Driven Mind

Driven Mind
264 pages, Over 450 colour images, 7 × 8.25″ (18 × 21 cm), ISBN: 978-0-9733358-1-1 (paperback)

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7. Taking the High Road

The motel wasn’t much ­ a strip of rooms with a dirt parking lot handy the airport. There were no screens on the windows and the stained interior walls were in dire need of paint. It was the sort of motel room you’re happy to share with someone to help keep an eye out for whatever might creep or slither on by.

Between the stifling heat and noisy aircraft, I didn’t get much sleep. Neither did Ken Langley, my partner on that around-the-world record drive attempt back in 1980. After an arduous 12-day drive across India and Pakistan, we were filthy, bug-bitten, exhausted and sick with dysentery. We were also keen to get airlifted out of Pakistan and, with the Karachi airport in sight, we could smell our escape ...


10. Sultry Cheryl and the Swollen Thumb


During the summer of 1967, the Boy Scouts invited me to work in Montreal at Expo ’67, the World’s Fair celebrating the 100th year of Canadian confederation. My job was stamping passports at the Ethiopian pavilion.

One afternoon, two ravishing girls came by and I dutifully entered the Ethiopian seal into their passports.

“Where y’all from?” Her voice made my knees buckle. She thought I was Ethiopian and was surprised when I told her the garb I was wearing was a Boy Scout uniform. Her name was Cheryl. She was from Atlanta, Georgia.

When my shift ended, Cheryl was out front waiting. We strolled through the Expo ’67 complex. She was 19. I was 16, but told her I was 18.

We gazed into each other’s eyes every afternoon until she left for Atlanta a few days later. After my stint at the Ethiopian pavilion, I took the train back home to Moncton, New Brunswick. All I could think about was Cheryl.

I wrote her every second day during grade 12, about 150 letters, and she wrote back almost as many. We planned on seeing each other the next summer after I finished high school ...



50. The Red Sea Smuggler

I awoke at 5:20 that April morning on a flatcar at the end of a creeping freight train. Ken and our Ethiopian guide, Tim Cat, were asleep wrapped in grubby horsehair blankets to fend off the chilly desert dawn.

Below the trestle we were clanging over, a woman chased a child as he threw stones at her. At the end of the trestle, I noticed a decomposing camel carcass, another victim of the trains making their way to the exotic port of Djibouti, strategically situated at the mouth of the Red Sea between Ethiopia and Somalia.

Although groggy, it didn’t take long to remember it was Day 9 of our attempt to set a new world driving record between Cape Agulhas, at the southern tip of Africa, and Nord Cape high above the Arctic Circle in Norway. Our specially-equipped six-month-old 1984 GMC Suburban, sporting nine bullet holes from an ambush in Kenya a few days earlier, was chained to the flatcar as it carried us over the last 200 kilometres of the African sector of the adventure. On the roof of the boxcars up front, twenty well-equipped soldiers, bent on delivering us safely out of Ethiopian territory, diligently eyed the desolate countryside ...