That being said, with 18 being the minimum age of most enlisting in the Navy, this means the minimum age of these inductees is 68 years old. This club is a prestige sect of the Naval submariner. Essentially, submariners make up approximately 2% of the U.S. Navy. My Jack is not a submariner, but an associate member of the submarine veterans club. He qualified for this status because he was stationed at the Submarine Base here in Groton, CT as support personnel, before going to Vietnam. He volunteered to shuttle the inductees from the designated parking area to the Submarine Veterans Club, where the ceremony was to be held.
I was off to a Patriot Guard Mission in Westbrook, CT (http://www.westbrookct.us/).
The location is approximately 30 miles one way. First, I was heading to the primary staging in Old Saybrook, Connecticut which was 22 miles one way. I planned on travelling primarily on I-95, heading south. As I proceeded, the on ramp to I-95 is very close to my house. The on ramp is a left hand on ramp, versus the typical right hand on ramp. This means your speed needs to be fairly close to the fast lane speed. Luckily there is a decent loop of the on ramp and ample amount of a lane to get your speed up, if you need it. When I first started riding, I needed a lot. Not any more. The minute I come off the ramp, I am cranking that throttle. The trick is to make sure you are signaling so the oncoming traffic knows you want over. Most civilized people accommodate you and move over, you always have this pinheads you are either oblivious or just out right jerks. They will not move over. That is what you have to pay attention to and you can share with them just how number one they are in your life at that particular time.
The weather was beautiful. Gorgeous blue skies, excellent temperature of low 70’s. The traffic on I-95 was mild compared to weekday traffic. The speed limit starts out at 55 MPH but for some reason, this area of I-95 in Connecticut, the high speed lane travels a minimum of 75 MPH. Twisting the throttle to 75 MPH is far too easy. First travelling over the Thames River on the Gold Star Bridge might intimidate people. Heck I even have friends who are afraid of it in a car. (Trust me, this bridge is nothing compared to the two bridges you must cross to get to Newport, RI). I have grown to enjoy soaring over these bridges because it is as close to flying as a person can get without actually taking flight.
Knowing there are several off ramps on the left and the high speed lane on the right, I invariably choose to travel the center lane. Even there my speed averages 70 MPH. The next bridge is the Baldwin Bridge that stretches over the Connecticut River. As soon as I get off the bridge, my exit is next. I get off and travel to center Old Saybrook, Connecticut at a gas station where I am to meet others. I also filled up my tank. I got to finally meet a fellow dietitian and her boyfriend – both live in Connecticut, but we had become connected through Facebook. As we were getting ready to leave, up rolled Old Saybrook’s finest in a patrol car. The next thing we knew, since the ride captain lives in Old Saybrook, we were getting a police escort to Westbrook, Connecticut. That meant we got an American Express cart blanc to run the red lights – Wahoo…don’t have to stop, get separated, and the hassle of putting the feet down. The joy of this short 8 mile stretch is that it is not an interstate. We travel on Route 154 which begins at US 1 in Old Saybrook. The back roads or smaller state highways are so scenic. It is a two lane highway and the traffic is mild. Our escort falls off in a parking area just as we reach the town line of Westbrook. These towns are undoubtedly Rockwell’s inspiration for all of his Americana paintings. I never grow tired of gliding through them and being on two wheels makes it even sweeter. Shortly after our escort left us, we arrived on the green of Westbook, Connecticut. The Town Hall is Federalist style architecture and very typical of New England. Westbrook is the home of the inventor of the first submarine – the Turtle, David Bushnell. http://naval-history.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_turtle_first_combat_submarine. The Patriot Guard mission was held right on the green or the center of town.
Once it was completed, some of us headed to Parthenon Diner in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. As we sit enjoying good food and good conversation more friends joined us. After lunch, they decided to show me a couple of water view routes…water view of Long Island Sound. This took us right back on 154. Views were spectacular. Soaring effortlessly above the ground on two wheels with Long Island Sound on my right is majestic. This country has so many sites I never grow weary of seeing. We do not have castles, persay, but we have lighthouses. It is said that lighthouses are America's Lighthouses. No matter how many times or how many lighthouses I see, I never grow weary of seeing them. They are such a vital part of our maritime history. I could see the Old Saybrook two lighthouse houses: the Lynde Point Lighthouse which is very reminiscent of a New England Light House.
I could also see the Saybrook Breakwater Light Lighthouse. It is more of a "coffee-pot" type lighthouse.
At the end of our ride, we went our separate ways. I headed back on Main Street (the main route of the Memorial Day Parade I was in with the Patriot Guard).
The Main Street of Old Saybrook (http://www.oldsaybrookct.org/Pages/OldSaybrookCT_About/living_history) is quaint and even though it is not a town square, it reminds me of the town square of the small town I grew up in Missouri. It is a four lane road with a median dividing the directions of the traffic. In the median you will find “New England-esque” lighting and hanging flowering plants. On either side of the street are angled parking. You will also see eateries with outdoor dining. Everyone knows each other and unlike the typical stoic New Englander, I actually saw people waving and greeting each other. That told me that these know each other and are not regarded as outsiders. I proceeded to I-95 and headed home.
The entire day was also over shadowed by being the 65th anniversary of D-Day – American Troops landing on Normandy Beach. So many sacrifices by the Greatest Generation, so I could enjoy and appreciate this day and my freedoms, I would not want to live in any other country.