Journeys of my father

With the recent passing of my father, I am reminded of my origins and the source of my motivation to travel, and so begins our cross country RV pilgrimage back to Texas.

Due to an uncontainable wanderlust, my father left school on his 18th birthday to enlist in the Air Force and see the world.

Having already motorcycled on an AJS and a Triumph through his teens in 1940’s Alabama and the South, I think he realized the limits of experience were not contained by his hometown. Stationed in Berlin for four years, he met my mother and they explored Europe by car across Germany, France, and Spain. Then he shipped that 47 Plymouth to New York and drove cross country to Texas and started a family.

As a long time airline employee with Braniff and American, he always had our family traveling to new places in the US, Europe, Mexico, and South America. His gift to me on high school graduation was an unforgettable trip together on motorcycles through Mexico to Acapulco in 1973.

In later years my father, his brother Charlie, my brother James, and I motorcycled together and separately in the Southwest, Mexico,and British Columbia. You just think that the days will never end. But those are the memories that fuel enthusiasm for another generation.

A private pilot all the way through his 85th year, he had flown all over Texas and the Southwest. Even just a few months ago, he enjoyed flying from his grass strip behind the house and checking out his beloved local area of Lake Grapevine.

And so now, 45 years since I left home, Kathleen and I are returning via a cross country drive to Texas to stay awhile and settle his affairs. This camping trip is for you Dad; I think you would have enjoyed it.

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8 Responses to Journeys of my father

  1. Heidi Kuehnle-Wallace says:

    Very inspiring! So sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing. Thanks for posting this.

  2. Lane Burnett says:

    What a nice remembrance. I recall the picture in the Mid Cities Daily News from back in the day. As you wander thru Texas, try to make it to Lake Whitney or maybe Becky and I can hook up Rola Lola and meet up with you somewhere. Have a great trip.
    Lane

  3. Steve says:

    Great post. Enjoyed meeting your Dad a couple of times. And even sking a little with him in Whistler.

  4. Nice tribute, good memories. Thanks for sharing some of his legacy.
    Love you, Sandie

  5. Lori says:

    I was honored to know both of your incredible parents, and have fond memories of them. Please let’s get together when your are in the Lone Star state.

    Love you both,

    Lori

  6. Buddy Powers says:

    Mr Douglas was a second father to me. I was just thinking of him this morning.

  7. Erin says:

    What a lovely tribute to your Dad.

  8. Mike Powers says:

    John,

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Your Dad was definitely one of a kind. He took me up for my very first plane ride from Granbury back to Mangrum Field. That is still a great memory for me! Safe travels to you on your trip south.

    Mike

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