We said our goodbyes at Wilmington and loaded our furry passengers on board the ML320. Our first ground transport for MAESSR, we were keeping our fingers crossed. I pointed us south on I-95 and Mary asked for the address for our drop, heck, I had no clue. I was heading to the airport and it was off exit 86A, in Virginia. Needless to say that did not go over very well with my partner. Shortly after that navigation exchange Zippie decided to leave us a present to let us know it could indeed get worse. Yikes, this one called for a pull off the road stop and clean/air out.
As we approached our destination we went through an area where I smelled smoke. Not from our ride but from the outside surrounding area, maybe a field fire or paper. We continued on to the Hampton Inn in College Park and waited for our next team to arrive.
With the doggie transfer completed we saddled back up and headed for home. Mary's GPS asked if we wanted to detour due to a 29 minute delay en route. I had to read it a few times and of course try to figure where this box was sending me. This device is not my Garmin 530 or 496 but instead a Tomtom.....sorry I've come to trust MY toys much more. Anywho, I waited to long and the request vanished off the screen....Hmmmmm....maybe that's not a good thing.
We were soon in the traffic and from what we could tell it was the fire smell gone crazy! The smoke was rolling across the highway and the winds were feeding it all. Mary did say maybe the College Park fire trucks and hazmat trucks were coming to this event....yeah, I'm thinking that's the case.
UPDATE: 4:15 p.m.: From Prince William police:
A brush fire at the Dale City exit of SB I-95 has consumed over 5 acres and one on the northbound side at Cardinal Drive has consumed over 10 acres. Smoke is obscuring I-95 and NB I-95 has been shut down with the exception of HOV. The access ramps for the Dale City exit have been shut down.
It was a two hour ride home and Mary took a nap while I listened to music. Both our butts were numb from sitting for almost 4 hours. A fun mission but I would rather fly it any day. I guess it's good to get the reality check now and then. We're so lucky to be able to fly!