It was to be the last night of a most wonderful month touring Europe by car. We enjoyed the beaches of Saint-Tropez, loaded with the beautiful, tanned, wealthy and mostly nude sun worshipers, then went gaming at the Grand Casino in Monte Carlo. Yet, we were on a tight budget and slept tanning on the beach after a long night of chance. Our suite consisted of the interior of a rented car and our luggage and disguises lay hidden in the trunk.




We then headed north, through the tunnel at Mont Blanc. Future articles will flush out amazing encounters, gross oversights, enchanted respites and the discovery of then yet unranked Michelin star restaurants.




A week later we spent our last night in Bad Soden, Germany. It was about the size of Ashland and is also noted for its healing waters, which drew us in for a sip. As the sun began to set we had to make a decision, considering our depleted funds: Spend the night in the hotel or eat well and sleep in our car.




My wife, Annette, went to make a long distance call (sorry, no cell phones then) as I entered what appeared to be a tavern to await her return. Though my Spanish was fluent, my French passable, I had no clue when it came to German. The only words I could remember were the number two, zwei and, of course, bier. I entered, sat at the bar, unfolded a map just before being asked what I wanted. "Zwei bier" was the only thing that came to mind. I was completely unaware that the tavern was famous for serving beer by the liter.




Annette eventually arrived and we agreed to stay at the tavern, have dinner, then spend the night in the car. We had to be up and moving at first light to make our flight back to the states.




I really don't know how it happened, but soon after dinner entire families hit the dance floor as a spirited polka band drove the locals, from age five to ninety, into a frenzy. We joined in and frolicked away the evening as the lederhosen wearing musicians kept cranking up the volume and pace. I admired the stamina of the dancing deutsche, though all too soon the night came to an end. We repaired to the car and got ready to lie low.




We backed into a park a few blocks away, rolled down the seats and entered into a restful sleep in moments, just after setting the alarm for our early departure.




Both our dreams were full of singing sound birds, entreating us to ignore the upcoming alarm. They seemed to conspire to make us stay, which would have been reasonable, save the need to use non-refundable airline tickets.




In the middle of this arboreal wonderment I awoke to the hard pacing of a nearby neighbor, who, at this most early hour, was marching back and forth in his driveway while fixing a stare at us that would melt steel. He was fully dressed and seemed to have taps on his soles. My best guess was that he had no soul to begin with.




I started the car as we slowly adjusted our seats to the upright, then drove by the storm trooper who was busy taking down our license plate number. It was only then that I realized that we had spent the night in a bird sanctuary, which underpinned our feather bedding.




We drove to Belgium and just barely caught our flight. The 747 lumbered away from the terminal, preparing to loft us to New York. We suddenly stopped as a mechanical problem was announced in five languages, the result being a six hour stay on the tarmac as parts were ordered from Egypt.




Back then such a delay was exceptional. We were given free food, beverage, comfort and care. I think I even got a hug.




What an insight to the flight delays that are now commonplace as many fly to have Thanksgiving and give praise to a turkey, another flightless bird.




Lance was last seen taking off his shoes at the airport, then spending a day waiting for a non-cancelled flight. Wing him your words to: Lance@journalist.com, as he attempts his 54th pass through security.