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1976 US Bicentennial travel with our Hobomobil*

PART 1 – From Alberta south to USA mid-west

Traveling with my little son in our old what I call Hobomobil* (a vehicle serving as a home, for decent temporary traveling folks; vs. hobomobile=Google app) square back Volkswagen. For the purpose of obtaining a Landed Immigrant visa for Canada. [See also my previous posts on 1975 travel during summer vacation from Syracuse University, taking a Greyhound Bus across USA.]

1976 is an important year for the United States, (their Bicentennial), having a history since 1776 and celebrating the most important events, which led to the US forming and their constitution, and – 4th of July 1776 – the Declaration of Independence. [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Bicentennial ]. I had come from Europe to the United States in fall of 1974 for my graduate program at Syracuse University. At that time I did not know much about US history. It was only coincidental that we (myself and my little son) would be there during this important period in time and history.

Likewise, not knowing at that time that my son after leaving Alberta, Canada, would also return to the USA, Alabama and later Washington, DC, for his own graduate studies. And then in 1990 return to his homeland Holland.

Back to my story – 1976, the year we arrived in Canada in Spring, on my expired US student visa. Having traveled in my VW for weeks to arrive in Edmonton, Alberta, staying with a friend. Someone who saw my vehicle (NY State license plate), turned me in to Immigration. Normally one has to return to ones home country to apply from there for a Canadian Landed Immigrant visa.

Impossible ! Somehow, with the help of another friend there, and some sort of job offer, I could return to the United States, to apply for the Canadian Visa and wait it out there. We took the opportunity, being it was summer, to just travel around. From state to state, during the US Bicentennial. Lots of celebrations, you might think ? Not so much. The nearest Canadian Consulate I chose was Minneapolis, Minnesota.

My old VW Hobomobil, our temporary home, in which we traveled, lived, slept, cooked, and accumulated a lot of stuff as souvenirs. Alone, on campgrounds, or just driving till late into the night, meeting others in similar or same positions. This old car did not even have an air conditioning system – summers sometimes high up into the 30C. All “road” people nice to us, even a group of Hells Angels motor cycle guys, met on the road during a heavy rain storm, waiting it out under a bridge.

[The pictures are from scanned images, previously slides]

 

9/11 World Trace Center Towers New York City Terrorist Attack

where were you ? I remember exactly where I was. This was September 9 in the year 2001. I had a Doctor’s appointment in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Walking the city I passed by a TV and electronics shop. Standing in front of the large store window and watching LIVE news. What do I see ? The plane plowing into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Wow !

Coincidentally, that same year, August 2001 we (my son and I) had visited New York City, to celebrate my birthday. Traveling by Amtrak train from Washington, DC (where my son worked and lived) to New York City. Stayed in a hotel at Central Park. The evening we went out to visit the sites: Little Italy, the Russian Cafe, Times Square, Broadway, at night watching the musical Les Miserables, and hanging out. That was August that same year. From Washington DC I then returned to Alberta August 14th. Then came September 2001 and 9/11.

Next year in January 2002 we went one more time to New York City (from DC), with the elevator up the Chrysler Building, try see the sight – Ground Zero. At that time it was still all sooty and smelly and hazy, and no more World Trade Center Towers to see.

COFFEE – CAFE – KAFFEE

2020 the best year of my life, with a world wide pandemic, virus here, there and everywhere. What’s a person to do to have at least a feeling of a social life, especially if you are alone. Often I go out (in fact daily) for a walk, or take my bicycle, to the park, sit down, have a coffee. Better, yet, sit somewhere in one of the newly created outdoor cafes. Even sitting alone at a table feels better than sitting alone at home. YUK !

Coffee for many years has become an important part of my traveling life. In Europe, and on the continent. Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island: Although I have not tested all cafes, some are good, some not so, some are too expensive for the quality of coffee.

A decent cup for C$2.00 is pretty good. Murchies, 100 year old pattissery and eating place downtown. Not bad. Crust Bakery on Fort C$ around 2.00, also, but must sit outside, lots of street traffic. Other places (being that Starbucks closed down a lot) can go anywhere from C$2.50 to even over C$up to 4.00. Too expensive. My Italian shop in Victoria, on Blanchard, has the best Italian imports, everything (dozens of different panettones during Xmas season), and also a little corner cafe to sit. Regular coffee not so strong, espresso, Americano good. Prices good. [Reminds me of my Panettoni story: During Xmas 2015 went to Italy, from Cannes, bought a big Italian Panettoni, took it home to Canada in my suitcase.]. Yet, nothing beats a good Weihnachtsstollen.

