The New York City adventure

I WALKED OUT the front gate of Castle Air Force Base in the San Joaquin Valley of Central California a free, young man. It was the mid-1960s.

Taking a taxi the few miles into Merced, I got on a Greyhound down to the City of Angels where I boarded another bus headed to New York City, 2,451 miles away as the buzzard flies. It was a four-and-a-half-day ride.

I thought I was in love, and maybe I was. The object of my desires, my high school sweetheart, lived just outside New York City in White Plains. She was staying with her psychologist — or perhaps psychiatrist; I don’t recall — and his family, sent there from Jacksonville, Florida, by wealthy, worried parents.

Her name was Jane, a beautiful, teenaged Jewish Princess and only child.

Aside from one breakdown near Pittsburgh, Pa., in the middle of the night, and the fact that I had stupidly put all my clothes and toothbrush in my suitcase locked in the belly of the bus, the trip was uneventful.

I walked out of the Greyhound station in Manhattan and spotted a hotel across the street. I checked in, showered, brushed my teeth and combed my hair. Ah, that’s more like it. And I phoned Jane.

It was either that afternoon or the following day — it was over half a century ago — that she came into town to see me. We got naked in the hotel, just the second time in my life, and then we went out. The first had been with her too, a couple of years before.

I recall neither where we went nor what we did, but I do remember she was distant, which saddened me.

Over the next three days I found a studio apartment in Greenwich Village and got a job as a painter’s helper via an employment agency. The memories are quite vague now. I saw Jane one more time, and I walked her one evening to a subway station that would return her to Grand Central and on to White Plains.

I spent just one night in the apartment and never reported to my first day of work as a painter’s helper. Instead I returned to the Greyhound station and boarded a bus to Nashville, Tennessee, where my parents lived.

I did not say goodbye to Jane, and I never saw her again.

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(Tomorrow: The City of Angels Adventure, back to California.)

Drive safe, amigos!

Bulletproof, baby!

FOR THOSE who consider travel to Mexico dangerous, let me show you something you can buy — or maybe rent — before you come down to live or visit:

An armored Jeep Grand Cherokee, and the price is $1,679,900 pesos or approximately $96,000. That’s U.S. cash.

It’s waiting in the showroom here.

This means that as you are barreling down a highway, and you spot a “police” checkpoint ahead, and you’re not sure if they are real cops or just the pretend ones you have heard about, you can  floorboard your armored Jeep. Don’t stop!

You’ll be protected from the submachine-gun fire, from real or make-believe police that will be aimed your way, by the Jeep’s 19-mm-thick armor. No joke!

If the real or pretend cops do not let loose with their heaviest artillery, be secure in the knowledge that you’ll be protected from the following weaponry too:

.22 LR HV 40-grain lead, .38 Special 158 GR JSP, 9mm Parabellum 124-grain FML, .357 magnum 158-grain .44 magnum 240-grain SWC and, of course, the 9mm Parabellum 124-grain FMJ. It’s also grenade-proof! And it runs on flat tires.

This comes from the Jeep-Mexico website.

Another scenario: You’re driving through backwoods in the area around Los Reyes, Michoacán. You round a curve, and there’s a huge tree trunk across the road. All is silent.

It didn’t rain last night. Think fast!

You floorboard that mutha! It’s got four-wheel drive and is powered by 360-horse Hemi V8. You’ll fly right over the tree. If gunfire erupts from the treeline, like with Bonnie and Clyde, just remember the armor. Don’t look back.

I also visited the Jeep website for the United States. There is no armored Grand Cherokee offered. I had always assumed that armored personal cars were special orders, and it appears to be so in the United States.

But in Mexico, just stop by your local showroom.

This seems unfair. Say you encounter a Black Lives Matter gang blocking a street in Oakland, California. Or Antifa halfwits. Drive right through/over them, but they could be packing. Best to have an armored Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Say you’re driving through New York City with your red MAGA cap on your head. An armored car just makes sense.

While we have our fake cops and highway robbers in Mexico, you Gringos have your Democrats and other sorts of EPs*. In both scenarios, an armored vehicle could be a lifesaver.

Drive safe, amigos!

* * * *

* Equality people. See definition in right column.