Photo Gallery #3
© Copyright 2014, R. Fleischer
Below are two photos of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Specialé. I had a lot of fun with my Alfa, and drove it all over the USA. This is a rather rare car and looks like a baby Ferrari, front and rear. It has a Cd of only 0.28. Engine is Alfa's 1.3L DOHC 4. This car was designed for racing & weighed less than 2000 pounds. I NEVER raced my car. I liked it even more than my 2000 Miata, in some ways.
Most know of him as Steve, but to a few of us he was Terry. His real first name was Terence. He was a rather wild sort, lived dangerously, used drugs, drank too much, & had a reputation in other areas. He may be a Movies Legend, but other than him being a rather decent dirt bike rider, there really is not a lot to admire. Yeah, I know, I know, I shouldn't throw ice water on A Legend. Hollywood DID go to his head, but at the same time he disliked & scorned much of what Hollywood was.
The police booking photo is a rather well-known, if not famous, photo of Terry (Steve). What is NOT well-known is anything truthful about it. Steve was arrested in Anchorage, Alaska, in 1972, for DUI. Stories abound about that incident. The somewhat more accurate stories say that Steve was doing spin-outs in a friend's 72 Oldsmobile Toronado on a city street. Actually, it was in a JC Penney's parking lot. There is more to this 'event', but it will remain in my own memories. After the arrest, Steve left town quickly, & was convicted in absentia. It is true that he was asked by the police at the time of his arrest to walk a straight line ...instead, he did summersaults!
Steve was a wild guy at various times in his life. He really wasn't someone one should look-up-to. There is a good bio here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_McQueen. In many ways, Steve was "just one of the guys", and often used a false name to avoid recognition.
I think this photo was taken outside of Munich, in late 1962. In the hack is the actor James Coburn. On the rear of the bike is James Garner. Shirtless rider is Steve, & to the right is the Director of the movie The Great Escape, Jon Sturges. They were all on-location for this movie. At this time Snowbum was out of Boot Camp and on his second assignment ...AH ...memories!
I don't know if Steve's carrying of the shorty carbine (on the day this lower photo was taken) was due to his being concerned about being murdered. There were some threats from Manson, the murderer, regarding a studio and Steve's turndown of Manson's story. Probably more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_McQueen. This was the Jaguar XK race car. Tom Garitt (a friend of mine & fellow weight lifter, back in the Venice Muscle Beach days) openly asked Terry why he never bothered to work out & get much more muscular and defined ...and that "...it might help his movie career...". Steve was reasonably lean, but hardly anything close to that sort of muscularity. His exercise was mostly riding dirt bikes (which he did rather well). Steve's answer was succinct, and very profane.
No comment needed!:
A rather rare, nowadays, Peel fairing. Look up the Avonaire and Peel fairings on Google!
One couple I met in the islands had a nearly new Morgan Out-Islander. I knew only barely enough about sailing as I needed to know to get into deep trouble (pun intended). I was never really much interested in sailing; but, there is always the first time thrill. I took "the boat" out myself (with their permission ...& probably prayers), and returned it, safely too. The boat was quite a handful for a beginner, & for even an experienced sailor. It had been set up for one person to run it, but THAT really was a LOT of work when trying to get under way & coming back and maneuvering to its slip. I was WAY overly-proud of myself; but, maybe just lucky! I later, after hiring a very experienced sailor to instruct me in how to really and properly handle this boat in a variety of situations, rented the Out Islander, fully provisioned, & had a couple of friends with me, & spent a truly wonderful time sailing the BVI. I have quite a scrap book of photos from that trip. I spent quite a bit of time at "Abe's" on Little Jost Van Dyke ...drinking ...dancing....
I anchored at an infamous port at one of islands, & stayed aboard after the evenings festivities ashore (& some on-board). After my new local friend left the next morning, I had coffeeeee &, curious, snooped around the boat, into every drawer, etc. I found a quite modern sextant, which I attempted to use, for fun. Some old training came back to me.
I never did this particular sort of sailing again, have no great desire to do it again (my prior luck might not hold out!). At my age I'd prefer to spend the $$$$ and HIRE a crew with a fully provisioned boat!
It is, for ME, like bungee-jumping; BTDT (Been There, Done That). It was years later that I finally thought about why I never again got into this sort of "Sailing". While I do like the solitude of my backpacking trips into the mountains where I live; there is much to see, to identify with, to feel, to smell, etc. Out on the ocean, nothing happens for very long periods of time, just incessant ocean, often nothing to see but more ocean, more sky, not even land sometimes. It was a bit too much isolation ...and unending for long periods of time. There wasn't enough 'happening'; or, often enough. For me, nearly every aspect of the sport of motorcycling was nearly on top of my pleasure pyramid, with snow skiing just below that. Someplace quiet backpacking fit in ...just where? Small airplane flying (and aerobatics) was #1. Someplace, also, I could fit in gourmet food and sex.
SAILING (especially 'commanding' one's own ...even if a rented boat) is NOT like cruising in a big long sailboat (or, motor-sailer). In the late seventies I went on several trips to the Caribbean, mostly to the now familar (see above about
the Morgan Out-islander) British Virgin Islands, but also with some time in the American Virgin Islands. Here's how I got to Tortola from Puerto Rico ...yeah, the plane is just what you think it is.
