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When we got to San Fransisco again, we knew we would need a bigger car for cross-US travel. And Patsy was newly pregnant. So we fianced a station wagon, and towed the faithful Morris 1000 across the country toward my new Kansas assignment, via Colorado, Denver, and Colorado Springs.

During 1963 we lived in Army quarters at Fort Leavenworth. Edward was born there in 1963.

After which I was ordered to the Army Staff in the Pentagon. We bought a modest house in Annandale, Virginia, from which I commuted in the Morris to the Pentagon daily, while Patsy used the Station Wagon during the 3 years we were there.

After the Pentagon I was selected to attend the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, PA during the 1967 academic year. The Morris Minor was with us, having, again, been towed by our  Station wagon.

After the AWC,  I was ordered to the Vietnam War for the 1968 year. Patsy and the three kids, David, Rebecca, and Edward and I, temporarily, moved back into our Annandale home we still owned and had rented out the previous year. Then I was off to Vietnam, while the station wagon and the Morris stayed there. David was still too young - at 15 - to be licenced to drive. The Morris was less used.

When I got back from Vietnam, my orders were to report to Fort Carson, Colorado - just south of Colorado Springs, my original home-of-military record.

Our station wagon was pretty old by then, so I got rid of it and bought a new Chevy Malibu.

David III remembers better than I do what happened with the Morris after that. Here is his description.

"The MM was towed to Ft. Carson with a blue Chevy Malibu using a clunky blue towbar purchased in VA as I remember.  I started driving the MM when I got a drivers license (and after I crunched the brand new Ford station wagon rear fender trying out the new car.   On a trip down towards the Wet Mountain Valley where dad and some of his buddies were looking at real estate land, we kept seeing another Morris Minor about 2 miles north of Penrose, in that long dip along 115.  Dad ended up driving up the driveway and offered $50 for it and was accepted.  So now there were 2 MM's at Ft. Carson, the idea being to pirate parts from one to the other.  The second one was not drivable.  

I ended up driving it for two years to Fountain Valley School.  The day I graduated from FVS, first gear and reverse gave out.  Got very adept at parking it so one could go forward, always, in second gear first.  That did wonders for the clutch which gave up a few months later, into summer 1973 I believe.  Just enough time to register it for license plates into 1974, which old and faded are still on the stored car.

(So that was the end of our Morris Minor, after 15 years and lots of use. We sold it for a song, in 1973. It was spotted occassionally in Colorado Springs. And finally was located in a car junk yard.)

I have seen the two MM's on the east side too.  I went and talked the bloke who swears he was going to restore them, but of course hasn't.  They have been moved from one spot to another the last I saw.  But I have walked to them, opened the hood, and it is them 100%.  Down to the soft top and one off color orange painted fender.  The 1974 plate on the original blue Morris Minor 1000 is the first give away.  

As I recall, dad told me the cars were picked up out of a yard out east in the 70s by the now (2013) current owner."

 

Picture below is "Dad" (me) standing next to it November 20, 2013

 

Comments   

#1 dave 2013-11-25 10:24
(From Edward who was a very young teen when this happened))

Great story!

You forgot to mention my modifications I made to the Morris Minor.

I think it was a few days before the trip from Annendale to Ft Carson, I got a hold of some large scissors and crawled up the back of the Morris Minor and would plunge the scissors into the canvas top. I have no idea where i got the scissors or why I did this. But I have distinct recollection of how the scissors would hesitate when struck on the canvas and then pierce the fabric and slide in. At the moment I thought it was the coolest sensation.

What I don't recall is why I was not killed and the body hidden someplace.

I also recall on the drive out to Colorado was looking back at the Morris being towed and seeing our beagle, one of the several Sam's we had sitting in the drivers seat, peering over the steering wheel for the entire trip. He was back there with one of Becky's cats. Was that Tinker Bell?

Reading this I recall another unrelated story of your trip to Thailand. Can you confirm if these are true or not.

One, is while in Thailand you had some nifty hammock to sleep in. I think it had some mosquito netting and a zipper to keep you buttoned up and away from pests. Well, according to mom, you where in the hammock when it/you rolled over and got kinda stuck for a while in the mosquito netting. if that wasn't bad enough, you had a loaded weapon with in the hammock. A bit dangerous, I suppose. All this was according to mom -- and mom would never lie, would she?

