A road trip of a lifetime and tribute to Benny Wn1OTV
I GOT MY NOVICE Ham license when I was fourteen years old, but even before getting my license I had heard about the Dayton ham event. They said things like “you can find anything you want there,” or “the biggest event in amateur radio” and of course the famous saying “what deals”. I said that when I got my driver’s license, that was the first place I was heading but as usual other things got in the way. Things like girls, money, and Navy for 20 years and of course marriage. So, you would think when I got divorced 25 years ago that was the first place I would be heading, but, not yet. Last year at Meadowbrook I talked to Benny WN1OTV and we decided 2006 would be the year we would both go. As I arrived at Meadowbrook Camping Area, which has been in our family since 1982, and Benny, who was one of our workcampers, showed up next day and the first thing he said, “are we still going?” Of course, was my reply and it was only three weeks away. As we got closer to the time of leaving, we really got excited. The night before we left, we both were ready to go, and we were going to leave at 2 am on Thurs morning. At 11:30 pm I was up making coffee. At 12:15 am I went down to Benny’s trailer and he was up. Well needless to say we were on the road by 12:30 am and HEADING TO DAYTON. Now when you travel with someone, you learn their eating habits, and the one thing that we had in common was the we both loved liver and onions. I was dating a girl named Maggie at the time who couldn’t even stand the name of liver and onions. Benny and I stopped at restaurant and of course we order Liver and Onions. I called my girlfriend and told her we were eating lunch. She asked what we were ordering, and I said, “liver and onions”. She said, “where are you going to find a restaurant that serves that stuff”. I said, ‘any truck stop in the USA”. She laughed! I think everywhere we stopped on that trip we ordered liver and onions. I think about Benny every time I cook liver and onions
We had a long drive and it took us about 16 hours to get there. It was raining when we arrived, and we hoped that the weather would get better.
We were tired when we got to the hotel on Wright-Patterson AFB, and we decided to get something to eat and hit the rack. We were both so tired we were ready.
The next morning. we were up at 5:30 am and we were still tired, but, we were moving and we wanted to get their early. Coffee on the way and that was when I learned about Benny’s gourmet taste. As I pulled into a place that had all kinds of coffee, Benny says that This coffee is bad and the good stuff is at McDonald’s, By McDonald’s I thought that he was talking about a farm somewhere close by no he was talking about a place and by 6 we were on our way to the parking lot we had picked out last night. As we pulled in, we met a bunch of other people with weird antennas on their cars and knew we were in the right place and it wasn’t even 6:30 yet and the gates didn’t open until 8 am. BUT WE WERE READY!!!!
As always ham radio people can make friends at a drop of a hat. And it was only a couple minutes before we had a half dozen people together talking about antennas, different types of keys and of course we talked for about an hour and then it was time to get in line. So, we crossed the street and were ready to spend money.
We were all lined up waiting to get thru the gates. I guess I had never seen so many hams in one spot and I wondered how many I had talked to over the years.
When the gates opened, Benny and I went with the crowd, and we were inside. We started with flea market. That is where the deals were. As we headed from one booth to another, we were like little kids in a candy shop. The number of booths was endless, and you could buy anything. One of the things that struck me as odd was some of the equipment that was for sale. This equipment was being described as boat anchors and antiques. Some of this equipment I would have given my right arm to have as a kid and now it was old. The other thing was the size of the equipment from over the years.
We spent half a day going through the flea market. And then we headed inside where all the new equipment was. We walked around for 2 days and was never disappointed at what we saw. The last day benny said that he wanted to buy a new rig before we headed for home, so we found the Ham Radio Outlet, (HRO), booth. It was loaded with customers, and Benny got in line. I was excited for him, getting a brand-new radio. It took him about 30 minutes to work his way up to the front of the line. It was a joyous moment when Benny left the counter with his new box and a grin ear to ear.
We left Dayton and headed home, back to Meadowbrook Camping Area, with a stop for liver and onions in our future. It was a great few days and one more thing completed on our bucket list. I am hoping to go back to Dayton someday, but it won’t be the same without Benny, but I will think of him every time I eat liver and onions.
Rest in Peace my brother you will be missed.
Leave a Reply