Back with Harry and Florence in Escondido we shared the news that we would be returning to New England. They didn’t seem surprised. Then we told Florence’s sister, Helen. No surprise there, either. Guess they were expecting us to go back home.
For the next several days Roland fixed some odds and ends in both houses. Helen’s screens and Florence’s kitchen counters. We drove to El Cajon to find a gift for Harry and Florence.
Finally we were ready.
Journal Sunday, July 11, 1953
The children were taken down to Helen’s to play with their cousins for the last time, while Roland and I prepared to leave. I cleaned the trailer and secured the loose objects, filled the water container and washed our clothes. Roland checked the car motor and put new tires on the trailer.
All the family came to Florence and Harry’s house for dinner. We had ice cream together for dessert and then we all said good bye. We planned to leave at midnight to get across the desert while it was cooler. Roland went to sleep in the trailer for a few hours to rest up for the trip. We put the children to sleep in their car beds.
When we were ready to leave Harry told us to go to Lakeside, California and take Route 80 straight to Phoenix where we would stay with Uncle Edwin for a day or two and say good bye to him. Harry said there was one big long hill between Ramona and Lakeside, then it was clear sailing to Phoenix. Well, we made it to Lakeside without any trouble, then we took Route 80 and started to climb – and climbed – and climbed – and climbed – put water in the radiator – and climbed some more. It was about the same as the Grapevine Grade. Finally we reached the top where it was lovely and cool. We were in Alpine, California.
Roland started to feel sleepy again so we looked for a place to pull off so he could have a little nap. However, we didn’t find a pull off place until we got down out of the mountain into the valley, then the heat just closed in on us and it was too hot to stop.
We finally reached El Centro and were driving through town when suddenly CRASH. I clapped my hands over my mouth and looked behind us just in time to see the trailer coming in for a landing like a flying fortress without any landing gear.