Wednesday, February 1, 2017

I've Got to Go

Little Rhody to Old Virginny Google Maps
Back in the day, The Missus Herself and Your Humble Scribe were known to set out upon the highways and byways of this great nation and travel down to where one or more of the progeny were performing duties in pursuance of their careers as officers in the Naval Service. At least once a year for half a decade or so.

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 black shoes Professional Surface Warfare Officers, or SWOs, whilst the youngest was (and still is for the nonce) a Naval Flight Officer, or NFO.

(Source)
To get to the point of this story (without drifting into touchy-feely Alan Aldaesque man of the eighties type prose - yes taminator, I saw that...ICSFTH), as the opening map indicates - that's a fair piece of a drive. That 9 hours and 40-something minutes is rather optimistic in my book, though The Naviguesser claims to have done it in eight hours, suffice to say, the drive takes some time. (For a SWO the lad certainly has a "need for speed." He actually races cars on the weekends. He's got some fighter pilot in him, oh-yes-he-does.)

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.

56 comments:

  1. I know the feeling......................
    My girls were the culprit at one time................

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  2. Get to the point Alda! No, no, no. Today was a tale of manly stuff. Drinking coffee, smoking and whizzing.............

    As to having to make frequent rest stops: There is a new "reality" show called "Hunted" and no I don't watch it. I loathe reality TV. The premise is that the contestants try to evade highly trained people for 28 days to win $250,000. I told the lovely missus that I wouldn't mind trying it, but I'm more of a lone wolf and the show has teams of two. She joked that I could take her with me. I replied that all the trackers would have to do is wait at the nearest gas station that had a rest room if I took her along. She burst out laughing and gave me a "Gibb's slap" (TV reference) on the back of the head........

    I noticed on your map that you would be taking I95 on your route. Every time I see I95 the "I95 Song" pops into my head. Back in the day when I made a yearly trek to New Brunswick, Canada with some friends for bear hunting we would play it on the cassette, yes ancient times, as soon as we would get on I95N. Not for delicate sensibilities:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IU_y9FB0QKk

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    1. Hahaha! Love the I95 Song.

      I don't watch much network television these days, damn commercials, but I've seen the ads for Hunted. I'm not a fan of "reality" (anything but) shows but that one seems like a hoot. I wonder what they mean by "highly trained"?

      And I get the whole "Gibb slap" thing. I stopped watching when Ziva left, now that DiNozzo's gone I doubt I'll ever go back. (They damned near lost me when they killed Kate!)

      Am I strange for picturing this when I see the words "bear hunting" in a sentence?

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    2. Am I strange for picturing this when I see the words "bear hunting" in a sentence? Why yes, yes you are. The USAF and your military buddies have given you a warped mind. That would have been a great trophy for me to bring home, though I don't imaging that they taste very good...............

      Kate will always be my favorite. They need to bring her back in another of the unending spin offs. "Zombie NCIS ?".............

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    3. Hahaha!

      (Bear Foxtrots taste okay if you dump enough hot sauce on 'em.)

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    4. That was exactly the picture I thought of when I read "bear hunting".

      Yes, Hot Sauce makes them tasty, but they've got to be cooked with a couple of Aim-7s first to tenderize them.

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    5. I always forget to tenderize first...

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    6. Really liked Kate, also, but then I found out the actress left because the exhausting filming schedule was wearing on her. So, yeah, hate finding out the reality behind my fantasy.

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    7. Andrew, Andrew, Andrew. Fantasies about Kate? Is your surname DiNozzo?

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    8. Yeah Andrew, I read that too. But damn, they didn't have to kill off her character. That irked me.

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    9. Hey taminator, I think we all have a little DiNozzo inside of us.

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    10. Well, she certainly quashed the DiNozzo effect in Rizzoli and Isles.

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  3. Note to self.... when Sarge comes down to visit and we go out to visit Big Bend. Take US 90- less traffic. Same number of roadside restrooms (0).Less traffic so less visibility when Sarge is taking a leak on a Cactus. Coordinate with Border Patrol to make sure they know a Rhode Island accent is not the same as a south of the border accent. We'll be good to go at that point.

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    1. Good plan Juvat. FWIW, what little accent I have is a mixture of Vermont and all of the other places I've lived: various overseas bases (is that an Air Force accent?) plus Colorado, Texas, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, and perhaps a dash of Rhode Island with a wee bit of Massachusetts, maybe (my mom went to high school in the Commonwealth). For instance, I know what they mean when they say "cabinet," and it ain't what you think.

