Thinking about 1988… and the upcoming weekend

A perfect forecasting tool for the state of Iowa…

I guess the weather forecasters have had an easy job this year…  Each day the Iowa weather has been hot or super hot with no rain.

May and June are normally high precipitaton months.  By May the corn is planted and starting to grow quickly.  That’s when the rain virtually stopped this year.  All of Iowa is in a drought and it is rapidly worsening.  The last time we had weather like this was back about 24 years ago.   I remember the year very well and thought it would be fun to reminisce a bit about what things were like back then!

The year was 1988.  I’m sure most of the readers are will recall some of the following references…

It was an awesome year for Chevy fans.  The fourth generation Chevy Van was released with a 4.3 liter V6 (a “350” without the back two cylinders), a 5.0 liter V8 and the good old 5.7 aka “350” motor.  Oh, how I wanted one back then!

Instead I had purchased a new Dodge Omni that ate clutches and then replaced it with a Honda Civic CRX that had a severe front end shake for the entire time I owned it.   I was warned by a lot of solid “black dots” in the Consumer Reports review for the Omni while the Honda got all red circles on its review. 

Back then I don’t think any American car got good marks… Deming must have still been in Japan teaching “total quality”…  The Japanese were kicking the crap out of us in the car markets.  Thinking about the Omni, I should have listened better when Lee Iacocca said about Chrysler “If you can find a better care elsewhere then buy it.”

For the same money a van would have been so much more fun and, in retrospect, would have lasted a longer time than those little rusty cracker box sedans. 

Wow, back then I was making $14.69 / hour at a union job and health insurance was free.  I had the world by the “short and curlies”…  The good old days.

1988 was a good year for a Trekker.  The movie “Star Trek IV – The Voyage Home” had been released two years earlier and the series “Star Trek – The Next Generation” was in its first season.  I thought the new starship Enterprise was ugly and the captain was a jerk.  Now I love the re-runs and drink “Earl Grey, Hot”…  People today still say “Make it so!”  During this year there were plentiful Trek re-runs of the original episodes on network TV and I was saving them like crazy on a VHS recorder.  Amazingly, some of the old tapes still play.  When watching the commercial breaks you can see ads for brand new Chevy Nova cars for $6995. 

1988 had a lot of so-so movie sequels that year but some of the more memorable new movies released were “Tucker – The Man and His Dream”, “The Rainman”, “Big Top PeeWee”, and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”.  Wow…  It makes a person feel old.  So what’s the point?  That was a hell of a long time ago… It was a fun time back then though.  I felt like there was hope for the future… well, least more hope except that Saddam Hussein was a concern.  How would have thought…

Well, I guess it’s time to quit living in the past.  We’re in 2012.  A lot of things have changed.  The Iowa weather is still full of extremes. 

2012’s weather is setting up to be a much more serious situation than back then.  There is a larger demand for corn due to things like corn syrup sweetners (such as for sodas), ethanol fuel, and just a general increase in usage in various foods and cooking fats.  The prices for corn products and meats will be taking a large spike very soon.  Oh well…      /end doom and gloom prediction.

It’s just about the weekend… Time to go camping and say to hell with it all for a while.  🙂

As a result of the dry weather, there is now a temporary ban on outdoor burning in some counties in Iowa, including where I am planning to camp.  According to a local fire chief I spoke with, it’s still okay to start a fire in the metal ring at the campground.  Nonetheless, I decided not to risk it.  The cooking this weekend will be with the little propane stove or, better yet, the electric cooking ring kept in the van as well as the crockpot.

There should be a fun post or two this weekend as I visit some interesting and historic places near home.

Have fun.  Enjoy life.  Watch a movie from the 80s and be glad many of us grew up in that era!

Van Trekker

About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"
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3 Responses to Thinking about 1988… and the upcoming weekend

  1. I thought I would reminisce with you. In 1988 I would have been working for myself, up in snow country yet, pulling in $40 an hour as a self employed contractor and keeping about $32 of it after home office expenses. I had a new ’87 Plymouth Voyager, but we only kept it for a little more than a year before we traded it for new ’89 Dodge Maxi van. I was probably still working on inside remodeling to the house, probably on the kitchen. We had a ’86 34-foot Honey Class A motorhome, a 1929 Mercedes Benz SK touring car in our garage that I built in ’86, and we traded it and our Rabbit diesel the following year for a ’88 Mark VII Lincoln LSC. We were taking up to three weeks at a time for vacations. Life was good. In fact, it has never been that good since. Sometimes we don’t know when we’ve got it made. But when you see what you want, you have to “make it so”.

    • Brad says:

      Times sure were good back then! Now days a person just about has to quit working to enjoy a vacation. All the while the workplace is getting tougher, demanding higher productivity evey year.

      Money really did go farther twenty five years ago… Of course, I was making more money then than now!

  2. 2 CooPs says:

    Have a good weekend 🙂