So yesterday, my CAP squadron was involved in a model rocketry contest. I originaly tagged along with the intent to co supervise the Cadets in my squadron. Once we arrived in Salem, CT, I found out I was going to be a judge. There were two other senior members and a grandmother that came from my squadron, but they weren’t up
for the task of judging.
First tho a bit of a geeky aside. Right before my squadron got to the competition field, we stopped at a place for coffee. If anyone wants to see the field on the map, go to foursquare and from the coffee shop checkin I did yesterday around 0945, view it on google maps or the like. Go right onto Rte 82 and there’s a big yellow field less than a half mile from the intersection of rte 82 and rte 85. Sorry I felt like pinpointing that on the map.
Anyways we pulled into the field, parked and began unloading and did final touches on our rockets. An event and safety briefing was done by the local rocket club members. It was during this briefing that I learned the plot of land we were on belonged to the town. In theory town lands are public lands. (Arent they?)
Near the end of the briefing, there was a guy who was on a weird looking John Deere vehicle. The guy on the microphone didn’t know who he was. Originally I plugged his appearance in with a description of a rocket vendor that was mentioned. Turns out this guy was a whacko farmer. He claimed he needed to make bails of hey for his cows. His property was located up the road somewhere.
When the head of the rocket club explained our presence on the field, this whacko farmer nearly had a PMSing type moment. He reminded me of the bitchy NIMBY folks who are worried about self interests in East Haven. (anti airport expansion) NIMBY= Not In My Back Yard-George Carlin reference. One of my tweeps from Harwinton, CT is probably laughing right now at this post.
This guy was rambling on about life hardships and how he lost a horse worth $150,000. Since when the heck are horses worth 150k? The horse supposedly jumped over a fence when a rocket sound scared it. This farmer guy was trying to run us all over on multiple occasions all day.. To this day, I still dont see how farming makes people any money. It’s not a tax collecting job and it’s all about uber long hours.
I don’t know where the hay came from anyways. One half of the field was uneven tall weeds and the hay was laid down in lines in an area that looked like dead grass.
Now that all the crazy farm references are out of the way, I’ll get on to the more exciting stuff.
There were CAP senior members and Cadets in Salem, CT from two other squadrons besides mine. It was the Stratford Eagles Composite Squadron and the Thames River Composite Squadron. Supposedly there was supposed to be one or two other squadrons there, but one was a no show and the other withdrew their entry I was told.
The CAP model rocketry competition had three categories. Best Design of a standard Estes Rocket, Highest Altitude, and Most Creative homebuilt rocket. My squadron fared well in two of the three categories. But because we didn’t have a freestyle rocket, that basically relegated us to third place after the scores were calculated.
I must say, the whole science of model rocketry is really an eye opener. At least the part where they get launched into the air. You really never know if they are going to go kablooey or will get lost in the trees. To my knowledge, all the CAP cadets who launched rockets were able to recover them safely.
Well except for kne. The Stratford Eagles had this one rocket called Junkyard. It was made out of all spare parts. It looked like a standard Estes Rocket design on top with a big extension rod and more fins on the bottom. There were either two or three sets of fins. It was a mainly black design with glittery sparkles at the top. It may have had an eagle head painted on the tip, but don’t quote me. The thing launched beautifully but came down sorta hard. I remeber seeing just some fins and a small part of the tail in a Cadet’s hand. I sure hope someone can fix that rocket into working order again.
Some of the rocket club members did lose their rockets to our left and right. The ones that were lost to the left got a nice joke from the guy on the loudspeaker. “There’s another present for our farmer friend”. One little backtrack on that whacko: he says his field is littered with rockets. … Gee well then why don’t you go pick them up then?
Oh yeah the town of Hamburg, CT I believe it was had (gulp) cows in fields on the ride home. Cows remind me a little of my limited knowledge of roads in Illinois or Indiana. One wrong turn in the wrong area could put you miles away from the next turnoff or next gas station.
On a somewhat unrelated note, I wonder if I’ve been spoiled all these years mainly traversing up and down Interstate 95. The nearest exit is no more than 2 miles apart, and most of the land between New Haven, CT and the border of NY is either commercial interests, urban areas or slight forest.
But that’s another post for another day (will probably have the theme of dangerous slowpokes who use the highway)