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-   -   the 70s were good times! (https://www.wanderlodgeownersgroup.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20910)

Randy Dupree 09-22-2014 10:14 PM

the 70s were good times!
i was talking to one of my old buddys today and he reminded me about para sailing behind a pickup truck.
I had forgotten all about that.

I hung out with a bunch of gear heads,always working on cars,racing cars,hanging out in garages and driving tow trucks at night.

We hung out in the junkyards,and plundered through all the old cars,checking the trunks out for the good stuff!

Lots of old Wizard tools were found in those wrecked cars.
Wizard was the store brand for Western Auto i think?

Sometimes we would find old beatup shotguns,fishing poles and in one old car we found a military parachute,with harness.

Hey now,this is cool!
what can we do with it?
So,a week or two later on a sunday afternoon we were drinking busch beer and somebody suggested we get a rope,tie it to the truck,the other end to the harness and we could pull people up on a deserted back road,we could fly!

Now,we had never heard of para sailing,heck,we may have invented it!

But,with a combination of cold beer,a ford truck and an old parachute and a rope we went out between Cedar Key Fl and Otter Creek Fl on a long deserted highway and we pulled guys up with a rope tied to a pickup.

The guy in the chute would stand in the road,we would ease the truck forward until the rope was tight,then the guy in the chute would run and we would take off in the truck.
2 or 3 guys would be hanging onto the chute,helping spread it out to get air.

And this really worked!
This stretch of road was about 20 miles long without a power line or redlight.
Once the flyer was up,we could go for miles,just flying along.

Hey,this was a happening!
we did it for a few weeks until Fred Rodon freaked out while flying,screaming to stop the truck,he wanted down!
So,the driver of the truck stopped,and Fred fell like a rock from about 20feet up.

He broke his foot,and it was about a 40 mile ride to the hospital,of course we all got screamed at by our parents,and somehow that old chute got stolen.

That didnt stop us,or even slow us down much (even though Fred has a limp to this day).
That same road had ditchs on both sidesand they were full of swamp water almost all the time.

In one of the old junkers we found a water ski and a ski rope.
You can see where this is going,right?

Most of us had never skied before in our livbes,so off we go,cooler full of beer and a ski and rope.

Now these ditchs were full of dark swamp water,snakes,gators,leechs and who knows what lived in them.
Not to mention lots of beer bottles and old tires and other stuff.
Did that slow us down?
No way!
Almost everybody learned how to ski behind a 72 ford pickup.

5-6 guys in the bed of the truck,drinking beer,pulling a skier down highway 24 in Levy county Fl.

The skier covered with mud and weeds and who knows what.
We even got some of the redneck girls to ski (they never did para sail).

We never considered getting hurt,and except for Freds broken leg we did ok!

The wrecker services loved to hire us kids to run the night shifts,we rode around all night in a wrecker,eating pizza and drinking beer,burning somebody else gas,what fun!

A couple of times we got to do some crazy recovery stuff,twice we went way out in the planted pine forest to recover an airplane for the Levy county cops.

back in those days the drug planes were flying pot all over our part of Fl.
Those pilots were crazy,and thats coming from a guy that para sailed behind a pickup on a paved road!

The drug runners would go out into the planted pine forest and chain saw down a few hundred trees,making a short narrow runway,loaded with stumps and rough as a cob.
This was sandhill country,soft sand covered in pine straw.

Along the sides of the runway they dug pits about 3 feet deep and 3 feet across,into these pits they poured diesel fuel and they lit it off,this was the runway lights.
I kid you not.

So,the plane would come flying in,and land in the stump infested sandy runways,at night,using fire pits as lights.
Most of the time the planes would flip over,and we would find an empty plane,upside down in the middle of the night.

The cops wanted the plane and they called the wrecker service,so out we go to the makeshift road into where the wrecked plane was,these were twin engine planes,6-8 place jobs
They were stolen and all the seats and everything else was stripped out,and extra fuel tanks installed (strapped into the cockpit).

There was no way to get the planes out with wings on,so we chainsawed the wings off.
After we got all the gas out of the tanks,if there was any.
Hook the wrecker up to the thing and drag it to the main road,and then load it on a trailer.
The cops only want the fuselage,to check for prints and stuff.
So guess who got the wings?
And the engines?
The engines all had prop strikes,but airboat guys could care less.
These were big engines,0540's.
We even got some supercharged engines off a plane that crashed during a hurricane.
It was a dope plane too,and it tried to land on a dirt road in a hurricane,they did it too,until the wheels sunk in the mud and it flipped onto the roof.
They got the dope and got away,leaving a stolen plane crashed on a dirt road.

