Swimming with the sharks and other zany ideas.

picture from tumblr

One of my favorite blogs is Lesley Carter’s “Bucket List Publication.”  Last year she helped my cross off ghost hunting in St. Augustine from my list.  Well, she’s at it again, offering readers to help out with their bucket list.  This time though, it’s a little intense.

She literally wants you to swim with the sharks.  That’s right.  If you’ve ever dreamed of looking ole Bruce in the eye now is your chance.  Lesley wants to hear what extreme wish you’d like to have come true.  So do I.  I can’t make them happen like she can, but I’d love to hear what wild dream you’d like to have come true.

Of course, I can’t ask you to open up ad share your extreme dreams without sharing mine so, drum roll please.

Badda dadada dah!

Gene’s Extreme Dreams

Take a ride on Virgin Galactic.

picture by dailytech.com

It’s too early to go to the moon or Mars, so this will have to do.  Besides, it’s space!  Who wouldn’t want to go?

Explore Baja in search of the King.

Picture from The Turtle Expedition

Four Wheeler was a major influence on me as a kid and the three most notable things about the magazine at the time were, The Turtle Expedition, Granville King, and Baja Mexico.  The Turtle Expedition is still going strong and is touring Europe as it heads its way towards The Silk Road.  Granville Kind was an editorial writer for Four Wheeler and lived in a remote area of Baja.  It would be a great way to say thank you to them by exploring the one place they both wrote so much about.

Do a week long or two week long extreme camping trip.

picture from american-state-parks.com

It wouldn’t be as crazy as “Naked and Afraid” or “Dual Survival” but I’d love to be dropped off in the middle of the deep woods or on a deserted island with just my basic camping gear and some food and water to stop starvation.  Think of it as rustic 1800s camping.

Fly a Piper Cherokee.

Picture from c74.net

I first learned about these little planes when I visited a hobby shop.  It’s a single engine prop plane that seats four.  I thought the plane had great lines and always wanted to fly one.  Oh, and just for fun, make it one made back in 1969.  That’ll make it interesting.

Ride from Florida to the Arctic circle… on a motorcycle.

picture from ya-goo.com

This is the one that is most likely to get me killed.  Mainly by my wife if she found out I was going to do this.  Now it can’t be just any motorcycle for this adventure.  No.  There are so many good machines out there right now that they could handle it no problem.  Where’s the challenge in that? Nope. If this extreme challenge is going to be done, it has to be done right.  I want a Suzuki TU250X as my steed on this adventure.

picture from popular mechanics

That’s right, a lowly 250cc engine, entry level, standard motorcycle.  The guys over at Top Gear rode smaller bikes on their Vietnam special, so this would fit right in with their challenge.  But I get to deal with severe weather changes that they didn’t.  I’ll have to adapt from hot and sticky Florida weather to ungodly evil frigid and blustery weather of the Arctic Circle.  Plus there is the little matter of 500 miles of sharp gravel road and heavy hauling semis flying down the road, pitching out gravel to anyone unlucky enough to be behind them. Oh, and did I mention that I’ve never ridden a motorcycle before?  Yep.  This would be extreme.

So there you have it.  My extreme bucket list dreams, some of which should actually be on a “coffin list”; you know, thinks that will get you killed.

I showed you mine, tell me yours.  And don’t forget to pass them on over at Bucket List Publications.  Who knows?  Yours might come true.

Thoughts of: Christmas ideas.

With Christmas shopping in full swing I figured I’d throw out a few items that have inspired me or helped me on my adventures.

First is the Earthsea novels by Ursula K. LeGuin.  Puffin books takes the first four books and puts them in one binding to bring you the meat of the series. Adventure, growth, pain, understanding, knowledge, love, it’s all there.  This is a great series to get your adventure juices flowing.

My second book choice is “Wind Drinker” by Jefferson Spivey.  It’s an autobiography about his idea, and then adventure, of crossing the United States from L.A. to New York on a borrowed horse.

If you’re looking for adventure mixed in with hilarity, check out “Florida Cow Hunter:  The Life and Times of Bone Mizell”.  The book is crammed with unbelievable and outrageous adventures of a cattleman in the wilds of South West… Florida.

Looking for something a little more modern?  Follow Gary and Monica Wescott as they discover Iceland in their modified Ford pickup truck.  Having just finished a winter’s expedition through Siberia, this DVD gives you a great adventure presented in the old National Geographic style.

