Travel Stories – From the Men

As always, it’s good to hear from the men on the topic at hand. On any topic, it’s good to go to the collective wisdom of the men and see what is to be shared and revealed. This month we hear from the men posting on social media, in answer to this question: “Tell us a ‘Travel Story.’ What was your most memorable adventure on a trip you took?

Bob Walker

This may sound a bit silly but, what the hell. The first time I went to visit my Dad in California. I was 16 or 17 and living on my own (at the home of a friend and his parents). Dad took us, my sister and , to Disneyland. I was just amazed at the place. Then it was other parks: Knotts Berry Farm and whatnot but the best was Universal Studios. Being a big movie fan, even then, stepping behind the scenes was mind blowing. In later years it inspired me to work in the field for some time. “Playing Around” with my Dad was awesome. We got to do it again a few times after that, once with own kids along as well. Memories, feelings, emotions. It was probably the best trip I was ever on.

Charles Gary

I’m a member of a motorcycle club with a unique program that sends deserving members on a trip across the Atlantic to ride with the equivalent club on the other side. Every year, a European comes to the United States; an American doesn’t go to Europe. In 2015 I was lucky enough to get to go to Europe with all of my expenses paid, and I spent 18 days riding over 3,000 miles through 10 different countries and countless mountain passes in the Alps. I had always wanted to be able to be part of the “Over the Pond” program, but never expected to be nominated to go, much less receive enough votes to be able to go. It truly was the trip of a lifetime, made possible by volunteering to serve others.

Robert MacIntosh

In 2002 at the age of 37 I embarked on an adventure ride through Mexico. I covered about 3,000 miles in 17 days. I rode from San Diego to the tip of Baja California and then crossed over to the mainland on the ferry. On the mainland I traveled south all the way to Mazatlan. I then rode inland and up into Copper Canyon. From there I made my way back down to the coast and took the ferry back over to Baja and returned to San Diego.So those are the dry facts of a boring story. The juicy part of the story is that I did this solo – much in the same way that I lived most of my life up to that age – solo. My context was: take care of numero uno because no one else gives a shit. And so I got to revel, to my heart’s content, in that lonely place. 17 days of pure bliss? No, not pure bliss. Mind you, it was not devoid of human contact – I met a lot of folks and had some great conversations but it was, perhaps, the first time I thought long and hard about being alone.The transition away from doing things alone has been one of my life’s greatest challenges. Man, do I hate asking for help! I can’t depend on anyone for Jack Shit! But it’s kind of a lonely place.
Mackintosh, reluctant member of MDI since 2008.

Matt Coddington

I went to the Spearmint Rhino in Las Vegas to work on a safe in the management office. As I was there with the manager, one of the dancers stopped by to speak with him…. topless. Fuckin’ gorgeous.

Bill Oakes

Hawaii is an outstanding place to do a novice scuba dive.  The water is clear and warm, and you can see many fish and other sea creatures down to 33 feet below the surface, which is the limit for novice divers.  So, I signed up.

My training was done in a swimming pool, where I learned to breathe underwater through a regulator, and most importantly, how to equalize the pressure in my ears. As you descend through the water, the pressure is very painful unless you can equalize it. Beyond that, you don’t need much as a novice.  You don’t even need to be able to swim in order to dive. The boat ride was rough; the water was choppy and I didn’t feel great. As the boat approached the dive spot, we all put on wetsuits, tanks, flippers, and snorkel gear. I was quite apprehensive about attempting to float with all this heavy gear on. Then, I was coached to take a big step into the water.  My nervousness caused me to do the only reasonable thing I could think of, so I grabbed the anchor line. The water continued to be choppy, and I felt the only way to prevent certain death was to hold on to that rope.  By this time everyone else was in the water.

Then, the instructor approached me with my white-knuckle death grip, and calmly just said: “Let go of the rope.”

