The Early Unification Church History
FIFTY STATES IN FORTY DAYS
Soon after his arrival in the United States, Reverend Moon began his trip around the country. The primary purpose of his world trip was to bless holy grounds, and in so doing, make a condition for the restoration of the world to God. The grounds were the physical mixing with the soil of Korea. From each holy ground he collected some soil to take back to Korea. He also tried to find a rock and some soil at the capital of the state or at a city hall.
For the trip, members had purchased a new automobile, a blue Plymouth Fury station wagon. The car was loaded with people, Reverend Moon, Mrs. Won Pak Choi, Young Oon Kim, two drivers, George Norton and Gordon Ross. Mrs. Won Pak Choi was not only Fathers interpreter but Mothers personal emissary representing her on this most important trip. There were other people who rode in the car on various legs of the trip. Many of the details of this trip were well recorded through letters and articles in our monthly news letter, "The New Age Frontiers". The route of the trip was written down and the approximate locations of the holy grounds.
The plan was to travel all 48 contiguous states in 40 days, and make a holy ground in each state. To do this, meant often traveling around the clock. The trip wasn't a leisurely sight seeing tour. Meals often meant buying groceries in a store and eating in the car while traveling. Often sleep meant, catching what sleep they could in the car while traveling. The car was often driven at speeds of 100 mph or more, on isolated stretches in the west in particular.
In 1965, although our numbers weren't great, there were members in many places throughout the country. Working in Europe, there were Peter Koch, Paul Werner, and Ercila Schuman. A number of the early members are still in the church today, while others have long since left. When ever possible, he visited the members and often stayed over night with them. Some of the members had only small apartments. He stayed in these apartments rather than in a motel, sometimes sleeping on the floor. The spiritual atmosphere of a motel is very low, therefore he preferred to stay with members whenever possible.
His arrival came usually on short notice, sometimes on very short notice. I am sure everyone made a last minute scramble to prepare for him. The following excerpt was by David Flores about his arrival in Dallas, Texas. "I quickly ran and told David, who had by this time gotten some clothes on. I tried to get dressed, but was so excited I couldn't even button my shirt. I can feel the excitement and great joy now that I experienced the night -- a sort of effervescent feeling. While the Leader was in his bedroom, I came out of mine... I met Miss Kim, Mrs. Choi, and George. The Master then came back into the room and I was paralyzed. I didn't know what to do or say. The words I had prepared left me. I didn't know whether to bow, bend or curtsy. He reached out his hand as we were introduced and clasped mine with such a firm shake that I seemed almost to float from that moment on." At the Dallas center they had about ten or so people come to meet him, the meeting started at 9:30 P.M. and lasted till 1:15 A.M. with people getting to sleep around 3:30 A.M. then up the next morning, eating breakfast, making holy ground and then on their way.
Father usually tried to make holy ground on public property such as a city park, often selecting a tree as the center. The idea was that the park would be a permanent sight and always accessible to members. Even a public park is not necessarily a permanent place. The holy ground in Kansas City, Kansas, was destroyed when they put a freeway through the edge of the park. A few holy grounds were made at night, in remote areas, with no local members present, and are lost. Photographs and motion pictures were taken at many of the sites.
The following account of the trip was from the April 15th, 1965 "New Age Frontiers". It was written by Gordon Ross one of the drivers on the trip, and is probably as good a record as there is of the experience on the trip.
"Driving for our Leader was the most pleasure-filled and joyful experience I've ever had, because of the opportunity to be with him and come to know him better. When we started out, George Norton and I had no idea we would be traveling across and up and down the continent and back -- a 15,000 mile journey -- in forty days! However, by the time we reached Albuquerque, N.M., our Leader had given us a very good idea of the speed and timing at which to proceed! Let me now highlight the trip for you, brothers and sisters, from San Francisco to Washington DC and back again.
"In Friday morning, Feb. 19, 1965, the Master's party, consisting at that time of our Master, Mrs. Choi, Miss Kim, George, Eva Sepp, and me, left Oakland, Calif., bound for the Los Angeles Center. Our shiny blue 1965 Plymouth Fury III station wagon purred contentedly as we sped along the Nimitz Freeway, bypassing San Jose. Turning off Route 101 above Salinas, we went toward the Coast where we began following Highway 1 to San Luis Obispo. The area around Monterey (former capital of California) and Carmel, with their historic buildings, quaint woodsy houses, and breathtaking 17-mile drive in a forested cove along the beach, filled our souls with delight at the beauty of our Father's creation! During the drive along the beaches and cliffs of Highway 1, as we passed in and out of redwood groves, by artists' huts and mansions, up and down hills, and through meadow-like fields, we spotted many birds and stopped to look at the seals on the rocks below. Our Leader even caught sight of a deer on top of a mountain near us. The day was sunny and warm, and evening found us at our destination -- Los Angeles.
