offers opportunities to meet some awe-inspiring, out-of-the-ordinary
Ray is just one example.
Courageous, Captain Ray
I first met
Captain Ray Gaines while sitting at my poolside office in
Chiang Mai, Thailand, with my good friend
Paul Terhorst. Paul and I were discussing the important events of
the day, including the wonderful poolside scenery that had just been
freshly imported from France.
It was then
that Capt. Ray introduced himself and asked us about taking an
elephant trek with his two teenaged grandkids. Paul and I dismissed
the small talk and quickly asked why he was traveling in Thailand
with these young college-age men? Ray proceeded to tell us that his
wife of 60 years had just passed away. One of her final wishes was
that instead of giving the kids money, she wanted Ray to take them
anywhere in the world they wanted to travel. In this case it was
She was one smart
Recently, I met up
once again with the adventurous eighty-year old Captain Ray, while he
was holding court at the local donut shop in
Ajijic, Mexico. Having my full attention, he proceeded to tell me
about some earlier travels he had made through
Mexico while serving as a
Wagon Master of RV caravans deep into the country.
Guide to Chapala Living, 3rd Edition
shows me his Rig in Ajijic, Mexico
These were cliff-hanging tales,
no doubt, but what I really found spellbinding were his stories
about organizing RV barge trips on the Ohio, Mississippi, and
He would connect
as many as seven narrow river barges together and load them up with RV´s,
becoming a flotilla RV park traveling the inter coastal waterways of the
US! To ensure customer satisfaction, these barges had complete
facilities including a 150-seat restaurant, laundry, freshwater to drink
and waste disposal facilities.
Each RV had their
own hookups and enough space between them to put out their awnings.
organized all the stops and entertainment for his passengers. When he
and his flotilla docked into port, there were buses already waiting to
take them into the local town. All one had to do was hop on board the
bus to go to classic restaurants, partake in homegrown festivals, or go
slender barge was his smallest!
Because it was such a unique, all-inclusive experience, word of
mouth insured that he had a constant flow of repeat customers - A
sure sign of success! This became a twelve year operation of
adventure, travel and camaraderie for the innovative Captain Ray and
After serving for
40 years and in three wars in the Armed Forces, Ray has certainly earned
the title of Captain. Now he's calling Ajijic, Mexico his home, but he
still has traveling on his mind as his "itchyfoot" email address so
As we left our
rendezvous we had the clear understanding we'd meet up again in some far
off, exotic location.
heroes in their lives; someone who inspires us on to an even greater
expression of who we are. Captain Ray Gaines is by far this sort of
mentor. At a spry 80 years of age, he continues to grab Life with both