The year was 1946, and WWII was finally over. America rejoiced. Meanwhile, eccentrics and collectors were eyeing all those surplus vehicles and gadgets the U.S. produced to win the fight against the Axis. With all those vehicles and no war, Army surplus sales unloaded the gear to private buyers. One of them was romance-minded engineer Ben Carlin, fresh out of military service.
So he did what any eccentric engineer would do: he snagged a 1942 Ford GPA, an amphibious vehicle that can drive on land and float on water, designed to be able to cross rivers. Carlin then told his wife Elinore they were going to be going on the honeymoon of a lifetime together, sailing across the ocean on this thing. It probably wasn't the cruise honeymoon his wife had in mind, but Carlin was more of an adventure honeymoon kind of guy. And honeymoon or not, he was a guy who took his adventures seriously.
For a little bit of background, the Ford GPA was basically considered a failure. Too clunky and slow to be effective on land and too heavy and low to make it on open water, pretty much everyone hated the Ford GPA. It got stuck in shallows. If seas were even a tiny bit choppy, it would take on water and have to be abandoned. But in despite of it all, Carlin had big plans, and he was deterined to take his ridiculous honeymoon craft on an epic sea journey.
Which is funny, because they designed this vehicle to begin with, and Carlin had improved upon it. But we digress. Cheekily naming his vessel the Half-Safe, Carlin took his wife's hand and set off in his new vessel...only to have to be rescued five days later, 40 miles out to sea. Carlin was deterined to give his wife the honeymoon he promised her, however, and after some modifications, they set off again.
Would he and his wife make their epic journey successfully, securing their names in the history books? No. In fact, they had to be rescued not one, not two, not three, but four more times after various things kept going horribly wrong. You'd think Carlin would give up at this point and his wife would leave him for a sane man. However, it's reported that Carlin's wife was the one who encouraged him to keep chasing this absurd dream.
With her love and encouragement as his new fuel, they set off again. And this time, shocking the world, they made a 32-day journey from Halifax, Nova Scotia, all the way to an island in the Azores. From there they sailed all the way past Morocco and into Europe, docking their vessel in Birmingham, England to fanfare from admirers and news reporters worldwide.
Raising money for the next round of upgrades by writing a book about his mission, Carlin's journey would continue for years on end. His wife bailed after a while and stayed in California, waiting for her husband to return. However, even Elinore's patience was limited. She finally divorced Ben, and hopefully found a husband who would focus on her instead of an insane and dangerous dream. Carlin became the only person to ever circumnavigate the globe in an amphibious vehicle, an honor he holds to this day.
As for his love life, he married a few others times, but none of them worked out. The guy was just too weird, and too obsessed with achieving new sailing feats, to keep a wife happy.
To each their own!