Who doesn’t remember taking family road trips as a kid? As fun, difficult, long or short as they may have been, road trips that included a mom, dad and siblings are the bright, bold threads in the fabric of anyone’s memory lucky enough to have taken them.
The Friday Flyer’s favorite travelers, Hans and Linda Weg, have been sharing their travels with readers for several years now. Their most recent “Near and Far with The Friday Flyer” trip to Oregon is in this week’s paper. They enjoy traveling with each other now, but they also used to travel with their children.
As a father, Hans worked long hours to provide for his family – first in aerospace, then in law enforcement – which allowed Linda to be a stay-at-home mom for their five children: four daughters and a son. But he also made time for family vacations, saying, “When the kids were young, we went on many road trips, which they hated, always saying, ‘Are we there yet?’”
“One year we went on a road trip on Hwy. 101 and Hwy. 1 all the way to Port Angeles, Washington; then took the ferry to Victoria Island, then to Vancouver, Canada. This was all in a VW Rabbit, with the four girls in the back seat and the son on Linda’s lap and all of our luggage on top,” Hans recalls. “Just imagine, seven people in a Rabbit!”
If today’s mothers and fathers groan at the thought – and today’s adult children laugh at similar memories – read on. This Father’s Day story is meant to inspire Canyon Lake parents to consider the memories they’re storing away in their children’s hearts. As Hans points out, “The kids still remember and still talk about that trip.”
The family took other trips through the western states and often took their boat to Lake Havasu and the Colorado River, “which the kids loved,” says Hans. Like many SoCal families, they frequented Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm and SeaWorld. Hans also coached some of his kids’ soccer and baseball teams.
“As a father, I am proud of having provided a good life for them,” says Hans.”They were very good students and never got into trouble for anything.”
Asked what quality she appreciated most about Hans as a father, Linda says, “He was an excellent provider and never bought anything for himself until the kids were grown.”
Anyone peeking into the Weg’s garage may be surprised at that last comment, since it houses a 1929 Ford Model A street rod, a 1965 Ford Galaxy convertible, a 1966 Pontiac GTO and a 1971 Chevy El Camino – all beautifully restored, as attested by many of his 217 trophies and plaques from car shows covering the garage walls.
But Hans has earned his own way and been careful with his money since he was a teenager buying his own clothes and car, and he has taught his kids to do the same. If he is splurging now on cars and traveling, it’s because his children are well established in marriage and successful careers.
The other items covering Hans’ garage walls are Route 66-style murals he painted himself (quite nicely) and several large frames filled with articles from The Friday Flyer about him and Linda – some 60 articles at last count. The couple have become very adept at finding the good photo ops at every place they visit, and never fail to take a picture with The Friday Flyer.
So what was the path that brought the Wegs to Canyon Lake and the Victorian-style house Hans designed himself and began building in September 2003?
Hans was born in an army barrack in Bayreuth, Germany to parents who had to flee from a German Croatian village during the Soviet invasion. He remembers a happy childhood in the small city that dated from the Middle Ages. His home was a half-mile from the forest where he often played. His father was a bricklayer, his mother a textile worker.
As a child, Hans knew nothing about WWII or Hitler or the fact that his father had fought in the German Army’s invasion of Russia. He didn’t ride in a car until the age of 9, when he was transported by VW bus to a youth camp in the Alps.
In 1957, when he was 12 years old, his family immigrated to the United States aboard the WWII Navy transport ship U.S.S. General Taylor. Their journey took 10 days at sea, from Bremerhaven, Germany to New York City, and another five days by train to Los Angeles, where they were met at the station by Hans’ aunt and uncle.
They settled in East L.A., where Hans began school and had to learn English. When school kids saluted him with the phrase, “Heil Hitler,” he had to ask his father what they were talking about. But he quickly adapted to SoCal life; and by the time he entered Woodrow Wilson High School in El Serena, he was an outstanding athlete and a member of the band. He played four musical instruments, including the button accordion and the saxophone, and eventually got involved in a Slovenian musical group as well as a rock and roll band.
He and Linda met on a blind date and it was “love at first sight,” says Hans. They were married March 12, 1964 at a chapel in Huntington Park. Then the children started arriving, first two daughters, then twin daughters, then a son. The kids now range in age from 51 to 41, and the Wegs have 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Before moving to Canyon Lake 13 years ago, they lived happily for 28 years on rural property in Norco, where they not only raised their kids but lots of farm animals as well.
With three of their children still living in Southern California (the twins work at the Pentagon), Hans and Linda are active parents. “Now we enjoy our grandkids and especially spending time with our great-granddaughter and newest grandson,” says Hans.
So what will he be doing for Father’s Day? Likely seeing some of his kids and grandkids. But also showing off his cars at the Rods & Rails Car Show in Perris June 11 and the Farmer Boys Car Show in Hemet June 18.
He’ll also be checking out The Friday Flyer for his latest “Near and Far with The Friday Flyer” trip to Oregon. Life is good for this father of five.