Most Unforgettable thing you have ever done

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In summary: As we rode through the suburbs of St. Louis at about 60 mph, the headlights shining on the well-manicured lawns,we could see the policemen coming towards us on their bicycles, and the wives of the policemen coming out of the houses with their dinner, and the husbands of the wives getting in their cars and driving away.In summary, Mrs. is now watching me recount my experience of travelling to the United States on a motorcycle in 1967.
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Besides getting married [Mrs is now watching me] at the ripe old age of 30, the greatest thing I have ever did was in 1974, when I had my 3 month long service leave from the company I worked for than.
I was looking for something "different" to do, and came across a small advertisment in the local paper, re crew required for a British Registered, "Three Masted Square Rigged Barquentine"
This straight away appealed to me and I wrote away to the owners, received details, and after Typhoid, small pox, Yellow Fever injections was two weeks later, flying over to Panama City, catching a train to Cristobal [on the Atlantic Ocean side of the canal] and meeting this beautiful square rigged sailing ship.
The skipper was a Danish bloke named Anders Jensen and after being welcomed aboard, then doing the night life of Cristobal for two days, started our journey through the Panama Canal system, which in itself was awe inspiring.

Reaching Panama City around 8 hours later, we again painted that town red, in preparation for the next part of our journey, across the pacific to Sydney Australia.

Our journey included stoppages at the Galapagos Islands, and climbing an extinct Volcano to finally peer down into a huge blue lake in the crater itself...The giant Tortoises and Iguana Lizards were also notable and exciting. From there we undertook a 26 day Voyage across to the Marquesas Islands stopping at Nuku Hiva, Hiva Hoa and Fatu Hiva, coming across the grave of Paul Gaugan.
Then directly South to the Tuamoto Archipelago, with a stop at an Island called Manihi Atoll not too far from Mururoa Atoll, the site of the French Nuclear testing facilities.
Then across to Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Rangiroa all breathtakingly beautiful, Bora Bora being famous for where they made the movie "South Pacific".
From there we sailed westward to the Cook Islands with stops at Aitutaki and Raratonga.
Incredible fishing in some incredible lagoons!
Then the Tongan Islands stopping at Nukualofa, on to Fiji, then towards Australia stopping at Norfolk, and Lord Howe Islands before sailing into Sydney Harbour nearly 4 months later.
During the trip, I undertook Navigation by the Sun, Moon and stars and sextant, sail making and repairing, and the general running of a Barquentine including climbing up the masts, out on the top Gallant yard arms and setting or furling in sails as required.
We also just after Norfolk and about 800 miles off the Australian coast ran into a force 8, gusting to force 9 gale, with 35ft/40ft seas.
The ship was 150ft long, 90ft mainmast and 26ft beam.
Here is a history of the Eolus and a few photos...
The best 4 months of my life ever, with most recorded on super 8 movie film. :smile:
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  • #2
well at the ripe old age of 58, there's been a number of standout things over the years
close to the top of the list would be playing in flowing lava at Hawaii ( 1999)



scooping up lava with a soup ladel is an act few people could say they have doneDave
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  • #3
Hmmm . Most memorable? Just found this picture of it today... so i'll relate (Oh No Another boring anecdote ! )

Youth ! Joseph Conrad captured its enthusiasm in his sea story by that name, about a journey that really didn't go very well.

One wintry day, 1967 i think, when i was in school in central Missouri (Rolla - Missouri School of Mines)
my friend Kent and I decided to drive 150 miles to a girl's school just outside Alton Illinois(Godfrey) where we both knew girls and had arranged dates. .
Rolla is Missouri's engineering campus which back then was virtually all guys for in 1960's girls just didn't go into engineering. Our enrollment was 3500 guys and seven women. So if you wanted a date you drove a hundred miles .I had this motorcycle at the time. 1956 Indian, actually a Royal Enfield imported and marketed in US under Indian name.

Ahh youth, always ready for an adventure ! We decided we'd take the bike.

Godfrey Illinois is a suburb of Alton..It's usually two and a half hours to get there so we left mid afternoon.
It was 19 degrees. Fahrenheit... -7C.
We stopped about 20 miles up the road to thaw our hands .
I tried tailgating a semi to get out of the sub-freezing wind. I guess he thought we were up to no good for he slowed to 10 mph and waved us around.
We stopped about every 20 miles to thaw hands and feet. So optimistically, we were averaging maybe 30 mph.
It got dark on us in St Louis so i switched on the lights.

Now, being a British machine it had Lucas electrics. There's a saying in motorcycle circles, "John Lucas is the prince of darkness."
The headlight, which was barely adequate for dark country roads, burnt out after maybe three minutes.

So i pulled into a gas station. Kent and I thawed our hands again then opened the headlight cowl.
The bulb was some strange European thing with a flanged base. Probably Whitworth .
Good luck finding one of those...
Not to be deterred i bought a car headlight and a roll of electrical tape with which we fastened that oversized sealed beam more or less in place and affixed the wires as best we could ..
Well ! That Lucas alternator was 6 volts on a good day so the 12 volt car headlamp glowed a dull orange and illuminated only a small spot of chrome on my front fender .

