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Extreme Housewives
April 21, 2008 11:39 AM   Subscribe

"On 5 May 1958 the three women climbed into their long-wheelbase Land-Rover in London, and drove through ten countries in six weeks, then walked for 21 days to Padam, the capital of Zanskar, in the highest inhabited region in the world."
posted by SixteenTons (25 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Later, they fought a yeti.
posted by Naberius at 11:46 AM on April 21, 2008 [8 favorites]


If you tried that now, you'd end up dead under a bush in Turkey.
posted by Class Goat at 11:50 AM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is indescribably hot.
posted by Pecinpah at 11:52 AM on April 21, 2008


Pics or it didn't ha……Wow.
posted by cashman at 11:52 AM on April 21, 2008


Huh. I wonder why they never talked about it again. If I go to the grocery store with an ingrown toenail everyone hears about that for months. Oh, the agony. Let me tell you about it...
posted by GuyZero at 11:55 AM on April 21, 2008


Okay, I had to do the yeti thing, but seriously, great post. I think I'm in love.
posted by Naberius at 12:00 PM on April 21, 2008


Padum is pretty remote to this day (and just as anti-climactic as they describe.) Really cool area though.
posted by msalt at 12:12 PM on April 21, 2008


Great find!

You'd be surprised about what your mom accomplished. She didn't always just bake cookies.

I was going through some old pictures of my family from late 1940's and early 1950's and there is my mom in a sheriffs deputy uniform. Gun on her hip and everything.

"What's this?!"

"Oh. Honey. While your father was in college I took a job as a Caribou County deputy for a few years... for some extra money."

Then I find a marksman qualification certificate and some awards.

May dad, former Green Beret 3 tour 'Nam vet, says "Yeah she is one helluva shot with a pistol. Better than me."

Then I see photos of her in a forest-fire look out. Looking simultaneously Grace Kelly exquisite and rugged.

"Oh. That. Before we got stationed in Alaska your father and I were poor as church mice so we lived in a Forest Service fire look out for a year and we spotted fires.... your father smoke jumped that summer... and I shot problem bears, poor little dears."

Then I came across one of her in a jeep. She has a handkerchief tied around her hair and she is holding an M-1 carbine and smoking a cigarette. I recognize the terrain from other pictures I has seen. It was when they were stationed in Vietnam in the early sixties while my dad was an adviser.

"That was around the day the VC mortared the movie theater. We had to stay home. We made you! My little baby."

MOM!
posted by tkchrist at 12:16 PM on April 21, 2008 [21 favorites]


Father says, Your mother's right, she's really up on things
Before we married, Mommy served in the WACS in the Philippines
Now I had heard the WACS recruited old maids for the war
But Mommy isn't one of those, I've known her all these years

posted by Spatch at 12:18 PM on April 21, 2008


Cool story, tkchrist. Now that I'm dating an theater director/AD/actress, I found out that my mom acted in the Oregon Shakespearean Festival as a teenager. And founder Angus Bowmer taught her to kiss, since she was "doing it all wrong" on stage (as Jessica in Merchant of Venice).

Since my mom is a very matter-of-fact attorney, this was definitely a surprise.
posted by msalt at 12:31 PM on April 21, 2008


In the article it claimed that the expedition cost £1100 (it isn't clear from context if that includes the cost of the £500 Land Rover and the donated materials or not). According to this historical currency converter I found via google, that is about $34,100 in current USD. That's a figure that brings the trip into line with what you would expect to pay now to take that kind of trip (although good luck getting a new Land Rover for that cheap).
posted by Forktine at 12:32 PM on April 21, 2008


I trekked through a valley in Zanskar in '91 or '92, just a few years after it opened up to trekking (I'm told). Before that, it was mostly anthropologists in there. The kids used to follow me around shouting "Bobo! Bobo!" This was amusing, also vaguely disconcerting. Finally I realized that the anthropologists who had been through were mostly French. The kids were shouting "bonbons!" I had been stiffing hopeful youngsters for 30 miles.
posted by haricotvert at 12:35 PM on April 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


Here are some pics of the area
posted by adamvasco at 1:18 PM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Great story—thanks for the post!
posted by languagehat at 1:26 PM on April 21, 2008


Since my mom is a very matter-of-fact attorney, this was definitely a surprise.

Good one.

Sometimes you shouldn't ask. My friend Mike was going through his old college stuff he had kept at his parents and he found an old stack of black and white photos that were clearly not his as they were from before he was born. But they were so cool he took them home to look through them. I was at his place when we started to look at them. And there were the amazing sultry shots of this Betty Page looking woman in what were obviously posed and professionally lit portraits - very well done - then some were topless but not full on slightly kinky. It took us a minute or two before we realized it was his mom. And she was super hot. He snatched them out of my hand with out a word and put them back in the shoe box and later them back to his folks house with out a word about it.

A few months later I asked him he found out about the photos. he just looked at me and said "What photos?" I started to say and he just yelled "I SAID 'WHAT PHOTOS!'" So I dropped it.
posted by tkchrist at 1:27 PM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Good find. Thanks.
posted by Rafaelloello at 1:50 PM on April 21, 2008


... that's where my field area is. I guess I'm not sure what else to say except, 'Wow.' Impressive, ladies, impressive.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 1:55 PM on April 21, 2008


I do think this is funny, though:

Women had reached the Himalayas before - in 1955, when three seasoned Scottish climbers scaled its peaks. But no women had ventured into Zanskar (this hastily hatched plan was Lester's), certainly not housewives...

Right. 'Cause, y'know, there are no women in India. At least, not in the mountains.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 1:59 PM on April 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


Damn! I gotta find something to do that's so incredibly cool that my kids won't believe it was me in the photos and videos when they find them while rooting through the attic some time in 2020.
posted by WalterMitty at 2:50 PM on April 21, 2008


great post.

don't miss the video: Himalayan adventure
posted by sineater at 3:19 PM on April 21, 2008


The post was great but... tkchrist's mom fpp please, stat.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:38 PM on April 21, 2008


Thanks for an inspiring post. What a story!
posted by Soda-Da at 8:20 PM on April 21, 2008


Good for them, that's not an easy trip, even these days. Looks like they had a great time!
posted by carter at 4:20 AM on April 22, 2008


The Land Rover in question was not one of the obese Range Rovers or the Disco makeover LR3, but rather the older "Series" model ... from the photo of the link above, it appears to be the fore-runner of the D-110 trucks, the Defenders ... which is all but impossible to get here in the States, though they were once imported for a brief period of time in the 90's.

These are the truck that made Land Rover's reputation of rugged dependability. They were NOT luxurious by any means, so the expedition was certainly not traveling in "style" (well, maybe in a manner of speaking). Too bad we (the US market) insisted on spoiling things by asking them to become "luxury" vehicles that fed the SUV market.

Wikipedia has a decent overview of the vehicles ...
posted by aldus_manutius at 5:49 AM on April 22, 2008


Hey aldus, if you haven't already, you should check out the Gutenberg thread ...
posted by carter at 12:41 PM on April 22, 2008


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