Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Road Trip

Last week I set off by car for the Indy Blogmeet. I made the trip over a three-day period, allowing for stops in Dayton, for the U.S. Air Force Museum and in Fairfield, Ohio for Jungle Jim's Food Emporium. I arrived in Indy Friday afternoon.

Along the way I saw a woman driving this car.
Perhaps her husband is a urologist.

The Air Force Museum was amazing. It is located at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, and many of the planes on display were “flown in”, i.e. the actual plane on display was flown to the base, prepped, and then towed into place in the museum.

Some of the highlights:

A Messerschmidt ME-262 jet fighter and a cutaway engine.

A rocket-powered “Comet” interceptor.

B-52 bomber. Unbelievable large; within its turning radius were parked at least a dozen smaller planes, and even then it looked to me as if the last 10-20 feet of each wing had been “trimmed off” to fit it into the hangar. The landing gear were especially impressive.

P-51 Mustang

Nose art on WWII combat planes. Pretty funny!

“Bock's Car”, the plane that fired the last shot of the Second World War, obliterating Nagasaki.

A-10 “Warthog” tank killer and its extraordinary main weapon, the 30-mm gatling gun.

AC-130 “Spectre” gunship “Azrael”. Fresh from Afghanistan. Damn! Can you imagine firing a howitzer from an airplane?! Some of the pilots were women, and they took advantage of the Taliban's primitive views of women by speaking over the radio (they knew the other side was listening) as they flew overhead, and freaking out the enemy. “Azrael” is the angel of death from the Koran.

Double P-51: the F-82.


SR-71 Blackbird.

There was also an RAF Tornado fighter-bomber, MIG-25, B-1, B-2, Stealth F-117, WWII Night Fighters, P-51, P-39, and a rare “double P-51” - a pair of them connected at the wing.

F-22 Raptor.

The next day I was at Jungle Jim's Food World in Fairfield, Ohio. What a place! They had a walk-in cigar humidor, and the biggest display of exotic hot sauces on the planet.

No visit to Indianapolis is complete without a couple of hours spent wandering through Fry's Electronics, home of the world's largest motherboard petting zoo. I picked up some excellent DVDs for less than a sawbuck: “Thief” directed by Michael Mann, David Mamet's “Heist” with Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito and Delroy Lindo and “Absence of Malice” with Paul Newman. Also found a copy of “Our Man In Havana” with Alec Guinness, Noel Coward and Ernie Kovacs (!).

That night we saw “Public Enemies”, directed by Michael Mann with his usual impeccable attention to detail in the guns and shooting. Highly recommended. Thompsons, BARs, 1911s and even a full-auto 1903 in 38-Super wielded by Baby Face Nelson. Heard an interesting story. It seems that the son of the gunsmith who converted the 1903 pistol to full-auto was on a tour of the FBI headquarters in Washington, DC not long ago. When the staff heard who he was, they brought the gun up from the vault so that he could hold his father's handiwork; they still had it after all these years!

Tam and Roberta X keep the content coming, even in restaurants!

Sunday we arrived at the Eagle Creek range, only to find that it was closed to civilians for unscheduled police pistol qualifying. Sumpins gotta be done about that! But the urge to send rounds down range was strong with us, so we drove an hour to the Atterbury range. Tam brought a 1903 Browning in 38-auto and a Colt pocket pistol in honor of the Dillinger movie. I shoulda brought my Detective Special with the unshrouded ejector pin! Atterbury has the toughest safety procedures that I have ever seen at a range, but I will say that the facility itself is very impressive; it was completely rebuilt two years ago.

Roberta X firing the 1903 Browning.

Turk firing the 1903 Browning. Note the orange bracelets issued by the RSO.

And the Indy Blogmeet was the usual delight, with Roberta X, Tam, Shootin' Buddy, Joanna, Shermlock, Old Grouch, Nathan and Jerry. Missing were Ahab, Brigid, James, Og, Farmer Frank, RobD and Breda.

I made the trip from Indy to Alexandria in one long 12-hour drive. My 14-year-old Toyota Corolla purred like a kitten, no problemo!

To avoid traveling through Maryland, which does not recognize my Virginia permit, I found a route which passes through the thinnest part of the Maryland panhandle, which is only two miles wide at that point. And I fully intended to stop before entering Maryland and stow the gat legally, unloaded and triple-locked in the trunk. But the border is not marked and I blasted from West Virginia, through Maryland and into Pennsylvania without realizing it. This route adds an hour to the travel time, but it passes through the charming town of Berkeley Springs, WV which seems to have some intriguing independent restaurants. I had to pass 'em by, but if I pass through during mealtime, I am definitely going to stop.


D.W. Drang said...

Last time I was at Wright-Patterson ("Patman"?) the A10 was still parked outside, and I was several years from retiring from the Army. Being a ground-pounder, I was very happy to see the grunt's friend, the Wart Hog...

I don't remember seeing an AC130 at the time, or a P61 Black Widow.

Then again, I'm pretty sure the exhibit about the Air Force's favorite sitting president--Ronnie still held office--was still current...

Turk Turon said...

Right you are, it's "Patterson". Thanks for catching that. "Wright-Patman" is the name of a credit union here in DC!

Roberta X said...

I'd rather put my money in the bank with Wright-Patterson!

...Eeee, I am so not photogenic!

An interesting roadtrip report -- the places you have been! The things you have seen!

(captcha: amesse. Geez, everybody's a critic).