On St. Thomas, I stayed for some time at the St. Thomas Diving Club (Villa Olga). The place was run like a motel.
At one time ...long ago, ...this 'motel' was the Russian Embassy!! That is our room, and my wife took the photo, guess who the pilot was, coming in for a sea landing? The other photo is a larger view. That is a natural sea-water swimming area, a natural reef. There were spiny urchins one had to try to avoid stepping on. For a close-up of the airplane, see at the end of this article. My wife 'found' a large tarantula in our room at the Villa Olga; ...dutifully put it into a jar; then, instead of killing it, like I likely would have done, set it outside. I don't like spiders much, after nearly dying from a spider bite once.
On two of these late 1970's trips I was with my wife, both of us passengers on a commercial Windjammer Barefoot Cruise, both times on the same ship, a French Cadet Training ship of about 215' in length called the Flying Cloud. You could dive off a tall mast; visit a new small island nearly daily; have lobster feeds on the beach with small groups of like-minded ACTIVE people, who swam, drank, had great food, but did NOT have 40 foot tables loaded with exquisite French cuisine. Much more fun than 5000 person Cruise Ships (OK, truthfully, I have never been on such a 5000 person ship). Having 'dinner' ashore at a one-person fish shack, on a remote tiny island, with your Captain, in this case, Laurie MacLeod, and a FEW passengers, is a lot of fun. Larger islands like Virgin Gorda, etc., were also fun ...they have little population, & are interesting places. Here's a photo of the Flying Cloud ...and the second photo has, guess-who, ready to JUMP/DIVE! Yes, I also have a photo of me, and also of my adventurous wife, in the air, on the way dooooowwwwwnnnnn! ...trying to make perfect dives ...well, acceptable dives. Just why we crazies never broke our necks...? Well, if the Captain could do it ...yeah, I have a picture of Laurie doing it earlier ....he simply jumped, feet downwards, holding his nose.....
I well remember Treasure Island, the same island as in Robert L. Stevenson's book. Real name of that island is Norman Island; and, yes, I swam from the ship to ...and into ...the treasure cave, see second photo. Note the rope around the rock ... a hand-hold....for those who could not safely swim (some passengers did not even know how to swim!) the distance, which was considerably further than the photos seems to indicate. The first photo is of me & my wife, Jean. I had a full
beard then. Another week+ there & I was then twice as dark-skinned as in this photo.
Most all of our sailing was to quite small ports where large cruise ships can't get into. It is MUCH more fun than some impersonal "small city" hotel ship of 3000-5000+ passengers (I think!). No on-deck swimming pools for us, no suit & tie for dinner. A lot of "adventures".
On my very first trip to this area, in Charlotte Amalie, I saw some twin-engine airplanes carrying passengers. I had a twin-engine seaplane rating, which is rare among pilots,. On a whim (more-or-less), I applied for a 'part-time job', essentially ferrying passengers back & forth between Charlotte Amalie & St. Johns Island. I was hired after a flying checkout, credentials check, etc. This 'work' paid for a goodly part of my
two-weeks-long vacations. There was time for fun, such as diving along the reefs, including an underwater museum trail!
I met a few folks, caroused, lived-it-up; generally had a great time. Below is a photo of one of the several seaplanes the company owned. These are amphibians. Note the name of the company I worked for: Antilles Air Boats. If you do not know what the Antilles is, look it up. The company had two types of these old birds. These airplanes were surprisingly easy to fly. Not quite as noisy as you might think with those big old engines. Look up: Grumman G76 Mallard ...and ...Grumman G21 Goose.
""On September 2, 1978, Charles F. Blair, Jr., former Naval Air Transport Service, USAF General, & Pan American Airways pilot, husband of actress Maureen O'Hara, was flying a Grumman Goose that belonged to his company, Antilles Air Boats, from St. Croix to St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, when it crashed into the ocean due to engine failure. He and three passengers were killed, seven passengers were severely injured.""
I dug into what I could find out about the aircraft (it was one I had flown, I think) and the accident. While the airplane has TWO engines, both should never have failed at the same time. The accident was investigated thoroughly, and there were a NUMBER of serious discrepancies found. Although the government never cited the weight of 11 total people, that was, IMO, a factor. Apparently, those in maintenance, AND OFFICIALS of the company were knowledgeable and looked the other way regarding certain required maintenance items; AND, the mechanic was NOT certified to sign off on his own work; and the airplane was over-due for serious scheduled maintenance. The left engine failed on the flight, it had been in storage for many years, and was NOT airworthy. The #5 cylinder failed, and tore the cowling, apparently bending it such that it became a HUGE drag. The right engine had an improperly maintained propeller, and so could not develop enough power. There were other things not properly maintained. Investigation showed that Blair flew improperly at a low altitude (skimming the waves, actually) rather than set the aircraft down in the water. Not only that, but the passengers were never informed as to safety measures before the flight. I am sure glad I was not piloting that airplane when the engine failed.
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© Copyright, 2014, R. Fleischer
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Last check/edit: Monday, January 15, 2018