Unintended Adventures

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            What exactly is an adventure and where do you find one? Touring companies offer them all the time—they must know. Usually, for a tidy sum of money, they promise unique adventures that anyone can go on. Is that being adventurous—going where everyone else has gone before? Sure it is, but we don’t need to spend our hard earned money to have someone else show us something different, off the beaten path.

            We call ourselves tourists, when we venture off to discover something new and different from the norm. Unfortunately, many of us become sheep, using travel agents and guide services to tell us how and where to find what we seek. For hard working individuals who need to get away from it all, there is nothing wrong with that.

            For real travelers, or adventurers, we know what is required. We know that you have to get off that beaten path, peek over that fence, look around the next corner, and drive down that next road to see where it leads. It’s not rocket science, it’s a yearning, curiosity, and desire to enrich ourselves and learn something new. It’s enlightenment.

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The Men of Melaque

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Who are the elusive men of Mexico? To us Gringos who flock south for the winter, if we pay attention, we might just catch a glimpse of the homosapien species. Our first exposure was at the Puerto Vallarta airport, where throngs of eager males threw themselves at arriving snowbirds in the hopes of snagging fares for the taxis and shuttles that were stacked up out front.

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Favorites – Venice

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I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked where’s my favorite place I’ve visited. And, for those of you who know me personally, I don’t really do favorites. So why, you ask, am I posting Venice as one of my favorite places? Well, I must shyly admit that it is. Right now it’s the number one tourist destination in the world. That’s big.

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Eddie Murphy & The Golden Girls

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This story appears in my book,  A Casual Traveler

Kananchuburi Provence, Thailand 

      I booked a no-brainer trip from Pataya Beach to the Kananchuburi province in Thailand, near the Burma border. It is home to the Bridge on the River Kwai, that was made famous by the movie of the same name.  For those unaware, it’s where the Japanese used allied prisoners of war to build a railway bridge over the river, and through the mountain pass into Burma.

      The shuttle bus picked me up at my hotel at 5:30 a.m. sharp, a despicable time of the day. The birds weren’t up yet, but there were still a couple people drinking at the bar across the street. Not unusual in Pataya. I’d behaved the previous evening, opting for a movie at the local cinema, instead of being one of those people at the bar.

     I climbed into the van and saw with my one open eye that there were other people on the bus. Three older black women had nabbed the best seats. The looked like a darker version of the Golden Girls. I wedged myself in and didn’t pay the driver much attention, until he got lost two blocks from my hotel.

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The Two Bill’s – Part 2

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This story appears in my first book, A Casual Traveler

 The Way Back 

            Usually, going somewhere is more fun than coming back. Whenever I plan a trip I try to take that into account. I don’t know how everyone else feels, but I hate covering the same ground twice. I’d much rather make a loop and go out of my way, than drive down the same road more than once. Unless something is worth seeing again, from a different perspective.

            Cathryn and I had a great ride getting to Vancouver, but I knew I had my work cut out for me, trying to find an eventful and scenic way back home. The whole idea of the trip was to cover new ground, since both of us had been out west before. Seattle came to mind. Although I’d been there twice, I never had time to see more than a few token attractions on the waterfront.

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The Two Bill’s – Part 1

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This story appears in my first book, A Casual Traveler

 Westward Ho

Cathryn’s big question was, “How do I pack for a whole month?” She was faced with the dilemma of how to get her clothes, shoes, and toiletries into one small suitcase, that fit into the trunk portion of our Harley Davidson motorcycle. I had laid out a plan to ride all the way to Vancouver, and back, within a month…or so.

“You only need to pack for five to seven days,” I offered, “We can do our laundry along the way when we stop for more than a day.” I broke the trip into segments, staying in a few different places for more than one night at a time, so we could take a rest from the bike, and not have to be on it every day of the trip.

We met with our friends Greg and Brenda, to discuss the first leg of the trip. They changed their final destination, deciding to only ride as far as Milwaukee with us. It didn’t matter, we were going on with or without them. Figuring traffic would be lighter, and a hotel in downtown Milwaukee cheaper, we left at 9 am on Sunday, July 3rd.

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Steerfish in Spearfish

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You never know what you’ll end up eating when you’re on the road and looking  a  good meal. Cathryn and I struck it rich in Spearfish, South Dakota when the manager at our motel recommended Steerfish Steak & Smoke.

Spearfish is one of those towns that most folks have never heard of, but this restaurant and the annual motorcycle rally in neighboring Sturgis have put them on the map. If you are ever anywhere in the area, visiting this eatery is a must.

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Yellowstone – Washington’s Gem

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Even though I’ve been to Yellowstone National Park before, I’m still amazed at the natural beauty of the diverse landscape, some of it making you think you’re on the moon. Giant forests, volcanic activity, and assorted animals that are allowed to roam free. If it wasn’t for the thousands of tourists, and hundreds of vehicles that carry them, it would be one of the most beautiful places on earth.

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