The 6000 mile trip. This turned out to be the best trip that Gene ever took by car, but at the same time, also the most dumb trip that he ever took. He really enjoyed this trip as the whole trip was by himself and he could pick his nose in private and sing any time he wanted too. Also because he was by himself, he had good company all the way. You will see as the story evolves, that Gene would just go to a highway and then just go whichever way, that he felt like at the time. Gene had quit his job at Allen Bradley Drives and started to Seattle, Washington. via California. The last day of work at A. B. Drives, he packed everything he had into his 1974, (Gene didn't have much.) Vega, Chevrolet car, and after going to see his friend, Dottie in Milwaukee for a few hours, he started the trip.
After leaving Milwaukee, Gene drove some minor highways until he picked up the I-80, near Davenport, Iowa. From Davenport he took I-80 to just inside Colorado, then south on state highway 385 to Lamar, Co., then highway 50 and 350 to Trinidad, Co.. From Trinidad, he went back north on I-25 a short distance to Walsenburg, Co. to state highway 160, in that area, Gene stopped at an outdoor train museum. Very interesting!!! From Walsenburg, Co., highway 160, he went to what is called The Four Corners, which is where the four states of Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico meet. The only place in America that this is the case. A person can walk around in a small circle and be in four different states in less then one minute. What Gene thinks he was doing, is not a good thing to ask, as he didn't know either.
From The Four Corners, Gene, then took state highway 666, back into Utah, up highway 163 and highway 6 to Provo, Utah. Catching I-15 and I-80, to Salt Lake City, Utah. he took I-80 through Nevada to Reno and into Calif. Still following I-80, on to Sacramento and Oakland, Calif. Gene stopped in Oakland to see his sister Alice Marshall and her son Leslie. He stayed for one week, and he and Leslie harassed Alice very much about the religious cult, that Alice belongs to. But Alice being the nice, and gentle person that she is, was still a good host.
Gene then took highway 101 North through the Sequoia National Park, in Calif.. The Sequoia trees can be as tall as 275 feet and 36 feet in circumference. One of the trees was so big that it had a tunnel cut through it for cars to go right through the tree. Gene went through the tree in his car. To think that you are driving a car through a tree, is quite a thrill. Some of these tree's are over 2000 years old.
Gene continued on highway 101 to Portland, Oregon and then I-5 to Seattle, Wash.. When Gene got to Seattle, he missed his children so bad, he didn't even stop for gas, before starting back to Kenosha, WI Gene took I-90 on the way home. When he got to Idaho, he took a minor road into the mountains. While up in the mountains it become dark and Gene was a little lost. But he continued on and about twelve- thirty in the morning, Gene ran over a skunk. Talk about an experience!!! The next day, with the smell still in the car and all his cloths smelling like skunk, he didn't know What to do?? Gene was sure that he smelled very bad. When he went into a restaurant or motel, he tried to stay as far away from people as he ate, or the motel clerks as he checked in. he had to continuing on, as there was nothing else he could do, Gene could still smell skunk in the car when he arrived back home in Zion, one week later. One month later, Gene was sure he could still smell skunk!!!
Anyway, Gene found I-90 again and continued on into Montana. He stopped at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Montana, for a look see, having changed to I-94 at Billings, Montana. Gene then continued on I-94 to Belfreid, North Dakota, and took state highway 85, South to I-90, in South Dakota. Then he took I-90 to Rapid City, South Dakota, to Mont. Rushmore Monument, to see the Presidents faces (Roosevelt, Lincoln, Washington, etc.), then on to see Chief Crazy Horse Monument near Custer, South Dakota. Then he grabbed I-90 again to Minnesota and Wisconsin. Then took I-94 near La Crosse, WI. to Milwaukee. From Milwaukee to Zion, IL. by I-94 again and highway 173. Gene went to his parents home in Zion, as he was almost broke by this time and also very tired. Gene was sleeping in his car, every other night, or he would of run out of money, on the way home. Gene really didnít have enough money for this trip.
|1974 Vega Chevrolet car that Gene took on the 6000 mile trip. Gene sleep in the car every other night. Every space in the car, was filled, except the drivers seat. Lots of fun!!!!|
Arriving back in Kenosha, Gene was almost broke and went to live with his parents until he could find a job and then a place to live. Gene was very lucky and with the help of a friend named Jim Oliver, Gene found a job with a small firm who make testers to test small motors, rotors, etc. Was he glad or what??? The man who started this firm use to work with Gene at Warwick for over 12 years and so knew what kind of work that he could do. Also 10 of the people, that were working there had been with him at Warwick, some for more then 16 years, 1954-1970. The firms name was Electronics Systems of Wisconsin based in Racine, Wisconsin. Gene liked this job very well. Most of the time, each technician would build a tester by himself. This was late 1975 and Gene also joined the Army National Guard. The Guard was like a part time job. One weekend a month, Gene would go to Milwaukee, WI to train as a soldier and a Electronic Tech.. He worked for the Guard fixing radar and radio sets. Gene also drove a 5- ton army truck at summer camp, which he liked very much.