"Our Leader, Mrs. Choi, Miss Kim, Teddy Verheyen, John Pinkerton, George and I left Los Angeles on Feb. 25th (Thursday morning), and headed for Las Vegas, Nev. Our Leader was amazed at the vastness of the desert and the height of the mountains which jutted so sharply up alongside the highway as we drove toward the town of Lone Pine, gateway to Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain in the continental U.S. (elev. 14,495). After climbing to approximately 8,000' above sea level, we stopped in a small grove of pine trees where our Leader blessed the ground, then covered with a foot of snow. From the heavenly heights of Mt. Whitney to the infernal depths of Death Valley, we descended until we reached the lowest point of land in the Western Hemisphere -- Bad Water, Death Valley, 280' below sea level. There our Leader blessed the ground, again covered with white, but this time it was salt, not snow. Then as the hour of dusk came and went, we sped on toward Las Vegas, the largest city in Nevada, and gambling capital of the U.S.
"In Las Vegas, our Leader, Mrs. Choi and Miss Kim stayed at the Stardust, a very lavish motor hotel "On the Strip" (a mile-or-so-long portion of the highway where luxury abounds in the form of exclusive motor hotels and restaurants). The neon lights of the gambling casinos downtown were so bright that they literally made a whole section of the city appear bright as day! The next day (Feb. 26), our Leader blessed ground and we left for the Phoenix Center in Arizona.
"Our journey to Phoenix took us over the Hoover Dam, one of the largest dams in the world, which incidentally bridges the States of Nevada and Arizona. Our Leader wanted to take the half-hour tour down into the center of the dam to see how it was made and how it functioned. After our tour, we hurried on through the desert land of Arizona, arriving at Phoenix early that evening. At Phoenix, Teddy and John left to return to L.A., and Sue Hubbard and Jim Percy joined our party. The seven of us departed early the next morning (Feb. 27) destined for Dallas, Texas, via the Grand Canyon.
"The view as we journeyed along the Canyon's southern walls was inspiring, with great red rocky cliffs falling to the Colorado River far below. After stopping briefly to examine the Canyon through the enlarged eyes of high-powered binoculars, we traveled on through the desert plains of twisted cactus, yucca, rocky bluffs, and the southern foothills of the Rocky Mountains until we reached Albuquerque, N.M. where we spent the night.
"Early the next morning (Feb. 28) we blessed ground in Albuquerque after having some difficulty in finding a pebble and some dirt at City Hall since it was surrounded by a cement sidewalk. However, we chipped a piece of stone off the corner of the City Hall, dug some dirt out from between the cracks of the side walk, and continued on our way.
"In Albuquerque, we left Sue and Jim at the bus station, and sped on to Dallas through the dry Texas Panhandle. Undaunted by a raging dust storm near Amarillo which filled the car with grit, we arrived in Dallas that evening. During our trip across the southwestern states, our Leader was continually impressed by the vastness of the area, and many times commented on how large the United States was. Much of the time was spent traveling through the plains and deserts of the southwest, our Leader utilized his time in learning English with his "English teacher", Mrs. Choi.
"From Dallas the next day (Mar. 1), we drove to Oklahoma City, encountering in Oklahoma what were undoubtedly some of the worst roads of the trip. The scenery of rolling hills and flat land, dusted lightly with new-fallen snow, captured our attention. After a two-day visit, during which our Leader saw his first buffalo near Anadarko, we traveled through flat prairie land north and east along the 80-mph freeway to Kansas City, Kansas., where we met Leonard Edwards in the City Park where our Leader was to bless ground.
"The following day (Mar. 4), our car left Kansas City and eased its way through tumbling snowflakes across the plains and rolling countryside of snow-covered Missouri to Creve Coeur, a suburb of St. Louis and the home of the Oswalds and the Weirs (correspondence course students). In St Louis the roads were icy-slick and the snow half-way up the side of the car, but we all (including the Oswalds) were in high spirits as we drove to the Holy Ground. After a comfortable night's rest, we turned our craft southward toward New Orleans, La. (Mar. 5).
