Friday, February 27, 2009

Road To Nowhere/June 1975 Florida Trip

Some lightning and showers will clear and cool off for the weekend. Dartball Tournament will continue Sunday at Schumm, with the Semi Finals followed by the finals...we play at 1pm and if we play like we did last week{a rarity} we will compete in the championship games at 3:30...if not we go home, and Sam and I get ready for the All Star Game on March 9th and League Banquet on March 23rd.....

The Summer of 1975____

By the time June of 75 rolled around I was getting bored with my Red Door life...I had bought a house, Patricia and I had decided to get married, we had not set a date, well maybe she had but I hadn't as of yet....I knew bar tending and running a rock and roll tavern was not going to be my lot in least not forever, so I decided to prepare for the future, and planned on winding my days at the Red Door down.

First thing I wanted to do was take a little vacation to my old home town of Venice, Florida. Mom still owned a house there, so I offered to check the house out and see how the renters were taking care of least I told her I would check on it when I reached Venice. Not wanting to vacation all by myself, and wanting to sow some oats before settling down to married life, I asked a few of my buddies if they were up to a 10 day road trip....I found two that could make the DJ Buddy Jim Olson, and Mike Schilling who I had known since high school...him being from Coldwater, me from Celina....I was senior to both of them by a year...I was 26 in June 1975.

I had purchased a 1962 Ford Econline Van in the spring...I had the Kawasaki 250 and a 1973 AMC Hornet Hatchback, but wanted something to haul the bike around in, so I purchased this hideous green van complete with 2 bucket seats and a drop down bed attached to the inside....a perfect ride for hauling around Coon Dogs, Motor X Bikes, and cases of beer...basically it was a ride that if somebody stole it, I wouldn't be out much, except a whole lot of fun.

So on a hot, sunny, day in June 1975, when Bachman-Turner Overdrive were topping the charts with "Taking Care of Business" I turned the house over to Patricia and she would take care of the Coon Dogs and Rags the Airedale, while Jim, Mike, and I, headed to sunny Florida in the Van. Schilling plugged in his CB and down I-75 we headed south...we made it to Middletown when the first tire blew...a small set back, it was repaired and the trip continued through Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and into north be perfectly honest, I can't remember if we stopped overnight or not, but given our financial status or lack of it, I think we drove straight through, with me and Schilling taking turns at the wheel...we both thought Olson sucked as a driver, plus we considering him a "stoney" so we refused to let him drive, thinking he might take the unstable van over the side of one of the hills in the Great Smokey Mountains...we did have fun doing back and forths on the CB with the truckers as we traveled south.

Before leaving Celina, we procured 25 cases of beer through my contacts with distributors at the Red Door...being 20 something gentleman of meager means we got the cheapest rot gut we could we loaded the van down with fifty, 12 packs of Red, White, and Blue, and Pabst...RWB was brewed by Pabst and it was at best a cheap stench of a beer than only one who enjoyed smelling their own flatulence could enjoy..but it was beer...albeit 3.2 beer. Hey I said it was cheap. We also carried enough little white pills to keep us awake for the trip. Mike and I also loaded our Bikes into the van, My 250 KAW legal for both on and off road, and his 125 which was no way legal for street, or as it turns out for the beach at Daytona either.

I-75 was not completely done in 1975, but for the most part we had 4 lanes with construction present for our trip....we arrived in Venice, and I gave the boys a tour of my old hometown, which I had not seen in almost 13 years. I stopped by mom's house and talked with the renters who looked at us 3 long haired northerners like we came from outer space, either that or they were worried I would evict them....looking back I probably should have and moved back for awhile. We then went a few miles back north to the twin city of Nokomis where my cousin Gary lived...Gary(who passed away this past December) had been my roommate in Celina the previous year and both Schilling and Olson knew him...Gary had remarried and was doing his usual car projects, something he was quite good at.....Where to stay?

Being of modest, at best, means, we decided to camp(I think we stayed in one motel for the entire 10 day trip) we took the trip north 5 miles to rural Osprey and pulled in at the Oscar Sheer State Campgrounds...this would be our home for the first 3 or 4 days of our Florida Vacation. We spent the next 3 days dodging afternoon thunderstorms, fishing for Snook at the North Jetties at Nokomis, and drinking beer....if I recall, the 25 cases didn't last the first week of the trip. I also jumped on the Kawasaki and rode to Englewood to see my best friend from my Venice days, Mike had been over 12 years since I saw Mike...those dozen years had changed us both....I talked with him and his wife for an hour or so...said our good byes and rode off. I never saw or talked with him again, Mike Graff passed away in 2003 at the age of 54. Sometimes the old adage, "You can't go home again" rings true..this was one of those times.

After a few days we again were bored, we had fished, hit all the bars worth hitting, caught some sun and plenty of rain in the first handful of was time to move on to other places in Florida...Busch Gardens, Disney World, and Daytona Beach were on the Horizon, so we packed up, left Oscar Sheer State Park and headed north to Tampa.

The Florida 1975 Trip Part #2 is next!

back later>>>>

photos--My old Ford Van...a clunker for sure, but the times we had in that thing....Red, White, and Blue Beer by Pabst Blue Ribbon...a bad beer, but beer it was for a trio of almost broke guys back in the 'Summer of 75'...postcard of the {South} Venice Jetties as it looked in the 1950s, it looks pretty much the same these days, Venice doesn't....our camp site at Oscar Sheer State Park in June 1975...and my brood of Blue and Red tick Coon Hounds I raised in town...they didn't tree that many Raccoons, but they did drive my Brandon Street neighbors nuts, as did I...which of course was much more fun.


Sarge Charlie said...

Hey Pat, did folks look at you in that van when you stopped at a redlight????

Pat Houseworth said...

Sarge the funny part is...we looked like a bunch of damn hippies, but we were just good old boys. Actually Mike ended up being a Celina Cop for 25 years. But yes, we got some looks, but we fit right in on the beaches of Daytona Beach.

The Hermit said...

Life was better then than it is now.

Law and Order Teacher said...

A couple of memories. You have inspired me to reminisce. I remember when I graduated from high school my dad gave me $60. My buddies and I went to Florida. We camped on the way. We got so drunk in SC that our neighbors called the police on us. We were made to apologize to them in lieu of going to jail.

Also, we had an Econoline at Kadena. Do you remember how the USAF numbered vehicles? Year-B-vehicle number. The Econoline was 65B555. Obviously we called it triple nickel. It was a piece of shit. Memories.

Pat Houseworth said...

Thanks for that memory Steve...I remember all the vehicles in the Air Force that I drove, and abused....those things(at least for us cops) were driven 24/7 unless they were in the Motor Pool, which was quite often....

Pat Houseworth said...

I agree Hermit....I don't worry about what the future has in store for health until I die will be enough. However, I feel for the kids, but what doesn't kill you will make you stronger for sure.

FHB said...

Yea, the hermits right.. I'm makin' good money now, but I'd trade it all to go back 30 years and do a bunch of stuff over again.