ehowton (ehowton) wrote,
ehowton
ehowton

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...and then I saw the Jag slide into the curve.


When I was stationed in England, I was assigned to the Joint Analysis Center at Royal Air Force (RAF) Molesworth. However, as this was an old Ground Launch Cruise Missile base, there were no support facilities, nor billeting there, so we lived 10-miles away on RAF Alconbury. Most people took the A14 (nearly double the miles) because it was a wide, modern road (hence the 'A' designation). But not I.

The B660 was a narrow, secondary road (the more numbers in the alphanumeric, the more 'secondary' the road), winding through rural villages and chock full of scenery. Most of the road, however, was a twisty thing through huge fields of agriculture. The road was so narrow, and the turns so sharp, and the vegetation so high, that it was like driving through a walled corridor - you couldn't see anything around the bends. Many servicemen new to the area often drove their car straight off into a ditch, then never took the road again. Though I never had a mishap, I admit, it took me months to learn how to navigate the slalom effectively. What used to take me half an hour to drive, over time, I had down to about fifteen minutes. Those familiar with Stephen King's short story Mrs. Todd's Shortcut from Skeleton Crew know exactly what I'm talking about.

I was driving a 1976 Jaguar 3.4 GT Cabriolet. A very large car for its time, especially on those narrow rural roads. Once, I made a turn at speed around one of the blind corners and hit the brakes - hard. A flock of sheep was taking up the entire road, with a lone herdsman in the center. He was hollering at the sheep and they parted and made their way around me - the car gently rocking as we were bumped on all sides. Another time, the largest pig I've ever seen was blocking the road, and no amount of horn was getting it to move. Fortunately, I had with me a girl who grew up in San Antonio. She said to me, "I know how to handle this," as she exited the vehicle. She approached the sow, and yelled, "SUEY!" as she slapped that pig right on its rump. That was good for about five steps. She repeated the process for an eighth of a mile or so until we found the farm it belonged to.

My car was fast, I was young and overseas. What a feeling of freedom.

I drive a Cavalier these days, and I'm back in my home state, but Mantua road from the exit off 75 to the Elementary School, reminds me an awful lot of B660. I keep it at 40mph, but if you see my little white car with the black bra hugging the turns, you know why.

Tags: driving, usaf
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