Misadventure stories part 1

Kentucky Derby Day reminiscing 

After more than 30 years of wandering, It’s is time to tell the stories I don’t often brag about: my misadventures.

Here is a series of narrow escapes and unfortunate happenings that stem from bad judgement, car accidents and wrong turns. all in name of travel. Hope you enjoy them.

 Care to hitchhike anyone

Indiana and Kentucky. August 1986

I was a young 18 year-old fresh out of high school, and my first time away from my island home. I was attending a trade school / working thoroughbred-farm in Commiskey to learn the craft of riding racehorses and stable management.

I shared a house with other students and my roommate was Kathy Waite from Albuquerque, New Mexico.  We were polar opposites – she was a tall blonde that had done some modelling, I was a runty, berry-picking stall-mucker from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. She had come from a privileged family and I from a lower income family.  She was city, I was country, she was glam and I was plain and yet we instantly became inseparable friends.

It was a Saturday morning. Our gang of students had fed the horses and turned them out in the pasture and filled the water troughs. We had the rest of the weekend off till Monday morning.

With the wanderlust strong in me, I suggested to Kathy that we go to Seymour, Indiana and look for the landmarks that were in John Mellencamp’s videos and then go the Louisville to see the Kentucky Derby Hall of fame at Churchill Downs.

We had no map, just grand ideas. We walked to the end of the driveway, stood out on the road and put our thumbs out. Our first ride got us to the town of North Vernon, which was only about 16 minutes away.  We walked into a flower shop to ask directions and the lady told us we had take Highway 50 west for about half an hour. So we grabbed a slice of pizza and a coke next door and walked to the highway and again put our thumbs out. This time we got a ride with a older gentlemen going all  the way to Seymour. He dropped us in the center of town.

All you young people reading this think you invented day drinking? Sorry, you are wrong. It was a really hot August morning and Kathy spied a bar that had just flipped its sign open.  She wanted a beer and there was no persuading her otherwise.   Through the doors she walked with me in tow. I was completely uncomfortable, having only been in a bar a few times and never one like this, filled with leather jackets, tattooed arms and motorcycle insignia. Kathy was in her element.

Within moments of sitting in a booth, my blonde companion had the boys crowding around our table buying beers. I wasn’t much of a drinker other than to have a few sips. I was nervous and suspicious, thinking of all the horrible things that can happen to young ladies in a situation like this. I just wanted to go see the water tower with Seymour written on it.

Instead I got to see Kathy pour shots down her neck and two-step with the locals. I tried to cajole her into leaving but it took several hours. She charmed two young guys into giving us a lift in their large candy-apple-red convertible.

She staggered out of the bar, arm-in-arm with a handsome stranger who lowered her into the front seat. I sat in the back with his friend. As we sped swerving down an isolated road – the driver also well in his cups – I held a death grip on the arm rest of the door. Cathy soon passed out, her head tilted back, eyes closed, blonde hair swirling in the wind. We drove a long way with nothing but fields of corn in each direction. I  hardly said a word, just tried to remember landmarks and worried while my friend snoozed.

I saw the guy in the front start to fondle her and I told him to stop it. she was unconscious.  The guy beside me pulled me towards him forcefully and tried to kiss me. I pushed him away and gave him a smack to the face. And screamed at the driver to pull over and let us out. The commotion woke Cathy, and her first words were, “I’m going to be sick.” Immediately the car pulled over to the side of the road just in time for Kathy to hurl her guts over the side of the convertible. I jumped out opened her door and pulled her out by the arms, onto the to the shoulder of the road.  The assaulting driver floored the vehicle and left us where we sat.

We were already lost, so we needed to continue hitching a ride to somewhere, anywhere but here please. Cathy showed no concern, “We might as well continue on to Louisville, Kentucky,” she said.

She got up off the ground, dusted her knees off, wiped her mouth and put her thumb out. This time a young man in a cowboy hat and boots pulled over and offered us a drive in his pickup.  He had never been to the racing hall of fame but thought it sounded great and was happy to escort us safely over the state border to our destination.

We had a lovely couple of hours visiting the museum watching replays of the great derbies, seeing War Admiral, Whirlaway, and Secretariat reach

the finish line on revolving monitors.  We climbed up into the fake starting gates  and pretended to ride imaginary races. We walked the grounds to the statue of Citation.  I still have the framed sketch of Swale, winner of the 1984 Kentucky Derby, I purchased from the gift shop hanging in my bathroom.

swale
Swale sketch

After the tour our cowboy friend was so happy to have spent a nice afternoon with two lovely ladies, he offered to take us to his home for dinner.  I was thinking we were pushing our luck, but Cathy was going so what was I to do alone?

