Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cat by the Tail

Sometimes you meet an adventure that simply knocks your socks off.  Here we are setting out in a van, with many of the comforts of home, to see North American,  and we call it an adventure.  Then we come upon Gunther, Christine and Otto's adventure, a trip to see the world.

Christine, Gunther & Otto

Their Mercedes G-wagen, built like a tank and just as tough, is a pretty simple travel vehicle when it comes to accommodations.  Head, I don't think so.  Galley, no.  Cabinets, nope.  Compared to our fancy Mercedes Westfalia, their G-wagen is rugged as an mule, but missing the luxury of space or home comforts.  
"We did all the travel successfully and peacefully because you must imagine that you live 24 hours like conjoined twins -- there is no way that my wife could say, 'Well I will stay in the kitchen for the next hour,' or that I could say, 'I will be in the garden out there reading a book.'  You know you are bound to stay together, and that's 24 hours, seven days a week and 30 days a month."   ~ Gunther Holtorf 

No hotels or restaurants.  All cooking and sleeping aboard.

These four young people are having an adventure too. With bicycles and panniers they left Saskatchewan and are headed for the southern tip of Baja.  We met up with them in Northern Oregon so they have a lot of pedaling left to do.  But, even after a night of rain, they were cheerful and ready to roll another day.

Cape Lookout State Park, OR

Naturally I can't write about adventures without mentioning our son, Brad, who in late 2011 set out to hike the Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand to be followed by the Pacific Crest Trail in the U.S.   What he added, but hadn't planned, because after so many steps he wanted to reach the 5,000 mile mark,  was the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal.  No wheels, just a pack, one year, 5000 miles and lots and lots of determination.  

"Another day of wet feet on the Te Araroa Trail."  ~ Brad Hankins
Te Araroa Trail, NZ

I admire the people who engage in these grit-filled adventures.  In our own way, it's what Ed and I plan to do in Thistle.  We'll find our own trials and tribulations and we'll find our own delights and pleasures.   Our mode of transportation is luxurious compared to biking or back packing or driving the G-wagen, but it's not without its challenges.  Having just finished almost four weeks of travel, we understand better some of the trials, such as living 24 hours like conjoined twins or another day of wet feet, and we prepare ourselves, as best we can,  for the good, the bad and the ugly.  


"A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way."

~ Mark Twain


  1. This is a helluva good blog post. Interesting stuff, well written. Good work!!