Welcome friends, my name is John Reitmeier and I've been so fortunate to have experienced a lot of travel starting back in 1972. It's time to put the memories in some sort of order, and to add text and pictures to share with our friends and the many listeners to our radio programs. Thanks for coming along on this ride!

Friday, April 27, 2012

It was 1983, I got a free trip to Paris (and on to Frankfurt) because I was the only one at the radio station that had a passport.  Actually when they called to ask if I had a passport, I didn't!  But with the good fortune of having my friend and mentor visiting Las Vegas in his plane, (from LA) and me being smart enough to ask him if I had a passport before I told my boss that I didn't, well...life changing events started to unfold right at that moment.  I put my hand over the mouthpiece and said to Bob, "they say they'll send me to Europe on Monday (this was Friday) if I have a Passport.  He quickly responded, "then tell them you have a Passport!" So I told them I have a passport, hung up the phone and turned to my mentor and say, "OK what now!"  In his usual fashion he said, I don't know, let's find out what it will take to get you a passport...long pause...by Monday!"  I mostly live in Crookston Minnesota, my 4th generation home, I'm working in Las Vegas, he's from Los Angeles...so we start with a phone call to the Court House back home.

Sure (remember this is WAY before 911) they say, do you have your Drivers License?  Of course, do you have your birth certificate with you?  WOW lucky break, I do...take that to the Clark County Court House with 2 Passport quality photos and they will do a  bunch of paperwork, then take that to the Embassy, "let's see the nearest embassy to you is in Los Angeles." Wow again a lucky break.  We went to get the photos, went to the court house, got the paperwork done and Bob headed to his airplane.  Flew home, paid a young man to stand in line starting at 6AM on a Saturday morning, was the first one through the door when it opened and at noon Bob was flying back to Las Vegas with my brand new, ready to go, Passport in his kit.

Monday, 4:30AM I'm at LAS,  meeting TV and newspaper folks, and our TWA hosts/guides for our trip.  They had carefully told us that if we wanted to fly in the front of the airplane, that it was MANDATORY that we dress in formal suits.  HEY no problem here, anything to sit in a bigger seat and have upgraded food and booze and service, and yet, a couple of the "stars" of TV in Las Vegas showed up in polo shirts and no suit coats.  BACK OF THE PLANE BOYS!  I think they were surprised!  I however was smartly dressed and ready to take my fancy seat.  In those years there weren't direct flights from Las Vegas to New York, so even though we were guests of TWA, we had to go to Phoenix first, wait on the ground about an hour, and then off to NEW YORK CITY!  My first visit there.  We arrived in the early afternoon because of the time change, and since there was about a four hour wait for our ocean flight, we were put into cabs and whisked off to the twin towers of the WORLD TRADE CENTER!  WOW this being a news report on a 'Fam' trip just gets better and better.  At the time, TWA was a partner in a hotel that took up about 20 floors and so we got a tour of that, and then off to the Windows on the World restaurant for some light supper and drinks.  I of course was gathering interviews all the time, on 2 heavy cassette tape recorders and got to a pay phone and called in a couple of 5 minute stories, along with some sounders (30 second teasers) about my upcoming trip to France and a ride on the high speed trains!

The cab ride back to JFK was a bit surreal in the fact that the cab driver had to be an identical twin to Carrol O'Connor's character Archie Bunker.  Looks, haircut, accent, especially accent.  What a hoot!  Then to JFK, board the plane, L1011, 4th row back, window side aisle.  French man sitting next to me, did NOT like Americans and wasn't afraid to let everyone around him know!  Where are we going with this you ask?  Stay tuned for the flight, the landing, the first hours in Paris, and an awesome evening at a restaurant that just closed now in 2012.

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