By JIM “PAPPY” MOORE
After our grand journey had taken us to Lubbock, Texas, then on to Durango, Colorado, then to Yellowstone Park, up through Montana, and to our destination of Lewiston, Idaho, we headed further west to Puget Sound, Washington and down to Portland, Oregon. Hugging the coast for a while, we would then venture inland for the sights in Northern California.
We would see the Redwood National Forest, the Sequoia National Park, and the famous Yosemite Park, with its well-known waterfall and other sights. We would leave Yosemite and head south to Pomona, where our Aunt Vannah lived with her husband Don, and their two sons, Kenny and Johnny. We would stay with them for several days, taking in Southern California.
Mama was the youngest sister in her family. Vannah was the middle sister. Zella in Portland, Oregon was the eldest sister and the eldest child. The lone brother was Gordon Linscott, who did not live anywhere along the path of The Grand Journey West. He is a story unto himself, who had been in the precursor to the CIA and interrogated POWs during WWII.
Don Vannoy, husband of Vannah, was my Dad’s college roommate. Don and Dad met, dated and married the two Linscott sisters of Vannah and Helen (my mother). This leg of the journey was a college reunion. Don was a preacher, like my father.
High winds hit one day we were there, and I learned that palm trees have shallow roots. Those palm trees which were in the esplanades were laid over, exposing their shallow root systems. They toppled without much resistance.
We took a day trip from Pomona to Buena Park, California, where we would take in the joys of a famous tourist spot – Knotts Berry Farm. It was a joy for the Moore kids and parents, alike. We enjoyed the car rides and the place where things seemed to not be on the level. It was an optical illusion which led one to believe things were not as their appeared, where water appeared to run uphill.
From Southern California we would head due east to Flagstaff, Arizona, a beautiful city nestled among mountains and pines. It was a day’s drive which would take us near the Joshua Tree and parts of the desert on our way to Flagstaff. At Flagstaff we would visit with one of Mama’s cousins, a B-52 bomber pilot.
Along the way on the grand journey, we would often stay with church members where Daddy would be a visiting preacher. Between relatives and parishioners, we rarely stayed in a motel. We attended church somewhere every Sunday we were on the road, and Daddy preached at about half of those.
From Flagstaff, Arizona we headed to northwestern New Mexico, to visit my Dad’s oldest brother, Garland, in Farmington, New Mexico. We called him Uncle Bubba. He was married to Margaret. They had three children: Linda, Buster, and Rex. Linda was the oldest of the Moore grandkids. Buster was a couple of years older than me, and Rex was a couple of years younger than me.
Our next day’s travel would take us from Farmington, New Mexico back to the Lubbock, Texas area where we visited once again Granny and Paw Paw Moore, Uncle Docs’ family, and Aunt Helen’s family. That would bring us a full day’s 500 mile drive back to our home in Lufkin. We played games on the road which kept it fresh. Spotting and keeping track of all the license plates of the various states was a project which would involve all of us. That last leg would give us our last opportunity to add to the list we kept of every state we identified.
By then Daddy’s favorite drive would be that final day on the road until he would sleep once again in his own bed, would sit in his favorite chair, and again preach to his favorite church.
We kids would be road weary, too, but ready to see our friends again and resume our summer activities before school would call again come September. We loved The Grand Journey West. It varied every trip, and we never fully appreciated the ordeal it presented for Daddy and Mama. Looking back, I respect so much what they did, and appreciate the very hard work they put into it. We got to see things many kids never did, and we did it on a tight budget. What a glorious set of memories they gave us!
Copyright 2022, Jim “Pappy” Moore. All rights reserved.