John and I decided to go back up to Nantucket at the beginning of August to see if we could find any work. However, upon our arrival we found that the guest house we had previously stayed at was filled up and there was no other place to stay. We decided to camp out in the car and enjoy the island. After about ten days of enjoying the island and not finding a place to stay or any work, we decided to leave.
We both decided to drive out to California again in late August. We said good bye to Nantucket and headed west via New England up to Canada. We stopped off for the night in Hanover, New Hampshire and spent the night in a dormitory with a bunch of college kids. We drove up to Montreal and explored the city and then on to Toronto. We stayed at York University sleeping in our car, and were awaken by a bag piper piping the following morning. Apparently the centennial celebration was on and all of Toronto was in a festive mood. After several days of touring the sights in Toronto, we headed west across Canada and down to Chicago. My sister and brother in law were staying in their new town house, and they had plenty of room for us. We stayed a couple of days. John sold my brother in law his bicycle so we could have extra money and get it out of the car. We drove to Champaign and visited my grand parents in the nursing home which they had moved into. While I was visiting them John toured the University of Illinois. We spent the night with my grandfather's brother and his wife, who told us that my grandmother was not well. They said they had made over fifty trips driving to the west coast on the old back roads and they urged us on to continue our journey.
We drove across route 80 to Denver and headed across the Rockies in the summer weather. We stopped at a camp ground and enjoyed the summer weather of the rockies that had been so inhospitable on our return trip the previous fall. After driving across the northern Nevada desert, we drove up into the Sierra Nevadas and into Lake Tahoe, for some reason there was an early snow in late August and the whole area was covered in six inches of fresh snow. The roads were full of campers hitching out on the roads. While at Lake Tahoe I sold my circular saw that I had in the back of the car to a carpenter for extra money.
Then we drove in San Francisco and toured around the city. We went down to Santa Cruz and toured around the university there and visited with our friend Jimmy that had left us in Key West and moved to California. He was attending school at the University of California at Santa Cruz. He showed us around the campus in the redwoods and indicated he was enjoying his California existence. We had missed him on our first trip to California since we did not know where he was living. After visiting Santa Cruz, we went by Stanford University where an earth quake conference was going on. After what we viewed of the displays at the conference about geological faults in California, we became worried about trying to settle into California.
From Stanford we went down to Carmel and I sold the rest of my tools to a gasoline attendant for some extra money. From Carmel we drove down to Laguna Beach and decided to rest for a while. To save money we decided to camp out in several of the various camp grounds on the shore and in the hills behind Laguna. We spent most of our days touring around going as far south as San Diego and driving north up to Malibu and Santa Barbara. John really liked the University of California at Santa Barbara. He said his grandmother's husband that had divorced her in the 1930's had lived out there since then and remarried. However, John never bothered to look up his grandfather. Two months of camping out in Southern California went by very fast. We explored most of the area, and had a good time enjoying the beach and surf. We avoided the cities and stayed in the beach communities.
Finally after two months in California. we began the trip back driving through Las Vegas and Salt Lake City across the Rockies and through Denver and across the Great Plains to Champaign where I visited my grandparents in the nursing home. When we returned to the New York area, John moved in with his family and I went out to New Canaan to visit with my mother. I enjoyed my visit, but I had no place to stay in the east, so I decided to head out back west.
I made a quick three day trip back across the country over Route 80 to San Francisco. The trip was uneventful other than in Wyoming I ran into sub zero weather which was cold for mid October. I drove across most of Wyoming and Utah freezing since the heater did not work very well in the Subaru.
I arrived in Santa Cruz and once again visited with Jimmy. I spent about two weeks resting and studying around the campus at Santa Cruz. I made several trips down to Carmel which I quite enjoyed. I also drove south once to Laguna, but I was not enjoying the trip as much since I was traveling alone. I spent time around the University of California at Santa Barbara and Peperdine University in Malibu. Around Thanksgiving time I had stopped by San Francisco airport on an errand, and half the airport was filled with military people traveling. Apparently most of the military was on alert because of the attempted Iranian hostage rescue.