The other story was that one of you training exercises was to learn to orienteer and navigate through the jungles of South East Asia. I assume to be able to do so in Vietnam if it came to that. That you travel on foot for several days and when you emerged from the jungle you where just a few feet off of where you where suppose to be.

If true, perhaps not much solace to my brother David, who took a hiking and camping trip with Daivd is South Western Colorado after disembarking the Silverton train halfway through its trip. The hike was a few days, but according to David, Dad took the wrong valley and everyone, Dad, David and Bob Moore had to double time it to get meeting destination. THey did, but David, the teenager in full form was none-to-happy with his fathers orienteering at that moment.
#2 dave 2013-11-25 10:28
Yes the story about me and the Hammock in the Thailand Jungle - with Cobra's slithering around the jungle floor, was true. My NCOs - sleeping in nearby hammocks (to stay off the jungle floor at night - heard all the commotion coming from trapped me, and laughed their heads off - in the dark
#3 david 2013-11-25 12:18
Scissors, canvas. Cripes, I vaguely remember that. What is odd though is when I went to the Morris Minor across town in Colorado Springs, I recall looking under the tarp that is covering it now and seeing the badly worn topper and seeing holes and thinking... where did that come from? As I didn't remember doing that. Case solved.
#4 david 2013-11-25 12:33
I do remember this mosquito netting Hammock story too.

Another one that was a blend of mom and dad that I recall being told some time after dad returned from New Zealand while the clan was still in Hawaii.

Something about how Capt Hughes aka dad had taken with him, or acquired one when there, a bow and arrow setup. He went hunting mountain sheep while deployed there. Something about clambering around the sides of a volcano, tried to bag a sheep with the bow and arrow....

When it didn't work out (I think mom told this part of the story so she was FAAAAR funnier and kind at the same time as she always was), that Capt. Hughes decided to hell with it, switched weapons out of frustration tho her words for it that I don't remember were much better, and used a rifle to blast and bag the damn sheep. Editorial note: Mom did not swear... I added the word 'damn'.

I do not know how much of this is true as it is the story I remember, but I DO know Capt Hughes had brought back a large mutton leg when he returned from New Zealand. And the flies. Seem to remember it not being a hit at the dinner table as in it never made it there.

Hopefully dad can clarify this recollection.
#5 david 2013-11-25 14:42
Let me amplify on the Durango/Silvert on train trek posted above. It was dad, David II and Steve Davis who went on the 3 day hike, not Bob Moore. Though Bob Moore and I have been all through the San Juans years later... from the Vallecito Reservoir approach, from the eastern Weminuche Wilderness approach as well as the train departure. Have put in a lot of trekking miles in the San Juans since.

Anyway... the train stopped and dropped us off 1 mile farther up the Animas than they were supposed. There were two bridges that cross the Animas River at that time. Dunno about now, 2013. We were dropped off at the second bridge. Wrong. We were headed towards Columbine Pass. Instead the bridge and natural trail and geography took us up towards West Needle Mountain which was a drainage, and mountain, north.

It was about mid afternoon when dad finally said he thought we were on the wrong trailhead. No problem. I remember him taking out a compass and twisting a map around and saying something about being in Korea, navigating all kinds of bad terrain, I'm experienced in these things and his trusty compass from Korea would point the way.

I thought that was funny at the time in the way teenagers hear their parents say stuff like that. What I didn't realise at that moment was in order to get to the Columbine Trail, we were going to have to do a fairly serious 'up' over a not insignificant mountain, then down, to get to the correct trail, and then do another far more serious 'up'. Essentially paying for the same altitudes, twice. Oh, and no trail. Just forging, sometimes bouldering. Or we could backtrack, hike down to the correct trailhead, and go from there. Dad chose the no trail mountain assault. Same diff.

So on the first day we had to camp out in the wrong basin. Then forge over this mountain, then down which I began to realise was dismaying to be paying for covered ground and altitude twice, then we started the REAL up which is Columbine Pass. A not an insignificant climb. 12,600 feet. And that is a pass, not a mountain top.

We got to within a few hundred feet of the pass when weather blew up and forced us to humker down. Snow. Lightning. Stuff like that. We camped out near the top. 3 of us crowded into a two person tent. On a steep slope. I had some kind of stomach ailment which did not last long but made it less fun. I remember thinking about the compass brave accomplished comment. Being a snarky teenager I blamed the compass for stuff. A compass could not do my walking up and down, and up, and more up. Quite rational thinking. Yes, true teenage whine mode on this second day.

