Coke & Som Smith Photography & Travelogue

Summer Trip 1972!


This is my very first serious picture ever! While waiting with Rose while Dad and Shelley were doing some shopping, I talked Rose in to letting me try to compose a picture with her camera of this nearby covered bridge! 

 

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Summer Trip '72! 

I am often asked where I got my love (or lust!) for travel.  While it would be difficult to pin point any particular part of my life that resulted in this passion, there is little doubt that my early childhood travel experiences did much to instill in me a love for travel.  And my earliest major expedition was with my father, stepmother (Rose), and sister Shelley during which we traveled to at least 23 states and part of Canada! 

This was an amazing three month camping expedition that started with a couple days in the Southwest of the US, basically passing through some amazing canyon country.  I remember being completely blown away by the scenery of this region.  I also remember being a bit disappointed that Rose and Dad just wanted to pass through.  At the time I was a bit bumbed out, but by the end of this amazing summer, I was more than impressed by the parts of the country that we did spend quality time in.

Our first push was to Indiana, to visit my Grandparents.  We spent several weeks at their place enjoying time together and exploring the Culver, Indiana countryside.  After our stay in Indiana, we made it further south to visit Rose's family for a couple weeks.  We spent time exploring Harrisonburg, Virginia and the surrounding area of the Shenandoah National Park.   I really enjoyed getting to know Rose's family, a very conservative new-order Mennonite family who were still living on their original family lands.  I was amazed at their compound and the way they lived their lives.  I was very jealous in fact at the country lifestyle the kids were living.  I was growing up a southern California punk and found their way of of simple, country life appealing, with the exception of their religion, which I found repugnant and judgemental, even then. 

After a couple fun-filled weeks with Rose's family, we started touring the east coast of the US.  A week in DC followed by at least a month in the greater New England area visiting such amazing places as Mount Washington, Bar Harbor, Old Man of the Mountain, Mount Killington, Salem and many other destinations.  Visiting and camping New England was a blast and extremely educational!  And there is little doubt that this early three month family expedtion set the stage for many of my later trips and for this I am eternally thankful to dad and Rose!

 

Here are a few scanned images from this amazing trip way back in 1972!

 

Dad and me enjoying the view in Utah's amazing canyon country!

 

The "three Cokes"!  This is one of the few pictures out there of the three Coke Smiths together.  My grandpa passed away some time ago and I miss him dearly.

 

The rural lifestyle of Culver was very appealing to me.  I thought it was fantastic to simply walk outside and pet some horses.

 

 

One of the best parts of visiting Grandma and Grandpa Smith was going out sailing on Lake Maxinkuckee.  Here is Grandpa Smith instructing my uncle Borden on how to sail his boat.

 

We spent days sailing Lake Maxinkuckee!

 

My Grandpa Smith gave me his childhood stamp collection during this trip.  Along with the travel compulsion developed on this trip, my obsession for collecting was started here.

 

Shelley and I spent most of our nights in Grandma's mobile home.

 

Grandpa Smith also had a cool plane that I got to fly one afternoon! 

 

I am taking this picture of Grandpa's home while flying his plane!

 

While visiting Rose's family in Harrisonburg, Virginia, we had the pleasure of participating in her brother's wedding.  John and MJ's wedding was a spectacular affair set in the forest of the Christophel homestead.  I thought this was a beautiful ceremony and day.

 

We spent a week camping in some woods in West Virginia with the Christophel family!  Great fun!

 

We explored these backwoods all day long!  I wish I could remember where this area was  - it was spectacular!

 

 Back in the days before seatbelt laws no doubt....

 

Me!  Swimming in the rivers of West Virginia!

 

Rose's neice, Gretchen, before her stripper days! (one of the side effects of growing up in a conservative Mennonite family I suppose...)

 

Rose's nephews, Christopher and Andre playing in the mud.

 

Roger, Rose's oldest nephew, and I fished on day on this pond and pulled over 100 Blue gill and Perch out for dinner!  We ate fish all week!

 

 The "Changing of the Guards" at the Arlington Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  We spent the better part of a week exploring DC.

 

The Jefferson Memorial in '72!  We were there during some huge peace rallies in the capital.  I wonder if any of them were some of the more famous ones!?

 

Seeing DC at night was an amazing experience for this 9-year old boy!

 

The Iwo Jima memorial.  This was one of Rose's favorite spots in all of DC.

 

 

 

The Taftsville Bridge in upstate Vermont.  We spent weeks basically ticking off covered bridges during this trip.  I think this must have been the first of my "thematic" trips.

 

Another covered bridge in Vermont...or was it New Hampshire....or Maine...

 

And another...

 

Trekking Mount Killington in Vermont.  What great times...

 

The view of the countryside from Mount Killington, Vermont.

 

This was our basecamp while we were exploring the mountains of New Hampshire.

 

Skipping some stones in Franconia State Park, New Hampshire.

 

Our famous "Campsite 19"!  At least it was famous to us.  We had a lot of critters visiting us nightly - racoons, skunks and others.  One night when we were trying to photograph the invaders, I woke to see what was happening outside and my dad turned quickly and with the momentum of his arm swinging in reverse, he nailed me in the jaw and sent me flying to the back of the tent!  He still apologizes for this even to this day!

 

I hear that this geologic feature is no longer there.  Gravity is an amazing thing!  We trekked for several miles to see the "Old Man of the Mountain" or "Indian Face".  Now that it is gone, I am really glad we saw it!

 

We trekked the summit of Mount Washington this day!  Wow what a view!

 

Ironically, it is the smog from New York and other cities that gave the sunsets their famous reddish-orange color on Mount Washington.

 

We went to visit one of the only "Coke" relatives left.  We visited Perry Coke's place in Bar Harbor, Maine.  He owned the entire island and donated half of it to Acadia National Park.

 

We spent a week or so on my cousin's farm in northern Maine.  I was such a city boy at this point, but I was truly impressed with life on the farm.  This was a particularly rural farm - no electricity or bathrooms!  It was an adventure for sure!  We witnessed this calf being born just a few minutes earlier.  My cousin and I spent our days playing on the farm and getting in to all sorts of trouble!

 

We spent time touring Salem and other parts of the greater Boston area.  Here is Nathanial Hawthorne's home, just one of our many cultural stops in this region.

 

Pioneer village in Boston or Salem.  Instruments of torture...typical.

 

Dad and Rose in a beautiful mountain setting!  I sure miss Rose.

 

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