On our journey to the deep south, we first stopped at Paducah, Ky., to bless ground. To reach the State of Kentucky from the State of Missouri, we had to go through Cairo, Ill., and across the Mississippi River, The weather of Cairo, by the way, is exactly like that of Cairo, Egypt, for which it is named. At this point on the trip, our ears must have been dazzled by the words of our Leader and our eyes dazzled by the snow-covered ground and the greatness of the mighty Mississippi, because after we crossed the bridge a sign greeted us saying, "Welcome to Ohio!" We had taken the wrong bridge! Around we turned, and hurried back over the bridge to Cairo. Again we crossed over the river, this time by another bridge. "This time we'll get it right," we all thought. The welcome sign of the State loomed large ahead: "Welcome to Missouri!" Missouri?? Sheepishly and somewhat perplexed, the driver of the car turned his steed around and set off determinedly across the river. We made it!
"From Paducah, we went south to Memphis, arriving at night. We were proceeding directly to the ground to be blessed when our Leader casually commented that we had passed a certain restaurant once before. Gales of laughter filled the car! We had been driving around in a circle! To find a suitable piece of land in the melting snow and slush of a pitch-black wooded park was quite normal for us by then. But the local police doubted the normality of our intentions, and "interrogated" George about our plans. George showed him his Association card and explained our intent. The policeman accepted his explanation and left, slightly bewildered. Our Leader performed the ceremony without delay.
"From Memphis we drove on to Little Rock, Ark., where we stayed overnight and blessed ground in the morning (Mar. 6). Several early-morning golfers witnessed the ceremony, but appeared less disturbed than George and me who were worrying about the flight path of possible stray golf balls.
"From Little Rock, we drove along the typically narrow roads of the south through Vicksburg, famed fortification of the Civil War, up and down the hills of Alabama, through the swamplands of Louisiana to New Orleans, infamous for 19th-century slave trade and 20th-century Madi Gras. Our hearts were saddened at the sight of the squalid huts and poverty of so many people in Arkansas, Alabama, and Louisiana. We were all the more grateful in knowing that our Leader had established the condition needed to eliminate this misery, and that he would take steps as quickly as possible to renovate the land and the people. To reach New Orleans, we crossed the longest causeway in the U.S., 29 miles across Lake Pontchartrain. For a while, we thought ourselves to be steaming on the high seas. Only the tiny winking lights of bobbing ships greeted our eyes as we sped swiftly through the silent darkness of the great lake. Our Leader was eager to proceed on the journey, so, with the New Orleans Family and several other Family members who had arrived earlier, we blessed land in New Orleans the night of arrival and left early the next morning (Mar. 7), taking Douglas Burns and Ernest Stewart with us.
"The sky was blue, and the Gulf of Mexico waters dancing in the sunny warmth of the day reflected our mood as we drove along the Louisiana-Alabama coast to Mobile. There our Leader blessed land, and we hurried on to Tampa. Fla., through the swamplands of stunted trees, black water, thick undergrowth and Spanish moss.
"We arrived at Tampa in the early morning hours (Mar. 8) to be greeted by the Tampa Family, Mr. Bo Hi Pak from Washington, and others who had preceded us. After blessing land in Tampa later in the morning, we traveled down the west coast of Florida through the numerous resort cities to Miami Beach, where our Leader blessed a beautiful site of soft green turf and swaying palm trees. There he dipped his finger into the smooth, gentle and warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean and, in Korean, wrote in the sand next to Mr. Pak's "Ahbogee" (father), the word "Ohmonee" (mother).
"Quickly then, we drove south along the 150-mile string of Key Islands and connecting bridges to Key West, the southernmost area of land in the U.S. The next morning (Mar. 9) we toured the town of Key West, inhaling the fresh salt air and basking in the warm Florida sun -- such a contrast to the cold of Kansas and Missouri. Our Leader again dipped his finger in the waters of the southernmost beach in the United States where the Atlantic embraces and is warmed by the waters of the Gulf Stream. There he took some of the sand and seashells as souvenirs, and briefly stopped at the former home of the late Ernest Hemingway, noted American author.
