Bruce Meyers

Bruce Meyers

The idea of the “Sea-to-Sea Safari beckons to most of us until we stop and realize the time it will take and the cost in gasoline and food, plus motel costs. Yes, something beyond the budget of most of us. Fuel for the buggy, three meals out daily, the motel bills and then shipping the buggy home and flying ourselves back, too, can be intimidating.

I personally have known some ruff styles in life and cherish those memories – maybe because one clings to youth and the memories are all positive.

  • To the surfer, sleeping in a sleeping bag on the beach to catch the early morning surf and glassy swells provided pristine surfing conditions. Great memories – I was fifteen.
  • In the Navy, as a gunner on an aircraft carrier at Iwo Jima and Okinawa, we slept in our clothes for days in our bunks, shoes still on, or in the gun tubs using our lifejacket as a pillow as the Kamikaze attacks were so relentless – I was eighteen.
  • Before off-road racing, the first Manx’s roamed Baja in small groups; the car carried enough camping gear for two of us; we slept in “pop tents”; we bathed in the sea with dish soap and ate over a campfire; the simplest of outdoor adventures – the most treasured memories.

The first dune buggy gatherings saw more tents on the grass, from buggies that drove to the meet. Maybe a bucket of water for hygiene and a toothbrush – my kinda guy!  At our last Manx Club meet at Buellton, we found Harry Klumpp, member #698 parked behind the Meyers Manx trailer store in a clever hoop-tent attached to a cot, a device that would have worked well for those early Baja trips.  One can zipper the door open and swing his feet down to his waiting shoes – you can’t do that in a regular tent at ground level. A tiny single-burner heats one’s coffee and fries one’s eggs, all fitting back into the buggy storage area. Harry drove his old #49 Peppertree Automotive Mountain Goat car (a museum piece if ever there was one) all the way from L.A., a very happy camper that spent way less in dollars than motels and restaurants require.

This approach to long trips in a dune buggy is something we did long ago. It just never occurred to us to use motels and restaurants. Once, three Burros, two Manxes, and one wooden buggy (Splinters) all left L.A. to join the Georgetown Run, later renamed the Rubicon Run, ending at Lake Tahoe.  Camping, cooking and bathing in a stream (sometimes) – no motels, hotels, or anything else for ten days was done all out of our buggies. This was the accepted way buggies were used. In other words, we drove there, did the Rubicon, and drove back – no tow vehicles either.

Old friend, Ted Mangels and his wife drove their VW bus with bed and icebox, stopping every two or three nights at a motel for the needed shower. He did this once to Alaska, and twice around the United States, cutting his costs in half by sleeping wherever he stopped. Ted was always on a frugality run.

If our forefathers settled the West on horseback, there weren’t many showers available – but you can bet there were a lot of flies!

Having done my share of sailing offshore on sailing yachts, “a bath in the scuppers” was a way of refreshing ones bod by filling a bucket on a line (rope) from the sea. A shipmate tosses it over you and a small amount of fresh water rinses one off – a sailing tradition.

As the Manx Club has grown, I have seen less and less of this “close to the bone” thinking. I am personally one who has been attracted to the simple life I knew so long ago.  Perhaps I’m clinging to my youth, connecting to the past. All of these tales are just food for thought on how one might approach the “Sea-to-Sea Safari” and like my frugal friend; you too can emulate my real hero, Harry Klumpp.

Here is one of life’s true adventures lying at our feet. Have we become so pampered by this modern world that we reject all that is outside of jet travel, rental cars, and hotel chains?

Less is more.

Bruce Meyers