Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Summer of '75'~Road Trip for the ages..

Cold, damp, bone chilling damp this morning as I headed uptown to do some banking and other chores...will head north for another Junior High double header tonight.  Last night after the Freshman game at Delphos, I headed to Mt Tabor Church for Dartball.  After beating up on the leagues top teams the past 2 Mondays, last night we reverted back to our season form against a weak opponent...going scoreless in the first 2 games, before breaking out and winning the last of the 3 game set.  As a team we stand 6 wins 6 loses on the 2nd half of the season...I did all right, going 5 for 13 with a couple of RBIs, as my season average inched up to .360, still some 80 points below last year's finish, but the best finish since week #2.

Going out in the cold with it's frozen fog in the air, I realized just how long this winter has become....getting an early start in late November, it has seemed endless, and you can bet that we have at least 2 months to go.  The cold, along with snowy roads, got me to thinking about some of the crazy things I would pull off in the summer of yesteryear.

The Summer of 1975_____
I have written about our summer road trip to Florida some 35 years ago, on more than one occasion, on this blog.  Mike Schilling, Jim Olson, and I decided to take a couple weeks off from our works...Jim's at WCSM Radio(where I would work some 5 years later), Mike with New Idea in Coldwater(he would become a Celina City Cop several years later), and me, taking off from working 6 or 7 days a week at The Red Door, where I combined being manager, bouncer, bartender, and jack-of-all-trades.

We packed 25 cases of beer, Mike and my Kawasaki Dirt Bikes, and enough little white pills to stay awake for the trip down I-75(or at least what was completed at that time)in my old green Ford Van.  That van was something else....I had picked it up a year or so before.  A little rust, no shocks, a bed that folded out from the wall, and enough room to drop down a couple of sleeping bags, if the bikes were removed.  I stuck Patricia with my Coon Dogs, the mutts Genny and Dixie, and Rags the Airedale, to watch while we headed south.  In retrospect it is amazing that my wife to be would stick it out....Taking care of 8 dogs, and taking care of my house, while juggling her job at Celina Group.  Then still be willing to marry me some 18 months later...Amazing, simply amazing!

One flat tire near Cincinnati, the "thrill" of driving the shaky van down the mountains in Tennessee on a construction filled I-75, including Atlanta before the Interstate was completed through that dump, and we arrived in my old home town of Venice, Florida.  There we stayed at Oscar Sheer State Park at Osprey, and waited out several days of rain while we fished the streams and Jetties on the Gulf of Mexico.

After 4 days or so in Venice we headed north...spending a day and drinking beer from the pubs at Busch Gardens near Tampa.  Then it was on to Orlando, where we continued to consume beer by the case, and spent a day at Disney World.  Hard as it is to believe, I think the motel was $25, and the entire day at the theme park was less than that for each of us.  Try that these days....Disney is a rip off to the NT Degree today.

On to Daytona, where we parked the van at the Daytona Beach Campgrounds, which was located a few miles from the beach, south on Highway A1A....We spent most of the next 5 days riding my 250cc on the beach, working on our tans(in Olson's case getting a sever case of sunburn), drinking more beer, as we finished off the original 25 cases...and had to buy more.  10 or so days in, we were almost broke, so we left the heat, hot sun, and some rain, and headed north to Myrtle Beach.  As we crossed into Georgia, with Mike behind the wheel...he says "Cop in the mirror".  A few minutes later a young Georgia State Trooper pulls us over...

I can only imagine his thoughts when he sees 3 long haired leaping gnomes sitting in this hippy looking van(despite the fact that Mike and I were both former Military Police, him having served in the Army as an MP in Korea, while I was the former Air Force Security Police guy with Vietnam credentials)...he looked in at the floor littered with beer cans in the back, and the half asleep Jim looking up from my wall bed.  It turns out he told us...."Looking for a couple of black guys with 2 white girls that just robbed a bank, and they had a van that was described much like yours".  We convinced him, that although tanned, we were not black, and had no women, white or otherwise with us....If I recall he just shook his head, laughed, and told us to have a safe trip north.  Nothing searched, nothing about the beer can litter....we were not who he was looking for, and I think he was as glad as we were.

We continued on our way to Myrtle Beach...spent a day there, parked at a lot next to the beach, so we were able to see the glorious sunrise over the Atlantic...that was enough, I think we may have had enough money left for gas and a snack.  So back north on I-95 then crossing into North Carolina where we headed west to hook back up with I-75.  Our trip would soon come to an end...but the memories outlived the hangovers, and those 2 weeks still rank among the craziest of vacations, although we as a varied collection of 20 something misfits had many others over the next few years, before life moved on and we, at least Mike and me, made efforts to settle down...some of the others, including Jim never have, choosing to stay young in their own minds, and defiant into their 50s and 60s.

This blog story is just the finer points of that trip....I could probably write a short book on all that happened in that 12 or so day time span.

back later>>>>

Photos-Me, in the mid 1970s era of my life...in front of that Ford Van on Daytona Beach June 1975, not sure what ever happened to it, but it was a cheap fun ride while I had it.  The Venice Jetties, this postcard is the South Jetties at Venice, the North Jetties across the inlet was accessed from Nokomis.  Me and Olson at Disney World, much cheaper then than it is these days.  And a Kaw250 off/on road bike same model, but a little clearer than my 1974 ride.

1 comment:

Cookie..... said...

Good read mate. Brought back a memory or two on this end as well. Patricia must definately be a SAINT!