My father owned the seventh Wanderlodge designed by Bill Purser and built by the Bluebird School Bus Company of Fort Valley, Georgia. As a wedding gift, he and my mother loaned it to me and my brand new bride for our honeymoon in November 1964.
My blushing bride and I left Muskogee, Oklahoma on our wedding night proceeding south on US 69, destination-Galveston, Texas. As caring children, we dutifully stopped at McAlester, Oklahoma to let everyone know that all was fine. My wife’s father gave us sound and immediate advice: “Why don’t you stop and use that thing?”
We continued south down US 69 and 75, crossed the Red River into Texas, and we have the distinction of spending our wedding night in a truck stop. After filling refueling, we pulled forward and parked between a load of lumber and a tanker trailer full of gasoline. We then took my wife’s father’s advice and began our lives together at the Oil Derrick Truck Stop near Denison, Texas. When the sun rose, we were all that was left in the parking area.
After a late, leisurely breakfast, we continued south to watch the Dallas Cowboys play the “I Can’t Remember Who’s” and who cared. The only distraction was the halftime chorus line of the Kilgore College Rangerettes when they formed their famous chorus kicking line between the thirty yardlines. Their legs were not nearly as lovely as my bride’s anyway.
After the game, we proceeded down I-35 south towards Galveston. Without our notice, someone at the truck stop had used a sponge or wet rag to write ‘Just Married’ on the rear of our motorcoach. However, some truckers did take notice and we were soon the focus of some high speed fun. Doing the speed limit, we were soon boxed front and rear, right and left by sixteen-wheel rigs who hoorawed us with their horns and homemade window signs. They gradually upped the speed to +/- 85-90 miles per hour before leaving us in the wake of their fun.
That night, parked in a roadside parking area in central Texas, we were awakened most early in the morning by a frantic, distraught young woman screaming that her husband was pinned against a tree and could we or anyone help.
We unbuttoned, I started the engine, and we eased forward lighting the area with our headlights. And sure enough, a young man was pinned between two tree trunks as their car had slipped gears and brakes and rolled forward when he worked on it in the dark.
A tow chain was produced, the Texas Highway Patrol made the scene, and the Wanderlodge backed up pulling the car back off of it’s owner. The driver had been pinned between two trunks of the tree by his clothing and there was no need for the ambulance and medical assistance. The patrolmen guided us back to our parking spot, interviewed us for legitimacy and details, wished us well on the rest of our lives and departed.
We did reach Galveston and the remainder of the week was of a normal intoxicating joy between two newly marrieds, but it was at least devoid of any more momentous, note-worthy incidents. We came home to our first home at Lawton, Oklahoma non-stop and we are currently in our 46th year together through four states with four daughters and one granddaughter.
The Wanderlodge was returned to my parents and is long gone, but we enjoy our outings now in a TrailManor pull-behind.
Submitted by Russell Long of Centennial, CO as a part of the RV Centennial Celebration “Share Your Favorite RV Memory” contest.
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