Ah, the old pacifist dude.
Naval Submarine Base New London, from atop the Gold Star Bridge.
The "enemy" in his "lair." (Chiefs' quarters aboard USS Nautilus [SSN 571].)
The penultimate day of the Post-Navy Roadtrip would be one of its shortest - just one hundred miles point-to-point, in less than two hours' time. Of course, I wouldn't go quite that quickly. After taking a late start out of Boston, I stopped at Providence Place just after noon. It's the giant mall in Rhode Island's capital city that I have previously visited several times. On this occasion, I didn't buy anything...except lunch in the food court. I did do some walking around, taking some pictures of the mall, the state house, and the river over which the mall sits. I tried to follow the advice of my friend Mike, with whom I stayed in Los Angeles, who told me to "take my time." In that spirit, I resolved to remain stopped in Providence for at least an hour and a half. It was ninety-four minutes, to be exact, and then it was on to the place where I (literally) spent half of my time in the Navy...
...the "submarine capital of the world." Or, as many of my former 691 sufferers call it, the "bad place." Or, as I called it on Facebook, "the place where young Sailors' dreams end up on life support. (Groton, CT...Norfolk is where those dreams go to die.)" Ah yes, ol' Groton. The first stop back in the Armpit of New England was a place that I somehow never managed to visit in the whole of my time in residence there - the Submarine Force Library and Museum, and Historic Ship Nautilus. I was there for a while, first simply walking about the external grounds, looking upon the waterfront where so much of me was left behind and wasted. I finally did enter the museum, and spent plenty of time looking around at the exhibits, especially the one chronicling Nautilus's attempts to reach the North Pole. There was one point in the place where you could put some sound-powered phones on. My non-verbal response: "no EFFING way...it will be a cold day in hell before I don another set of those." Finally, I went across the brow and onto the ship - that is to say, the half of the ship that can be seen without extensive, irreparable damage to national security. The best part of this particular forward compartment was the chiefs' quarters, which featured a mannequin of a chief eating a pickle. I'm convinced somebody E-6 or below conceived that one.
After leaving Nautilus, I took a quick drive past the apartment where I lived not two months before, and then parked the car on Bailey Circle, which leads to the pedestrian walkway of the Gold Star Bridge over the Thames River. I went up there to get some photos of SUBASE and the waterfront. This was much more of a ordeal than I expected, because some type of charity bike ride was in progress, and the only way for this peloton to cross the river was via the very same passage I inhabited. Given my general respect for cyclists, and the fact that they had the faster vehicles, I yielded many times both on the way up and the way down. Having successfully evaded the men and women on two wheels, I made a couple of other quick stops before heading back to Fort Trumbull. This stop was notable for a reason other than the pictures I took. I was walking back to my car when I had to quickly step aside, because a car was careening into the state park's parking lot, suddenly coming to a stop. It was followed soon thereafter by a New London police cruiser...and then another. They questioned the driver at length, and delayed my departure briefly, as I'd thought the cop cars (and by then there were three) had me blocked in. As it turned out, not so much.
After dinner, I finally checked into the final hotel (I use that word quite loosely) of the trip, the Days Inn in Groton. It was a nice two-room suite, and it was the one slice of lodging on the whole trip that was a pain in the ass to book. This was the third or fourth place I tried. But I was lucky to find it, and it did the trick, providing a nice venue to see the Mets embarrass themselves at the hands of the Yankees. Thankfully, I was not watching at the moment Mariano Rivera got his first career RBI. A chill night was exactly what I needed, because I had every intention for an early start in the morning. I wanted to get out of Connecticut - and thus, back to Long Island - and finish this thing off...
Pictures: Day 33 (Providence, Groton/New London)