Calif. to Mt. Rushmore, in a golf cart
Quirky George Bombardier of Rialto is back from his 3,000-mile round trip to Mount Rushmore -- in a golf cart.
Not just any golf cart -- a tricked-out little vehicle modified to look like a miniature red 1957 Chevy Bel Air Coupe.
With a miniature surf board strapped to the roof.
Here's a video taken several years ago on one of Bombardier's cross-country trips:
A retired roofer, Bombardier, 74, is also a tinkerer, inventor and adventurer.
He's already trekked across the country three times in his golf cart, which is powered by a 350 cc Kawasaki engine.
Bombardier rolled back into his driveway on July 6, weary but happy.
He had left home June 20, thundering along scenic highways at 30-35 mph, but crawling to a mere 10-12 mph across Prescott Valley in Arizona.
He covered about 300 miles a day, stopping for ice at motel ice machines, and for gas every 250 miles.
Bombardier said he only stayed at motels five nights. Other evenings, he would pull off the road and snooze in the bed he had made in the passenger seat of the golf cart.
"It wasn't too bad," he said.
On Wednesday, I dropped by to see how he was doing and found him working on the latest addition to his rig.
A mini-Teardrop trailer.
He had crafted the little trailer out of pieces of campaign signs from recent elections. The pieces were cut to shape, joined together and mounted on a bicycle trailer.
And of course it was painted red to match the golf cart -- complete with a window and window box for flowers.
Inside was his mattress -- to make his nights a bit more comfortable.
The golf cart doesn't have air conditioning, a heater, or even windows.
If it rains, you get wet, he says. If it's cold out, you get cold.
In triple-digit temperatures, he wraps his legs and shoulders in wet towels.
He compared the cooling method to a swamp cooler.
While on the road, Bombardier drank lots of soda, but mostly Gatorade.
Hot dogs, Hostess Cupcakes, Cheez Doodles and McDonalds sustained him.
Tooling along in his fire-engine red Chevy golf cart, he attracted lots of attention on the back roads of 11 states.
A homemade sign on the back of his rig reads" "CA to Mt Rushmore, will take donations."
One guy who posed beside the golf cart gave him $100.
"Troopers want to see it up close, too," he said. "The cops would usually stop me out of curiosity."
Bombardier is proud of his collection of police officers' business cards.
His only negative encounter was in Arizona, where a trooper hassled him because of his brake lights.
"But I knew the law better than he did," Bombardier said.
His cart is street legal -- at least in California, where it is registered and licensed.
He saw a lot of beautiful scenery on the way and in Nebraska woke up to a "full-blown lightning and thunder storm."
Bombardier, who has a tendency to be a bit audacious, remembered that "people would ask if I was driving all the way and I would say, 'You don't see me walking.'"
Fortunately, he didn't have to spend a lot of time on repairs along the way.
He had only one flat tire and had to change the vacuum fuel pump three times, he said.
These days, he's already thinking about his next trip -- probably next year -- to the Alamo.
Next time, he will be towing his comfy bed in the Teardrop and will have a new CB radio.
All the comforts of home.
And here's a thought for the day: It's easy to identify people who can't count to 15. They're in front of you in the supermarket express lane
This article was written by Michel Nolan from San Bernardino County Sun, Calif. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.