Wake Forest and Satellite Navigation

November 19, 2006 at 10:34 pm Leave a comment

Yesterday, Andy B, Sean, Mike E, Larry Bowman and I traveled to Winston-Salem to watch the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest game. We met a number of people down there, including Bret, Phifer, Jason, Steph, Ben Harden and Keith Phelps. Through the years, we have been quite accustomed to the facilities at Larry’s house. It was eye opening to see how others, who don’t have access to the same stationary resources we do, have architected their tailgates.

From a letter written to my cousin Adam (who’s in Iraq) dated today (11/19/2006):

… We arrived around noon and set up our modest card table and our collapsible cloth chairs. Our food was different than normal. At home games, we do elaborate smoked meats. Just the week before, Sean sent three hours the night before the game, preparing stuffed jalapeño peppers. This game we showed up with a sandwich tray and an assortment of chips.

The other people in our lot had more impressive arrays. Some brought full-sized grills. I even watched a man stir a big vat of batter (for frying) with– I kid you not– an oar. A rowing oar. That is how much batter he was preparing!

We had a humble little TV with [a $10 antennae] to get the Michigan-Ohio State game. We saw a number of people who brought giant flat screens with them (and [sometimes] a generator to [power] them). A lot of people had a satellite dish with them.

The party across from us actually had custom fittings installed in their van to hold up a high-def plasma TV in the back. An [adjacent] truck had fancy welded hardware attached to it to hold up the satellite dish.

(FYI– there were advantages to our TV getting antennae feed– we got to see touchdowns and interceptions five seconds ahead of all the others).

All those satellites did prove to be helpful to us though.

After dark, we approached the stadium and noted the tickets were for the West stands.

“Which way is west?” someone asked.

During his day, my grandfather [a navigator during WWII and Korea on B-29s] used a number of navigation techniques. He’d make use of the radio signals for his LORAN system. Sometimes he used the same celestial navigation the early sailors would have used or sometimes he would use dead reckoning and plot the direction and distance traveled from a known point.

Our party of slightly inebriated fans did not have access to LORAN, had no idea the bearing we were traveling and certainly had no idea what to do with the few stars we could see past the bright stadium lights. But we did have access to something that proved just as helpful as a compass.

“Well,” [Andy B] said, “All the satellite dishes were pointing that way and the dishes point southwest, so west is there.”

His observation proved correct. Who needs the moon or the North Star, when we have DirecTV dishes?

Having been involved in geocaching, I found it amusing there is a form of satellite navigation that does not require a GPS unit! 🙂

Entry filed under: Andy B, Football, Virginia Tech, WWII.

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