A Bright Idea

Gov. Dannel Malloy’s proposal to finish Route 11 from Salem to New London (possibly in our lifetime) brings to mind one of the funniest, dumbest moments of my so-called career.

For the uninitiated, Route 11 is called “The Road to Nowhere.”  The money ran out, so they stopped construction 8.3 miles from the end.

Years ago, photographer Rick Huntington and I were shooting a Brooks File on “The Road to Nowhere,” and we had the use of the helicopter. 

Rick:  “I’m gonna string together all my mic cords.  I’ll get in the helicopter, and we’ll shoot the standup with you on the ground as the helicopter takes off.”

Me (with the enthusiasm of a 5-year-old):  “Yeah!”

And it was red, too.

Have you ever screamed at the top of your lungs and still been drowned out?  Have you ever swallowed generous amounts of dust, dirt and small pebbles kicked up by a Bell Jet Ranger?  And best of all, have you ever worn a nubby wool tie and clamped a serrated mic clip on it when the other end is attached to a helicopter lifting off?

I have.

And it was particularly entertaining when the mic clip snagged the tie, and the tie started to go airborne with the helicopter.  While, of course, it was still firmly wrapped around my neck.  A wild flailing of arms convinced Rick and the pilot that maybe our plan was flawed. 

The helicopter put down.  Rick and the pilot got out.  we looked at each other in disbelief.  And then we laughed our asses off.

That happened at least 25 years ago.  No video evidence of the moment exists.  It’s just as well.

And Route 11 still isn’t finished.


About Gerry

I've been covering Connecticut news and sports since 1974. I know, I don't look that old.
This entry was posted in It's all about me, Living in the Past, News, People, TV Stuff and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to A Bright Idea

  1. hendu says:

    I can think of at least 15 EHS violations in that story alone. In fact reading it may be one as well

  2. vanna says:

    do you still chuckle to yourself when you think about it? =D “what’s so funny?” “ahhh, nothing…”

  3. Wendy says:

    Am still chuckling after reading this errr…misadventure in reporting. Perhaps, IF the road ever gets finished in our lifetime, you could do another report letting us know that the road to nowhere now leads to somewhere? Perhaps a different way of approaching the report might be in order ~ just a gentle suggestion, that’s all.

  4. Mary says:

    Thanks for the laugh today Gerry, just the mental image is priceless. Perhaps if they do finish it you could do a follow up.

  5. Steve says:

    Ah, the days before wireless. This one goes down with the famous Heinz “ze camera is in ze pond” story! Those were the days.

  6. Nancy Pahl says:

    Wow Gerry very funny. A memory forever in your mind. Follow up if and when it gets finished. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Gene says:

    Love it. Totally unencumbered by the thought process.

  8. Gene II says:

    That was priceless… I remember the Brooks Files; I never missed one. And they are still beating this dead horse to death. Living in the shadow of RT-11, and knowing its history, and what would be involved in its completion, I know it’ll never be. But thanks for the memories.

  9. Li'l Em-Kel says:

    Truly hilarious!

    But you can’t fool me, Gerry. You can’t bury the real, REAL funny part of the story inside a cyclone of sand and pebbles, the roaring engine, the screaming vocal chords. No, my friend, the actual humor in this incident is that you were wearing a nubby . . . red . . . wool . . . tie. Now THAT’S funny.

    (btw, where is the tie now? Do you need it this weekend? If not, could I possibly . . . oh, never mind. My good suit’s at the cleaner’s anyway.)

  10. Mon says:

    This had me laughing out loud inside the trusty NBC Connecticut live truck right now. I don’t usually comment on your posts Gerry, but this was classic. Thanks for the belly laugh, it was good for my soul. P.S. No video needed, the mental images this story conjures up are hysterical on their own!!

  11. This was hysterical, Gerry! Thanks for sharing.
    I can’t believe Rick H. did not save that video somewhere.
    Now here in Fairfield County we are still waiting for them to finish Route 7- the connector in Norwalk between the Merritt and I-95….You know that place- it’s where all the traffic is!
    But I’m not holding my breath.

  12. That helicopter cured me of my fear of heights via copious heaving. The piece above is great …

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