My very first "Little Adventure" happened a long, long time before I even thought of starting this blog. In 1936, to be exact. I was all of two years old and already wanting to see the world. That summer my parents took me along to a summer camp, probably run by a church group, at Peck’s Pond in Pike County near the northeast corner of Pennsylvania. This “pond” is actually a fair-sized lake, created in 1906 by damming up Bushkill Creek in the heart of the Pocono Mountains, right off Route 402. One night, while they were fast asleep, I decided to go looking for bears. Cute little bears. Sneaking out of the cabin, I wandered by moonlight into the woods alone. Fortunately, no bear had me for a midnight snack. I wouldn't have tasted very good anyway, as I was a skinny little brat.
My parents soon realized I was gone, and sounded the alarm. Moments later the entire camp went looking for me, and found me down by the water’s edge. After that they never left me out of their sight.
By the age of four I became fascinated by motor vehicles, as most boys at that time were. So I took “driving lessons” on an old abandoned truck at the farm of my mother’s Uncle Sam (photo, above). Somehow the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania did not deem this sufficient for a driver’s license, so I had to wait another twelve years.
In the meantime I yearned to fly, so in 1939 my dad took me on a sightseeing flight from the local airport, Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton (ABE) (Now Lehigh Valley International, LVI). The aircraft used was already ancient, dating from 1927. It was a Ford Trimotor, commonly known as the “Tin Goose” because it used all-metal construction, and had wicker seats for the 8 passengers. We circled the Allentown area at a low-enough altitude so all could see the sights, such as they were. (photo above).
Another event in 1939 that could qualify as an “adventure,” at least to a impressionable five-year-old boy, was the fabulous New York World’s Fair, an international extravaganza celebrating the transition of the World of Today into the futuristic World of Tomorrow. My dad took me there, mostly because he wanted to see it himself. We rode a Lehigh Valley Railroad steam train from Allentown, Pennsylvania, to Penn Station in New York City, stopping at Newark to change to an electric locomotive. Once there, it was the subway to Flushing Meadows in Queens. The most memorable sight was the Trylon and Perisphere (stamp picture, left) , but to me the best were the roller coaster rides in the amusement area.
As World War II progressed I became ever more fascinated with aviation. For Christmas 1944 Santa brought me a toy cockpit made of cardboard, complete with working pedals, and a wheel on a movable stick. The instruction book showed me how to take off, bank and turn, level off, and land. Then, our primary school held a contest to see which kid could sell the most war bonds, a government plan for financing the conflict. The first prize was a flying lesson with the Civil Air Patrol. Since my dad sympathized with my desires and considered these bonds to be a good investment, he bought a bunch from me, and I won.
The war was not yet over when the day of my lesson arrived. We took a bus out to ABE Airport and I climbed into the front seat of a 1937 Piper T3 trainer (photo, right), commonly called a “Piper Cub.” The instructor sat in the seat behind me, with another set of controls. He, of course, did the takeoff and landing, but once at altitude he let me take over for a few minutes. What a thrill as I flew low over our neighborhood!
Thank you, Dad. Thank you for everything.
So those were my earliest real adventures, which prepared me for many more in later years. Some of these now fill the entries on this blog.
Text copyright © 2010 Earl Steinbicker
SO, just what Little Adventure am I up to now in 2013? Why, just the most challenging one of them all! CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT.
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