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Old 09-18-2009, 11:31 PM   #1
Von Hinten
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Patrol report Subsim meet 2009

After a rather long trip which started at 06.00, the Dutch group arrived at our rendezvous point; the u-boot memorial. Or at least we thought we did. As it turned out there are two of them and they are roughly 8 kilometers apart.

Driving straight to the wrong one is what happens when you have three Dutch guys in a car ignoring their satnav. Obviously, because we thought we knew our way around Germany better than it, we ended up at the ‘wrong’ memorial first. On the other hand though, when you’ve just driven 550+ kilometers to see one of Germany’s last remaining subs, arriving at ‘that other’ memorial a few kilometers out is never really all that bad. But we had a schedule to meet, so we quickly shot some pictures and went on our way.

We parked as close as we could to the coastline and were greeted down the hill by Dan from Ubi who picked me out because I was wearing my Subsim shirt. Seems dress codes do still work, even far away in Germany. He then told us that the rest of the group was just about complete and pointed us to Neal who was already gazing over the German sub. That’s when the shake hands and the ‘who are you, and what’s your real life name’ game began. Only Neal and Bas couldn’t play because they are, well, Neal and Bas on the forum as well so there’s no real mystery behind their names.

Next up was getting to the sub which in terms of distance was not too bad since we were literally standing right next to it but the Ubi guys had something special in mind; they wanted to enter the conning tower and after they told us about their plan, we of course wanted too.

The best part was that there was first some negotiating about getting a group discount, even though we were one man short for that, and after that was settled and they told the lady behind the counter that we were the group that would like to enter the tower there was briefly some confusion about which tower: the one on the sub or the one standing next to the monument ... Towers, it seems, can have all sorts of meanings when you’re standing next to a sub.

But they got it done and accompanied by a mechanic, who apparently knew and plays the Silent Hunter series, we entered the sub. This moment alone would have been well worth the trip to me, it was awesome. All those dials, gizmo’s and the occasional call for ‘alarm’ were just fantastic.

The mechanic then opened up the hatch to the tower and Dan was first to go up. When he looked up into the tower he saw ... the sky! That meant that not only the conning tower had been opened up but that the deck was accessible too. He first went up into the tower and when there was no one to stop him there; he went all the way up. For some time that would be the last we’d see from him ...

Down in the sub we then asked the mechanic if we could all go up and he looked at us and replied ‘sure, if you want to go right ahead. Your group can go’. So in a matter of minutes, the entire Subsim group was crawling around on the deck of U-995, having one heck of a good time. And obviously the idea that no one normally gets to go up there made it even more special.

Simply having the time of our lives we eventually went all over the sub at least twice, looking around and talking to the mechanic who clearly had good fun finally talking to people who knew just that bit more about submarines. And he knew his fair share about the boat as well, which made it great talking and listening to him.

We had a little bit of trouble getting Dan torn away from the sub, for a minute it seemed he was going to stay there permanently, but after everyone was done at the sub we went up the hill to the memorial and looked at all that was there. They had a lot of scale model ships and an opened up TDC which had the full attention of the Ubi crew who were all over that thing trying to see how everything was connected and worked. I think they have been at it for at least three quarters of an hour and to me looking at and listening to them figuring things out was a treat.

Then we were notified that if we wanted to go up the tower we had to do so because that would close up first while the museum part would be opened a little later. So we all left for the memorial tower which was stretching a good 60 meters up into the air, giving us a great view of the area as well as a nice top down view of U-995. After this I quickly went back into the museum to get a clear shot of the TDC and joined up with the rest.

After a nice diner we assembled the cars and headed back to Copenhagen but that, partly because I asked Lars to stop at the first gas station we would pass, that didn’t all go as planned and before we knew it we were driving around the village, far away from the main road.

As soon as the van stopped I got out and went over to it and we agreed on us leading the way since we brought our satnav and should be able to get us out of there. That worked and after the needed pit stop where we also moved a few guys from the Subsim van to the escorts so each could have a little more room we went on our way to Copenhagen.

After we took the ferry across we lost radio contact with Neal and the van but found them again when we arrived at the hotel. The long but amazing day ended with getting the rooms sorted out and diving into bed to get some well needed rest.

To be continued.
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Old 09-18-2009, 11:47 PM   #2
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You guys had a full day Von Hinten.

And now a well deserved rest.

