Richard Condit: Summer 1967

Header photo
Summer trip 1967

1967 Summer Trip

Montreal, Expo 67, and Pentwater

My dad liked driving and he liked road trips. Since he was a great train buff and railroad scholar, who made his disdain for automobiles in city planning abundantly clear in his writing, this might be taken as an irony. But he liked travel, seeing bridges and buildings he had read about, enjoying natural landscapes and scenery, and there was no doubt a car gave him a great way to do it. We liked his tours, spanning especially architecture, railroads, rivers, and geology, even though for most of them I was younger than 15.

Our biggest summer for vacations came in 1967. That was the year we drove to Montreal to see Expo 67, the big world's fair on islands in the St. Lawrence Seaway. Long trips were always a chance for my dad to find places to visit on the way, and the drive to Montreal included plenty. Steve was already at college, and I think he had summer school courses that year, possibly in a college in Indiana; he did not join us. Ken and I created a photo album of black-and-white pictures, and we added little captions to most of the pictures. Those pictures augment my rather hazy memories.

On the outbound trip, my only recollection is the place called Thousand Isles where Lake Ontario meets the St. Lawrence. So I know we drove across S. Ontario then north of Lake Ontario to get to Montreal. The photo at Iroquois was labeled in the scrapbook, and though I think I have remembered for years that the Iroquois Locks are at Thousand Islands, they are in fact further downstream, nearly half the distance from there to Montreal.

Iroquois Lock

My memories of Montreal are almost non-existent outside Expo 67. I do remember we took the subway, and I remember it being really hot. But I don't recall where we stayed. I do have clear recollections of the American pavilion, the geodesic dome, the strange French pavilion, and Habitat 67, the apartment building constructed for the fair that consists of a individual cells piled together irregularly. I have photos of those, plus others I barely remember.

I managed to take just one portrait of Carl and Isabel with Ken.

Quebec Pavilion
French Pavilion
One family portrait

It was the return trip where I remember more exploring. We drove southeastward our of Montreal to cross into Maine, since Ken and I had never been there. That took us westward across New Hampshire, where we stopped to take the cog railway up Mount Washington. That memory is assisted by a few photos. I remember being very worried about the notion of a giant cog pulling the little train up the steep mountain.

Continuing westward we used a ferry to get across Lake Champlain, then crossed the Adirondacks. I'm pretty sure we then stopped at Niagara Falls, as that would have been directly on the route. Mom had relatives there, my Great Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Osmond. I know I met Aunt Dorothy in 1964, but I think we went again in 1967.

Mt. Washington
The Cog Railway

What I remember from there is that we decided to visit Pentwater, Michigan, on the return. We visited Pentwater in most summers through the 1960s and stayed with Marjorie and Macklin Thomas in their wonderful forest vacation home. A stop there would make sense, and was not far out of the way after crossing S. Ontario. Then I think we took the car ferry back, Ludington to Milwaukee, to get home.

Ken on Skyride

I know it was 1967 when I had my bike accident descending off Fire Tour hill with Gordon Thomas, and this recollection fits the return trip from Montreal, because that happened at the end of the summer, not long before school would start. Gordon sold me on the thrill of taking a bicycle up the sand fire road to the top of the hill, then letting it rip back down. The road had soft sand along it, with automobile tire ruts cut through it. Biking down thus required staying in those ruts. After getting up plenty of speed, and rounding a curve to the left, I couldn't hold my bike in the ruts, and wandered off to the soft sand on the right. Struggling to control it, I lost it and was thrown back off the bike, landing hard on my back and snapping my head down.

At Firetower Hill
At Firetower Hill

I remember Gordon relating to my parents his version. He had gotten well ahead of my, and told them -- chuckling -- that all he heard was a blood-curdling scream from back where I was. Gordon liked to chuckle about blood-curdling things in general. Mom and Dad took me to the hospital in Hart, Michigan, the nearst I think, to be told I had whiplash. It did hurt like hell. But the injury and pain must have faded fairly quickly, within a few days, because I have no recollection of serious limitations to my movement after we got back to Morton Grove.

My recollection has always been that we took multiple trips in the summer of 1967, even four (that number stuck in my head). I do have photos from Pentwater in July, 1967, and more photos on the car ferry as well with my notes saying we took the car ferry back on the return from Montreal. So we did visit Pentwater twice. The memory of four trips may have developed from visits to Montreal, Pentwater twice, and (?) Niagara Falls. My photos are so sparse from those summer trips that I don't get more information from them.

Tobias and Ken at Pentwater 1989
Steve at Pentwater in 1952