"The view during our morning drive back to Miami was breathtaking! The blues and greens of the water, land and sky formed an ever-changing mosaic of soft beauty. Herons, ducks, pelicans, kingfishers, birds of all kinds flew along the roadway sunning, sporting, and diving for fish. In Miami we had lunch at the window top of a downtown hotel and watched the bay shipping traffic as we ate the delicious food which America can provide so well. After lunch, we drove past row after row of massive resort beach hotels, glistening white in the afternoon sun.
"From Miami we went north to near Ft. Pierce, where our Leader, Mrs. Choi, Miss Kim, Mr. Pak, Doris Walder, George and I bade Rebecca Boyd, Tom Robinson, Ernie Stewart, Douglas Burns, and Maggie Compton goodbye. Then we traveled to the overnight town of Daytona Beach, famous for its beautiful beach whose sands will support even the weight of a car. From Daytona (Mar. 10) we proceeded north away from the sunny sand and palms of tropic Florida to the charm of the ante-bellum south. Our first stop -- Savannah, Georgia.
"When our Leader blessed the ground there, Doris said to me that she sensed the presence of many spirit-men from the historic days of Savannah. How true that statement is for all the blessed spots over which the Master has prayed.
"We departed then for Charleston, So. Carolina. No sooner had we arrived than we honked the horn for Gary Elliott, who hopped aboard and we were off for Columbia, the capital of So. Carolina. Only George had met Gary before, but Gary and I established a close bond of brotherhood in the tight quarters of the car's rear-window seat. He was so excited at our Leader's visit that he could hardly listen as I explained the significance of the Holy Ground ceremony, but kept turning around to look at his True Father.
"In Columbia we spent a very comfortable night at a motel owned and operated by Blacks. The next morning (Mar. 11), after blessing ground and bidding farewell to Gary, we headed for Raleigh, we journeyed to Richmond, Va., where we visited a memorial building dedicated to those from Virginia who had lost their lives in World War II and the Korean War. Enclosed in small glass cases, at the foot of the glass wall etched with the names of the honored dead, were relics from the sites of the campaigns in which the war heroes had fought... "Leaving Richmond after blessing ground there, we traveled to Fredericksburg and stayed over night.
The next day (Mar. 12) we penetrated the hills of the Alleghenies and arrived in Martinsburg, W. Va. At the Windewald Motel south of the city limits, part of the Washington Family joyfully greeted our Leader and accompanied us to the blessing site. From Martinsburg, our Leader went in a car supplied by Joe Badra of the Washington Family, gaily bedecked with colored flags. We journeyed through Hagerstown, Md., to Washington DC, and to the home of Mr. Pak in Arlington, Va., arriving Friday afternoon, March 12th. The Washington Family greeted us enthusiastically and with much ceremony.
"After several days packed full with official and unofficial meetings, tours, times for getting acquainted, and -- most important -- the blessings of the White House and Capitol lawns, our Leader said we must hurry back to California. Imagine our surprise! We had expected to stay a while longer. Nevertheless, the morning of March 18th found our Leader, Mrs. Choi, Miss Kim, Mr. Pak, Mr. Nishikawa of Japan, Moonhye Yoon, George, me, and the luggage snugly packed into our faithful vehicle, now a mature young adult with 8,000 miles under its hood. Mr. Nishikawa and Daikan Onuke had flown into Washington while we were there, and Mr. Nishikawa was now accompanying us back to the West Coast. His bubbling humor and enthusiastic air and expressive "Wonderfuru!" kept all of us laughing most of the 7,000 mile journey. (Note: Nishikawa was the Japanese name used by Mr. Choi who founded the movement in Japan and later came to San Francisco and worked there successfully.)
"Our first stop was Baltimore, famous for its white marble steps, in the tiny State of Maryland. Our second was Wilmington in the even tinier State of Delaware, where city blocks are called "squares", and the favorite sport is boating.
"The next city to receive our Leader's blessing was Philadelphia, Pa. There we stayed several hours to visit Arthur Ford, a well known trance medium, whose spirit guide, Fletcher, had given witness to our Leader as the Messiah and Leader of the New Age. Fletcher again gave witness: "The light around you [all of us in the room] is so bright that it would blind most of you... In other circumstances, my instrument [Arthur Ford] and you should take off your shoes. You are sitting in the presence of Truth incarnate!" Two Episcopalian priests, friends of Arthur Ford for 10 years, were enthralled by our Leader's presence and words, and by the testimony which Fletcher bore. They want, by all means, to study the Divine Principle. Mr. Volker of Philadelphia, who has been studying the Divine Principle, but has not accepted fully, was also somewhat taken aback and no doubt uplifted by the moment of the occasion. After the sitting, our Leader gave some words of advice to Mr. Ford, saying that he should study the Divine Principle and seek the highest spiritual level rather than remain in the one he now occupies.
