June 2000 KC3WD & KA1TB Rover Team
A tale of two rovers. Matt (KC3WD) and John’s (KA1TB) big adventure. Ack!!! It’s Saturday morning and we don’t have Topo USA – How are we ever going to get to these locations? We will have to wait till the store’s open. Does Staples have it? They open at 9. No at 10AM we enter CompUSA, at 10:02 we proceed to the checkout, at 10:05 we are on the road driving. To Harrisonburg. Somewhere on 81 south we read Terry’s directions, the WHOLE directions. The first recommendation, that we took, is 1 – 1.5 hours longer!!! (cut the blue wire, BUT FIRST, cut the yellow wire). Along this stretch I notice the van is pulling right. As we head down into Franklin it makes a VERY bad sound on a left turn. John starts telling me how easy it will be to replace the wheel bearing. In Franklin we pull into a garage and see that we just have a flat. $3 and we are on our way, now VERY late. My old Garmin 75 (ROM date 93) doesn’t work with Topo USA, bummer. We have to spend the whole weekend reading both it and the laptop. Not fun when you are driving. At the first grid square corner we meet up with the rover gang! We are surprised but glad to see they are still there. We get set-up and have no problems working K8GP except on 2m??? Our 706 isn’t putting out any power on 2m, oh well the FT100 does and it’s just a matter of changing some cables (Is the power down to the transverter????). We make a quick stop in Elkins for a burger and a Tape Deck Interface. Now we can listen to TB’s MP3′s on the big speakers, yoohoo! We take 219 S to 39 to 92 to Lake Sherwood Rec Area. There we find foliage and very nice park rangers. They let us have the combination to get out after closing time, the foliage didn’t give much though, no go on 903 and 1296. We worked our way down back roads (we love Topo USA) to I64. Once there we decided to give EM97 one more try, the map says Greenbriar Mountain looks promising, so up we go. When we get within site of the nice tower at the top the road says No Trespassing. Bummer!!! So we set up at the crossroads there and work 903 but not 1296. Oh well. Once back on I64 John sleeps and Matt drives. We take 340 to small (and I mean small) roads to the Blue Ridge Parkway. This might not have been the fastest way but it was FUN at 2-3 AM, saw at least 2-dozen deer and only got lost twice (we love Topo USA). But it was COMPLETELY worth it. We could SEE Spruce from there. It’s only one square, FM07, but the view is fantastic! The actual top looks like the same deal as Greenbrier, but we don’t need it to work NW. John next drove East on I64 to 208N where we worked all bands, just barely. So the previous stop was not necessary but I’d do it again. We slept here on the side of the road for a couple of hours and then Matt woke up and drove. It’s best to head back down 208 to I64 (according to the locals). It’s a LONG way to Norfolk!!! John didn’t wake up till just about there Once there we recommend a jump in the Ocean, one way to loose some Rover Grime. On the Bay Bridge Tunnel we worked so many bands / grids / ops so fast I didn’t know what was going on!!! A very nice location, don’t leave your headlights on. Heading up the Eastern Shore we passed Brian but didn’t know what to call him on, oh well. We did catch some Texans on 6 while climbing up the Eastern Shore (they liked us in FM 27). “Only 20 miles out of the way,” was John’s quote. The one more stop grogginess was getting to us as we almost visited Ocean City. The Baltimore Maritime Museum doesn’t exit (as says Topo USA) at the corner of FM 18, 19, 28, and 29 but if it did it they wouldn’t welcome us. We were beat and smelly. Once again we flew through the bands and had our last contacts around 20:00. The trip home wasn’t bad and we got some much needed sleep that night. Our thoughts on the station were: we need the microwaves. We also could use another 6m Halo for gain and a couple of 2m Halo’s for working folks while mobile.