I hope you have taken the time to go to RV Life for the article I wrote on San Diego County and also my Silver, Single, Solo column specifically on Julian, CA.
This week Monday, July 2, 2012, marks the 75th anniversary of the disappearance of Amelia Earhart and the beginning to one of aviation’s greatest mysteries. She was the ultimate adventuress and a model for living life to the fullest with a big dose of serendipity tossed in. People have thought me brave for taking off with my RV to parts unknown but I had all the amenities of solar and generator and six wheels on the ground. When she took off, she “Took Off” from the ground. My connection to Amelia Earhart is tenuous at best, but this was part of a column I wrote for RV Life in 1998 and also part of my book, RVing Adventures with the Silver Gypsy, from my visit to Newfoundland/Labrador.
“A narrow, horrendous gravel road in Havre de Grace, Newfoundland, led to the airport and the National Historic Site. The road was so bad; I thought I was lost, again. I flagged down an older local couple who confirmed I was on the right track. We chatted a few minutes and he asked, “Are you alone?” I said yes. He said, “If you get into trouble, send for me, since you don’t know anyone else here.” We all laughed since I didn’t know them either. They left without giving me their names. Hmmm.
That rough road finally ended where so many noted pilots had taken to the skies, including Wiley Post. In 1931, he flew around the world from this point. Amelia Earhart flew off this scenic point a year later.
The historical marker reads, “May 20, 1932…she took off from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland, in her red, high-wing Lockheed Vega monoplane. Fourteen hours – 56 minutes later, after storms, wing icing and a fractured manifold ring, threatened destruction, she landed in a cow pasture outside Londonderry, Ireland, to become the first woman to solo fly across the Atlantic Ocean.”
The airfield looked every bit as rough as the road that I had been driving. It was a very short run downhill. Why there? What was she thinking!
My solo adventures never got me into any major trouble but poor Amelia disappeared over the Pacific after leaving Papua New Guinea on July 2, 1937, on a flight that would have taken her around the globe…and she almost made it. The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) researchers are, as we speak, looking for wreckage of her airplane near the tiny, remote island of Nikumaroro, part of the Pacific archipelago, Republic of Kiribati, where they believe the famed U.S. aviator and her navigator, Fred Noonan, may have landed and ultimately died as castaways. If they indeed did land there, the plane may have been washed over the island’s edge by rising tides and surf.
They are hoping to finally discover evidence such as her plane, a twin-engine Lockheed Electra. These days we rely so heavily on DNA but between a destructive environment and disappointingly small samples, identification was not possible with the few bones that they did find.
We all have cosmetic flaws we work at disguising or wishing we could. Amelia did not like her freckles. Isn’t it ironic that if TIGHAR proves that Earhart ended her days on this remote Pacific island, one of the things that may help prove it is their discovery of a 1930s cosmetic bottle that once held a popular brand of “Anti-freckle cream.” God Bless until next week and be choosy what you leave behind for future TIGHARs. Happy Fourth of July!
Minshall’s RVing Alaska and Canada ($19.95) is available thru Amazon. (RVing Adventures with the Silver Gypsy is no longer available.)
At 45, Widow Minshall began 20 years of solo full-time RVing throughout Alaska, Mexico, and Canada. Sharlene canoed the Yukon, mushed sled dogs, worked a dude ranch, visited Hudson Bay polar bears, and lived six months on a Mexican beach. She lectured at Life on Wheels, published six RV-related books and wrote a novel, “Winter in the Wilderness.”