Tarmac ribbons criss-crossing the landscape, dusty back roads twisting between the cool shadows of ancient pines, and less traveled pathways connecting present to past, all I wander, seeking, seeing, with my keyboard and camera capturing scenes and stories to share with you.

Now in its seventh year, this venue has become an important part of my life, a place where I can express my thoughts and feelings about the things I see and do, hoping the process brings me a bit closer to friends and family who enjoy sharing my sometimes chaotic and often nonlinear observations and ideas. A journal, I suppose, but one with which I find pleasure in thinking others are alongside me on my journey.

Comments, thoughts, or just a friendly chat, use the response box below or email me at patrickgroleau@gmail.com.

May 28, 2013

MAINE TO OHIO ON TWO WHEELS - DAY 11

... as much as i've enjoyed my stay at the "hotel jon" it's time for me to turn my motorcycle around and head east ... this morning i took a nice back road drive over to dayton, where i spent a few hours wandering through all four of the giant hangers containing the fantastic collection of the united states air force museum ...

... one of the most beautiful planes of its day, the p-26 "peashooter" was the first all-metal american fighter, and the first pursuit monoplane used by the army air corps ... it was pretty much obsolete by the time it entered service, and soon after pearl harbor most peashooters were very quickly removed from the army air force's inventory by imperial japan's highly advanced mitsubishi zero fighters ...

... "five by five" is a p-47 thunderbolt ... flown by aces such as robert s. johnson and francis gabreski, as a model-building kid the "jug" was my favorite airplane ... it's 18-cylinder pratt & whitney r-2800 engine provided over 2,400 horsepower ... that much power coupled with the five ton weight of the p-47 resulted in cases in which during a dive the aircraft would approach the speed of sound ...

... although less glamorous than its hanger mate, the venerable flying fortress, more b-24 liberators were manufactured than the b-17, numbers so great that it still qualifies as the most produced american military aircraft ... here, of course, is a great example of what today would be considered "politcally incorrect" nose art ... the brits tended to paint the name of a sponsoring city on the sides of their bombers, they were shocked at the risqué—sometimes to the point of pornographic—adornments the yanks displayed on their aircraft ...

... i've always had a very vague recollection, but it was only in the year before she died that ma told me she believed my very first plane ride was most likely down to cayman in commander owen robert's demilitarized pby-5 catalina ... my memories are not clear enough for me to be sure of this, of course, but i like to believe it's true ...

... on the left, the "little boy," the atomic bomb dropped on hiroshima, on the right, minus its aerodynamic fins, a b-53 hydrogen bomb ... the world war 2 device weighed approximately five tons, and its yield of 20kt, or 20,000 tons, of tnt completely destroyed the city of hiroshima, killing over 100,000 people ... the b-53, the first weapon i trained upon, weighed approximately four and one-half tons, and using an atomic "trigger" to ignite a complicated fission-fusion-fission reaction had an explosive yield of almost 10mt, or 10,000,000 tons of tnt ... do the math, that's 500 times the power of the first atomic bomb ... a b-53 detonated at ground-level would produce a crater over a mile across ... to understand this, simply picture the mount st. helen's volcanic eruption—then multiply by 5 ... the little boy was invented to end a war ... despite the strategic air command's "peace is our profession" motto, and claims of "deterrance" by three generations of politicians, the purpose  of the b-53 was to enable its users to "win"... i often wish the museum would put a giant sign over these devices, in glowing red letters, proclaiming simply, "insanity" ...

... tomorrow i'm heading to new jersey ... part of my route will be a wandering along the old lincoln highway, and i've already marked on the map some spots that interest me ... now it's time to get a good night's rest ...