My family moved to Tucson a week after I graduated from high school in 1964. We moved from Kansas City. We had two cars to move six people – my parents, me, my brother and two sisters – and some of our clothes and stuff that would fit into the cars. I had not only just graduated, but I also had just gotten my driver’s license. I was not a really experienced driver, but my parents let me drive one the cars for most of the trip. When I think back on it now, I think it was crazy to let me drive, but they did and I was happy to do it. I think that is an example of ignorance is bliss. Most of the time my brother road with me in a little black Nash Rambler convertible. It was mid-June of 1964 and we drove with no air-conditioning and with the windows, but not the top, down. We had a great time. I don’t remember any problems with the car or with my driving, but that may be selective memory. I think we mostly tried to caravan with the other car, but we always talked about our route and where we would meet up, so that in case we got separated, we would know where we were going. I was a slower driver then, unlike how I drive now! We often got separated because my dad had a heavier foot than I did.
The only real incidence I remember on the trip was in New Mexico, not too far from the Arizona state line. We were not in a hurry on this trip. We were sort of making it a vacation. We didn’t drive long days and we were taking the scenic way to Tucson and staying off most of the major interstates (mostly for my benefit, I think). So we were on Highway 60 in New Mexico and we were supposed to meet in some little town for lunch. My father parked their car behind the restaurant, even though my mother told him not too. My brother and I drove through the town, looking for their car, and never seeing it we kept on driving. When we didn’t show up at the restaurant, my parents got worried. This was decades before cell phones, so they had no way of communicating with us. They panicked and called the New Mexico state police to look for us.
In the meantime, we didn’t know we were missing and we just kept driving. We knew we were going to spend the night in Springerville, Arizona, so we knew we were on the right road. I think we thought that the other car was in front of us. We kept thinking that we would eventually find the rest of our family, so we just kept driving. The New Mexico state police notified the Arizona state police, in case we had crossed the border, which we did. We made it all the way to Springerville to our motel with state police from two states looking, but never finding us. Our frantic parents drove into the motel to find us waiting there for them. My dad was pretty impressed with the fact that we had evaded the state police from two states. My mother was just relieved and happy to see us. We made it to Tucson the next day, but my mother drove the second car.