      Or I could go to a surplus store and get a piddle pack. (Hhmm, I doubt either missus would sanction that idea.)

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    2. Piddle packs was my backup plan. Just in case.

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    3. Hahaha!

      Always good to have a backup plan.

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    4. I would've thought the WSO could keep you stocked in piddle packs.

      Wouldn't that make you a WizzO?

      (Don't forget to tip your waitress, folks!)

      Bruce Jones

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    5. Hahaha! Good one Bruce!

      I am The WizzO! (The wonderful WizzO of Oz. Because, because, because, because... I'll stop now.)

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    6. As Juvat well knows, OAFS, once west of Castroville all of US 90 is bi-urinal as one can "stop" on either side of the road. Probably not a good idea in the city limits of Uvalde or Hondo but the little cowboy bars in Sabinal and D'Hanis have probably been the catalyst for worse. I'd guess that Juvat's truck is high enough as to mask one's self from traffic as long as the correct side is chosen (if you "stop" and the Texas DPS trooper blows his horn at you, you've probably chosen the wrong side). regards, Alemaster

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    7. Listen for the sound of a horn...

      Got it!

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    8. I'd completely forgotten those towns. Comparatively low threat I guess. Ticketed in Honda for doing 75 in a 45 in an old Vegs that would be uncontrollable above 50. Driving said speedster through Uvalde wasn't much better. Not a very Air Force friendly stretch of highway that one.

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    9. I guess a map exercise is in order.

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  4. The Navy has not attacked the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel in many years, you should be safe, and the Route 13 trip has lots of opportunity for rest stops.
    And you avoid Washington.
    When I retired from Uncle the second time, we treated ourselves to a long leisurely road trip from Philly to the southern tip of Florida and back home. Various stops along the way, including staying at the Shades of Green, an airboat ride in the Everglades, and going from Key West to the Dry Tortugas National Park via boat.
    Travel note. There is no good time to go around DC. If/when pulled over look up at the officer and in reply to his question of how are you doing? Tell him truthfully, "I am an idiot, what was I thinking when I chose to drive around DC on the Beltway, I knew better, the GPS has been saying recalculate for the last thirty minutes and I still don't know exactly where I am or where I am supposed to go! I'm sorry for being an idiot." The officer literally laughed out loud and advised me to slow down a bit, then he walked away laughing.
    If you need a layover in Philly, let me know.

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    1. I seldom need to confess to being an idiot. (It's often readily apparent.) But that's good to know. I'm ever ready to cooperate with law enforcement.

      Though I have visited D.C. and the surrounding area many times I have yet to actually drive in that area. My daughter is very good at navigating that terrain, living and working there she had to learn. Traffic in D.C. goes well beyond "interesting." Every time I visit I am always amazed that there aren't wrecked vehicles everywhere.

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  5. Luckily, my 12 year old pup, has that problem, has to get out hourly, otherwise I'd be blamed.

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    1. Oh that's cold James, blaming the pup. (But whatever works, right?)

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  6. That distance reminds me of two similar treks from here.
    One, north to the Seattle area, through (cringe) Portlandia.
    The other, south to Sandy Eggo, through Sacramento (ugh), Stockton (meh), and, (aw crap) LA.
    I am just glad that it bypasses the Bay Area.

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    1. I have done that "aw crap" journey. It was ever a challenge.

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  7. I suffer a similar condition, perhaps not as bad, but I do understand. The other night before bed I did my bidness, then brushed my teeth and realized I had to go again...what the heck? Of course my wife, Sherlock Holmes, picked up on the double flush. I don't get away with anything I tell ya.

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    1. Hahaha!

      Sadly, I've been there, done that.

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  8. Hmm. Wonder if you could deliver coffee and piddle services to drivers in need, via drone. All the articles about aerial refueling lately, bet you could do it. Just don't get the coffee hose mixed up with the other one.

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    1. Color coded hoses perhaps, perhaps a probe/drogue kind of thing, like KC-10s have.

      Drogue is for piddle, probe is for coffee?

      I like the idea, would need a pretty fast drone. Perhaps you could have different levels of service. At the lowest level it's coffee and piddle services, at higher levels you'd have the option to fire Hellfire missiles at select targets. (Like that guy doing 50 in the left lane...)

