Sunday, August 1, 2010

Fort Knox Or Bust aka The Trip Where I Didn't Know There Were Three Of Us

It wasn't until we were married for a year or two that I got to meet Mr. Willoughby's older brother, Dave.  All the time we were dating, engaged and for a while after we were married, Dave was in the military and stationed in Germany.  When he finally came back to the US, he was living almost 900 miles away.  Eventually we made the trip and I met my brother in law for the first time.

In 1992, Dave went to Fort Knox for some special training (I could tell you about it, but then I'd have know the rest).   We found out that there would be a graduation ceremony at the end of his training, so we made plans to attend.

The trip from Detroit, where we were living at the time, to Fort Knox, Kentucky is only a little over 400 miles, so we decided to leave on a Thursday night after work.  At that time, we had two cars.  This one:

Our Chevy Beretta

And this one:
Yes, believe it or not, that's really us with our Pontiac Fiero

Which one do you think we took?  Yeah, I'm not sure why, either.

In reality, it was a good choice.  There is a surprising amount of leg room in a Fiero.  I'm not kidding, there is.  There isn't a lot of room in the "trunk" for luggage, but we were only going away for a long weekend, so we didn't need more than one suitcase.  Plus, the Fiero had a cool sunroof.

The weather was nice, so we had a good ride with the sunroof open and the music cranking.  We were a little worried about our accommodations in Fort Knox, though.  Dave had made arrangements for us to stay at the guest house on base.  When I mentioned it to one of my coworkers, she told me she had stayed there temporarily when her husband was in the military.  I asked her what it was like and she said, "Just like an Army barracks.  You know, cots, shared bathrooms.  That kind of thing."  Yikes.

We rolled in to Fort Knox at about 1:00 in the morning.  It's not an open base where you can just drive in.  You have to pass through a security gate and you must be on "the list".  An armed guard will stop you and ask for identification before you can drive in.  It's an all business exchange.  I'm not saying the guard wasn't the sort of guy you could share a beer and few laughs with, but I thought it best not to tickle him or call him Chuckles.  But that's just me.

I didn't go inside while Mr. Willoughby checked us into the guest house, but I could see the lobby from the car.  It looked really nice with elegant furnishings and area rugs.  It gave me reason to be optimistic.

Not the Fort Knox Guest House, for representational purposes only!
Thankfully, I was right.  Our room was very nice.  It was tastefully furnished with two full sized beds, an entertainment armoire with a large television, stereo and VCR (no Blue Ray back then) as well as a table and chairs.  There were no cots in sight and we had our own bathroom.

We didn't have any problems at all until the next morning when it was time to get ready to leave for the graduation ceremony.  I was wearing a blouse/skirt/heels combo and Mr. Willoughby was wearing a white dress shirt, tie, black dress pants, black shoes and white athletic socks.  Somehow, neither of us had thought to pack his black dress socks.  We didn't want to look like hillbillies, so we headed out to find a store on the base where we could get a pair of dress socks.

Not Mr. Willoughby's feet
This would be a good time to tell you, if you've never been there, Fort Knox is an Army base, but it's also a self contained city.  It has its own stores, fast food restaurants and gas stations.  The unfortunate thing is that it's a confusing place to find your way around.  In our search for dress socks, we nearly drove out onto the firing range.  I know, you think I'm exaggerating, but I'm not.  We really stopped just short of driving onto the range which was, thankfully, empty.

After the ceremony, we all had plans to spend the weekend together in Cave City, Kentucky.  It's a fairly touristy sort of place, but it was only an hour from Fort Knox and we knew we'd have fun visiting all of the attractions together.
I'd tell you which one is Dave, but then I'd have know the rest

We had reservations at some mid-priced chain hotel, but Dave had made reservations at a new resort hotel in the area.  He dogged us about it every chance he got, too.  He talked about how nice this place was, how it was brand new, the view, the get the idea.  It was all in fun.  So once we got into Cave City, we parted ways to check into our hotels with plans to meet at the fancy schmancy resort for dinner.

Our hotel turned out to be surprisingly nice.  We had a clean, comfortable room and there was a nice game room and pool on the grounds.  But it seemed oh so much nicer after we met up with Dave and found out his hotel was still under construction.  Phase one was open for business, but the rest was still being built.  The pool wasn't open yet, there was no game room and his air conditioning didn't work.  You can guess who dogged who after that.  After dinner, we stopped back at our hotel so Dave could see if they had any vacancies.  They did.  He switched.
A picture that has absolutely nothing to do with
this story except for the fact that we saw this cute little guy
in the parking lot of our hotel. 
I felt this post was lacking an "Awwww" factor.

On Saturday, we spent the day touring the caves in the area.  The entrance to Mammoth Cave can only be accessed by walking down a steep grade.  I had no problem walking down it, but when we were ready to leave and had to walk back up it, I didn't feel like I could do it.  I was hot and nauseous and had to stop every few minutes.  I had no idea why I felt so bad (until a few weeks later when Clear Blue Easy gave me the answer).
Me, at Mammoth Cave.  I was a little pale that day.

We did our best to squeeze every last drop of fun out of the weekend before it was time to say goodbye and head our separate ways.  We don't see Dave nearly enough because he still lives so far away.  We always have a blast when we do get together, though.  But we still pick better hotels (sorry, Dave!).


~Some photos courtesy of Google Images.~


Tracie said...

We're going to Mammoth Caves in a few weeks! I didn't realize it's that close to Fort Knox.

ChristineM said...

What a WONDERFUL story! :)

Hey, the first car I ever bought all by myself - no co-signer or anything - was a Chevy Beretta! We named her "Little Blue"

Raoulysgirl said...

Sounds like a fun trip! Not sure about the Fiero, sister had one and I didn't think they were all that comfy...and I was still a kid!!! LOL!!!!

As for the preggers thing, I feel for ya! When I was pregnant with #2 (who was also the last), we went to a wedding...the Ozarks in July...7 months pregnant...about 50,000 outdoor steps...

You get the picture. I feel for ya. LOL!!!

Joanna Jenkins said...

You tell a great story WIlloughby. I can just picture you guys driving with the top off and music playing.

Betty said...

I loved that story..amazing!
Lovely px too!
Hope you have a great week ahead!!
Big hugs,
B xx

Attila The Mom said...

Just loved your story! And the "awww factor" as well!