When we got off the train dad assigned gravity to the hike. How many miles it was to Chicago Basin, to the top of Columbine Pass, then down the Vallecito watershed towards the resevoir where "your mother", mom, would pick us up. There were all kinds of cool grandiosity about that if we were not meeting up with mom, Rebecca and Ed on the end of the third day, then mom was to call the national guard, rescue dogs, or forest service or something big. So on the beginning of the third day which is where we were supposed to be at the end of the first day I remember him saying that we had to get over the pass and down the trail to the res by sundown “or else your mother will have to....” and I don't remember what else was said but it had gravity to it.

No problem. I'd just come off making the varsity lacrosse team as 14 year old, was invincible, ya da daa da daa. Except, this is when I learned the difference between miles and mountain trail miles. And down can be sometimes harder than an up. It was approx 22 miles to the end. I have since labeled it in my mind the Bataan Death March... ok, yes, stupid drama. But none of the stuff that I rationalized in my head mattered. Still had to do the walk. It was not easy, for anyone. I was able to compare that against the several times I've been back to the San Juans since, gone over the same or similar trails, and being in far better shape and prep.

We did make it by sundown. But not without spirited effort. Me was exhausted. As anyone knows these is hardly any talking when doing arduous trekking on a single file trail. The mind goes to cadence. So all kinds of songs start to infect your brain which tend to get stuck like a skipping record. The best part is, no talking. Just doing. Years later one thing I recollect was when dad announced we were going to go on a camping trip, he also would come home, lace up his combat boots, and put int a couple of miles for 2-3 weeks before. I.... didn't. He did the same thing when preparing for Everest. The highlights tho were the wrong trail, the Korean War West Point training compass saving the day comment, and it was not an easy thing to make that third day trek. At the end of it dad made a comment that “you're like me... you can go very long distances without stopping.” at the time it was like yeah, so what, where's my hot dog. Years later when I learned what his version of going long distances without stopping meant, as in his Korean War experiences... Jesus H. Christ.

So the take away life lesson that resonates with me to this day, and have to say this is one of my greatest, most awesome-nest memories of anything like ever.... yeah, the train engineer dropped us off at the wrong bridge. So what. Mom was waiting at the other end. Go. We got lost, then found on the first day. Big ass mountain in the way to get back on track. So what. Go. Or, you can sit there and whine about it. Choose go.


Addendum: when dad experienced a cardiac event a few years ago and mom called in a panic and she happened to find me first, was able to get him to the AFA hospital. Monitors, attendants, tubes, all that stuff. The emergency room physician happened to be a West Point graduate which is a whole other story about those two hours between dad and this bloke in the AFA emergency room. Tests and hours later dad ended up on the second floor cardiac unit about 4am. To keep a dialogue and focus going with dad, I retold the saga of the Durango/Silvert on, getting lost then found trek to him and about 6 medical techs. I tried to do my best “mom” style story telling. Information with humour subtext. I ended with his comment about me being like him, able to GO very long distances without stopping and how that meant more today than it did then.... “and by the way, his version of walking has something to do with his Korean War experiences. Go look him up on the internet.” They did and about 10 people came back into the cardiac unit, gobsmacked. They'd found his West Point DG Award material, had read through it, word spread throughout the unit... and people started floating in to see and talk with him. They essentially said this guy is a f**king war hero. Um, well, yes. Dad had a moveable entertainment committee until he was spirited to Memorial Hospital a few hours later.

One thing that I was never able to engineer though I tried like hell, was to take Lindsey Allen during the very messy age 15-17 years, on the same Durango/Silvert on, Chicago Basin, Columbine Pass to Vallecito 'walk'. While trying all kinds of other things to write a listing ship, I wanted to do what dad did by saying “let's go on a hike that starts with a train ride...” Trust me... there is a whole lot of attitude correction that takes place when there is an A, and B is 37 mountain miles away, and talk talk does not get you down and up and down the trail.. Try this little walk sometime when there is a need for personal correction or needing to influence someone else in a way that doesn't contain a lot of words. A, B. Go.

For me the train trip trek memory matters. It has become a simple important metaphor that I call up now and then and comes in handy for things like above.

“We're here. Your mother is there. We have to make up a lot of ground not by our own fault. Questions?

No.

Go.

And you go.”

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