I had enough time working at the fire dept to draw a small pension when I turned 55. Being 41 at that time something kept telling me to go and do something else with the rest of my life...
My wife was an RN but not working so she could raise the kids so I knew she could go back to work if my ventures went bad.
I want to build a nice,big go-cart track. WHAT, say that again. There aren't any go-cart tracks around here, how do you know you could make any money was my kids questions and answers, except for my boy, it was OH BOY.
Working for the city fire dept was , back then, a very low paying job but because of the hours worked, 24 on and 24 off let one if he wanted to, have a part time job, which I had, so actually I wasn't going out in to the world cold turkey so to speak. My part time job was selling Mac Tools out of a step van...This was also a fun job for I knew my products and enjoyed being around people who used hand tools....
Pictures of the track I might not can find for back then pictures wasn't a concern. The track and buildings took three years to build. The only professionals I used was to pour the cement and smooth it on the track its self. I put up all the forms. I poured and smoothed all the sidewalks Building the buildings and everything on the property was a new experience to me so I would go to the library and check out all the books I could find for what was coming up in the next few days of work.... I put in the septic system, did all the plumbing, electrical and all the sidewalks but I did trade out wiring the overhead lights over the track on the tall poles which I put in, I traded go- cart tickets for two guys labor for the track lights. This was before I decided to get the know how books from the library. The land was almost 2 miles past the city limits so I needed no permits except for the septic system. I called the inspectors before I started and they said come get some instructions and go from there.
After I closed the track at 11 each night I would closed the gates and leave the lights on so I could go into the area where I was planning to put the golf course and using strings and 2x4's I would lay out some thoughts on the ground then the next few days think over why was that good or what problems I would have with each hole . Most all my holes were multi holes. The only time we worked on the golf course during the day was on Mondays when the track was closed. The first 8 years the track was open 7 days a week. And most all those years I was plotting a golf course..
I realized right quick having a bunch of high school boys working for you was not good without some supervision for they would let their buddies kill each other on the track if I would have let them.
I added lots of things a normal mini golf would not have. Like in this pond in the picture. You can see a green on the other side. You putt in to a hole and then the ball goes down in to a cave which was under the waterfall to finish putting in the cup under the falls then come out from under the waterfall on this side of the pond.. I had added a 4x4 foot hole so they could see the waterfall from the inside the cave. Something I didn't plan on. On windy days the wind would blow water through the hole onto the carpet and get it dirty. So I installed some plexiglas over the hole and that solved that, just a little extra work. Number 3 green you laid down your putter and picked up a chipping iron and had to chip over a river to get to the hole. I built rivers and waterfalls everywhere. People would tell me there were more trees and flowers on our four acres than all of Odessa combined. So I went and looked myself and sure nuff, There are four trees in Odessa. kinda.
My sweet wife drove the tool truck for a couple years while I was building the golf course. She was better at sales than I and especially she could make those guys pay their bills where I would let them slide for a while. She said some would go in to the bathroom to wait until she had gone to come out again. She would knock on the door and say I am not leaving until I get some money.
It took me 8 years to finish the golf course and about 6 years was changing my lay out of each nightly chore all the while doing lots of what if's. I had to replace a bunch of 2x4's making some of the greens cause they had rotted from ground contact. We had some remote control boats on a big pond with lots of shrubbery and women really bragged about the beauty we had created. Beauty yes but at a lot of extra labor. We finally got to putting name plates on most of the stuff because people could see things in the nursery and our stuff had grown larger with more flowers and things so it made our stuff more attractive, so they told us.
My thoughts were if I make mom and dad happy with our surroundings they would for sure bring the kids more often.
Running the go-carts while I was building the golf course I actually paid for everything as I built...No debt when finished
I also built a kiddy track for the small kids who were too young to ride the big go carts . It only had two coin operated animals that they had to drive by them selves on a 40 foot circle. I never saw either machine sitting idle.
My age limit to ride the carts was 9 years old but first they had to ride in front of mom or dad to show me and and the parents they were mentally old enough for them to handle the stopping and turning and this would make the parents feel more at ease....
You can't believe how many parents would lie and tell me the kid was nine just to get them to ride. Some dads thought their kids were smarter than a normal 9 year old. It took us a couple of years to come up with the age of 9. Most but not all could start to concentrate at that age, but not all. I would ask a kid how old he was before he got in the go-cart, nine was always the answer. Then as he was sitting there ready to go I would ask them what grade they were in. They had not learned to lie that good and would tell their actual grade which they would say 2nd or 3rd. If they were 9 years old and only in the 2nd or 3rd grade their minds was not ready for go-carts...
Maybe I can find this post so I can continue later. Sometimes all it takes is guts to do something different with your life.
I might can convince someone it isn't that bad even it you don't come out with a good ending, at least you were brave enough to try.