Friday, November 21, 2014

Early road trip and first blog....



The Original Blog

Back in the day, I was a divorced 23 or 24 year old kid who had never been anywhere except for a road trip to Florida once with Fran, my first wife. I was working in a bank as the collections officer (I loved that job!) So, I decided to take my vacation as a two week road trip out west.

I had a Chevy Vega hatchback and went to Ark Surplus in Mount Clemens (I have no idea if they still exist) and bought a roll of mosquito netting. I spent a week or so, pop riveting it to the car body and the hatch. Of course I screwed the car up, but I didn’t care then. My idea was that I could open the hatch, avoid the bugs and sleep in the car (with the rear seat folded down). I had no money for hotel rooms.

Sidebar: I later punched a hole in the bodywork, towing a Harley three-wheeler with no front forks to a car wash. So, apparently I wasn’t all that concerned with the vehicle. Or, I was just young and stupid.

I packed up a brand new Coleman stove, a Coleman lantern and a ton of canned goods and headed out. I bought maps at gas stations to find my way (No Google maps back then). I’d stop and spend the night in rest areas. I’d pop the hatch, fold down the passenger seat and try to fit myself and my bedroll in the space after cooking dinner to sleep.

I picked up hitchhikers when I saw them to have somebody to talk to. No cell phones and nothing to fear, back in the day. We all did it.

I almost set myself on fire in Wyoming with the Coleman stove, BTW.
So, I got to Yellowstone Park and spent a couple of days there, camping out. I saw bears, elk and deer. And the mineral springs were phenomenal. I even saw “Old Faithful,” but not at the time it was supposed to erupt. Boring photo!

From there, I headed down the spine of the Rockies, through Arizona and the Grand Canyon (Oh, it was grand, alright. I was blown away!)  

Two things I learned: One, I taught myself to drive with my left foot on the accelerator (there was no "Cruise Control" back then and my right leg would get tired). And, two, when going down the mountains in the desert, I would shut the engine off and coast in neutral, so the engine wouldn't overheat.

I stopped at Fran’s grandmother’s place (in a trailer park in Arizona) and rapped on the door. She had no idea who I was or even who Fran was. I left there, discouraged.

Then I got on Route 66 and headed for home.

Now, the reason for this post:  I wrote down every day in spiral notebooks what occurred and took hundreds of photos with a cheap-ass camera. I recorded what I saw and talked to friends back home.

When I got back, I started to transcribe my daily entries and the corresponding photos, using my Mother’s “Script” typewriter.

I got about halfway through and then I decided to drive my dirt bike through a stump.

The rest was history. I knew where I went, but could not associate the photos to the places. After about a year of surgeries and physical therapy, the images did not compute.

So I have some text and photos I can relate to, but a lot I cannot.

And, now that I think about it, that was the first Blog entry.

6 comments:

  1. You had yourself a time!

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  2. It was a trip, LOL! But, in spite of "cleaning up" at rest stops, I think I still smelled bad near the end...

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  3. Those were the times dad! You were just following the look and smell :)

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  4. So, instead of closing in on your nine year blogging anniversary you're at what?

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  5. I have a crazy idea of scanning the typed pages and known photos. Then adding a new tab to this blog and putting them there. Not that anything would be the same today, or anybody else would even care. But just for shits and grins, ya know?

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