"After blessing land in Philadelphia, we turned along the New Jersey Turnpike to Trenton, capital of New Jersey. We arrived at the site of blessing in the evening. From Trenton, we went north to the impressive skyscrapers and jangling traffic and bustle of New York City. We were greeted in that megalopolis by the New York Family, who treated us to an appetizing dinner of Korean food. Then we all bedded down in Moonhye's small apartment. The following morning (Mar. 19th) we went to Central Park for the blessing. We then fought the New York City traffic upstream to the New York City Hall and bade our New York Family farewell, and we left for the New England States on what was to be the most "blessed" day of the trip!
"The farmland of Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey began to change to typical wooded land of provincial New England. We followed the twisting course of a small river through shady glens and forest groves of pine and birch, until reaching the university of New Haven, Conn. Our Leader blessed an area and we hurried north to Providence, R.I., site of his next blessing. From Providence, we traveled on to Boston, Mass., arriving about 7 P.M. The citizens of that respectable city were nonplused to see us downtown in the Boston Public Garden praying and dedicating the land to God. The traffic on the Eastern Seaboard is very heavy -- people are really "on the go!" -- and we didn't reach northern New Hampshire until 10 that evening. A full yellow-orange moon shone down on our Father as he blessed the frozen ground in the city park of the seacoast town of Portsmouth. We then crossed the bridge and entered the state of Maine. Our Master, with a heavenly schedule to meet, wasted no time in choosing the site of his next blessing. The small village of Kettery, Maine, population 5,000 and 1/2 hours drive from Portsmouth, received the greatest honor in its history as our Leader blessed its City Park. Pressing onward through the chill and frosty night scene of New Hampshire and Vermont, we reached our destination -- Brattleboro, Vermont. Time: 3 A.M., Mar. 20.
"After giving his blessing to Brattleboro later in the morning, the party continued its journey westward through Vermont and New York State to Buffalo and Niagara Falls. The falls rushed over their precipice, a roar of spray and icy white chunks, as we walked on the frozen snow-covered ground...
"Leaving Niagara Falls and Buffalo behind, we plunged into a raging Lake Erie blizzard which lasted the 200 miles to Cleveland, Ohio... Were we ever glad to see the smiling faces of the Cleveland Family and sit ourselves down to steaming dishes of rice and meat! (note: Pauline Verheyen pioneered Cleveland and had established a group there)
"After a comfortable night's rest and a hearty breakfast, we left (Mar. 21) for Detroit, Mich., the next city to receive our Masters blessing. From there, we journeyed on across the snow-covered ground of Michigan and entered Indiana where our Master blessed a park in the city of Hammond near Chicago. Our destination, Lombard, Ill., the home of Eileen Welch and the Chicago Center, wasn't reached until late that evening, but the hearty welcome warmed both spirit and body. (Eileen Welch, now Lemmers was the first member in the United States, worked with David Kim and pioneered Chicago.)
"Since our Leader's purpose in coming to the United States was primarily to bless ground, we were unable to stay in Chicago, or many other Centers, longer than overnight, and after the ceremony the following morning (Mar. 22) we sadly bade goodbye and set off for Madison, Wis. In Madison, we sat and talked with Mrs. Marjorie Hill who had just completed the Divine Principle Correspondence Course lessons, and who had learned of our early arrival two days earlier. Having blessed a small park near her home, our Leader and his party left Mrs. Hill, full of joy and somewhat dazzled by the swiftness of all that had transpired, and set off for the twin cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn., separated only in part by the newly-springing Mississippi River. In the city which bears the name of the one who accomplished so much to lay a foundation for Christianity, we settled down for the night.
"When we walked to the site of the blessing the following day (Mar. 23), the snow reached halfway up our legs, and we were only too glad to follow in our Master's footsteps. At every point of the journey, his energy abounded, his zeal was unflagging, and his pace was untiring. The snowy hill on which he performed the ceremony in St. Paul was no match for his swift strides, and we soon left the city for Fargo, N.D. The temperature in St. Paul the night we arrived was -4 degrees F. What was the temperature when we arrived at the coldest city in the continental U.S. at noon the next day? -4 degrees F.