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    2. I don't know, the last time I was in the DC area, I'm thinking any drone would be faster than traffic.
      I've mentioned my desire to have a 20mm Vulcan cannon installed on the roof of my truck. Many different stages of warning. 1) Pointing 2) Pointing and spinning the barrels up to speed 3) Firing a short burst across the bow 4) Firing a long burst across the bow 5) Firing at the non lethal parts of the car 6) Firing to disable the vehicle 7) Firing to cleanse the gene pool and finally 8) Firing to clear a path to escape the approaching zombies.

      None of which are as effective using a Hellfire.

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    3. The 20mm is a tad bit overkill as pretty much there isn't a non-lethal portion of a car to that round (hmm, that may have just invalidated my whole commment.) Not to mention the recoil on top of your car might cause a bit of 3-axis fun (as my dad used to say.) Then there's the whole expense per round and limited resupply from forward bases and there you go. I even have some manual somewhere that says it is contra-indicated for that application.

      A nice 7.62 for ground attack against soft skinned vehicles and personnel is much more indicated. Reduced recoil, less cost per round (and you can load up at any Wallyworld or BassPro, as long as you have a linker/loader) and you can still have most all the fun of the 20mm. Still effective against larger truck-type opponents if loaded with a mix of all the good types of rounds, and with suitable application of the trigger finger.

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    4. The problem with shooting up the slow car in the fast lane is that it then becomes the stopped-car-in-the-fast-lane, or the scattered-all-over-the-road-not-moving car. Or, as my dad said to me: in aerial combat your kill drops out of the way, but on the ground it'll just sit there. He always has a pragmatic answer.

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    5. Andrew, good point on the selection of caliber. Cost could and availability are always issues.

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    6. Yeah a bear, somehow nail them on a right turn in the road so they continue straight and not become a hazard to navigation. Or perhaps some sort of particle beam weapon that would vaporize the target.

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    7. Heh, sci-fi beam weapons. I'm not sure I want to be anywhere near the target area of something that converts a ton-and-a-bit of metal into vapor instantaneously. Since I'm a little leery of solids that suddenly convert to gases.

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    8. And it's back to the drawing board...

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    9. A squadron of drones with suction cups! Just lift that sucker out of the way!

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    10. Brilliant!

      Will the drones also provide coffee/piddle services? I'm seeing a whole slew of benefits here.

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    11. They'd better. Not sure what effect SUDDENLY BECOMING AIRBORNE would have on the average person's bladder, but it can't be good.

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    12. The drones could also pick up and deliver laundry. This gets better and better!

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  9. Consider yourself lucky, I've been stuck in traffic for SIX @#$^% hours trying to get back from Norfolk to DC after a meeting...

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    1. Norfolk to D.C.? Been there, done that. Will endeavor not to do it again.

      Good luck Cajun, you'll need it.

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  10. Speaking of idiots and wee, I have an amusing tale about preflight coffee, A tango-uniform pi, er, relief tube, inability to fess up to a urine transfer problem, and a two hour training hop that went 7.5 when a dedicated search came up. Have to see if I can write that one up.

    Bit of trivial trivia, didja know that NASO sign and the main gate used to be on down the road a piece, on the other side of the clinic? ISYN!

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    1. Oh yes, that story must be told!

      As to the sign and the gate, I had no ideer.

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  11. The above post and comments are rated PG-13.

    Paul L. Quandt

    P.S. Late to the ball once again.

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  12. Looking at your map realized I made that trip in a Cessna 170. Part of the flight bag gear was an item from Sporty's Pilot Shop called a "Range Extender". Just and idea for you.

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    1. Range extender...

      A great and noble idea. (I must get one!)

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  13. In to the volume of output, well, not speaking from personal experience (cough, cough) there could be a lack of, er, mucus in the linings of the pipes that then causes the drain to enter into an auto-shutdown stage before the tank is properly emptied. A visit to the proper mechanic and the use of an exploratory camera will help clean that up (and from SOME OTHER person's personal experience (cough, cough) the volume and pitch of the vocal emanations of the person being scoped will sonically cleanse the storage tank of any blockage. Just saying. Didn't happen to me, no, nope, uh-huh.)

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    1. I'll defer to the corpsman on that.

      Oh yeah, ouch!

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)