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The Over The Hill Gang

The Over The Hill Gang
Let's ride! Riders are Jerry Cole, Billy Niverson, John Nave, Jack McClain, Larry Davis, Larry Burk, Merle Combs, Charles Thomas, Art Adrianson, Larry Miller.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ride to Rantoul..

It was a dark and stormy night--actually, it was a dark and foggy morning when I headed out this morning for Jackie's Restaurant in Gas City.  We decided to eat at Jackie's, instead of riding off to breakfast, to allow the fog to burn off.  Six of showed up for today's ride--Billy Niverson, Larry Miller, Merle Combs, John Nave, Charlie Thomas, and myself, Larry Davis.

I've wanted to ride over to Rantoul, Illinois for sometime so I suggested we ride there today.  Since no one said "no", off we went.  Charlie rode with us toward Frankfort, Indiana but broke off and rode home before we got there.  We stopped at Frankfort's McDonald's for a break and coffee.  We rode to Attica where we ate lunch.  The McDonald's there was packed, as usual.  After lunch we rode the last "42 miles" to Rantoul, Illinois.

I was stationed at Rantoul (Chanute AFB) for two years, fifty years ago (1960-61).  To say the place has changed is an understatement.  The Air Force base was decommissioned in 1993 and given to the city of Rantoul.  Here's a link:

I taught missile computer launch control there for the Bomarc missile:

They also taught maintenance on the Atlas

and Minuteman

at Chanute.

Many other technical fields were taught there also, including fire fighting, liquid oxygen production, airframe maintenance, etc.

Very little is left of what was there when I was there, mostly the hangars and administration buildings are still there.  The barracks have been turned into apartments and many buildings are now gone.  My barracks and seven other barracks stood here:

Our chow hall was still there but it used to sit in the middle of eight barracks which are now all gone:

The first place I taught was in one of the hanger annex just behind the grey airplane in the middle of the picture. This display is in the back of the Chanute Museum:

I guess it's true, you can never go home again!  The town of Rantoul has doubled in size, it seems, since I was last there and everything has changed

After a quick visit of the base, we headed back home with a stop in Attica for a break, coffee, and gas.

We were on the road for about ten hours and I got home around five.  The last 10-15 miles I rode in a light rain, sprinkles actually, but didn't get wet at all due to the great weather protection my scooter gives.  I fell in love with my Yamaha Tmax scooter on this trip with 50-60mpg, great weather and wind protection, great ride, great motor, no shifting, good storage, plus easy on and off.  And, I wasn't exhausted after the ride like I always was on my motorcycles.  I'm really happy with it.

I rode 332 miles on a mostly sunny day.  Not too hot and not too windy--just right.  I think we all enjoyed the ride.

P.S.  The "42" miles refers to--if anyone asks me how far away something is, I always say "42 miles".  Because as we all know, "42" is the answer to everything!  Link:

What is remarkable to me, is how many times "42" (or something close) is the correct number.  As we left Attica, Indiana heading west into Illinois, I saw a road sign that said "43 mile to Rantoul".  So in one more mile, "42" was correct!

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