24 May 2011

It’s Called A RUNway, DOH!

The quest nears its conclusion. In fact, late tomorrow the mayor of our fine city will be waiting on the steps of City Hall as Chris and I roll down Main Street. For me, covering the final half-block leading up to City Hall which I intentionally left untrodden will complete Run Marlborough 2011. For Chris, it’s a ceremonial finish, as she’s got a few roads left, but she is kind enough to put up with my wish to put an exclamation point on this endeavor now.

But first, some silliness is in order.

We determined to run every road in Marlborough. We struggled with the definition of what constitutes a road. We each answered that question in our own way that made each of us happy. We both made goo-goo eyes at the Forbidden Interstates, and Chris is determined to find a way to make them happen, and when she does, I will be there. And then we eyed the last big road-like expanse of pavement in the city that clearly wasn’t a parking lot.

Yes, the airport.

Now, we’re not talking Logan (more accurately, General Edward Lawrence Logan Boston International Airport, if you’re into naming trivia, but you’re probably not). We’re talking Marlborough Airport (sadly, spelled without the ‘ugh’ on its sign, but again, I wander into naming trivia).

Marlborough Airport is the oldest continually operating commercial airport in Massachusetts (take that, Logan!). It’s tucked in between the local favorite garden, ice cream, and mini-golf center (yes, all rolled into one) and the U-Haul rental agent. It has one runway, pegged by Wikipedia at 1659 feet, with a fence right at the end, and a STOP sign on the fence, for good measure (and one at the other end, too). As if, when you come in too hot, and you have no fuel, so you can’t make another pass, and you’re desperately trying to get ‘er down, but you’re running out of pavement, and you see that sign and say, “Gee, I’d better stop before I take out that passing Verizon truck!”. But hey, I appreciate the humor, and it does make it easier to see the fence I suppose.

So it’s not big, but it’s ours, and we're proud of it. And it was just too sweet to resist.

One phone call to owner Bob Stetson and we were invited as honored guests. Apparently a few people do read the local paper, and he had seen our article and knew of our depravity. We thanked him then, and we thank him now again for his hospitality in allowing us to have this bit of fun.

Bob met us on arrival a couple of mornings back, arrival via a circuitous route of course so Chris could pick up a few missing roads on her list (and departure later via another tortured twisted path, where we actually found a road neither of us knew had a name). Chris’ mom also popped in to act as Designated Photographer, along with Bob and his friend, the Other Bob, who also snapped a few pics. So first we snapped off a few mug shots…

Chris, Bob the Airport Owner, and Designate Photog Chris’ Mom

Chris and Gary Preparing to Fly

…And it was time to taxi to the runway! Yes, that’s a house in the background, but look carefully and you will see runway markings.

Lined up, we really didn’t need tower clearance. With a ceiling of low hazy clouds, the chances of getting buzzed like an Alfred Hitchcock movie were effectively zero…

And we’re off! I carried my mini-camera and took plenty of bad shots, mercifully filtered out. Here’s a decent one of Chris revving up the engines as we sprint the runway…

Our Designated Photog captured the takeoff roll…

But mysteriously we didn’t gain enough lift to get airborne, so it was time to spin it around and head back on heading 320…

Perhaps some new techniques were in order to get aloft?

Lest you think it’s only me who’s entirely daft, no, we both flew. OK, I goaded her into it…

First flight successful, time for a last posed mug shot!

As I then commented to Bob, he may have owned the airport for many years, but only now does he finally have a RUNway!

1 comment:

  1. Couple of years ago, a United turboprop came in too hot and did go off the end of the runway in Charlottesville.

    They've since lengthed the runway.


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