I am shameless in appropriating titles, though we did in fact have great expectations for our first trailer vacation. The time was April 1973 just preceding Easter of that year. We made a trial trip to Lancaster PA to get an actual feel of pulling the trailer, setting it up, staying overnight, and reversing the process back to Coopersburg. We stayed at a trailer parking place, I don’t remember the name now but it was OK, that I do remember. The weather was overcast and quite chilly which was fine since we experienced using our heater and the interior was quite comfortable. The trip was a very positive learning weekend.
We left on Good Friday, April 20, and travelled as far as Petersburg, VA. We stayed as a Holiday Inn park and left the next day for a similar park at Virginia Beach, our next destination. Of course, no internet then so we would consult trailer travel guides, select a park and use a pay phone to reserve a spot. We left the next day for a similar park at Virginia Beach, VA. It was a short drive and we did get some time to browse around the area and actually get a couple of hours on the beach itself.
The next day we went to Atlantic Beach NC. There was a tremendous rush of beach traffic, mostly going out and we were going in. We found a trailer park a mile or so from Fort Macon, NC. Marge vaguely remembered the location from her childhood and we spent some time exploring the historic part of the fort. the next morning we all got up early and attended a sunrise service, April 22 at Fort Story. Marge loved Easter sunrise services wherever they were held and this place was part of her childhood.
On Monday, April 23, we got to Myrtle Beach, SC and again stayed at a Holiday Inn Travl-Park. this was largely due to their having a toll-free reservation service and we didn’t have to wast time looking around for a place to park. We again, enjoyed a pleasant stay, the park was very nice and only a few minutes walk from the ocean. The girls went swimming. I didn’t as it was a bit cool for me. I did get some rays lying on the beach.
We had an unpleasant surprise one morning. The sun was shining and I wanted to take a picture of our daughters. I asked them to pose under a Palmetto tree. They soon began to wiggle and then cry and Marge and I had no idea why. We rushed into the nearest pharmacy, described the symptoms and asked what would relieve them. The clerk told us that they sat on a fire ant nest and sold us some OTC local anesthetic called Itchi-Cool. Fire ants bite fiercely , and we had never heard of them.
We did some local sightseeing and saw some of the local attractions. The most notable was a plantation which once owned by the Huntington’s and now turned into a garden setting. This held the sculptures of Mrs. Huntington and assorted American sculptors. I wish I had a photo to show you. The garden was very attractive although most of the spring flowers were beyond their peak. We had good weather throughout. The rain did fall in the evening and we had a brief shower one afternoon. Later I learned that back home the weather was April showers, and then some.
We took two days to come back as we realized that is all the time you need. We could not be assured of a reservation until Monday. We did have a few negative times along the way. One time I drove up a road that was clearly marked closed. However, there were many cars going in, so I assumed the sign was wrong and the locals knew that the road was open.
WRONG, the sign was correct. The cars were coming in, but parking on the side and walking in. The road had a side road about a 1/4 mile behind us, which was the only way to get out as our road had drainage gulleys on the sides. No place to get hung up. I sweat blood trying to back up to that road. I could NOT do it. Marge took the girls out as I was very stressed and the incoming cars were blowing their horns at me. I could park the trailer but not drive backward. Fortunately a Good Samaritan camper came and gave me the help I sorely needed. I closely watched his technique driving backward to learn. This one of the rare occasions when I could not figure out a solution. A humbling, but learning experience.
I ran over a dog on the way back as it just ran into the road in front of me, and with a trailer behind one cannot just veer a bit. I was extremely sorry but could not have avoided it.
On reaching home we received a threatening letter from the school board for keeping the girls out for a few days. I think the first hand learning about our country was worth it and they didn’t suffer from the absence. They both were, still are, very smart and could make up what they missed in class.
It was very nice to get a head start on Spring, something we would later do when we could. Marge had some sort of bug and my bane, hay fever, was starting. The girls had their annual art and music demonstration. Louise has shown some interest in piano and was now taking piano lessons on an alternate basis with Ingrid and I. We were fortunate to have a teacher that came to our house, instead of vice versa.
Our first real trailer travel adventure was very pleasant. We met some unexpected trouble but overcame it and it was very nice coming back to PA where the spring flowers were starting to blossom. We had an extended Spring and a bit of family adventure. Our great expectations were certainly met.