The streets of St Louis being well enough lit to see we got to highway 67 on north side of the city, on the river road to Alton. But once out of town it was an unlit two lane rural highway(St Louis was much smaller fifty years ago).
Back then such highways had only center stripes, none along the shoulders like today. If you've ever tried to navigate such a road by starlight, black asphalt with no shoulder stripes , you know whereof i speak; and if you haven't i advise against it.

So here we were trying to hug a centerline that could only be seen by headlights of passing cars... And their taiilights, i soon noticed...
A Dodge sedan whizzed by with big trapeziod shaped taillights so i opened the throttle to bask in those precious lumens streaming out behind him.. I put my front wheel twenty feet behind his tag light, one car length . Great- now we had light AND a windbreak !
Temperature was down in low teens by now. Jack London describes excruciating cold in his tales of the Yukon , i knew i could write a chapter for him. I took turns placing one hand at a time down by the engine for warmth - it is possible to steer a cycle with left hand on throttle side...
After a few minutes I guess the Dodge driver too got worried we were up to no good for he floored it.

Ahhh youth ! That's among the most unforgettable of my memories,
roaring along that river bottom between St Louis and Alton in pitch dark of night
tailgating a Dodge at ~100 mph and frozen stiff ,
only twenty miles more to our destination
my engine singing like a chorus of Valkyries through the Dunstall megaphone exhausts

As soon as we crossed the Alton bridge and got back on well lit town streets i passed the Dodge. I tried to squeak out a "Thanks" but a wave was all i could muster. He gave us the "evil eye".

We finally got to the girls' school in Godfrey about ten minutes before dorm deadline, so just had time to say "Hello" and explain why we were four and a half hours late.

Drove to house of a pal who lived near the school and had come home for the weekend. His parents let us stay on the couch.
We parked the Indian in their back yard and rode back to school with him next day , retrieved cycle in a warm spell a couple weeks later.

And you know what ? I still remember that as fun.
Ahhh, Youth !

old jim
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The day I took off from one airport, landed in another, then returned to my home airport. I was flying a Cessna 150 solo. After that, I realized I had accomplished what I set out to accomplish when I began flying lessons. I had learned how to fly, if only to a limited extent. I had proven to myself that I could do it. I had experienced something I had dreamed about since I was a small child. Then the mystery was gone. The thrill was gone. At that moment, I lost all interest in flying lessons. I applied this insight to many other activities I had dreamed about, and I realized that my fantasy was more exciting than the reality was likely to be. So I abandoned all my boyhood fantasies. Then I began to study number theory on an amateur basis and realized that nothing I had ever done was as fascinating as that. Flying? Who cares. Diophantine equations? Now we are cooking with gas. I felt like I had broken out of the matrix, at least to some extent.
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taking LSD was kinda fun, but I would not do it again
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jim hardy said:
actually a Royal Enfield

Thanks Jim that's a great story!

By the way, do you know why the Brits drink their beer warm?

Lucas refrigerators
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Don't know if it is the most unforgettable but still up there. Working/playing with my University's 4 MeV particle accelerator for 2 semesters of my undergraduate senior year.
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david2 said:
taking LSD was kinda fun, but I would not do it again
Did that back in 1973, in Sicily. Mt. Etna was acting up then too.

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ol Jim, good story, showing your age, Missouri School of mines has gone thru at least two name changes since then...Now Missouri S&T...I am sure you know that.
  • #10
25 day road trip with my wife after getting married. Our official honeymoon was a cruise, but what we really remembered was our trip. Started in Florida, with stops in GA and SC, but our main destination was my home state of PA. Visited friends and family there and in NJ, then up to New Hampshire to visit friends there. We often camped at campgrounds instead of staying in hotels. On the way back by coincidence there were friends of mine camping in the smokey mountains, so we camped with them.

Of course there are more things that happened on that trip than I'd bore anybody with, but that was truly unforgettable. If you can spend 25 days in the same car/room with someone like that, you know you married the right person. :D

-Dave K

Related to Most Unforgettable thing you have ever done

What is the most unforgettable thing you have ever done?

The most unforgettable thing I have ever done was backpacking through Europe for three months. It was an eye-opening experience that allowed me to immerse myself in different cultures and see some of the most iconic landmarks in the world.

How did this experience impact your life?

This experience had a profound impact on my life. It taught me the value of stepping out of my comfort zone, embracing new experiences, and appreciating the diversity of our world. It also sparked a love for travel and adventure that continues to this day.

What challenges did you face during this trip?

There were certainly challenges during this trip, such as language barriers, navigating unfamiliar cities, and budgeting for an extended period of time. However, these challenges only added to the overall experience and allowed me to grow and learn from them.

What is one specific moment that stands out to you from this trip?

One specific moment that stands out to me is when I climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower at sunset. The view was absolutely breathtaking and it was a surreal moment to be standing on such an iconic landmark. It was a memory that will stay with me forever.

Would you recommend this experience to others?

Absolutely! I would highly recommend backpacking through Europe or any type of extended travel to others. It is an incredible way to expand your horizons, learn about different cultures, and create unforgettable memories. It is an experience that I believe everyone should have at least once in their lifetime.