These warm summer days are a reminder of when you feel like you are on vacation
By Ken Robinson
In 1955, Mom and Dad took us, four boys, to Disneyland. Dad rented a 12-foot trailer and hooked it up to our pale green 1951 Chrysler.
The Chrysler didn't have air conditioning. Dad found a thing called a Swamp Cooler and hung it from the back window on the driver's side. It was shaped like a stubby torpedo with a screen on the front and back to allow air to pass through and over a reservoir of water. This action while traveling in a car causes cool air to be formed and piped inside the car.
The Swamp Cooler is not a perfect concept. Several times, when Dad went to pick out the dead bugs one can expect to find in summer, the cooler would spray him with tepid water.
Mom began calling it "Old Facefull."
In Manzanita, Oregon, we stopped at a small motel off the highway. The motel sat in shade from tall cottonwoods along a creek, which the motel operator had widened to create a small swimming hole.
We floated on inner tubes and splashed in the cool stream and felt like we were on vacation.
At Disneyland, we looked at the theme exhibits, Erupoean style building and man-made waterways with red and yellow and green bobbing plastic boats.
We bought tickets for the Autopia Ride. Like a modern go-kart track but with slower, cartoonish cars. Mom and I think it was Patrick rode with her in the car in front with me at the wheel. After running the course, which took jew a couple of minutes, we were back at the start. As Mom was getting out of her car, I rammed the back of it, caused her to lurch forward and catch herself. She wasn't hurt.
After a couple of days of Southern California fun, we had to head back to Seattle. Not far outside of Anaheim, wearing our Mickey Mouse ears, we were making aerodynamics experiments by holding our hands out the car window as it sped along the highway.
Then the trailer came loose.
Fascinated by the shapes our hands could make in the wind, we were startled when we saw the trailer run right along side the car. Dad noticed at the same time and let off the gas. The car moved ahead of the slowing trailer, now plowing on the hitch rail into soft sand on the shoulder.
Things are blurry after that. My brother and I found an immense June Bug in the back seat.
Somehow, Dad got the trailer hitch welded to the trailer and we headed home, in a car cooled by air moving over water.