Sleep well and we'll hear from you all tomorrow.
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Old 09-22-2009, 05:51 AM   #3
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Day 2

My apologies for the delay guys, but here's the report for day 2:

In the morning John took us into Copenhagen to see the some of the highlights of the city. Guiding us passed a number of great old buildings and the famous little mermaid statue, we then came upon the landing spot of the ferry bus which would take us across the canal.

Copenhagen’s public transportation system, by the way, works really well. You simply by a ticket that allows you to start 10 travels and upon beginning your travel you stamp it. From that time on, you can travel the city using any means of public transportation, bus, metro, train and the ferry busses, for two hours before having to stamp off another ride. They declared zones in which you can travel for these 2 hours but they are so large that we could freely move around the part of the city we needed on our 2 zone card.

There is a metro train coming every 2 minutes so, if it’s doors actually open up, you’re not stuck on the platform for too long. It’s pretty easy to move around the various parts of the city, once you get the hang of it. Jonathan’s explanations were invaluable for this as well, since, especially for the non-Danish speaking crowds, the machines that provided the tickets were clouded in somewhat of a mystery in regards to how to get the ticket that’s best for you. Neal, for example, can tell you all there is to know about the ticket receipt that comes out and what to do with it ... ;-) Oh, and don't forget to ask him about 'Udgang' ... ;-)

So we took that ferry buss across the water, looked around a bit and listened to the Ubi guys’ outrage. They were absolutely amazed that they had been to that exact spot the day before, but somehow missed the real size submarine laying on shore. They just couldn’t believe it and Mike was convinced the Danish put the sub there over night, because there was no chance on them missing it had it been there. You can only appreciate a good sense of humour like that. :-)

Our goal of today’s trip was to visit the submarine Sælen, which the Danish apparently, according to a reliable source on our ferry, had put there on display the day before, and the torpedo missile boat Sehested, a first line of defence craft.

Docked next to Sehested was the frigate Peder Skram which was just lying there being impressive and all. And let’s face it, there is not much else to do when you are a retired warship, now is there?

The group was split into two smaller ones and ours first went on board the torpedo missile boat. Our guide had served 4 years on the vessel himself and we could hear that throughout everything he told us. Two words were mentioned very frequently though: extremely good. :-) He also stated that he actually had to mention that terms at least a few times because he had been on that boat himself. A great guy and a blessing to have as our guide.

The boat itself was simply awesome. Three 4250hp GT Rolls Royce Marine Proteus engines propelled it to a maximum speed of 40 knots which it could maintain for 400 nautical miles before running empty. As backup engines the boat has two 8V71 General Motors diesel engines with 800hp each. The Sehested weighs in 260 tons so when you accidentally step over something and give the throttle a nudge, everything you’re missing will be in the back of the boat. If it weren’t built for such a serious task, it would make a mean waterskiing boat. :-)
Speaking of serious, apparently, in times of war, they basically were supposed to go out on this boat, empty all their ammo onto the enemy, get back in for resupply and go out again. The second time though, they were not necessarily thought to make it back or at least no one would think they would.

Next up was the submarine Sælen, or Seal in English, and when we left the torpedo boat, I noticed that the other group was already on it, so their tour had clearly been somewhat shorter than ours had been. We probably spend a little too much time in Sehested's engine room, but boy was it worth it. It's not every day that you get to see over 12.000hp crammed into a room the size of a bicycle shed.

We entered the sub at the front where our guide told us how they used the torpedo tubes for a lot of other things than just torpedo’s; they loaded frogmen to get them ashore, kept drinking water in them to keep it cool, the cook would store food in them, etc. A clever way of making use of the space these tubes provide when there are no fishes left. The tubes were actually halfway inside and halfway outside the pressure hull, so they would get pretty cold and that made them excellent places for storing stuff.

Then we went through the various departments and although this was a much younger vessel than U-995, the instruments looked very much the same and absolutely marvellous. I just love a room full of dials, tubes, vents and other gizmos. You can only admire the skill to think up stuff like that, build it and actually make it work. It's amazing stuff.

And guess what? We could get into the conning tower of this sub as well. Special treat again! So I went up there and the first one I saw was Dan. A bit perplexed, and realizing that he wasn't with our group when we started out, I asked him if he was still up there or again. He told me that their guide hadn’t even opened up the hatch, so when he noticed that our group was still on the other boat when we entered he figured our guide was better and he took his chance and returned to our sub. When he saw the opened hatch, he asked if he could get up and did so. Clever guy.