It was getting cool in California, so I decided to drive back across country on the southern route to Key West. I started out from Santa Cruz and drove down to Palm Springs and then on across the south west. Every where on the highway were cars with military stickers traveling. I had never driven the southern route across country and when I reached Texas I was quite tired of the desert landscape.
I had picked up two hitch hikers whom happened to be from Greenwich and they helped me with the driving. About half way across Texas, I stopped for fuel and gave one of the hitch hikers the money to fill up the tank. Apparently he pocketed the money because I was stopped by a policeman about ten miles down the road for not paying for gas. He released the hitch hikers and arrested me. I spent the night in the Fort Stockton jail and was released the next morning when I explained the story to the judge. I continued on my trip across Texas and in San Antonio I drove into Kelley air force base to see what was going on with Iran. The whole base was on alert and everywhere there were soldiers with machine guns. One of the soldiers told me the base had been a staging area for the ill fated hostage rescue mission. I continued my trip across the south east and on down to Key West. When I arrived in Key West the base there was on alert, but since I was not watching television or reading the papers I chose to ignore the national emergency. I settled in my usual Key West routine of going to the beach and library. To save money I camped out on one of the outer islands and drove into the old town area every day. Fewer and fewer of my regular friends were around, and the island was becoming more and more commercial every time I returned.
The holidays came and there were quite festive parties at the local discotheques and I quite enjoyed the warmth and sun. New Years arrived and there was another huge party at the discotheque with a couple thousand people.
I ran into my friend who raced cars that I had driven down to Florida with seven years before. There were also quite a lot of personnel from Pan Am since the airline had started in Key West, it was always a retreat for many of the old time personnel of the airline. The chamber of commerce threw a number of parties that I attended. They always welcomed me since I was one of the few people that had frequented the island over the years.
I remained in Key West another month and as I began to run low on funds I decided to return north for the rest of the winter.
I drove north and arrived in the New York area around the beginning of February 1980. John had moved in with his father in Port Washington, Long Island. His father had divorced his mother that fall and they had sold the family house, and his mother had moved into the west side of Manhattan.
I would spend a great deal of time that spring and summer driving between Port Washington, New York and New Canaan. I stayed most of the time at John's father's place with John resting from my travels and reading a lot of the New York Times. I missed the Fairfield county area and I would go out to visit my mother once a week and do my laundry at her house. That summer while they were up in Maine, I would stop by and water the plants once a week.
In May I drove up to Boston with John and his mother for the tall ships festival on the waterfront celebrating the 350th birthday of Boston. We toured the waterfront restoration area and the Harvard area and drove down the same day. I had put tens of thousands of miles on the Subaru, but it was running great.
That summer John and I spent time working around his grandmother's house and we occasionally went out to Jone's beach.
Over the fourth of July I was invited up to Kennebunkport to visit my mother and stepfather along with my two younger sisters. The Maine weekend was a lot of fun and we enjoyed touring the waterfront village. We spent one afternoon watching the republican vice presidential candidate, George Bush play tennis at the local tennis club. My brothers in law were very enthusiastic, but I had so many young republican friends disillusioned in the Watergate era that I tended to shy away from politics.
Still it was fun to see the rekindled enthusiasm of the Republican party anticipating their victory that fall. After returning from Kennebunkport, I became bored with living out on Long Island, so I stored my car at the Greenwich Country Club and flew out to San Francisco. I toured the city and visited Jimmy down in Santa Cruz. After a week, I flew down for a week in Laguna Beach spending my day time on the beach and going to the discotheque in the evening. I really enjoyed the southern California atmosphere of outdoor recreation. Moreover, the people were more friendly than the stuffy people back east. After a week in Laguna, I caught a cheap flight to Hawaii and took a commuter plane over to Maui. I spent two weeks at the Hyatt in Maui never leaving the hotel. I spent most of my mornings in the weight room exercising and the afternoons swimming in the pool. I kept the air conditioner going full blast in my room, and although I enjoyed being on Maui, I found the summer heat overwhelming compared to Nantucket.
In mid September I returned to Laguna Beach and resumed my usual routine of beach and discotheque in the evening. I had lots of acquaintances and a couple times I caught a shuttle up to San Francisco to visit friends in Santa Cruz.
