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Thrill Ride

It was not planned and that made it all the more exciting! Take someone not used to a manual transmission car and make them drive one. Add over 1400 feet straight up on one lane roads with sheer drop offs into the sea. For fun, make the driver stop on 60 plus % grades. For dare devil madness have the driver park forward on a steep decline with no railing in front of the parking space. Mix in stiff u-turns on steep inclines with big mirrors on the side of the mountain your only way of knowing if there is oncoming traffic on one lane roads. For fun, add monkeys hitching a ride by clinging to the side mirrors. And what do you have? My day driving on the Rock of Gibraltar.

We could not find the taxi stand for the guide tour and missed a turn and found the GPS had stopped giving directions because Gibraltar is governed by England, although on the southern tip of Spain, and the GPS was only for Spain. Before we knew it, we were totally lost and were ascending to the heavens on a one lane road. When I got us to the top, I told the policeman at the entrance to the top of the Rock that I couldn’t find the tour taxi and ended up there. He just shook his head, told me I owed the government 36Euro’s and made me park literally forward into a space where you could actually see the sea about 1,400 feet below from the front seat because the space was steeply declined towards the cliff. I pulled the emergency brake so hard it almost broke off. I got back at the policeman, however, because when I tried to back out later–I kissed Kathy goodby and made her and Carolyn Elsey who was with us for the day stand outside while I attempted reverse in that precarious parking position. It did not work! The car idled and lurched forward, no kidding or exaggeration here, with one tire about 2 inches from oblivion–remember, this is a rent car. I pulled the emergency brake again, put the car in neutral and went to find the policeman. I told him he would have to back out the car–I had paid my money and now I wanted something for it. He shook his head and walked away to find someone braver or dumber than he. Thankfully, he returned and the nice man ably backed up the car. We got in and I was so frazzled on the now steep incline that I popped the clutch and pealed out. This was only the beginning of the thrill ride, and I’ll spare you the details, but it was one wild day! Kathy sat speechless most of the way and when we got home, she quickly changed clothes and washed the ones she had been wearing. Carolyn asked to go by the hospital for a quick EKG.

It will be a day we will long remember.





  1. Roxanne Elmblad says:

    OH MY GOODNESS WAYNE! My blood pressure went up just reading this. I think that you left out some of the words Kathy must have been saying to you afterwards. Hopefully, you all went to “your” restaurant and had a few Sangrias or a nice bottle of wine. Glad you all are safe.

  2. Al & Eva Gerhardt says:

    I know it had to be a very awesome, beautiful trip with things that you will remember and laugh about for a long, long time. You made in reading for us that we were right there with you and just waiting for the every word to find out what was going to happen next. I think you now understand, as Eva and I did when we were in Spain, why they invented the automatic transmission. We are all so happy that God was driving for you all day. I hope on day that Eva and I will be able to go there. One of those bucket list items. Praise God for a safe return and needed bottle of Sangria.

    • wgraumann says:

      Thanks Al. They have few automatic transmissions available and it was over a 100Euros more to rent even the smallest car with one. We did not intend to drive up the Rock of Gibraltar, we were going to take a tour. It was all by accident

      • Al & Eva Gerhardt says:

        The lesson learned was he even keeps a close and safe eye over his spirtual leaders…you and kathy are so blessed by the Lord. Stay Safe.

  3. Craig says:

    Imagine how scary it would have been if you’d had no gas. 🙂

  4. Mary Cooper says:

    OMG! I was a passenger your mini van with Kathy in the front passenger seat….and I recall saying out loud that I was so glad I was saved! You are one brave lady Kathy! I bet you pack TP on the next trip!

  5. Lorna Weible says:

    I don’t even know what to say! Sangrias and prayer are the only things that would work for me! So happy you are all safe.

  6. Bonnie Finstad says:

    Maybe no more “cream” in your coffee until your home safe!! But after this day a big sangria is needed!! Your pictures are beautiful!!

    • wgraumann says:

      Bonnie, it was a great day, however, when we got home, we were starved. The harrowing trip did not include a stop at a restaurant–not that I saw any up there.

  7. Elaine Kieschnick says:

    OK, if I were Kathy, back to Tomball, NOW!

  8. Donna Orrico says:

    That is hilarious!!! I can visually see this! I really enjoyed reading 🙂

  9. Jr & Ola Mae says:

    So glad you make it back safe! Poor Kathy & Carolyn, bet they don’t ride with you anytime soon!

  10. Lara Aston says:

    Hilarious! Everytime I see one of your blog entries pop up in my email inbox, I know I am in for some laughs! I am so glad you are safe! I bet Kathy drives next time. 🙂

  11. I almost died just reading this. Gotta love those standard transmissions!

  12. Nancy McCollum says:

    That might have been just a little TOO thrilling for me. And I thought the “Road to Hana” was scary–your ride topped that one by far! Praise God for your safety and Kathy’s sanity (or is too late for that?).

    • Melisa Standly says:

      I think that is our favorite post so far….what a ride! I cannot imagine what you must have been thinking when faced with the decision of “how do we get back home?”….definitely time for sangria…tapas and some more of your famous creamer!

    • wgraumann says:

      Oh Nancy, it was TOO thrilling for all of us, however, now that it is accomplished, we would not trade it for something more tranquil.

  13. Mario Garza says:

    I’m glad you weren’t in Spain for that! Not the way you want to find personal meaning to PLUS ULTRA! 🙂

  14. Anita Treichel says:

    Reading this gave me a stomach ache just visualizing it. I wouldn’t have made it, if I would have been Kathy.

  15. Debbie Linfield says:

    I am sitting here in my office at my desk laughing out loud, literally. 🙂 🙂 Glad you’re having fun! Well, you are, aren’t you???

  16. Greta says:

    I remember dad taking us on traumatizing car rides through the mountains as a child. I can only imagine what this ride was like.

  17. Al & Eva Gerhardt says:

    Where were you in the second photo with the bright light behind you and what type of vehicle were you sitting on when kathy took your picture.

    • wgraumann says:

      Al, we were in The Great Siege Tunnels dug/built mainly by the British, to keep the Rock from falling back into Spanish possession by arming them with cannon–I was leaning on an old cannon pointing through an escarpment cut through the wall of the tunnel. They were expanded in the World Wars to keep the Mediterranean Sea lanes open for the Allies since the Straits are quite narrow here and powerful cannon were quite good at enforcing British and Allied control of the sea passage through the straight connecting the Mediterranean with the Atlantic.

  18. Rachel Little says:

    Thank you for the laugh. We spent time on the California coast road, roads inYosemite and Crater Lake NP last summer. Even though we were in an automatic and had two lanes, I held onto my door because Cray took those roads like a race car driver. I did not want to go up any more mountains on that trip. I could feel the fear in each turn you drove. I am so glad you were not texting and driving!

    • wgraumann says:

      Cray drives a Corvette–I had a 4 cylinder manual little French car. No wonder he drives fast around curves; just like the commercials on TV. I must admit Rachel, that I did have a little healthy fear myself while driving.

  19. OH MY< I do not like heights, you are braver than I would be, I used to hate driving the Black Hills with Dennis Kunz because he would go so fast and always be talking or looking in the back seat if he was talking to someone back there. He scared me to death and a few others too. Glad you made it safe and what a wonderful story to be alive to tell. So glad we can share this with you. Love you both.

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