Cherrystew

November 07, 2005

The Chattanooga Air Show -- In the Wild, Parking Yonder


The Chattanooga Air Show, which came through on October 29 and 30, was a highly recommended event to attend, but all I could think of when I heard the words, "air show," was that I would get stuck in the environment of some kind of NASCAR event. I hadn’t been to one of those either, but I was sure that it would be overpriced, overpopulated and overrated. I imagined us not going, but knew deep down, that my preconceptions would not hold in lieu of my young son’s desire to see wild airplanes do flips at 750 mph.

So, the goal was to park as close as possible to the airport, walk, and then get tickets. Once we had the airstrip of Lovell Field Airport in view, we thought we could just join the line of cars that had parked on the decently sized shoulder. After I parked, I unfortunately made the mistake of asking the busy cop, who was directing traffic, if it was all right to park there. It seemed that all of the regular cars sprinkled among the cop cars also belonged to cops. Because I could not bring myself to lie and say, "Yes, I am a police officer, Officer," to his question of whether or not I was authorized to park on the shoulder, I had to move on. It was just another perk of being a cop that I would never get to experience, like severe discounts at stores and free tickets.

After we left, I tried some of the maneuvers I had learned from my father as a young girl for dealing with high volume crowds. There’s the old, park-at-the-DMV method, and hope that the jerk, who is illegally charging people $5 to park, doesn’t see you drive in. Then there’s the try-to-park-in-the-V.I.P.-lot trick, even though you’re not a pilot, or a V.I.P. ticket holder, as if you have some kind of Obi-Wan mind control, which is going to let you breeze in, unlike the 5,000 people before you.

Luckily, I remained out of jail and unticketed the entire day. My son even got to see for himself that he really would get out of the car. I owed our success to my friend, who called back at the right moment revealing that she was also hesitant to pay the $18 to stand in the line of fire of F/A-18 Hornets being flown by the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels. She suggested that we just park at the nearby, industrial/business parking lot, across the highway from the airport, that was full of tailgaters, and other non-V.I.P., ticket dodgers.

As it often happens, I went from being the most skeptical, to the most impressed. I even got over the whole fuel wasting by the air show hang-up I had, although the entire sky over Chattanooga had indeed become a haze of exhaust. I’m sure that I was, "oohing," and, "aweing," along with the other spectators, because it was truly overwhelming to watch them negotiate gravity oddities like flying straight up and down. They seemed to appear out of nowhere. Because the sound came after, you would just be sitting there, and the next thing you knew, there were jets right above your head.

Retribution for not buying tickets was nearly paid to us when my son had to be driven immediately to a fast food restroom just at the start of the grand finale. We still got to see the six-jet, Delta Formation, but not without some initial moments of panic. As soon as my son disappeared into the restroom, all six jets flew right over Hardees, where my son was taking his sweet time. I screamed into the men’s room, "They’re here! Right over our heads! Hurry!" We had no idea how long the finale would last, but we had to drive the few blocks back to our free spot, because we wanted to enjoy the end with our friend. In addition, even though we had to do a bit of driving ourselves during The Blue Angels’ display of wondrous aero-activity, it was apparently, nothing like trying to do so on the highway. From our crowd-light location, we saw cars instantaneously breaking as the drivers tried to absorb the visual overload of jets shooting back and forth across the highway at what seemed like only one-hundred feet up.

I know that we missed out on some treats by not buying our way into the real deal. From our brief adventures spent trying to get closer to the airport, we had seen all kinds of aircraft on the airstrip, along with giant bungee contraptions, which were letting people jump twenty feet into the air. Well, who knows? Next time, maybe we’ll splurge for a V.I.P., or specially marked cop spot so we too, can get the ultimate, completely-not-NASCAR, air show experience.

2 Comments:

  • At Tuesday, November 8, 2005 at 11:38:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    NASCAR PATCHES that can be ironed onto leather or fabric for a tight bond that will not peel. The backing and the stitching is of materials that resist fading from the sun, and is completely washable. $6.00 each.
    (There is a PayPal link on the "car badge" page, Or you may mail a check.)
    **NASCAR racing**

     
  • At Tuesday, November 8, 2005 at 2:27:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    NASCAR PATCHES that can be ironed onto leather or fabric for a tight bond and will not peel. The backing and the stitching is of materials that resist fading from the sun, and is completely washable. $6.00 each.
    (There is a PayPal link on the "car badge" page, Or you may mail a check.)
    **NASCAR**

     

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