I have no idea where we were, somewhere rural between Kentucky and Indiana.  He had built a log-style farmhouse on his family’s property he was very proud of. He made barbecue chicken and we sipped Budweiser, and danced on a wooden porch til  late into the night listening to George Strait and Judd’s crooned tunes from a tape deck.

He turned out to be a gentleman – gave us sleeping bags which we laid out on bales of hay in the barn and we sleep soundly all night. In the morning we had toast and coffee and true to his word he drove us back to the farm in Commiskey, just on time for us to complete our assigned chores of bringing the horses in from the pasture and giving them their grain.

Looking back, damn we were lucky.

Happy travels from Maritime Mac

36 thoughts on “Misadventure stories part 1

Add yours

  1. Great to have you back blogging, Kelly. And this post was great in retelling your “misadventure” which compared to a lot of us, left you with no ill effects except possibly some lingering hangover. Will look forward to more.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much. Tell travel storied right now is unappealing, since the world is upside down. With no crystal ball to see and plan for our future.I have no choice but look back to entertain.

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    2. I’m doing the same thing with Thebeerchaser blog. No bars or breweries open now so going back to report on some from further back that I didn’t get around to writing up. The memories make me yearn for the fellowship and ambiance of good watering holes which I tended to take for granted since I started in 2011.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I know. I learned as we went on in our courses, she wasn’t unfamiliar with drinking alcohol in large quantities. I always woke her to do her assigned chores, and sometimes covered for her,as she slept in. I lost track of her, I often think of her.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This was interesting read! I liked your story.
    Judging by numbers I’m at least 12 years older.
    I wouldn’t call it a misadventure, it has a good end (so far). We used to hitchhike in Europe, too. Oh well, comparatively, this is just fun with a bit of scare from strangers. Drinking too much always does that, I mean, one gets in touch with all the wrong people and for all the wrong reasons. I suppose, you were always the more serious one or otherwise Kathy would be in a bit of trouble.
    I’ve gone through way worse things, but luckily always managed to come out unharmed, to some extent. at least.
    This story brought up memories and thoughts, so, this was nice to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have agree I did did intend make it out unscathed and grateful for sure. I was the sensible one. I can’t help but think it was because it was alot of money for me to go learn this skill. It was my out from Cape Breton, there was no plan B. Kathy’s family were wealthy, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do her parents paid. She was fun though. Lol

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    1. I’m doing ok, fortune my employer is allowing us to work from. I was supposed to be going to Peru a week today so, I’m a bit deflated about that but, hopefully it’s just postponed.

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    2. Yes, so uncertain but I keep dreaming. New Brunswick has now moved in stage 2 or reopenng the business parks gatherings of up to 10 people. If it is successful we well move in stage 3 in 2 weeks,

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    3. It’s a step at a time, Kelly, and requires an oh-so-careful balance. Too quick and we get to go through it again. Too slow and the economic consequences will get worse. I’m glad it isn’t my decision. –Curt

      Liked by 1 person

    4. Our provincial borders are all closed. Except for trucks and nurses drs.if you don’t have a main residence,you can’t cross into another province.. I can only look around New Brunswick, until further notice. You must not be locked down as much as we are

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    5. Not that New Brunswick doesn’t have lots to explore. 🙂 Lockdown here is serious and travel is discouraged but there are no limits to traveling between states. Most parks have been closed but are gradually opening again. Regardless of what the country does, Peggy and I will continue to limit our exposure, probably until there is a vaccine! –Curt

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s quite a story and yes you were fortunate. You are a couple years younger than me and I had plenty of “holy crap” moments but I never hitch hiked anywhere. I did hop a moving train. If you search my site, I blogged about last year. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I traveled to Europe – alone – when I was 19. Crazy. If my daughter asked me today if she could do the same I would never let her. I think my parents knew, at that time, they couldn’t stop me. But I’m sure they prayed – A LOT! Because I found myself in a few tricky situations – all of which I came out completely unscathed.
    Thank you for writing this post. It brought back a flood of memories from that trip – I’m so thrilled you got to go on this adventure and even more thrilled an angel dressed up like a cowboy came by to take care of you girls. 😉
    I look forward to reading about more of your misadventures!

    Liked by 1 person

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