Gen's new trailerEventually, the tent was replaced by a camping trailer. Gen was ecstatic to be back in a trailer, her ideal of luxury and mobility. Becky and I spent as much time outside the trailer as we could get away with. We slept outside on picnic tables and, like the teenagers we were becoming, avoided all association with our parents and their dorky adult friends in the Good Sam Club, who traveled with their grandchildren, much younger and far less jaded than Becky and I and not desirable company.

Having already visited all the major family venues in the mountain west, Gen turned to lesser-known destinations to be visited for for specific purposes, as advised by the Utah Historical Society, of which she and Doug were proud members, or as recommended by Sunset and Arizona Highways: collecting pine nuts outside Las Vegas, looking for potsherds and outhouse dumps west of Sevier Lake, picking pine nuts at Canyon de Chelley or to roundevouz with other members of the Good Sam Club at Island in the Sky.

At Canyon de Chelley, still undeveloped and primitive in 1967, Doug was standing in a Park Service trailer that served as the visitors' center, looking at a map. "Gwen," he said (for the entire time he was married to Gen, he never learned her name), "Come help me look at this." I looked at Becky and asked "Why does he need help?" Becky gave a classic funny Becky response: "He's afraid he'll get lost." Oh, we had turned into evil and disrespectful girls by that time.

Ultimately, Doug and Gen took their trips without any of the kids. That was for various reasons. Either a kid had moved out, was busy with college studies or a job, or simply couldn't take the pressure of traveling with our folks. Being on the road did not relieve Gen of her chemical imbalances. On every camping trip, at least one fight--of short duration or lasting throughout the trip--erupted between Gen and Doug. It had at its root--what else--housekeeping. Gen was convinced that Doug was always looking for reasons to pick on her kids and glorifying the accomplishments of his own. He wasn't. Gen was crazy.

Usually, it was that one of Gen's kids had committed some housekeeping infraction and Doug took exception. His kids truly were better at sticking to a task and getting it done without nagging than Gen's kids were, although nothing any of us ever did warranted the emotional chamber of horrors Gen was capable of erecting. She was defensive about her kids and always looked for some way to deflect the pressure off of hers and onto his. She would over-react with stupefying intensity. "OK then, if my kids are so bad, then they have to do ALL the work and your kids don't have to do anything." Forbidden to receive help, Sue, Becky and I took on firebuilding, meal preparation, hauling water, cleaning up, setting up sleeping quarters, and all the other tasks. It was as much fun as being at home, only without the bathroom.