XBRAD was not the only one who was Oscar Mike this week. Yours truly made the sojourn again this week to our Nation’s Capital, to help facilitate the Joint Staff J33 Level IV Exercise. A good event, some interesting discussion, none of which can be shared here.
But here are some random musings from the trip, compiled while working and driving with nobody to talk to. Except you folks.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the beach. Love the sea shore and miss it very much. But there is nothing more beautiful than driving up I-91 on a bright early Autumn afternoon, with the sun dancing on the mountains and rivers of the Green Mountain State, with the leaves into their turn and splashes of the most amazing and vivid colors imaginable.
I took I-87 to I-84, through Newburgh, NY, into Connecticut. Eastern NY State is also stunningly beautiful, with the colors there beginning to pop. That part of the state also is evocative of great age. I dunno, maybe it was Washington Irving’s stories in school that I hearken back to. One has to wonder what the Dutch settlers of Fort Orange (present day Albany) and the surrounding Hudson Valley must have thought and felt when they arrived beginning in the 1620s into such a magnificent and seemingly limitless expanse of land. Their homeland in the Netherlands was marshy coastal plain, mostly pool-table flat, relatively heavily populated, webbed with slow-flowing rivers and streams. By the early 17th Century, Holland was nearly devoid of trees, as well. And here were the mountains, surrounding the great, wide, fast-flowing river, with other rivers nestled between the foothills of the Catskills, and the Adirondacks to the north of them. The plentiful game, the strange native peoples, and the lumber beyond their wildest dreams. Oak, maple, ash, pine, in abundance that dwarfed the entire of their known world.
It seems the improvements on the Jersey Turnpike, south of Exit 10 at Perth Amboy anyway, have improved things immensely, and will continue to. Traffic was heavy at times but always moved at a good clip. In days of yore, the Pike near Philly (Exit 6) could be at a standstill for hours on end. Has not been the last half-dozen times through, as new lanes have opened and interchange architecture is being completed. Oh, and I-84 is almost finished. It was the Semper Repairus Highway since I was a kid, but except for traffic in Waterbury, wasn’t bad at all.
All is Vanity:
Men, if you are going bald, embrace it, please. I have yet to see a toupée or a comb-over that cannot be positively identified with the naked eye at half a klick. Oh, and if you’re grey at 60, you are sposta be. At least have the good sense not to dye your hair shoe-polish black. One fella in the diner this morning was otherwise well-dressed, but with the ugliest rug you ever saw, black as the ace of spades, along with the rest of his hair. He was probably in his early 60s, and in decent shape, with a lovely, pretty wife. I cannot believe she told him “That looks GREAT, honey!”. Two booths behind him was a guy with about seven inches of comb-over. His part was about half an inch above his ear. C’mon, fellas.
A Note About American Cars:
Yesterday was the six month mark for my American girl. I have put 12,808 miles on her in those six months. My repair bill? $0. Zilch. Zip. Nada. By this time my German mistress had soaked me for an alternator, a power steering pump, an O2 sensor, and a window motor. And, in November, I would be treated to a blown engine.
On the way down to DC last week (for the Marine Corps Marathon STAFFEX), it seemed as if almost all the cars broken down on the side of the road were foreign cars. This, despite the persistent rumor that one cannot buy a reliable American car. So this time down and back, I counted. On the way down, there were 27 cars broken down (non-accident) on the side of the road. 22 of the 27 were foreign cars, or 81.5%. On the way back today, 24 of the 29 were foreign cars, almost 83%. Now I admit this is a pretty unscientific study, and a limited sample, but with a market share of almost 44%, the US cars seem to have fared better than foreign models.
If that sounds a bit anecdotal for you, keep in mind that my statistical sample is proportionately about nine times greater than that which the Global Warming scientists use for their projections….