While traveling in France, spending three months in Cannes, Mediterranean, ordering a coffee/cafe would always mean tiny cute little Espresso, good, but one shot. Netherlands, where I worked and lived for eight years is different again: You want to find a Cafe to sit down for a coffee ? Unless you intend to smoke pot or get some cannabis, those places are the ones. Real cafes bakeries for a coffee and dessert are bakeries (bakkerij patisserie). Germany, Berlin: There is a tiny historically old section, the Nikolaiviertel, one can sit down outside, have wonderful coffee, mostly coffee implies a little can, and have a cake. [Founded about 1200, the Nikolaiviertel of Alt-Berlin, together with the neighbouring settlement of Cölln, is the reconstructed historical heart of the German capital Berlin.]

St. Petersburg, Russia, is huge, a wonderful city. Near the Neva strolling along the Nevsky Prospect down to the landing dock for ships going to Finland, found a nice little restaurant, have a coffee. Good.

[Every morning I make my own cappuccino in my old-fashioned Italian Espresso machine.]. Continue enjoy, as long as you look at each other from the distance.

Calgary Stampede

Calgary Stampede – “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”.

Turning the time back to the 1960s – long time ago, when I was still in Europe. Over there we did not know much about Canada, only all there is to know about the USA. Remnants of Word War 2.

However, when I was still a teenager I was heavy into horses (riding) and crazy about cowboys and the entire rodeo culture. Though I did not know a thing about Canada then, already I knew about the Calgary Stampede. The only thing I know about Canada.

Ending up here (44 years ago) I would never have dreamed about. Ending up in and near Calgary and working in Alberta for almost 30 years, and living and breathing the rodeo, horses and cowboy culture (having had many horses myself, trained, shown), is a good memory of times past.

Of course, this year, that (damned) year of 2020 and that virus pandemic, for the first time ever in over 100 years, the Calgary Stampede did not happen. Made me cry.

Today is the last day : – the Finals Sunday. I watch every day, Calgary Stampede 2019.

In the Northern Part of Germany nearer my own (former) home town exists a culture that invites medieval fairs, also because of the beautifully medieval (after the War restored) houses and buildings. [Braunschweig had been destroyed completely during WWII.]. The city dates back to the year 900, is a very old former medieval town, and therefore has a history of such fairs and festivals. Incidentally, its founder Henri III ‘THE LION’ was also the founder of München (Munich, Bavaria). Henri The Lion founded the cities München, Lübeck, Lüneburg and Braunschweig (Brunswick).

While in Bavaria, the south of Germany, nearer München, many old castles from medieval times still exist. One of them is Kaltenberg.

[ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schloss_Kaltenberg ]. Where annual jousting tournaments are held. The Kaltenberger Ritterturnier (Jousting) is the largest and longest lasting in the world. Held annually in July at Castle Kaltenberg, Geltendorf, Bavaria.

It is a glorious time to spend among knights, musicians, artists and acrobats, watching archery tournaments and mingling with all sorts of folks in their medieval garments. Admiring the wonderful big horses of the knights. Not to forget the tasty down to earth food and world-famous Kaltenberg beer, brewed right here in the Castle. [ https://www.ritterturnier.de/ ]

I visited in the year 2007, spending several months in Munich and took the train from there to Geltendorf and up to the Castle grounds, to attend that year’s Jousting Tournament. Despite a cool day and rain starting at the beginning of the Knights’ Tournament, this had been a totally enjoyable and exciting experience. For me as a horse person especially, as I have had my own horses shown, raised & trained for so many years in Alberta, Canada. The entire medieval atmosphere surrounding the grounds has been exciting, different and uplifting.

Our travels across the United States 1975. My son was at that time only seven years old.

{See also: Part 1 – starting New York State up to Grand Canyon, AZ.

[ https://renataveritashistory.com/2020/05/29/travels-across-america-part-1/ ]},

followed by Parts 2 and 3: South West to San Francisco.

This is the continuation of our lengthy Bus trip across the United States. Spending many days and nights on Greyhound buses. Part 4 describes a couple of days stay in San Francisco, visiting the Bay Area [ http://www.foundsf.org/index.php?title=Fisherman%27s_Wharf ], and sightseeing around China Town and the Golden Gate Park.

San Francisco – out of many American cities I had visited in those years – is one of the more interesting, not only in terms of its history, but also because of its uniqueness. Its original name being of Spanish origin – Yerba Buena, meaning nothing more then ‘good herb’ – changed later into the name of one of the foremost ancient Italian saints: San Francesco d’Assisi, ergo: San Francisco.

The picture gallery (selecting only a few) shows individual stops and sights.

Much later, in the year 2006, I made a return visit with my son by cruise ship to San Francisco. Including a visit to the (now closed) Alcatraz Penitentiary.

[ https://www.historytoday.com/archive/months-past/alcatraz-prison-closes ]

Incidentally, I spent Christmas in Italia, (Umbria, Perugia trip December 2015), mainly for visiting the Christmas masses and celebrations for this Saint – San Francesco d’Assisi.

[ http://www.shrinesf.org/history.html ].

Part 3 – California: San Diego Zoo and Disneyland Anaheim

Our travels across the United States 1975. My son at that time was only seven years old. This long trip was a couple of weeks with Greyhound.

