|Little Rhody to Old Virginny Google Maps|
The Naviguesser was home ported in Norfolk for a few years, followed by The Nuke, also home ported in Norfolk, and then followed by Her Preciousness, The WSO, who graced the premises of the Master Jet Base at Oceana. The latter being contained within the city limits of Virginia Beach and a comfortable distance from the piers at Naval Station Norfolk. For the eldest two of the clan were
As we liked to be on the road by a certain time (usually well before my preferred time to get up) so as to take advantage of the daylight hours as much as possible, I would normally have a cup of coffee upon awakening, then grab an ice coffee at the nearest Dunkin Donuts to our jump off point, and then any number of further coffees were purchased along the way in order to keep the Command Pilot (that would be me) awake and functioning.
Those of you who were perhaps confused by the use of the word "diurnal" in Sunday's post title (yes Juvat, I'm looking at you, and Florida Flyer stop grinning, you were fooled at first as well) you may rest assured that the word you initially thought I was using t'other day is closer to the subject of today's post than certain of you might be comfortable with. But we're speaking of a natural function and we're all adults here. Or precocious young 'uns at the very least. So get your popcorn.
Get to the point Alda! (Um, Sarge, yes, I meant Sarge.)
Now one might imagine that quaffing a certain amount of any beverage will eventually trigger a certain physiological response. And one would be correct. Number One isn't just what they call the XO in the Royal Navy. Or on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Sarge drinks coffee and eventually Sarge has got to go. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I must confess to having a very tiny bladder. Holds about a teaspoon I think, perhaps more. Number one has deep meaning for Yours Truly.
Alright, yes, I'm understating things here (not exaggerating, not by any [ahem] stretch of the imagination) somewhat. But I am kind of famous (infamous?) for having to "go" at what seem to be the most inopportune times. It all depends. (Rim shot please.)
Now on those long drives down to Old Virginny I do believe I am familiar with each and every rest stop, gas station, fast food restaurant, and every strategically placed shrub along the road and to either side of that road to the distance of perhaps a half mile along the entire route. (Don't ask, trust me, I measured it once. The distance you naughty person, what did you think I meant?)
The very first time we made the trip south, the progeny claim that it took 15 hours or more, because, and I quote...
"Dad had to stop and tinkle like every five frigging miles."No, no, no. The frequency, while higher than what I consider normal, was nowhere near that high. Believe me, though I've had days like that, that day wasn't one.
Another thing which led to the overly extensive amount of time en route was that I was a smoker in those days. Yes, yes, don't judge me, I quit back in '12, haven't touched the vile weed since, don't miss it at all, nevertheless I smoked. No one else did and as The Missus Herself (an ex-smoker herself I might add) had very strict "shoot on sight" rules against smoking dans la voiture, I had, of course, to stop the vehicle, step away from the non-smoking occupants of said vehicle, and light up to soothe the savage need for nicotine. (A habit I am oh-so-glad to be rid of.)
So that added to the time of the journey. What with stops to pee, have a smoke, and buy coffee (not all of which could be co-ordinated in such a way as to make them happen all at the same time), time was wasted by the side of the thoroughfare as opposed to time spent on the thoroughfare, actually putting miles behind us. While I enjoyed the luxurious, "I'm in no hurry" aspects of the trip, the others of the tribe weren't enjoying it nearly as much. I swear, every time the car decelerated, for whatever reason, someone would moan...
"Jesus Dad, again?"Sigh. Yes, my children. I must once again slow down in order to not impact the tail end of the vehicle immediately to my front. (Well, okay, sometimes it was a case of yes, again. I must go. We're number one and all that...)
Now The Nuke remembers the trip as "Oh my God, it took us 17 hours to drive to Norfolk." I, on the gripping hand, remember it as more like 13. That lengthy journey was not all my fault for we were in convoy. I was maintaining a sedate pace so that the other car, my wingman so to speak, could stay in position at my six. (No, we couldn't drive in echelon, Two had to be in trail, it's the nature of roads, them being narrower than the broad skies overhead.)
As I recall, The Nuke (as Command Pilot), The WSO, and The Naviguesser's old girlfriend (OGF) were in the trailing vehicle, The Missus Herself and Your Humble Scribe were in the lead vehicle. Fortunately this was in the early days of cell phones, of which I had none, otherwise I would no doubt have been bombarded with calls questioning my judgement, speed, and my apparent need to "water" every patch of land along I-95 south and then U.S. 13 down through Delaware, Maryland, and the Virginia Eastern Shore.
I do recall one later trip when we convoyed back north and Your Humble Scribe, scrambling to find a tanker as fuel was getting to be an issue, not an "Oh my God, we're in the middle of the Pacific" issue, but close to becoming a "What do you mean you need to call AAA?" issue. As I perused the passing signage for some indication of a gas station coming up, I missed the sign pointing us towards Delaware and found myself wandering into the Philadelphia ADIZ*. At that point my cell phone rang (buzzed, chirped, beeped, okay, it made a noise) and I answered it to hear The Naviguesser's voice...
"Uh Dad, where are you going?"
"Why I don't know son, truly I don't. Any suggestions?"Yes, The Missus Herself took over the comms at that point (no doubt muttering that I was an idiot) and let The Naviguesser know we were seeking a refueling point. He knew of one, directed us to take the next exit and voilà I could purchase fuel (pay a visit to the boy's room) and then we could turn around and get back on our desired route.
That trip only took eleven hours. Which is about the average time of travel, given normal stops for refueling (both vehicle and crew) in the days since that first trip. My personal best for that trip is ten hours. I was very proud of myself, though on the way into Providence I was in dire need of a pit stop. Tried to tough it out I did, tried to hold the line so to speak. But nearly found myself in need of a change of trousers. Fortunately I made it to the first fast food restaurant alongside the road in Little Rhody.
"Why are we stopping? We're almost home!" said the love of my life.
"I've got to go!" yelled I as I made my way at the speed of heat towards the men's room.
Made it just it time I did.
Yeah. I'm number one.
And no, the exclamation points on the map are not all the places I stopped to do my [ahem] bidness. (There are a couple missing...)
* ADIZ = Air Defense Identification Zone. No, Philadelphia doesn't actually have one of those.