Power of the press
Writing about my time in San Francisco in my last blog also brought back memories of our first real family vacations to California in 1986 and to Colorado to spend a week on a dude ranch a year later.
I had the great idea of writing ahead (in January, I think) to ask about press credentials. We knew we were going in July (the only time I could take off), so I thought, “Why not? I couldn’t be told anything but no, nice try.”
To my amazement, almost every place I wrote to agreed to my idea of planning to write as a travel editor about our stops.
From the famous San Diego Zoo, to the Queen Mary in Long Beach, to Disney Land, to Universal Studios, to the Randolph Hurst Castle , to the Winchester House in San Jose and to Alcatraz , I received positive replies.
My wife, daughter and I were able to visit most places via complimentary press privileges. I mean, we got to visit the zoo, stay on the Queen Mary for two nights with a side visit to the Spruce Goose, stay on Disney Land property for a couple nights – the first morning we were awakened by an earthquake – and take a complete tour of Universal Studios and its rides.
We also visited Hollywood, Knott’s Berry Farm and took a trip to Catalina Island. I remember my daughter had just turned eight-years-old that previous spring and the thing that seemed to excite her the most, I think, were all the hotels we stayed in where she could go swimming.
And on the trip to Catalina, she had to drink a beer to help calm the seasickness. I don’t remember what she had to take after getting sick from the beer.
The next summer we went to Buena Vista, CO. up in the Rocky Mountains . The scenery was beautiful, the food was fantastic but everywhere we went was on horseback. One night we rode way, way back in the mountains to camp out. My wife didn’t make the ride, but Karen and I slept in a pup tent. I can’t begin to tell you how cold it got that night.
At the week’s end, there was a rodeo. My wife and daughter rode in the rodeo and did okay (barrel racing), but by that time, I was too sore. Karen says what she remembers most about that trip was how our cabin smelled of Ben-Gay, because I had to put some on each night before we went to bed.
When we got ready to leave, the lady in charge surprised me by telling me the stay would be complimentary (I had tried to use the same press privileges as the year before but was turned down). The reason she hadn’t told me earlier was because she was afraid I would tell the other “dudes” it was going to be free.
Did I eventually write about our vacations in the newspaper? Only readers of the Longview News-Journal know for sure.