The Latest from Lola's Diner

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Summer of '76 Florida Road Trip

Yes, it’s very sad when you have to go in the Wayback Machine to June 1976. I just finished my Freshman year of high school. Yes I have to go that far back to find a favorite vacation. Actually it was my first real vacation. I think that says a lot about my life. I did make this same road trip 10 years later with my sister, but it wasn’t as memorable. Also, I have to say that I do not count the long road trips to Wisconsin Dells with my ex-husband staying in the mobile home that he owned. Doing all the driving from Chicago to the Dells myself, then being treated to a long weekend of no air conditioning in the middle of no-wheresville is not my idea of a vacation. And no, we did not do the Dells touristy stuff, we just hung out in the small town where his trailer was and occasionally went antiquing in Portage and Princeton. Wow, that was the life!

Back to 1976…
It was myself, my sister, my Aunt, my Grandmother and my Cousin. We all loaded up our luggage into the huge trunk of his silver blue Pontiac Bonneville Brougham.
The only driver was my Cousin, it was his car. We drove from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Disney World, then to Key West. As I recall it was quite a luxurious ride. Comfy, roomy even. We rotated seats at rest stops because we all know how coveted the front passenger seat is. My Aunt had the route mapped out from AAA Trip Tiks and had scheduled Motel stops along the way. The only mishap the whole trip was when my sister and my Aunt thought it would be hilariously funny to have my Cousin close my hair that was flying out the window in the power window. No one realized that I had my arm on the top of the door and my fingers wrapped around the window frame. Luckily my Cousin was quick to reverse the window once I started to scream! Thankfully no trip to the ER, only ice was required.

When we reached Florida we went directly to our hotel, Disney’s Polynesian Resort. The accommodations were perhaps the best I’ve ever stayed at. (Again, rather sad.) We attended the Luau, which now is called “Disney's Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show featuring an authentic Polynesian feast”. Basically a lot of pineapple drinks, grass skirts, hula dancers and men eating fire. For teenage 2 girls who never got out of Wisconsin it was fantastic.

The next day we took the overhead Disneyland Monorail to the grounds of the Magic Kingdom. (Have I ever mentioned how terrified of heights I am?) I don’t think I was even able to take a breath the entire time I was on the Monorail. Years later when I rode the Brown Line from Addison/Lincoln to downtown I had flashbacks.

Some of the rides I was not familiar with and was downright terrified. Which is rather silly, since it was the 70’s and any rides they had back then were tame and totally lame by today’s standards. We visited the Hall of Presidents, Pirates of the Caribbean, Carousel of Progress, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Skyway to Tomorrowland, Mission to Mars and It’s A Small World. (Its a small world after all, its a small world after all, its a small world after all, its a small, small world… you can thank me later, now that it’s stuck in your head. It’s only fair, since I had to endure it to write this.)

I had a brand spanking new Polaroid camera. (The kind that you had to count and then remove the film backing from the photo.)
I took lots of photos, but unfortunately I don’t have them because they disappeared when we were clearing out the house in Chicago. I suspect my ex-husband has them and I’m hoping someday that my kids find them at his place. All of my childhood photos are missing. I’m really upset about not having these particular photos because that year, 1976, was when I was at my skinniest. I remember every single photograph I took for that trip. I remember my shag haircut and my short shorts. (The only time I've ever worn short shorts in my life.) I was always a chubby kid and I've always been a plus size adult. About a year prior to our trip my Mother and I went on the Perma Slim Weight Loss Plan (kind of a low rent Weight Watchers). I actually had boys chasing me at that age. Actually the only time in my life. ( it turns out that now every single one of them is gay, but that's a whole different story.)

My sister and I had a really great time. After the Magic Kingdom we packed up the Bonneville and drove to Key West. Can I say that Key West is the most beautiful place on earth? I’ve been there twice and I would love to show it to Anastasia as she’s never been. Driving over that long, long, 7 mile bridge from Florida to Key West is the most beautiful ride.
Who would ever have thought that water could be so many different colors of blue and green?

Lola's Diner


I am Harriet said...

Are we really that old???

Babette said...

It's a small world after all! Thanks Lola! LOL I remember seeing that ride for the first time when I was 18 y.o. I was xcited to visit Disneyland for the first time since it's a life long dream. Growing up in a different country, dreaming about visiting Disneyland was on the top of my list.

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

THANKS, Lola! I remember having that song stuck in my head when I went to Disney Land and Disney World years ago - thanks to you it's baaaaaaack in my head! LOL!!!

Hopefully your pictures will turn up - I have the same problem with some missing photo's - either an ex-husband has them, or they were left behind during one of my many moves...or, if I'm lucky, they're still stuck in a box in the huge pile'o'boxes in my attic - which is one of the reasons why I'm not tossing out boxes willy nilly like hubby would like...(grin!!!)

I FINALLY posted my favorite vacation memory... ;) I'm still trying to get caught up on blog-hopping and commenting and EC drops...there's no light at the end of the tunnel yet, but I imagine it will be there at some point... ;)

Caregivingdaughter said...

Ah... the 70's. I was a child of the seventies and I remember the fun family roadtrips in our green Ford station wagon. We used to fight over who got to sit in the "way back" as we called it. Thanks for sharing your memories.

Lola said...

@ Harriet-I don't know about you, but I am. lol!

@ Babette-I was just happy to go on my first real vacation. My parents weren't into vacationing. My Dad's idea of a vacation was doing stuff around the house and taking on side jobs.

@ Stacy-I'm really upset about the photos. I literally have only 4 photos of my parents. The only reason I have those is 2 were in a collage and the other 2 I had framed.

@ Caregiving Daughter-That's funny. I have an SUV with a 3rd seat and we've always called it the "way back". And trust me, NO ONE wants to sit back there. It's a real tight squeeze for anyone older than say 8. And my kids are 14 and soon to be 16.

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