Lee Groves

Travelin’ Man: Santa Ynez, Part I


For the first 40 years of my life, my “on the road” experiences were largely limited to the annual trips to the International Boxing Hall of Fame’s Induction Weekend. Airports, much less plane rides, were a foreign experience to me. During that time the closest I ever came to entering an airport was when I drove former lightweight contender Johnny Lira to the Syracuse airport late one night during an IBHOF stay because he had to fly back to Chicago to tend to an emergency.

All that changed in 2007 when I joined CompuBox full time. Over the next two years my travel schedule was nothing short of insane. During the first year I often “worked the keys” at ringside twice a week and from time to time I jetted to both coasts. In all, I visited 32 states plus Canada, Germany and the Bahamas and I experienced more than my share of strange incidents.

There was the time my rental car’s battery died the morning after a show in Salamanca, N.Y. – and just a few hours before I had to catch a plane home. Then there was the nightmare of driving through New York City’s morning “rush hour” while desperately lost (a faulty GPS setting choice on my part was the culprit). I’ve been splashed by blood, drenched by torrential rain and suffered through extreme sleep deprivation along the way. The sleeplessness came about because a diverse set of travel troubles combined with other surrounding issues forced me to stay awake 62 consecutive hours during my first trip to Key West in 2007. The stresses of that trip caused a subsequent outbreak of shingles, which, thankfully, have never returned.

But for all my problems I also was graced with countless blessings. I visited places I otherwise never would have and met people to which I’d never have access under ordinary circumstances.

All the adventures – and all the foibles — were presented in my MaxBoxing.com series “The Travelin’ Man Chronicles,” which proved popular during its two-year run. Thanks to my once and present editor Doug Fischer the next group of stories is now running on RingTV.com.

Last month I resumed my travels just after the turn of this year following a two-year hiatus as I worked a Showtime telecast as part of the CompuBox team in Indio, California. February’s slate would be even more hectic as I was scheduled to work ShoBox cards in Santa Ynez, California and Las Vegas on back-to-back weeks. Will the old travel demons strike again or will I experience the biggest surprise of all – smooth sailing? Read on to find out what happened during the Santa Ynez trip in the first of what will be two installments.

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