We went back to the other side of the canal and walked through the city some more, looking for our restaurant in a bit of a hurry because our tour had (again surprisingly) taken a little longer than planned. The food was great, I mean spare ribs are always nice, and over diner Bas and I got to talk to Neal’s dad a lot. You've got to admire the man for coming all the way over, walking around for days and managing to hang around with us kids. He is a truly nice person and a pleasure to have around. Hope to see you more often Abe!

Then we head back to the hotel, made a pit stop at a coffee bar and talked for hours with the Ubi guys in the lobby. It’s very special to hear them talk about how they are making this game and what they sometimes go through in order to get things right. But also that they are listening to us, making notes and will probably use an idea or two before the game is finished. Awesome stuff, I wish I could do this more often.
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Old 09-22-2009, 06:52 AM   #4
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Great write!! Cant wait for your accounts on the Nautilus days
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Old 09-22-2009, 07:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Von Hinten View Post
After a nice diner we assembled the cars and headed back to Copenhagen but that, partly because I asked Lars to stop at the first gas station we would pass, that didn’t all go as planned and before we knew it we were driving around the village, far away from the main road.

After we took the ferry across we lost radio contact with Neal and the van but found them again when we arrived at the hotel. The long but amazing day ended with getting the rooms sorted out and diving into bed to get some well needed rest.
Yes, you asked for a gas station, but the communication with my navigator (Chad) failed a bit... so we went through this tiny little village. It did not look like a drive through road at all, so the first time, I could pull in and look at the map myself, I did.

You lost contact with the van, because we said we would have a little race, so I hit the bottom of the speed and drove a bit faster than allowed. But we had a 10 minute stop at a gas station on the way, so you could maybe have catched up with us. Well, maybe....
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Old 09-22-2009, 07:58 AM   #6
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Very good reports Biek , can't wait to read the other ones.
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Old 09-22-2009, 08:30 AM   #7
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Awesome, this is what I've been waiting for!
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Old 09-22-2009, 08:33 AM   #8
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Thanks guys, and I'm finishing up the rest of the days as we speak.

Stay tuned for more!
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:49 AM   #9
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Day 3

After assembly downstairs we all went over to Peter’s 'hobby corner'. A really great site if you are technically challenged like me which I guess most of us are. You feel like a kid who spots a load of toys to play with; you have no idea where to start looking. Loads of ship parts lying around, tons of even smaller parts and even, slightly camouflaged by a bigger boat, a little submarine! Well little, with a weight of roughly 40 tons, this is hardly rowing boat material. She’s just an amazing beauty.

Then Peter arrived and asked us all to introduce ourselves so he got a rough idea on what people he'd get aboard. When the guys from Ubi introduced themselves Peter couldn't help making a small tongue in cheek remark on how today they would find out how wrong some things in their sims are, even though, like we later found out, he really enjoys playing the Silent Hunter series as much as we do.

After this introduction round he took us all to the sub and started explaining a little about her. Meanwhile John got into a diving suit and was on cleaning duty. While we were making sea food jokes (see Marcus' pictures for the explanation), he submerged to make sure we would be able to see something useful from the portholes in the side of the sub. This may seem like a not too honorable job but with the sun blazing down on us and the open area we were in, I almost wouldn't have mind doing the job myself just to cool down a bit. And he seemed to have enjoyed the dive as well when he got out.

Then we all went into the sub in small groups which allowed Peter to explain the inner workings of his sub. To me, the way he explained all the various stations and mechanics made perfect sense and he never came across as someone who would build a sub on a trial and error basis. Everything aboard was well thought of and served a clear purpose. Well maybe apart from the altimeter in the front but it was a nice touch nonetheless.

The start-up procedure itself went pretty well but one of the oxygen masks wouldn’t work and even though Peter, John and Oliver did their very best to fix it, they couldn’t get it to work which meant that there was one person less going with the sub each dive. That was a real shame and we could clearly see that Peter didn’t like it too much either.

While they were trying to get the oxygen mask to work, however, the rest of us were hanging out, talking and looking at the sub. Neal was still inside, Dan and Mihai were on deck. At some point Dan asked Neal down below if he wanted to use time compression to have it pass a little quicker. When Neal agreed that would be a great move Dan explained that it unfortunately was not available because the boat was too close to land. I laughed so hard I nearly tripped over. It's the kind of fun you can only have with a special breed of guys.

