Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

2012-04-17 23:37:00.000 – John Bauhs,  Summit Volunteer


Sometimes, life at the Obs can seem like the movies. In his 1987 movie ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’, director John Hughes’s characters- Del Griffith and Neal Page – push-through various travel methods to eventually gain their goals.

The travels to this wonderful week (is it week eleven or is it weektwelve?) on the summit seemed to parralel the script of the great Hughes film. It all began with a pre-dawn SuperShuttle ride from my home in Germantown, MD to BWI, then a flight to Boston Logan, a pick-up by Mr. Ed O’Malley, a drive to North Conway, an overnight at Moat Smokehouse, a van ride (with chains) to winter cut-off, then a snow tractor trip to the summit. Granted, I didn’t sell any plastic curtain rods to anyone along the way and Mr. O’Malley and I didn’t have to share a mildewy room in a flea-bag roadside motel…but, hey!…who’s paying attention to details here? Ed O’Malley and I first volunteered together in late October, 2007. We were strangers then, only bound by our interest in serving as volunteers for the Obs. In the few years since then, we have become friends and genuine supporters of the mission of the Observatory. I always look forward to serving with Ed and seeing our human and feline (Marty!!!) friends each week on the rockpile. All those reading this should consider giving a week of their life to help the Observatory…my life has been richer and brighter as a result!

Interestingly, this week has been a mirror-opposite of our first volunteer week at the Observatory. In late October, 2007 the beginning-week weather supported hikes in jeans and short-sleeves and ended in cold rime ice and high winds. This week began as 20 inches of fresh snow, and ended with record high temperatures (57 degrees F) and endless visibility. I am grateful for the friendship of Mr. O’Malley and for the vast scientific value that the Observatory continues – day after day and year after year. Support the Obs!


John Bauhs,  Summit Volunteer

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