Notes from the Trip

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.

The Scenery:

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.

The Highways:

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….


Filed under history, Personal, Uncategorized

18 responses to “Notes from the Trip

  1. In a bit of coincidence, I was also traveling upon I-84, which is the highway between Portland and The Dalles, OR.


  2. I agree with you 100% on the hair. One of the guys at work dyed his own hair, so he missed places around his ears and in the back. Plus he didn’t use the gloves, so his hands were dyed as well. I made some crass comment, and he said, “I look a whole 15 minutes younger!”


  3. I had a 1990 Chevy heavy half 4X4 pickup that went 250,000 miles with only parts that wore out needing replacement.


  4. For awhile there, it was better to buy ferrin than domestic. I think you’ll find that most foreign cars are now built here and not offshore.

    We used to live in Middle Tennessee before SE Ohio and now WNC. I prefer the fall color here compared to the other places I’ve lived.

    I’m pretty much gray (salt and pepper) and losing hair on top. I have no intention of wearing a rug or even doing Grecian formula. There are probably treatments I could do to get the hair back (a lot of times it’s the shampoo you use that causes the hair loss), but I’m not that vain. I let my wife color her hair if she wants, but it would not bother me if she were grey. Women, OTOH, are allowed to do that stuff.

    You forgot the quotes around “scientists.” Please don’t put the rest of us in the same class with those dishonest morons.


  5. Friar Tuck is better than bald like Yul Brynner or Bruce Willis. Any hair cut is better than a guy with a ponytail.

    No brag, just a note: By the grace of God, my 1990 Toy 4×4 carried us safely for over 550,000 miles before losing compression on two cylinders. Maybe people are just getting the wrong import.


  6. David Navarre

    Aw, if I’d known, there would have been a bottle of single malt open.


  7. OCCD

    I couldn’t stand it when I looked in the mirror and discovered the “hole in my afro” as Fred Sanford put it. Wasn’t too crazy about the gray either, but no way I would ever dye my hair or wear a hair piece. I solved both problems by shaving it all off and growing my fu manchu. I love it.


  8. KenW

    Well, next time you travel the NJ turnpike, get off at the Alexander Hamilton rest area (northbound, in the Secaucus area). There’s a little memorial and plaque to John Basilone, an NJ native. It’s nothing special, really, but I was surprised when I saw it. I was also a little surprised to learn he was a Jersey guy.


    • ultimaratioregis

      There sure is. Have visited it often over the years. One thing I have consistently noticed is that retired and current Jarheads are always gathered in little groups around it, reading it and talking about the legend of “Manila John” Basilone.


  9. Now I know why my Sunflower’ person is so attached to you;-) snoocks2