(first posted 8/9/2012) It was on our first vacation to Colorado in 1961, in our elderly and dumpy 1954 Ford. It had slowly chugged us up Trail Ridge Road to Millner Pass. In the parking lot was a 1961 Cadillac sedan, and we pulled in next to it. We (all six of us) gladly got out of the crowded car, and while the rest looked at the Alpine scenery I gazed at the Caddy. We got back in, and the Ford wouldn’t start. It was vapor lock, and not for the first time. While waiting (with the hood up, for the Y-block to cool so that the gas would stop boiling), my face was glued to the Caddy’s window. A perfect family of three, including a cute blond girl my age, approached and I quickly moved out of the way. As the girl opened the giant back door, my longing to slide in there was overpowering: “Please take me with you.”
My body language must not have been sufficient (or maybe excessive). The Don Draper-ish dad hit the starter, and the Caddy instantly sprung to life, backed out and whisked them up to the highest point of 12,183 feet with a barely audible whisper from its exhaust. Growing up is a bitch.
And here they are, enjoying all the air-conditioned space in the back of that Cadillac, on their way back to Kansas City (the Kansas side). Meantime, the Niedermeyers dripped on each other, all four kids jammed into the back of the Ford with its itchy upholstery. Yes, some folks knew how to enjoy the driving part of their vacation, although one didn’t hardly ever see Cadillacs at the trailheads. Can’t exactly see Betty Draper climbing a mountain. We all find our pleasures.
whitewall buick caught this 1961 Series 62 four window sedan at Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota. Now that’s the way to see the USA, as no car ever had better 360º vision than one of these flying-wing hardtops. The ’61 Caddy is one of my all-time favorites, and here it is in my favorite element: on vacation. “Please let me in!”