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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Headin' South

     Today was day two of our four day jaunt south from Brookline, NH to Hanahan, SC.  We travelled from Pine Grove, PA to Monroe, VA.  We did so the hard way, or the pretty way if you prefer.  We did the northern 45 miles of the Skyline Drive, bailed out and went to I-81S for 80 miles or so, then did a dozen miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We could have made almost the whole day on those two roads, but at 35 mph we would have eaten late.  As it was, we got into the KOA at 1800.
     The scenery was long distance views of the Shenandoah Valley with blue, hazy mountains in the distance.  Quaint villages occupied the low points.  Here's an example:

     Here's one that shows the bus to prove we were there.  This, by the way, is the Gimlet Ridge Overlook.  Durelle wanted me to get a picture of the sign for my roommate, Dick Daniel...a gimlet drinker, but I didn't want to walk back to get it.

     Today, while on I-81S, I got a phone call from Buck Braun.  It was a cell phone call from Homer, Alaska.  When I reported to Alaska in the radar maintenance business in 1963, I was a 24 year old Lt.  My NCOIC was Chief Master Sergeant Laverne A. (Buck) Braun.  He was 35.  In one of those wonderful inversions he mentored his boss.  I called him "Buck".  He called me Lt Cloutier.  Our respect was mutual.  I left Alaska in '66 and have not heard from him since.  I made a couple of unsuccessful attempts over the years.  Today he reached me while we were on I-81.  He's 86 but sounds like yesterday.  What a great afternoon!
     The views sometimes extended a hundred miles or more, but the mountains (hills) were rounded, green in the foreground and blue in the distance.  To traverse the two parkways in a motorhome would require shifting the big rig into 3rd (out of 6th) and driving up and down left and right switchbacks for well over a hundred miles.  It could be done, but it seemed not to be worth the effort.
     Tomorrow it will be the D-Day Memorial and a visit with my cousin, Anika (aka Nikki).
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