{See also: Part 1 – starting New York State up to Grand Canyon, AZ.

[ https://renataveritashistory.com/2020/05/29/travels-across-america-part-1/ ]}

(followed by Part 2)

This is the continuation of our lengthy trip across the United States. Part 2 describes visits from the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, Arizona, to the Mexican Border.

Part 3 continues on to California, San Diego, the famous San Diego Zoo, one of the premier zoological facilities [ https://www.sandiegozooglobal.org/ ].

A real treat for my little son, who easily made friends with some of the critters. San Diego Zoo is among the best world-wide, with also Washington, DC National Zoo [ https://nationalzoo.si.edu/ ].

Then on to Anaheim, California, some 90 miles north, to visit another world wide known attraction, Disneyland California amusement park, dating back to 1955. [ https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/disneyland-opens ].

My pictures of Disneyland are a bit dark, reason is, that shortly before I had lost an entire film and had to quickly re-buy, so we arrived shortly before dawn.

It was an adventure, spending many long hours on these buses, sometimes during the night.

Being summer it had been quite hot, therefore, the photos (Asahi Pentax Spotmatic F camera) – taken as slides – are mostly a bit light, not the best quality. At a much later date I had scanned all those slides onto my PC.

The picture gallery (selecting only a few) shows individual stops.

Part 2 – Grand Canyon to San Diego

Our travels across the United States 1975. My son at that time only seven years old. This long trip was a couple of weeks with Greyhound.

{See also: Part 1 – starting New York State up to Grand Canyon, AZ.

[ https://renataveritashistory.com/2020/05/29/travels-across-america-part-1/ ]}

This is the continuation of our lengthy trip across the United States. Part 2 describes visits from the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, Arizona, to the Mexican Border, then continue on to California, San Diego.

It was an adventure, spending many long hours on these buses, sometimes during the night. Funny stories as well. After many prior stops, when getting closer to the Mexican border, some Mexicans had boarded, wearing their huge hats, not much room for us on our seats anymore. Also, meeting Indians across those South Western States and Reservations, and their wonderful silver jewelry and gift shops. The mighty Grand Canyon surely is one of the world’s wonders.

Being summer it had been quite hot, therefore, the photos (Asahi Pentax Spotmatic F camera) – taken as slides – are mostly a bit light, not the best quality. At a much later date I had scanned all those slides onto my PC.

The picture gallery (selecting only a few) shows individual stops.

Part 1 – New York State to Grand Canyon

My travels across the United States during Summer vacation 1975.

I had spent many years in the United States. Arriving from Europe in the fall of 1974 with my little son, then only seven years old, to enroll in a graduate program at Syracuse University, New York State.

During the summer vacations of 1975 we took off on a lengthy trip across the US, using a Greyhound Bus (Ameripass, later Greyhound Discovery Pass, now discontinued). It was an adventure, spending many long hours on these buses, sometimes during the night.

Starting at Syracuse University, New York State via Washington, DC, then on to Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Liberty Bell (the original bell today: Liberty Bell Center, Philadelphia, Pe), Missouri and St. Louis, then onto Colorado, and further to New Mexico, Albuquerque, and then into Arizona, to visit the Grand Canyon [ https://www.legendsofamerica.com/az-flagstaff/ ]. On the way take in old Bedrock City, The Flintstones, now closed. [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bedrock_City_(Arizona) ]

[continued in Part 2 – TRAVELS ACROSS AMERICA].

The picture gallery (selecting only a few) shows individual stops. The pictures are not the best quality. [BACKGROUND: On our flight over from Luxembourg to New York City with a stop at Riykjavik Airport, I had acquired an Asahi Pentax Spotmatic F camera [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentax_Spotmatic ], using slides and a projector all those years until getting my next set of cameras. Much later in 2006 I then sat down scanning all my thousands of slides to store on my PC.]

Remembrance Day November 11

REMEMBRANCE DAY for soldiers or war victims ?

PTSD suffered by both parties. However, only soldiers and those flying in their war planes dropping the tons of bombs onto civilians, women and children alike, are being celebrated in Remembrance Day ceremonies as heroes.

Victims of those wars who suffered on the sidelines, or fallout – World War I – and those who suffered heavy bombings and destruction of their home lands, – World War II – particularly starting from 1941 until 1945, are not allowed to ever forget their experiences being persecuted, suffering in concentration camps, and being heavily bombed as small children, growing up in completely destroyed home lands; now also suffering from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).

We are not heroes of war, we did not fly over enemy lands and drop bomb loads, we were just trying to survive and rebuild our home lands.

Where is the justice in that ?

Soldiers belong to the governments who declare wars, they are also called GI – government issue for that reason – they get weapons and tanks and war planes and are being deployed, for the sole purpose to kill. They can defend themselves. Not so civilians. They are the real heroes. At the same time, they are the ones who do not want to be reminded of those terrible experiences.

Don’t worry, we do remember without big ceremonies and pompom.