Who knows how many planes crashed in Fl. in the 70's,some may still be out there in the woods..

MarkYuma 09-22-2014 10:19 PM

OK You're Under arrest !!!!!!!!!!

Randy Dupree 09-22-2014 10:45 PM

I had a buddy whose family had a sod farm,don't you know a sod farm looks like the perfect landing spot for a plane?
they had several planes land there through the years,back in about 1968 or so his grandfather was killed by drug runners that landed on the grass.

Randy Dupree 09-22-2014 10:47 PM


Originally Posted by MarkYuma (Post 270242)
OK You're Under arrest !!!!!!!!!!

But,but,officer,i didn't do nuthin!

oldmansax 09-23-2014 08:00 AM

Randy, they are great stories! Good laughs!

I have a few a well but I'm not writing any of them down.........



Randy Dupree 09-23-2014 08:26 AM


Originally Posted by oldmansax (Post 270278)
Randy, they are great stories! Good laughs!

I have a few a well but I'm not writing any of them down.........



Ohh yeah,i understand!

JD33 09-23-2014 08:36 AM


Originally Posted by oldmansax (Post 270278)
Randy, they are great stories! Good laughs!

I have a few a well but I'm not writing any of them down.........




Randy Dupree 09-23-2014 08:51 AM

We never did any recovery work over in Dixie county.
Dixie county was a good place to not be,when the sun went down.
Even though i was a "cracker" with a known family name.
Back in those years the pot was flowing through Dixie county,everybody knew it,but nobody did anything about it.
It was a very clannish area,not like the KKK,but family stuff.
New comers were never trusted and only old cracker family's lived over there.

It was one of the poorest countys in Fl,but it seemed like the ford dealer was sure selling lots of new trucks,and the airboat business was good,real good.

Before the pot became the fish to catch the men over there were all fisherman,crabbers and mullet fishing,and oysters.
They all used old home made wood boats with any old car engine sitting in them,with a prop shaft stuck out the back.
Nobody could afford an outboard motor.
The airboats were the same,plywood hulls and real small aircraft engines,even model A ford engines and home made wooden props.
Poor people have poor ways.

The Fish Cops all had airboats but they were small and underpowered,they patrolled the marsh and the creeks looking for people poaching deer and hogs and catching fish without license's.
After the pot runners came in they tried to police that too,but man were they ever out of their league.
Those old crackers were making huge money,and they were not giving it up.

Heres how it worked.
The drug boats came in to shore and the airboats picked it up and ran it into the marsh,down the creels and over the mudflats to the highways,where a truck would be waiting to take the bales.

The redneck airboats by this time had big aircraft engines and big car engines,they were way faster than the Fish Cop boats and the Fish cops could not run through the saw grass,the red necks had enough power to run the grass,and the dry areas,so they simply ran into the grass with the dope and waited for the cops to leave.
They could both see each other,sitting and waiting,but the cops could do nothing.
The crackers were all fisherman,they were used to waiting,one thing a fisherman knows how to do is wait.

Pretty soon the cops would leave and then it was game on.

Later on the pot was brought in by airplane and kicked out over the marsh,into the saw grass,the airboats picked it up and ran it to shore.

Fishing down around Cedar Key in the 70's it was common to see bales floating.
Heck,even up into the mid 80's bales were still floating in those waters.

The small town shops even sold T-shirts that had boats on them with bales on board and the shirts said "save the bales".
No whales in Fl.!
The locals called the bales "square grouper".

When we spotted a bale we hauledass the other way,no way we wanted to mess with those guys!

Interesting times..

KCSS 09-23-2014 08:53 AM

Legal fun that is ;););)

iamflagman 09-23-2014 08:58 AM

The latest admissions or lack of from some of you reminds me of the high school that I first went to, but was asked to leave from by the principal because of my ADVENTURES, I get invited to all of their reunions and enjoy going to them even though I did not graduate with them and it was at the 40th reunion that a group of us sat around a table and talked about the old days during the late 50's and early 60's, this was when I heard some of the stories being told about what some of them got away with that seemed to go on and on, after a while I couldn't help myself and commented................... "and I'm the one that was kicked out of there" ...........that was when I was reminded that I was only asked to leave and not come back:eek::rolleyes::cool:

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