Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Destination San Francisco

We flew across to Miami and bought a '56 Ford Ranch Wagon for three hundred bucks our intention to  drive across the southern states and Mexico with San Francisco as a our destination with no time frame in mind.

The Ranch Wagon we bought in Miami for $300.00 and travelled through Mexico and the States

New Orleans was our first stop over as Mardi Gras was on and we had all heard that it was, the place. Travelling through Louisiana we stopped by the roadside for an overnight kip. On either side of the highway were the  "the Bayous" which were wetlands that covered a third of the state. As it was full summer we had the windows down and the backseat was folded down so as to enable two of us to sleep in the back and the other could sleep across the front seat.The idea was to sleep the night away and then drive through the countryside during the day checking out the old plantations such as Oak Alley Plantation and arrive in N'awlins early evening. This was not to be, there is a song called "Down by the Bayou" with a line,' if the sqitioes don't get you then the gators will' Well that's just the way it was, the mozzies hounded us, we didn't see the gators, but we sure got eaten alive by the mozzies.We saw little of Louisiana or the old plantations, we just drove and drove till we got to N' awlins.

New Orleans  was a haze, I know we parked the car in a high rise car park and off course when we came back it took hours to find,  we visited "Pat O'Briens" and had "Hurricanes" I have also had dinner at the restaurant "Court of the Three Sisters" but probably not this time, what happened in the 24 hours we were there is any body's business, eventually we all rallied and took of for San Antonio where we had some girlfriends.

Driving up the hill called Mount Royal, the houses became larger and larger, then morphed into estates, was when we decided to go back down the hill and drive into a gas station to clean up our act. Washed, shaved and with clean clothes we were let into the McAllister's compound on Mount Royal. Taddy's father was the Mayor of San Antonio and had agreed that we could stay a few days and she would show us around.  

We  visited the Alamo which was a mission,' famous for the siege in 1836 where 183 Texans along with Davy Crocket and Jim Bowie took on  and defeated the Mexican Army of 2000 which led to the independence of Texas'. 

We  went often to the Country Club where Richard and Taddy took a shine to one another. One night when we were all sitting having dinner, the father on realising we had been there a week, and eating him out of house and home, decided, we could earn our keep and offered us jobs on his ranch in New Braunfels. A further incentive was, allowing us stay in the guest cottage with it's 20 meter swimming pool.

 Phil and Richard around the pool at the guests cottage, where we stayed at the McAllister Ranch in San Antonio and worked our rings off for 50cents an hour - not for long!!

So adios to the compound with maids cooking us breakfast and being squired around in Cadillacs and Chevvy Impalas by long legged Texan blonds.

So we drove out to the ranch which was into intensive cattle raising and crop growing.After being introduced to the manager and shown the guest house, it was to off to work in the paddocks. Lifting and moving irrigation pipes, loading hay bales from the paddocks onto flat tops "Ooops watch out Rich, there's a snake caught in the wiring" dehorning and castrating steers, all hard, dirty, dusty, bloody work for us city boys. Which as it turned out was work the Mexicans "wet backs" were doing and we certainly did not want to take their jobs, so after a month we collected our pay and headed off to Mexico.

Phil taking photos around the ranch with the ranch house in the background

We drove to Laredo the boarder town and then across to Nuevo Laredo where we were enticed into some Mexican bars and our first taste of tequila. Obviously having an intoxicating effect as we found out that Richard had lost his passport. Not to be deterred about entering Mexico, we decided to smuggle him across the border.In preparation for this deception we pulled down the backseat, Richard then lay down fully stretched out and we covered him with our clothes and bags, so to anyone checking the back of the wagon, it was just clothes and baggage !!!.

We then proceeded to the border and after the initial greetings to the two of us in the front seat, the Mexican Customs Officer walked to the back of the wagon. We got out out and opened the back of the wagon as asked, and what should be looking at us and him, but  the sole of one large shoe. The customs officer then parted further clothing and baggage to discover the shoe attached to a leg which on further discovery was two legs, then a pair of shorts with a body in it, with further investigation a torso and eventually, a large grinning Richard propped up in the back of the wagon, was unearthed by a startled Mexican Customs Officer.  He tried to explain in broken English that what we were doing was very illegal and turned us around and we went back to good old USA.

