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Road Trip to the Oriskany April 20, 2009

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Shipwrecks.
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Just after 2pm on Saturday I picked Mike up at his house (in Aurora, North of Toronto) after collected my tanks at the dive shop. With the back end of the car hanging a bit low and the steering a bit lighter than usual we headed down Highway 400, on to the 407W, then onto the 401W. Mike brought along a Magellan GPS unit which has proved useful throughout the whole trip. While we could navigate easily enough with the Mapquest directions, going through a complex series of interchanges dead tired in a strange city in the middle of the night with your navigator fast asleep is so much easier when you have the infallible voice of the computer telling you when the turns are coming up.

It also proved useful when we missed a detour sign in Detroit and needed to find our way back to the highway, and in Windsor when Mike noticed he’d forgotten a prescription and we were searching for a pharmacy.

Thankfully, US customs and immigration were not interested in the contents of our tanks. All 13 of us made it through without having to submit to costly and time-consuming visual inspection for which I am thankful. We were asked for something along the lines of a letter of invitation from the dive operator (which we had) and also asked how we had come to know each other (dive club).

It was an exceedinly long journey, taking 20 hours door to door. Some of us made it quicker than that but we hardly stopped and drove just a little bit over the limit on cruise control just about all of the way, so I’d say our time was reasonable. We were glad to see the motel (Suburban in Pensacola, near MBT divers, reasonably priced and with free Internet access) being both dog-tired. We had breakfast with the divers who’d arrived before us, and grabbed a couple of hours sleep.

There was some talk about trying to go for a dive in Vortex Springs at 1pm (we’d gained an hour because the Florida Panhandle is on Central time) but the organizers baled out. Instead, we went to the Naval Aviation Museum which was wonderful, and it even had free admission and parking! The inventory of historical aircraft they have there is simply amazing, and I really liked that they employed retired veterans to act as guides. Occasionally one would wander up to us and start telling stories about flying in the aircraft.

Mike examines the anchor in front of the museum

Mike examines the anchor in front of the museum

That was it for the day. I needed sleep badly and retired early as we’d been told to be at the dive shop at 7:30 AM to get ready for the next day. They were a little uncertain about the sea conditions as they had been rough on Sunday.

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