Back in the USA
by Jerry Dixey
By Wednesday the rains had passed through and it was a cool and sunny morning. Thanks to the efforts of the Motor City Car Club who worked all day on Tuesday to solve the car problems everyone had made it to Gananoque at the Canada -US border. It was time to get back into the United States.
The border crossing went smoothly for everyone. While we enjoyed our time in Canada it was a good feeling to be crossing the bridge and knowing that you were back home.
Our first stop was at the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, New York just 10 minutes from the border. We had visited the museum on a previous tour and wanted to make a return trip. The museum is filled with a wide range of wooden boats that date back to the earliest days of sailing. The presentation of the items on display is fantastic. One if the most popular areas for our group was the “Quest for Speed” building where the huge power boats of the 20s and 30s are on display. The Antique Boat Museum has a restoration area the us open to the public. Even the non boaters in our group could appreciate the beauty and craftsmanship of the watercraft on display. It was a great way to start the day on the Megaspeed Tour.
It was a short 45 minute drive to Fort Drum, the huge Army base near Watertown, New York. About two years ago at the Syracuse Nationals I had been approached by Dale Greening. Dale is a civilian helicopter mechanic who works at Fort Drum. Dale invited me to bring a Road Tour to the base to visit the troops and see the equipment that was being used in Afghanistan. Dale explained that the helicopters from Fort Drum would be returning soon and he felt that the troops and their families would enjoy seeing our cars. He also felt that we might like to get a close up look at equipment that was being used by our soldiers half way around the world. From that conversation two years ago and Dale Greening’s hard work and persistence we were now on our way to Fort Drum for an amazing afternoon.
Our first stop was at the Heritage Center on the base. There we learned the history of the Army’s presence at Fort Drum and the training that the men and women stationed there go through. From World War 1 to the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan the soldiers from Fort Drum have been involved in protecting our freedom.
From the Heritage Center we drove to the actual airfield where the Chinook, Apache, Black Hawk and Kiowa helicopters are based. It was an amazing sight as we were greeting by the troops along the runways and we drove by these amazing pieces of sophisticated equipment. We were lead into an open hanger and parked our cars. It was a scene and moment that will be a lasting memory for all of us. The troops were anxious to see our cars and we could not believe we were actual so close to the helicopters and the men and women who fly and maintain them. Cameras were out all afternoon as we all took pictures of the
activities going on all around. We parked the 40 Ford by the business end if one of the Chinooks and had some great photo opportunities. Some of the Road Tourians got a chance to get into the flight simulators where the pilots train. It was a breathtaking afternoon. Many thanks to Dale Greening who had the vision and to the folks on the base who helped make this all happen.
After checking into our hotel in Watertown it was a short drive to Shorty’s Diner. The Highway Legends car club had organized a special cruise in our honor. It was a great way to end an incredible day in the Watertown area. Thanks to all who made it a day to remember for all of us.