[This story was published on April 21 in the Chichester Observer. Read the original story at bognor.co.uk/news/local/martin-s-misfortune-on-states-trip-1-7337899.]
[All images: West Sussex Record Office archives]
When a man from Inglewood Drive in Aldwick set off of on an adventure, he anticipated a carefree journey around the United States, leaving behind the pressures of day to day life.
However, 23 year old Martin Hunt, in addition to seeing a large part of America, making valuable friends, and working in Beverley Hills, managed to get into a scrape with a bear and spent 36 punishing hours in the scalding heat of a desert.
Initially, Martin set out with his brother Roger in 1975 for a three month exploration of the States, visiting Long Island, New York, Boston and Washington. The paid visited their grandparents who lived in Kentucky, and searched for the house in Old Pennsylvania in which their mother was born.
After visiting Florida in late October, where people at Miami beach were complaining that the water was too hot, Roger returned home, but Martin, against advice, stayed in the States.
Martin eventually went on a 5,000 mile road trip with two friends through Washington, New York, Montreal and then onto Great Lakes Country.
On their last night of camping in the Rockies, the team ran into trouble with a bear, who was scratching outside their tent.
“We did not move for over an hour,” said Martin. “I have never been so frightened in my life.”
Then, whilst making a trip back from an excursion to Las Vegas, his motocycle broke down in the middle of nowhere in over 100 degrees of heat.
He managed a makeshift repair with a lollipop stick and a piece of tape and limped home, stopping every few miles to cool the engine. The 250 mile trip took him 36 hours.
Further misfortune followed Martin, who was involved in a car accident while working as a butler-cum-chauffeur for a Beverley Hills multi-millionaire.
Deciding to return to England for a break, Martin’s bad luck continued when, one week before he was to fly, his bike was stolen, although he did now have a car.
He came home, but returned to the States six weeks later only to find the lepidoptery wholesale company he had been working for had gone bankrupt, and his car was wrecked when it was hit by another vehicle while parked outside a store. In addition to this, 600 dollars that Martin had saved was stolen, and the battered car he bought in the hopes of doing it up was towed away by thieves.
Finally returning to England, Martin said: “It has taught me to be more appreciative of the English way of life. I have also learned to be self-sufficient.”