The phone rings at about 10 a.m.
It was a colleague.
"You gonna be up there for the reception?"
"You done with work?"
"Not even close."
Two hours later, the car was on the road.
It was early February and the goal was to be in Magog, Quebec, for a snow sports writers conference at 5. There was a pit stop in Manchester, CT for a Mountain Dew Slurpee and two in Vermont - one in Brattleboro to say bye to the Slurpee and a gas stop in St. Johnsbury. There was a short conversation with the nice border guard heading into Canada.
The car pulled into the hotel parking lot.
It was 4:30. There was even time to get the equipment organized.
Everyone said it was a five-hour trip.
How was it done? It's all about the music.
Thus, Vernon Patch editor Chris Dehnel and South Windsor editor Ted Glanzer present this week's installment of Patchy Pop Culture.
Five songs that give you 10 more mph on road trips.
Chris has the pole position this week:
1. Flight of Icarus, Iron Maiden (Piece of Mind, 1983). This could be Bruce Dickinson's finest vocal. And it could be worth 15 mph more.
2. Whiplash, Metallica (Kill 'Em All, 1983). The drums, the solo, the riffs. It all just makes you want to get in the left-hand lane and go.
3. Rainbow in the Dark, Dio (Holy Diver, 1983). Dio's vocals make you want drive through a wall they are so intense.
4. Ogre Battle, Queen (Queen II, 1974). The title is self-explanatory. No need to elaborate. It's not the Flash Gordon Queen. Oh, is this better.
5. Going Under, Evanesence (Fallen, 2003). Amy Lee can sing and hold a note. Had to brake approaching a known speed trap spot in Vermont and it was awful.
OK, Ted’s turn.
(Looks over at Chris in shock).
I... I... I can’t top any of those. They’re brilliant. But here’s mine:
1. Operation: Mindcrime, Queensryche (1988, Operation: Mindcrime). I actually got a speeding ticket in high school while playing this tape (kids, ask your parents what a tape was). Geoff Tate’s a clown, but man this album is still good. I love it. I actually had this at No. 4, until I had to cop that this is what gets me going.
2. Master of Puppets, Metallica (1986, Master of Puppets). The best speed metal band of all time, well, at least until the Black Album came out. But this was the band at the height of its powers. Pure force.
3. Sheep, Pink Floyd (1977, Animals). An odd choice, to be sure, but just give a listen and you’ll see. Added bonus: the song is over 9 minutes long, meaning you save plenty of time if you’re speeding - unless you get caught by The Man.
4. Run to the Hills, Iron Maiden (1982, The Number of the Beast). Maiden is pretty much good for two things: overstuffed rock festivals and getting speeding tickets. This is my vote for the song that gives me leadfoot.
5. Anything by Genesis when Phil Collins headed the band - I speed when I hear their songs because I can’t get out of the car fast enough. Horrible. I just punched myself in the ears for having to link “Invisible Touch” to this article.