The Strumpf Family 1982 Cross-Country Odyssey

The adventure of one family's trip across the nation


Some background: Back in the summer of 1982, my family was presented with a unique opportunity. Dad had managed to put together 5 weeks of vacation time (who can do that these days) and we were invited by a family friend in California to attend his son's bar-mitzva. As we live in Massachusetts, we decided to take this opportunity to do something that I think every family should do if they get the chance. We piled into our Oldsmobile and spent five weeks on the road out to California, stopping at various sites along the way and coming home with lots of fond memories and tons of pictures. We started out with 40 rolls of 35mm slide film and had to buy more on the way. Please understand, we were four people, with three cameras. Now, when most people say, I want to show you pictures of my vacation, I know the response is to groan. However, I think this is because most people take pictures only of themselves. To be sure, we have several pictures in which one or more of us are there, but rarely were we the focus of the pictures. And many more of the pictures where of what we saw. Some of them, if I do say so myself, were quite good. Dad has spent the better part of the last few years scanning all of the slides the family has into jpeg's. For this website, I asked him to scan the pared down version of the slides from the trip. (We had created an actual slide show of some two and a half trays of the best slides we took.) The images were quite large. I started off trying to shrink them down, but found that didn't work as well as I'd hoped.

But more than just our memories and the pictures we took, Mom wrote up a journal. She kept careful track of what we spent, where we ate (and how good it was), and what we did. That journal showed the humor inherent in our family and the fun we had on that long trip from coast to coast to coast. Looking back some 30 odd years later, I wanted to share those experiences as best I can. I will provide the information as recorded in Mom's writings and show the pictures we took at the various stages of the trip. It's funny to see how little we spent then and try to figure out how much it would cost now.

Some summaries of what it cost and how long it was:

Dates: July 24th-August 26th 1982

Miles driven: 8,268

Dollars spent:





Gas & Tolls




Misc (includes film, processing, postage)












The journal was broken down by days. Some of them were very short entries (such as when we had to drive for 12 hours straight in the Great Plains) and some where long. I will break down the trip by the day and present each day as a separate page. I hope you like it.


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