The last item on my list is Road Runner magazine.  It’s a motorcycle touring magazine, but it is so full of useful information and great destinations that anyone who has the itch to travel needs to look at it.  Every article has all the travel research done for you.  Where to go; what to do, what to see; and where to stay.  There’s even maps on the back and GPS coordinates to make your trip even easier.

So her are some suggestions for you to think about.  I own every one listed nd enjoy them.  If they interest you, great!  Click on the picture and it will send you to their website or Amazon so you can order it.  If you don’t like them, that’s ok.  I’ll be back to my regular posts tomorrow.  Also, don’t think I’m doing this for profit.  I have no monetary gains in this.  There is no affiliate link or any other kickback.  These are just items that I enjoy and felt you might be interested in.  Well all have that someone who is hard to shop for.  Maybe one of these items will be a good choice.






Thoughts of: The Wandering Turtles

Slogging through a muddy road, a lone pickup pushes its way forward.  With a slide in camper in its bed, the two explorers enjoy the challenge and regale the reader of exotic places, friendly people, and not so friendly situations as they travel from California to Tierra Del Fuego.

Meet Gary and Monika Wescott, Intrepid explorers of “The Turtle Expedition” since 1972.

I first discovered them while thumbing through an issue of Four Wheeler magazine.  That was in 1982, so they already had ten years of solo exploration before I heard of them.  Gary had even more experience and stories to tell when you count his time in the Camel Trophy challenges by Land Rover.

What hooked me was the fact that they were using something I saw on the road everyday as their own version of the USS Enterprise, discovering strange new worlds and seeking out new lives and civilization here on our own planet.  Yeah, the rest of the magazine had glossy pictures of tricked out trucks and hard-core off-roading thrills.  I didn’t care.  These two people were doing the real challenge.  Going from place to place where if you broke down, there is no walk out an hour away or taxi to call once you get to base.  They were on their own and had to be self-sufficient.  Sure, they could have stuck to the paved highways and side streets for their trips, but they wanted more than what the asphalt offered.  They wanted the secrets of the land that only the dirt roads and two-track lanes could offer.  They were sailors crossing the ocean in search of little known islands, but on land.

Their truck was there means to an end.  Compared to the over the top rigs splashed across the pages and cover of the magazine, the Turtle seemed positively mild.  Looks were conceiving though as I learned about the tan truck and what it was built for.  It had a mild lift, a change to the suspension to allow better clearance between the important parts of the underside and possible debris and rocks on the road.  The Turtle also had off-road tires, a brush guard, and winches to pull it out when it got stuck.

The Turtle also came with a shell; A camper shell to be exact.  It was a unique camper boasting a lightweight aluminum frame and a top that opened up another eight inches for walk around room.  When closed, that camper had such a low profile that it let the truck go places bigger trucks wouldn’t fit.  The low weight of the camper allowed more items of comfort and necessity to be carried without overloading the truck.  The Turtle was home, car, and fortress rolled into one.

And they took it all across Central and South America.  When they had finished, Ford was so impressed they offered the Wescotts a new pickup for their next adventure.  And what an adventure it turned out to be, for the next time the Wescotts looked east instead of south.  The Turtle’s next expedition was through Siberia during winter!  Over frozen lakes and through sub-freezing temperatures, Gary and Monika drove the Turtle from one end of Russia to the other and when they finished, pushed on until they explored Switzerland.

Today they are putting the finishing touches on their preparations for their next great voyage.  The Silk Road.  They will be driving their latest version of the Turtle from Portugal, through 26 countries and finishing inside China.  It’s been many years of planning and testing new equipment for this challenge and they are excited!

I am too.  The Wescotts have been a big influence on me as I grew up.  Their stories dovetailed neatly into my own local adventures.  Like them I prefer seeing Nature to the taillights of the car ahead of me.  I’ll look for that gravel road instead of the paved highway when possible.  And while my life choices have led to a more domestic lifestyle, I can still join Gary and Monika on their grand explorations.

I am reminded of a question a brilliant world traveler asked one time.  “Why would people want to read about my adventures when they can have their own?”  The answer was always simple.  Without those to inspire us, where would we get that spark of excitement and encouragement to go?  Reading and thinking of these two adventurers years ago cemented my own will to have adventures of my own.  I hope they inspire and encourage you to go have an adventure of your own.

If you’d like to follow them you can find The Turtle Expedition here.


And their Facebook page here.