Friday, October 25, 2013

5. Letters Home...Estes Park Chronicles in Quotes... June 1964

With the letters I wrote home from Estes Park, CO located, I will continue my story with frequent quotes.  

Sharing today will include some additional facts about my travel adventures in getting to Estes Park.  Many of these details had been deeply tucked into hiding for me but have mostly been recalled as my letters have been reread - some of the details, however, are a surprise even to me as the memory no longer has lingered. 

My sister, Kathy, and I had taken a train to Madison which stopped outside of Winona, MN on the WI side of the Mississippi River - about five miles from our farm home.  This was frequently the means of transportation for me while I attended UW-Madison. 

Our older brother, Jim, had just completed his undergrad degree at UW-Madison and was engaged to be married in August  to Carolyn Nelson.  Kathy and I had already begun to deal with the very difficult aspect of our travel / work decision which would probably mean we would not be able to attend his wedding August 1st.  

Jim met and helped us rendezvous with other college students from around WI who shared involvement in the campus organization, Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF or IV).  There were at least 7 of us divided into 2 cars for the drive to Colorado Springs and Bear Trap Ranch (BTR).  BTR has since been  sold but still exists as a camp and conference center.  The others in our group would be attending IV's 3-wk Christian Life Conference but my sister and I welcomed the transportation that far and would continue from the Springs to Estes Park - somehow.

Inter-Varsity had become a very important part of my life while at UW.  Badger Christian Fellowship was quite a large chapter and met each Friday night for worship, study and fellowship.  I was assisting the chapter secretary, John Worden, by typing a weekly news sheet which was distributed to the group members at the Friday night meetings.  He would bring me the content  and I would get it typed and ready to duplicate.  I was also the person who bought cookies and made Kool-aide for an after meeting snack.  

My brother was also a very active IVCF member.  He and Carolyn had met in Badger Christian Fellowship.  

I am digressing a bit but will share this sidebar note as it is also quite an important part of my life story.

Perhaps you noticed the name in an above paragraph which sounds familiar - John Worden.  My brother tells me - though I do not remember this - that when he came home for Easter in 1963 and learned that I would be attending UW in the fall, he said to me, "Oh, I have someone that you need to meet!"  He and John were friends.  In my world at that time, John's most enticing asset was that he was 6'3" tall!!!  I was 5'8" tall and usually was taller than my best guy friends.  My sisters teased me mercilessly about marrying "someone short, fat and freckle-faced!"  So I was determined not to have that prediction come true.  I would get to know John Worden in time.

But it was time for the drive to CO to begin.
  • Left Madison at 7:30 AM - Sat. June 13, 1964
  • Rode with Radina, a girl from Eau Claire - 1958 Ford "clunker" 
  • followed a car with 4 guys and a gal
  • Ran out of gas 1 1/2 miles from Des Moines (I was driving and didn't know that at a quarter of a tank, it was actually empty)
  • Car with guys rescued us with a trip for gas
  • Got off the right road 3 times - once went 60 miles in wrong direction
  • Car started to overheat at about 9:15PM
  • Stopped when car started to "sizzle"
  • Guys found hole in radiator hose
  • Jerry Motts, other car owner, pushed us 14 miles into Holdrege, NE (Note:  I would one day live in Loomis, NE, 7 miles from Holdrege which had the hospital and Dr. when our second son was born in 1973.)
  • Got the hose fixed and kept going
  • Horrid rain storm between Nebraska and Kansas for 2-3 hrs
  • Drove all night - arrived Colorado Springs at 5 AM
  • I did half the driving - slept only 1 1/2 hrs
  • Called the Greyhound Station and learned we would have to take a bus to Denver and another from there to Estes Park.  It would require 2 days of travel
  • We decided to go to BTR with the other students - maybe someone there had plans to drive to Estes Park
  • Arrived at BTR about 9 AM - 18 miles of rugged mountain roads - an hour's drive from the Springs
  • Delicious breakfast - thoroughly exhausted
  • One Madison student who had arrived a week earlier at BTR was still there.
  • Located Dinah Hefty who told me John Worden was also there - serving on work crew
  • Attended a worship service at 10:30 AM - my sister played the piano
From letter written June 15 while waiting for bus in Colorado Springs..  Further description of Sunday activities...
"John didn't show up till noon and was absolutely shocked to see me.  He is on the work crew so I didn't see too much of him as he was most always busy.  Kathy and I slept Sunday afternoon for a few hours before supper.  After supper John had to work with the dishes so Kathy and I decided to do some mountain climbing.  We hiked to the peak of a mountain called Devil's Slide and saw a most glorious view.  The climbing wasn't too bad.  Actually it was quite fun except that our legs were about ready to give out after we were through walking and climbing for about 2 1/2 hours and at least 4-5 miles.  BTR is situated in a beautiful spot.  The mountains of Colorado truly are beautiful.. wish you all could be here.  We got back about 8:30PM.  John was through work so the 2 of us played frisby until the group decided to have a hootenanny and John had to go play the guitar.  This lasted until about 10:00PM when everybody decided to go to bed.  John and I took a little walk though and talked till about eleven.  I think he's kinda worried about Kathy and me going to Estes.  Everybody at BTR was very friendly though and we got many words of advice from kids who have been there before.  We also talked to a lot of kids who are coming up there to work after 3 weeks at BTR.  We didn't find anyone driving to Estes yesterday so we decided to stay overnight there and get a good rest. 
"We came down to Colorado Springs where we are right now waiting for a 12:15 bus to Denver.  It cost us each $5.75 for 4 meals and the stay overnite at BTR.  We each have to pay Radina (car owner from Madison) $11.00 for the trip but we only gave her $10.00 all together now in case we need more money before we get jobs at Estes.  This was fine with her.
"The bus ticket to Denver is $2.20."
We'll pick up tomorrow as we arrive in Estes Park, CO.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading, thanks for sharing.