Since I did not have a car with me on this trip, I found my range of exploration some what limited, so in early October as the weather began to cool I returned back to New York from Las Angeles. I stayed with John for a couple of weeks, and then I convinced him to take off traveling again.
I bought a used Volvo in Greenwich and gave the dealer my old Subaru which was in desperate disrepair. We drove up to Cape Cod and explored the Cape, but did not go out to the islands. Then we went up to Dartmouth in New Hampshire and from there on up to Montreal and explored the city again. From there we went to Toronto and then drove down the New York State Thruway. While in Buffalo I called to see how my old friend George was doing. He apparently was off on the horse circuit. When we arrived back in New York, we rested a few days and then decided to take off to Florida. We drove all the way down to Key West and back up the west coast of Florida. There was nothing going on in Key West since it was too early in the season.
From the west coast of Florida, we decided to drive across the southern route back to California. After a three day uneventful trip across country we arrived in Laguna Beach and rested for a couple of days camping out in a camp ground. From Laguna we drove slowly up the coast through Malibu and stopped at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
We spent a couple of days reading in the library and then drove up to Santa Cruz to visit with our friend Jimmy. Whenever we visited with Jimmy he was always very busy and we would spend most of our time exploring the University at Santa Cruz.
We also spent several days at Stanford using the library and returning to Santa Cruz in the evening. We also made several trips down to Carmel to enjoy the village there. During that month we made several trips up and down the Big Sur highway between Santa Barbara and Carmel.
On election day we were in Santa Barbara and there was great enthusiasm that Reagan had been elected. We spent a week camping in a camp ground adjacent to the Reagan ranch and going down the mountain to use the university facilities every day. Finally in mid November we drove back down to Laguna Beach and spent a few days there and sold the car and caught a plane back from Las Angeles to New York.
On returning to Manhattan in late November, we had no place to stay so we spent time going back and forth between John's father's apartment on Long Island and his mother's apartment in Manhattan.
One evening I was out walking John's mother's dog around Manhattan and I happened to see Reagan going into the Waldorf Astoria, on returning through Central Park there was a great commotion around the Dakota, apparently John Lennon had been shot in front of his apartment building.
I enjoyed visiting in New York, although I never cared to live there. Right before Christmas I took off on a cheap flight to Frankfort and toured the German city a few days before Christmas returning to New York on Christmas Eve. Christmas would be spent at John's mother's apartment who was happy to have us back from our travels.
The following winter was spent going between John's mother's apartment, his father's place and occasionally up to my mother's place to water the plants while she and her husband were in Bermuda for the winter.
I decided to go down to Washington D.C. that January for Reagan's inaugural. It promised to be a good time. On the day of the inaugural I flew down on a Braniff flight on which I was the only passenger beside an Arabian businessman. On arrival I checked my bags at the Hilton since I did not plan to spend the night and walked up Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol.
I did not recognize many celebrities except Ed McMahon of the Johnny Carson show. I never keep track of politics, so I could not tell one politician from an average civilian. After the ceremony at the capitol I saw Reagan waving from his motorcade as I was walking down Pennsylvania Avenue. In front of the F.B.I. building I was knocked to the ground by a large group of colored people and they started going through my pockets trying to steal my wallet. I was parallel to the motorcade and two secret service agents rescued me from the scuffle and drove me out of the area. They were quite helpful and interrogated me as to what happened and after calming my nerves I returned to the hotel. However, I missed most of the parade in front of the White House. That evening while I was sitting around the Hotel having a drink, Reagan showed up for the Medal of Honor party that was being held at the same hotel. There was a great deal of excitement at his arrival and rumors that the hostages were going to be released.
I found an inexpensive room that night and spent the night in Washington and flew back to Westchester airport the following day with a lot of people from Greenwich. I went up to New Canaan and checked on the plants and returned out to Long Island.
In February after my mother had returned from Bermuda, I called her up one day from the Greenwich library where I had been reading that day. She said someone had just shot the President, and there was a great deal of alarm on television. Since there was no television in the library then, I caught a taxi out to the airport and watched the unfolding events on the television at the airport bar. I was not concerned with politics, but I liked Reagan and was concerned about his welfare. That evening I returned to John's mother's apartment and took a tranquilizer and slept deeply.