Taxco a silver town in the Sierra Madre (still a great place to buy silver crafts)

Richard went back to San Antonio to find his passport and Phil and I continued into Mexico and decided to head for 
 San Blas a village on the Pacific Coast that we had been informed had surf and white sand beaches.On the way we picked up two English Girls hitch hikin on their way to Mazatlan which was where we were heading after San Blas.

On arrival we were immediately drawn to the the beach where  there were some palm thatched huts which looked attractive and not to primitive an we all  decided to rent two for a couple of days.After unpacking we decide to meet up with girls in the beach bar. Here we hopped into "muchos cervaza's" and my first taste of the "herb superb".

There were a mix of Californian surfers, other tourists and locals all drinking around a large oval bar in this large shack with a palm thatched roof with no walls. After a while one of the girls called us over to another area under the roof where there was this  concrete pit the size of a small swimming pool. The sides would have been about five foot deep and inside were these crocodiles or alligators, I'm not sure which, they were about six foot long and there were two of them, after watching them for awhile we all went back to the bar which was starting to rev up with music and more people. I started a conversation with one of the surfers who looked like he knew what was happening and asked why the "croc pit" and he said you will find out shortly, then he pulled out a joint and asked 'if we wanted a toke', being my first I said yes if everyone else was going to have some which we all did and then the fun started.

After about fifteen or twenty minutes there was a commotion at the end of the bar with people running in all directions and some jumping on top of the bar as the people separated, our group were faced with this crocodile coming across the concrete floor towards us, the girls started screaming, Phil shat himself and I dived on top of the bar and pulled the girls up. We were hysterically laughing and yelling out for something to be done all clinging to each other with this croc on all fours mincing around. One of the bar tenders jumped over the bar and  produced a long piece of bamboo which he placed between the croc's eyes and manoeuvred and pushed the creature  into the women's toilet where it stayed and we partied on. They say you never forget your first screw, well I'll never forget my first joint. We never returned as we left the following day, but we figured that was "show time" in San Blas which the guy who gave us the joint had alluded to, and gave another meaning to 'Crocodile Rock'.

We were starting to be short on dollars and headed north to Mazatlan which was on the coast. We were on the beach, the four of us in the early evening innocently  talking and having a drink when we were spot lighted from the road with high powered spot lights and then confronted by half a dozen Mexican Police, who divided us from the girls and told us we were under arrest for "fucking on the beach".Which we weren't, but wished we were, which then led onto them telling us if we did not pay the find of a hundred dollars each we would go to gaol, we bargained our way down to fifty dollars each and that was Mexico for us gringos and we headed  back to the states 'mucho pronto'.

Richard was heading also to LA and had a different story:
"Following the event of my lost passport I parted company with Tony &Phil and started hitch-hiking from San Antonio to Los Angeles. I picked up a ride in a big caddie with a guy in his mid-thirties who was headed to LA too.
He offered “a deal “ where by I would do the driving and he would pay for all my meals and accommodation all the way to LA.
This deal was quite short lived. As I woke up in a motel around west Texas and noted that my “benefactor “ had departed along with my money, my airline ticket back to Aussie and a good 35mm camera my father had given me.
The police where called, he had done a runner on the motel bill too!
I commenced hitching again for LA. I obtain some rides with some interstate long haul truckies and lobed into Los Angeles.
I contacted the only person I had a phone number for, a young lawyer James Giffen who lived in San Fernando Valley, with his wife June and two small children."

"June Giffen was wanting to return to finish her degree at UCLA and now that her kids were old enough needed a babysitter, my timing could not have been better.
James Giffen was than instrumental in obtaining me a job interview with McCann-Ericson, a large world wide advertising agency."
"I subsequently got the job and McCannes sponsored me and I successfully obtained a green card, which allowed me to work and live in the USA for as long as I liked.
I spend the next four and half years living and working in Los Angeles."

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