In 1977, Gene was activated to guard a womenís prison at Taucheeda, WI. He got to see how women prisoners lived. The women tried to sell nude pictures of themselves to the National guards men. Some were very good looking. He was also involved with a religious cult called WOW. (Word Over the World.) It was a lot of fun, as the leaders of the cult were taught that they were to go out on dates with any of the members, no matter what their age. The leaders were all young men and women in their early twenties. Gene was 43 years old at the time and he didnít mind, as he was not shy anymore. Gene had a lot of fun with this group and at the same time learned a lot about the Bible. The Bible has some good stories, but most of it is not to believed.
We started out from Milwaukee, Wisconsin about 10:30 A.M. on a Saturday in July. Gene at that time was assigned to drive one of the two and a half ton army truckís, which he liked very much. This truck driving was a extra thing that Gene did in the Guard, as his regular job in the Guard was Radar Technician.
The drive up to the camp area was very routine, but the fun began when we had to drive off road into the forest area. It was very, very dry and the dust just rolled off the truck tires and into the back of the army trucks. The troops that had to ride in the back of the trucks were covered with thick yellow dust. When we stopped to let the troops out of the back of the trucks, we could not recognize who was who!! The tree area where we were to set up our defense area, was in very old trees. A person could push some of the trees over just by leaning on them. Most of the trees were only about a foot in diameter and not over twenty feet tall. Mosley pine trees. For Gene it was fun driving over the fallen trees in the trucks. Which he did by putting the truck in super low gear and just letting the truck climb over the fallen trees, all by itself. A person could get out of the drivers seat and walk along beside the truck and watch the fun.
Anyway we got to the area that we were assigned to and set up a defense perimeter and began the job of digging fox holes and setting out bubby traps against the enemy getting into our rear area. Just like a real war. Then we did the routine things, like trying to fine a place to sleep, eat and set up places to go to the toilet, etc.. There were other concerns, as remember we were in a forest and there were poisonous tree rattlers around. Luckily Gene didnít see any of the snakes!!
We didnít expect any attack on our positions until about two or three in the morning. So we had a lot of time to do nothing in. We tried to sleep, but that is hard to do under these conditions. As we were very, very dirty because of all the dust and trying to keep the weapons clean was impossible. A person could taste the grit in their teeth.
The closer it got to two in the morning the more irritable we become. By three thirty in the morning, we wondered what was going to happen. Well, nothing happened, as one of our Lieutenants in disguise had infiltrated the aggressors area and climbed into the back of a enemy truck. Because all solders look alike in uniform, he was able to not be detected and after about ten minuets, he set off a tear gas grenade and climbed out of the back of the truck very fast. It just so happened that most of the aggressor noncoms were in the back of that truck and had to go to the field hospital and be treated for eye irritation. We were not invaded at all that night and so had a relative easy night. I was very glad that we didnít have war games every summer camp!!
In 1978 Gene was writing to a woman in England named Valerie Onslow who was age 35 years old. He had never been to England, so he though that this would be a neat idea. So on March 18, 1978 Gene went to England on a Boeing B747, the first time he was on a jumbo. Valerie and her three boys and Gene rented a car to drive to Wales to see some castles. He had never seen castles before, so it was a lot of fun. The trip went very well and Gene and Valerie decided to get married. What a dumb idea, as he only knew Valerie a few days!!!! But things like this never stopped Gene before, so he went home to sell everything he had and quit his job, to make his move to England. Was Gene stupid or what!!! By now you should know the answer to that!!! Still Gene can't think of anything he would change in life. Money can't make a person happy. Gene had a whole hell of a lot of fun, overall in his life.
After marring Valerie on May 20, 1978, Gene, Valerie and the three boys went to France, Belgium and Holland as a family honeymoon. This was Geneís idea!!! When we got back from Europe, Valerie and Gene were able to find jobs the next day. Valerie found a job delivering milk door to door, 7 days a week. Valerieís job started at five in the morning, until six at night. He helped her by doing the cash books, as he was better with accounts. Also Gene would help deliver the milk on the weekends and his days off from his regular job. Gene found a job as a Design Technician, at a firm called Cramic, which was a medium sized firm that was part of the Eveready Battery Group (Not associated with the American Eveready Name.). He helped design automatic assembly lines to build small batteries for hearing aids and cameras, etc.. Gene and Valerie soon decided to move to America and after a short trip to Scotland to see Nessie at Lock Ness, Nessie was not at home. Gene, Valerie and the boys emigrated on November 4, 1978 to America. It was 78o in Chicago, when we arrived, and we all had heavy coats on.
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