons would sleep in the truck and the rest of us would sleep two in each bunk and our other son on the floor.

My husband even had the foresight to take two spare tires with us. We were very happy sardines!

We travelled very inexpensively. We didn’t eat in restaurants, but bought food at the grocery store, ate in the camper, and spent the night in roadside truck stops.

We did many things you could not do now, either legally or safety wise. My husband and son took turns driving.

In six days we reached California. Along the way we saw sights like the Passion Play in Spearfish, N.D., and fished at the trout farm for 10¢ an inch. It was our most expensive meals – $30 trout.

We visited the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City, drove through the Nevada Desert with no air conditioning, and finally reached Disneyland and Knott’s Berry farm.

I think the only meal we ate in a restaurant was when our daughter treated us to a fancy supper for our anniversary.

We then travelled north along the Redwood Highway, stopping at the Hearst Castle and to see the sea lions along the way.

When we reached B.C. we visited relatives and picked fruit. We arrived home late Sunday night. Monday morning I did laundry and canned all my fruit. I had just sat down after supper to relax when I saw this caravan of vehicles turning down our driveway into our yard.

I called my daughter and asked her if she knew what was going on. She denied any knowledge. It turned out our relatives and friends had planned a surprise anniversary party. That night after the celebration when we went to bed, we found our bed full of Rice Krispies! To this day, 40 years later, I have yet to discover who was responsible for that.

We still remember that trip with much affection. I don’t remember the children fighting or arguing or complaining about the crowded conditions. I wish I had kept track of how much money we had spent.