"Having blessed Fargo, we turned south to Sioux Falls, S.D. Surprisingly enough, South Dakota offered little hindrance in the form of snow or ice, and we made good time through the flat expanse of the southernmost Dakota, reaching Sioux Falls by early evening. As we crawled on our hands and knees up the steep, icy, and snow-covered hill which our Leader had so easily walked up, I had to admire the endurance of Mrs. Choi and Miss Kim who did not hesitate to follow him to the top. Like most of the blessings in cold weather, the ceremony at the summit was brief. Not hurried, but brief. I'm sure our Leader was concerned about our welfare. He himself never wore gloves while performing the ceremony, and our hearts ached when we saw his red and frost-nipped hands.
"On to Sioux City, Iowa, and another blessing, brief but not unimportant. Then to the overnight stop of Lincoln, Neb., at which another snowstorm enshrouded us with falling flakes. The hotel manager was very considerate, and let us have three rooms for only $12.50. When George and I reached our room, imagine our surprise to discover that what we thought was a closet turned out to be entry to another room with two double beds! A total of four rooms, and seven double beds. That night we made our four hours sleep count! The next morning (Mar. 24), after brushing a foot-deep pile of snow off the car, we went to the site of the Holy Ground. Nearby was a small zoo and, from their pen only a few feet away from us, a flock of sheep silently watched...
"All that day, we crept through the snow-packed and icy prairie roads of Nebraska toward Cheyenne, Wyo., where Mrs. Hall had been busily establishing a Center. We arrived at dinner time and decided to take the dinner Mrs. Hall had so graciously prepared with us to Galen and Patty Pumphrey's home in Denver, Colo., about 100 miles to the south. The Pumphreys and other members of the Family greeted us with open arms.
I will interrupt Gordon's story to relate our experience of Father's arrival in Denver. We had been under the impression that the party would arrive in Denver several weeks later. We received a call that they were in Nebraska and would be in Denver that evening. A wild scramble followed, we were only partially prepared. The house at 1020 Jay St. was a small three bedroom, with eating in the kitchen.
We had prepared a room, bought a new mattress and bedding, a small setting of new dishes. His party arrived in the evening, and we ate food that we had prepared and some that was brought with them from Cheyenne.
After dinner, we went to the living room. We had a parakeet, and Father noted that it didn't have a mate. We went out soon after and got the bird a mate. Father made himself comfortable in a very worn overstuffed chair. A little later in the evening, we had a meeting in our small living room, he talked through his interpreter, Mrs. Choi and sometimes Miss Kim helped out. After talking for a couple of hours he had us ask questions. The meeting went on until 4:30 A.M., we asked him many questions.
There was probably eight or ten people from Denver. I say Denver, however several had come from Oklahoma, relatives of a local member. There was his party, which included Mrs. Choi, Miss Kim, Mr. Nishakawa (Choi) and the drivers plus Terry Hall from Cheyenne. We had a full house. There wasn't enough room for everyone to sleep there, so we had Father in one room, Mrs. Choi and Miss Kim in our bedroom, and several sleeping on the floor. Mr. Nishakawa and the drivers slept in the boys bunk beds. We had to go to another house, where the children went earlier to sleep.
We came back early in the morning, had breakfast. Then Father wanted to bless Holy Ground. The car they had been using on the trip had a burned valve, and had to be taken to a garage for repair. What car should we take to bless Holy Ground? One of the members had a new car and I had an ancient, 1951 Chevrolet 4 door sedan, the one we had moved to Denver in. Miss Kim explained that the Chevrolet was the first car, and for a time the only car, we had in our center in San Francisco, a somewhat historical car. He chose to ride in it, making it a historical car. That car is still in our possession at our daughter Melisa in Virginia. He mentioned the car some years later, while speaking to blessed couples in New York.
The party went, in several cars, to the Denver city park, where he chose a very large Elm tree as the center of the Holy Ground. There was about 6 inches of snow on the ground, Father lead the way with everyone following the path that he had made. After blessing the ground, we went to the capitol, where he took some earth and a stone. We returned to the house and late that afternoon, there car was repaired and they were on their way west.
