Former Sailors? Old Sailors? Long-time Friends: Playing tourists (Part 1)

The year was 19…well, it was some time ago. Russ, Steve and Keith were roommates and attending the same Navy school in the wilds of the Adirondacks when we all met Betty who was also a student at the same school at the same time. As you know, Betty and Keith eventually married and we’ve more or less stayed in touch or maybe gotten back in touch. On a pretty regular basis, the four of us get together to play tourist and catch up. It’s a great time. While I’ll not share the details of the conversations, Happy-Tracks is going to offer you the chance to tag along as we play tourist right here in the DC and Baltimore areas.

We’ll start on Thursday. Steve arrives via airplane at BWI-Thurgood Marshall. We used the occasion to conduct a little test of Maryland’s newish InterCounty Connector toll road. The results are in. It takes about the same time to get from our house to/from BWI whether you take the toll road or Warfield Road to Clarksville. By the way, a similar comparison test showed about the same time to get to/from work whether using the toll ICC or the non-toll Beltway. Oh well.

As Steve’s plane arrived in early afternoon, we stopped for lunch. At his request, we stopped at ChickFilA in Germantown.

On to the house. Russ arrived and we had a traditional eastern Eurpoean meal of sausage, chops, mushrooms and potatoes served with homemade mead (honeywine) which had been brewed by Ryan. Good hearty meal with good friends. After dinner, we moved on to Cape Codders and the Championship of Uno. The evening passed with good conversations until the early hours.


Maryland to Arizona!

Welcome. This is the first post to this blog of our travels — even though I anticipate there will be posts with earlier dates as we consolidate our other posts and pictures in one spot.

So anyway, this is the beginning of our trip to see the Grand Canyon. All the research was done via internet, friends’ recommendations and especially the good folks over at

Through the assistance of online travel sites, we booked two seats on USAirways from BWI to Flagstaff. We procured six nights’ lodging at the Comfort Inn and rented a car from Alamo (a 2011 Dodge Avenger).

At BWI, an attempt to send a text message lead to the discovery that my cellphone (later diagnosed as a defective SIM card) had died. Our choice of aisle seating was not available so we both got a center seat, one on each side of the plane. On the bright side, we both got separate seatmates who contributed to the recommendations of what to see and do on the trip.

Our one firm goal was to see the Grand Canyon as Keith never had and Betty had not in a number of years.

Keith suffers (literally) from most air travel as the available space continues to contract. Theoretically, I supposed I should be able to bend my legs differently but the knee is the only joint between my ankle and hip. A great destination generally cures the problems soon enough.

Our flight from Baltimore to Phoenix was onboard an Airbus 319, standard 3 seats on each side. How anyone who has flown on one and still marvel at me in a submarine is a wonder. Submarines are MUCH roomier and more comfortable.

The flight from Phoenix to Flagstaff was a Havilland-8. Wings above the fuselage, 2 seats on either side of the aisle, total capacity about 40 and a big prop on each side. We walked across the tarmac (when’s the last time you did that?!) and up the steps which folded up into the plane so you could still see the steps inside. The props spun up and we sat and sat. Then the props spun to a stop and the stairs folded back to the ground. From inside the airport, two men came on board and asked for two passengers who de-planed and they closed the ladder and we were off again. The flight attendant explained that she had never heard of this happening but the two passengers had some discrepancy in the check against the “do not fly” list. It was apparently an issue with their birthdates matching something although they had flown to get to the airport on another USAirways flight. Does this make you feel secure?

Although it was dark, we would later discover that the wings over configuration made for great sight seeing. Relatively comfortable seating, too.

We arrived at our hotel around midnight (eastern). 9:00 local and asked for directions to an open eatery. The deskclerk suggested the local Denny’s and asked us to pick her up an order of fries to go. We walked to Denny’s, had dinner and brought back the fries, then headed for bedtime.

Picture is at Flagstaff Airport of Havilland-8