Roamy's G-Jet stories

NASA has some government vehicles, though the motorpool for TDY vehicles was eliminated in last year’s budget go-around. Years ago, NASA owned the vehicles, and they were all painted white with the red NASA “worm” logo. A branch or a division would have their own vehicle, usually a truck for hauling supplies and equipment. When I was a lowly co-op student, I got stuck with the Dodge truck three years older than me, manual transmission, three on the column. I hated driving that thing in the winter because if you took your foot off the gas, it would stall.

At least my truck never broke down on me. That happened to one of the other co-op students, near one of the recreation areas on post. Granted, he was on his way to one of the warehouses, but that didn’t stop the senior techs from pulling a prank. One of the techs talked to a security guard, who then paid a little visit to the poor co-op. The guard started asking stern questions about just exactly what was he doing at the recreation area during business hours, because if he was there getting a little hanky-panky, he was going to be responsible for the repairs to the gov’t truck. The kid was sweating and stuttering, until the older guys couldn’t hold it in any more and started hee-haw laughing.

Mr. RFH’s division got stuck with the Rampage. IIRC, it was kind of small and low to the ground, so he had to fold, spindle, and mutilate himself to get into it. It was a little unnerving hearing the gas sloshing, and he was never sure it would even make it out of the parking lot.

I know I didn’t drive near the miles XBrad did as a recruiter, but one year I did put over 5,000 miles on a NASA van with an AM radio, no cruise control, and the bench seats taken out, hauling aluminum panels back and forth to a plating shop in Birmingham. That was when I learned to like country music and not mind the “sick call” on the talk radio station.

Some years ago, NASA decided to lease vehicles, so the old white ones went away. I put several thousand miles on a plain but serviceable mini-van and a nice Chevy Impala, hauling flight hardware and test equipment. The branch/division vehicles were also leased. At that time, there were four women in my group, three teeny tiny dainty petites and me. There were a lot of errands that I ran because the other women didn’t want to climb up into the cab of a Chevy Silverado. I could be wrong on the model. It’s a big heavy-duty truck, tall enough without step plates, even I use the wheel to pull myself up and in.

I traveled enough that I knew most of the motorpool crew, and they always looked out for me. I knew I had it made when they called me “Miz” and my first name.

I never had to deal with a state trooper (knock on wood), but when I was driving the van with the NASA logo on the side, I did have to deal with an irate taxpayer who didn’t think I should be in the McDonald’s drive-thru. Apparently we’re not supposed to eat while we’re on TDY. At least it wasn’t Hooters.