Then it was time for the first trim dive which even from the shore looked pretty cool. The sub went down, stern first and then, after some minor extra trimming was done, she submerged completely. Peter was in radio contact with John the whole time, making sure everything went according to plan and for John to warn Peter for available targets … ehrm I mean oncoming traffic, sorry …

They moved around underwater a bit more and sailed the sub into more open waters before coming back around and head back for the docs where another crew would enter. The sub and that crew would then make a surface trip through the harbor area to the place where Peter has his workshop and where we could start or dives the next day.

After surfacing Peter explained what the plan was and when going over his checklist he came to the conclusion that for this trip he would need 'a f*cking good guy' to serve as his engineer while he would steer the ship from the tower. I volunteered for the job and got it right away. Come to think of it, this was by far the most responsible function I've had so far and at the same time easiest job interview yet.

Peter then took me below and asked me to have a seat in the captains chair while he explained the seriousness of the task. He stressed that while he was up in the tower, all control in terms of movement of his 40 ton submarine would be in my hands and that therefore I had to look out for upcoming trouble as much as he would. After explaining to me how to operate the throttle handle and what to look for he gave me a pad on the shoulder, wished me luck and went back up.

During the trip he was in contact through the radio, simply calling in the orders with me acknowledging them back to him. I think we made a good team and it all went pretty well until we came to the point where we would park the sub. Upon going from forward in neutral I nudged the lever just over the top position and slammed the gear into reverse, stalling the engine. I was already having my finger on the starter button when Peter's voice came over the radio 'Biek … please restart the engine'. 'Restarting engine' I repeated. A little shame that this happened, it would have been a flawless trip if it had not. When we were docked, Peter himself still was happy enough when he came back down and complimented me on the rest of the trip. Job well done after all.

Peter then took us to his workshop where he briefly explained his plans on building a one man rocket. That man has vision like no other I've spoken to and I honestly believe that he'll make it happen one day. Outside he had a test block where he had been testing the smaller rockets he had been building so far and the latest was 'a small 2000hp rocket'. The results of that burn were clearly visible, there was almost a crater like marking on the tarmac showing where the rocket had been burning. That must have been an awesome sight.

Inside he already had parts of a bigger rocket getting ready for assembly. A few pieces of the hull which would contain the fuel and the part where the actual astronaut would be standing in were already available. Peter drew his plans on a whiteboard and that again all made sense. It may seem farfetched to shoot a one man rocket into space but it would surprise me if he would not succeed.

He stated that the idea was to find a way to create one man rockets at the cost of around 50.000 dollars each which would in terms fund the bigger plan of him, and possibly his colleague, going around the moon. It's simply mind blowing what this guy and his team are up to.

Then it was diner time and Peter joined us. The guy behind the counter had a little trouble serving the large group that came walking in but in the end everyone had a nice meal. Bas and myself had a 139 and Dan I believe had a 141 but that may have been the other way around, I'm not sure. All in all that was a great day, but it was long from finished.

Because next up was the Silent Hunter 5 presentation by the Ubi guys and for me personally I can sum it up with the same two words our Danish tour guide used: extremely good. Man, it was just awesome. We saw the new interface, game features and talked about what Dan had in mind when designing 5 and its various components.

I'll leave the more detailed review of the presentation to others since I may be a little bit biased for liking all this new stuff way too much. After the initial part was done, Dan saw a chance of getting back at me for making fun of him in the first patrol report(s) by saying that he could go on for quite a bit, but that ‘a few people’ were almost falling asleep (I guess I deserved that ;-)) so we called it a day and went back to the hotel.

Along the way while we were walking back, there was still a lot of talking going on about what we had seen and I can imagine the Ubi guys having gotten their share of questions before we reached the hotel.
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Old 09-22-2009, 01:07 PM   #10
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Awsome!! Love it!
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Old 09-23-2009, 04:09 AM   #11
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Day 4

Today was UC3 Nautilus day II.

It began by us first going over to the place where we left her yesterday, docked at the harbor. Peter passed us on his bicycle when we were almost there, mentioned that he had to take care of something small first and joined us a little later on. After opening up the sub and getting her started he then explained that he wanted 4 people to join him on the sub to sail it on the surface to the place where Oliver would meet us to get people on and off the ship from his boat.

