Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Grand Adventure

Forty years.  That's a long time.  In the Bible, 40 anything was always used to indicate a long time. It rained for 40 days and nights.  Jesus was tempted in the wilderness for 40 days.  The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years. So when our 40th wedding anniversary was looming, we decided that some sort of grand adventure was needed to celebrate.

1973 Spitfire complete with military C-rations

Travel adventure is nothing new for us.  When we were first married, the Air Force stationed us in England for two years.  Instead of taking leave and returning to the States, we decided to take one grand adventure and see what we could of Europe.  We loaded up camping gear, and took a hover craft across the English Channel and began what would be a trip that would create memories that would last a lifetime.   

We were  on the road for a month, visiting Belgium, Holland, France,Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Vatican City and Greece.  We did a lot of camping along the way, and probably did Europe as close to $5 a day as anyone ever has.  It was a great trip.

Other shorter trips together have been very memorable, as well.  Three trips from Alabama to to Monterey, California with all of the kids, and once Sara's mom, were "business" trips.  I had prepared a race car for the Monterey Historics and transported it out and back.  The car owner graciously allowed me to take my family along, and we made a grand adventure out of each of the three trips.

Back to back weekend races in San Francisco and Portland, of Salt Lake and Portland, allowed us to wander through some of the most beautiful areas in the United States.  We would take a rental car, and just wander in the general direction of our destination, stopping when we felt like it, eating when we got hungry and enjoying our time together.

One of our family activities for years has been antique cars, particularly Model T and Model A Fords.  Many adventures involved trips in these, one such was described by our daughter.  So for our 40th, we looked at several possible scenarios.  We discussed purchasing a motorcycle off of Craig's List in Anchorage, Alaska, flying up there and riding home from there.  (heading toward home is always more fun than riding a  long way, getting to your destination, THEN having a long ride home.)  The motorcycle gave way to a convertible, then because of the distance and time involved, the trip mutated several times to various starting points and modes of transportation.

Then in March of this year, I retrieved a 1930 Model A Ford Roadster Pickup from a barn in Jefferson County.  It belongs to a couple of very dear friends of ours who had done some grand adventures of their own in the truck.

The truck had been there for at least 25 years, but with a little coaxing, it was brought back to life and now runs like, well, it runs like a Model A Ford!  So, the idea for a new Grand Adventure was hatched.  Why not take the little Model A for a Lap of Alabama?

There are so many areas of our wonderful state that we have not seen, or have seen and would like to explore further.  Blue colored highways on the map can lead you to some of the most fantastic sights, most interesting places and really neat people.  So the general plan is to make the Model A safe, as reliable as possible and somewhat comfortable.  On September 3rd, our 40th anniversary, we plan on leaving Birmingham and traveling generally north toward Tennessee, then making a counter-clockwise lap of Alabama, staying as close to the state line as possible.  Along the way, we hope to link up with old friends and make many new ones.