Captain’s Log: Stardate 10705.8
This past weekend, I took the shuttlecraft to The City of Brotherly Love and the StrictlySail Philadelphia Boat Show. I’ve heard people say that, for the most part, travelling through space is pretty boring, but clearly those people have never travelled between Exits 10 and 6 of the New Jersey Turnpike – especially around Exit 9 where the New York radio stations fade and the best thing on the air is New Jersey’s Magic Radio, that for a while I couldn’t understand what the “Magic” part meant, but after a truly dull array of 80’s pop and 70’s soft hits, I saw that the magic was that they were still on the air. I found myself breaking the speed limit just to get into Philadelphia radio range.

Checked in to my hotel (more on that later) and walked to the convention center, nicely loaded with sailboats, gear and thousands of racers and cruisers from areas as far north as Boston and as far south as Annapolis. But, the show was smaller than expected and I was being to regret paying for the hotel room (but not nearly as much as I did at 1 in the morning – I’ll get to that.)

Still, the show was fun and the highlights of it all were running into the Richie Coar and his crew of USS Chaika, Francine Alheid of USS Watercolour, Jeff Ohstrom of USS Exuberance and the Enterprise’s very own Yeoman June, who was traveling with two of her friends, one of which truly loves his “plastic fantastic” Hunter 35 and was looking to step up to an even bigger piece of trash. I tried to steer them to the C&C 115 in the corner, the Beneteau 40 ($154K – wow) or the Sabre 423, but I don’t think it helped.

I then watched Captain Ohstrom purchase a halyard climbing system where any individual can climb his or her mast alone, as was being demonstrated on the 12 foot tall mast on the floor. I tried to point out to Jeff that 12 feet was no big deal and that his mast was over 50 feet up and mine was over 60, but he thought it was a good deal. I think it will be a good idea for us all to watch the first time he uses it. I’ll bring the popcorn and a cell phone set to call 911.

After attending a seminar on basic diesel engine maintenance, where I learned quite a bit to keep our impulse engine running, I went back to the exhibit floor and singlehandedly kept Chase credit cards in business for another year and racked up enough frequent flyer rewards to almost buy my own plane. In a nutshell – new North main AND new ¾ ounce chute are on the way. Warp Speed!

I left the boat show at 6:00pm, just before I needed to take out another mortgage on the house, and joined the Chaika crew for dinner at a Southwestern-style restaurant built out of an old firehouse. Still, no matter how much I promised to tip, they wouldn’t let me slide down the pole. Dinner was fantastic, almost as much as chatting it up with Richie, Gary, Dave and the others. Dave also did provide some great insight on racing the Enterprise better, which we will put into effect once the season gets rolling.

Now thoroughly exhausted, I went back to my hotel room at The Hampton Inn at 1301 Race Street. I’m providing the name and address so you know what hotel to AVOID the next time you’re in Philly. First, there are no movies available on the television. Then, though the high-speed Internet is free, you can’t fit the chair between the desk and the bed. The heating unit in the room made more noise than the diesel engine in the previous Enterprise and the bathroom towels could have doubled as 50-grit sandpaper.

But their fire alarms were working. At 1:00am, just after reaching that moment of deep sleep where the only thing that will wake you up is, well, a fire alarm, these suckers went off. I got dressed fast and climbed down eight flights of stairs with everyone else in the hotel and went outside. But, there were no flames – a false alarm. Now, the entire population of the hotel is trying to get back to their rooms in three small elevators.

But wait, there’s more. As a security feature, once a fire alarm is triggered, your room key card no longer works. Every person in every room had to, of course, figure this out on their own, then, with the entire population of the hotel, work their way back downstairs, wait on line at the front desk (short-staffed because it was the middle of the night,) get their cards re-coded and work their way back up the elevators with, once again, the entire population of the hotel.

Oh well. I figured I could always catch up on some sleep between Exits 6 and 10 on the New Jersey Turnpike.