To continue with Gordon's account of the trip;
"At 3:30 P.M. we left Denver and headed toward Laramie, Wyoming. Rather than go over the storm-battered Rockies at night, our Leader thought it wiser to go through the less mountainous country of Wyoming. Again we ran into blizzards and icy roads, but most of the way we made good time going 80 and 90 mph. The most difficult times during our trips on snowy roads was when approaching a truck to pass it. The truck's rear wheels would throw up a voluminous spray of fine snow which enveloped us in a fog-like cloud, so that neither road, countryside, nor truck was visible until our front windshield had drawn parallel to the truck's rear wheels, or until a gale-like wind had blown the snow cloud to one side. Passing under such conditions was certainly harrowing!
"In Salt Lake City, Mr. David Kim of Oregon and Mr. & Mrs. Gaisford greeted us and treated us to hot food and the physical and spiritual warmth of the Gaisford home. The next day (Mar. 26), after blessing a park overlooking the city, we briefly toured the Mormon Tabernacle and surrounding grounds. Then we headed for Boise, Idaho. We arrived at eventide, took Vernon Pearson on board, and went to a nearby park to bless the ground.
"We left Boise after dinner fully intending to reach Grangeville, Idaho about halfway to Missoula, Mont., but Idaho State 15 and Jack frost had other plans in mind for us. Idaho State 15 is known as the "scenic route". Scenic routes are not generally the fastest way to one's destination, and State 15 was no exception. The road curved around, under and over hill and dale, mountain and valley... Passing several cars adrift in a sea of snow, we decided to put ashore at a small rustic hotel in Cascade, far from our destination. The next morning (Mar. 17) we left early and continued our tense journey to Missoula. Approaching the town of Grangeville, we encountered the winding road of White Bird Hill. As we turned and twisted, large drops to the valley below, loomed on every side. Often the car would slide a little way along the ice-slick roads before responding to the promptings of its driver. The view was breathtaking! So was the ride!
"From Grangeville to Missoula we first had a delightful drive along a river canyon whose pine-covered slopes rose above us several thousand feet, and whose river waters rushed merrily by filled with life -- fish, otter and beaver. Although road signs assured us of the presence of big game, we never saw any as we sped along the winding but good highway. In Missoula, our Leader blessed land surrounded by pine, fir, and lofty smooth mountains. The rushing waters of a brook nearby accompanied his words...
"The road conditions from Missoula to Spokane, Washington, forced us to put tire chains on the car, and we inched over the mountain passes with cat-like precision. From Spokane to Seattle, we soared through the crisp night air, slowing only for the Cascade Range, and reached the home of Suzanne and Dianne Pitts around 4 A.M. (Mar. 28). After a few hours sleep we ate breakfast, then went to bless the Holy Ground. Spring greeted us on the West Coast... After a brief tour of the city, we headed for St Helen's Oregon, where John Schmidli maintains his Divine Principle Center. There we had dinner, and proceeded on to Portland where Mrs. Terre Hall is in charge of the Center. After a night's rest, our Leader gave his final official blessing to the United States (Mar. 29) -- "It is fulfilled!" -- at Mr. Tabor Park in Portland, overlooking the city.
"The warm days of the coastal clime were a welcome change to the cold of the north. We journeyed to Eugene, Oregon, birthplace of our American Family. It was here that Miss Young Oon Kim started her mission to America, and she escorted us to the houses in which she had first lived, written and held meetings. At present, Mr. Kim and David Bridges maintain the Eugene Center. As a special favor to America, and in memory of Miss Kim's first missionary activity, our Leader blessed an area of ground in Eugene. Before leaving the city, we visited Oak Hill where Galen & Patty Pumphrey, Doris Walder, Pauline Phillips, George Norton and Miss Kim lived during the early days of our movement in this country. After a delicious Chinese dinner in Eugene, we said goodbye to the Oregon Family...
"We left Eugene about 7 P.M. and drove down through the mountains of southern Oregon and Northern California, down through the Sacramento Valley, down through the Vallejo Hill, to the city of Oakland where we had left forty days before.
"The San Francisco Family greeted us at 5 A.M., March 30th, and after a breakfast so carefully prepared by Kathy Martin, we talked for a while and then rested for a few hours before spending the remainder of the day touring San Francisco. That evening, the Bay Area Family all gathered at the Martins in Oakland and had a sparkling question and answer session with our Leader until 2 A.M.
"The next morning (Mar. 31), we accompanied our Leader, Mrs. Choi and Mr. Nishiakawa to the airport to bid them farewell with strongly mixed emotions. We were sad because we knew we would not see him for another year, yet happy because we knew he was going on to continue his trip to Washington DC then around the world...