I was thinking: “What!!?” But, I decided to trust the instructor, and I let go of the rope, and was in the water on my own. And I lived. And I floated, and I dove. And I learned to respect the experience that a good instructor has, and to go with what he knows is best. His example of calmness also calmed me down, and I had fun swimming around among the fish, sea urchins and beautiful coral in the Hawaiian waters.

Jim Ellis

I traveled with some buds up Mt. Whitney, making a go at the 14,500-foot mountain. At 12,000 feet, while we slept, the blizzard arrived. We woke to a “white out” – couldn’t see one foot in front of our face. Oh man! I didn’t even really prepare for that weather. We had to slowly come down the trail, every step getting closer and closer to safety. I’ve made it to the top two other times, but it was this one trip that stands out the most – for the most important factors of intrigue, camaraderie, and danger.

Fred Boyles

The honeymoon from hell. My wife and I married and planned a honeymoon in England. It had been over a month without our “ecstasy” drug, her insecurities started to surface. When there were other beautiful women within eyesight, she would yell out: “WHY DON’T YOU JUST FUCK HER?” All of that intensity covered up a very broken woman with a monumental inferior complex. And then there was me: the romantic hero fool who knew that I could save her. And so the trip: we were in Bath, England, and I had rented a small castle to prove to her I loved her more than her other husbands. After one of her public outbursts, I stormed back to our castle by myself. I remember standing in the middle of the castle’s bedroom and my knees started to shake. I believed, “I did it again.” She showed up within the hour acting as if she had done nothing wrong and that I should get over it. Her behavior continued with me never knowing when another outburst was coming.  I lived in fear of her explosions. We ultimately returned to the “ecstasy.”

Eric Louie

Four main memories:

  1. Las Vegas for a men’s convention, in a rental van, an open baby keg of beer, cookies from someone’s wife, 2 men AWOL for the entire event, fascinating interactions between men and women, friction between men, and sessions that both inspired and repulsed me. And then, there was the drive home.
  2. I see London, I see France, I see someone’s underpants. I did all three in 2016. And Wimbledon, and the sparkly Eiffel Tower, and the Thames, and NYC 4th of July in the rain, too.
  3. Taiwan/Thailand, 2 years ago, dad, 2 brothers, one sis in law, more rain.
  4. Yellowstone, mom, Beth, the boys, towing a car, RV problems, bison, moose, etc.

Tom McCarter

When I graduated from college, I wasn’t going to sell out to the Man and get stuck in a career. I moved to Seattle, joined a commune, and got a job in a collective natural foods bakery. In a collective, all the employees are equal owners and collectively make business decisions. Everyone is paid equally. I worked there for five years. At one point, I thought it would be a good idea to visit other collective bakeries. I took a few weeks off in January ’77 and hitchhiked to different bakeries in California, Arizona, & New Mexico. When I was in Tucson at a party, I met a man who rode the rails for travel. He jumped on empty railroad freight cars and rode them where they went. He said he could show me how. I had read about Jack Kerouac doing this in “On The Road,” so I was excited.

I had heard about the hobos who traveled this way, so I purchased a gallon of wine to share when we got to the railroad yard. My recent acquaintance introduced me to the small group that was waiting for the next train, As it turned out, it was late. We were headed to El Paso. From there, I planned to hitchhike to Santa Fe and Taos to visit two other bakeries. A guy stopped by while we were waiting and offered to sell us some weed, so I bought some and passed it around to the group.

Finally, the train showed up around 4 a.m. All the boxcars were closed, so we ended up in an empty open-air coal car. We were exposed to the elements, traveling through the desert at night in the middle of winter. It was COLD, and some of the men only had a blanket. But I wasn’t worried. I had had my down sleeping bag, down jacket, thermal underwear, and thermal socks, so I was able to stay warm.

When we arrived in El Paso, we jumped off the train and went to the mission. One man showed me how to check in and get some food stamps. We had a meal and turned in. Then the man told me that if I hadn’t been so generous with the wine and the weed, they would have tossed me off the train and taken my gear.

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