At first I hesitated because I had already been on the sub the day before and there were also people present who hadn’t, but when no one was stepping up and Peter looked like he was ready to go I volunteered again and was happily invited on the sub again. Upon going below I greeted Peter with a cheery 'Good morning captain!'. He turned around, saw me and replied ‘hey there is my engineer, welcome back on board Biek’. Cool guy, the day could have ended right there and it would still have been a good one. Luckily for all of us it didn't and would have plenty more in store.

Then 4 more people joined in so we were with 6 on the sub, Peter included. This meant that before the sub could dive, Peter had to re-trim the sub in order to adjust it for the new weight and it was pretty cool to see firsthand how all of that worked as well. Peter then explained his strict but absolutely necessary rules, we made sure enough breathing device and goggles were accounted for and we commenced with the dive. Peter had everything ready and said 'right, let's see if she will sink'. Just in case we didn't hear it correctly we quickly made sure he actually meant 'dive' and then we were on our way below.

As some of you now know, the only outside view Peter has from inside his sub is his digital periscope. On it he has mounted 4 digital camera's which provide a 180 degree view forward and roughly 90 degrees to the back. The main screen is in color and when the sub went down we could first see the bow go under water shortly after followed by the conning tower. We've all seen this view in movies a couple of times but let me tell you, to see such a view in real life is just amazing. As soon as the whole boat was under the screen turned greenish with lots of air bubbles passing by. A very peaceful sight, he should make a nice recording from that and make it available as a screensaver.

Peter then re-trimmed the boat which made it hover in the water nicely level and enabled him to go up and down as smooth as silk. He explained to us he was going to set the sub down on the bottom but when doing so the actual landing was barely noticeable. We then went up again and Peter suggested we should do a emergency surface drill, ‘you know, just to see what happens’. Later on I heard that this isn't something he normally does with his guests so another special treat for the Subsim guys. We'll have to watch out not to get used to these or we'll probably end up being one arrogant bunch of people. *grin*

Now I’ve done countless of those maneuvers in the game to get back to the surface, either because I needed to or just because it looks so darn good, but experiencing one in real life was absolutely amazing. As smooth as the sub had touched the ground, going back up asap meant that the boat was going to move up pretty violently. Peter started opening the valves like his life depended on it and after the initial smooth, say, half a meter, the front of the boat went up really, really fast resulting in the sub going up in a guestimated angle of30-35 degrees. This was pretty cool but none of us really expected it to tilt that fast, so we were really surprised by the sudden movement of the sub. Later I heard from the guys ashore that it must have been an amazing sight to see the sub break surface like that.

For me, having assisted Peter with engineering the Nautilus one day, sailing it on the surface the next, actually being in there while diving it and getting it back up hurry-style, this really was a once in a lifetime experience and I like to again extend my gratitude for everyone at this Subsim met that made this possible. So Neal and Jonathan, the other guys from Subsim who took us all over town and of course Peter and his submarine. Thank you guys, I’m in your debt forever. Thank you so much.

Next up was a new challenge: a game of getting people on and off began and that proved so much more difficult to do than you would normally think. Having a sub floating at the surface with a moderately strong wind makes it move around a little so when you want to attach a boat to it, move the sub around and meanwhile get people on and off it will make things just a little bit, say, 'interesting'. But with Oliver behind the wheel all went pretty good and he did a great job on getting the new crew on the sub. Well done m8.

After my time on the sub was done, it was a matter of waiting around until all who would go down had their chance. But that was by no means a boring experience. I mean come on, having a real life sub diving and surfacing right in front of you is always an amazing sight, that stuff just ever gets boring. I enjoyed watching her going under, wondering if the guys inside had as much fun as I had. Judging from the expression on their faces when they got out, they sure did.

The final Nautilus crew got to sail her at periscope depth to the final destination. After a thank you speech from Peter, which I unfortunately mostly missed because we were the last to get picked up by Oliver, we departed to the same restaurant and had a good meal. This time the guy behind the counter had requested we all took the same dish so that the cook could prepare the lot a little easier. No problem, 20 times ‘the 139’ were ordered and we had to grin a little when the waiter came out asking ‘who ordered the 139’s’. Erhm ... actually, we all did pal, thank you. ;-) The diner was as good as the day before and lots of talking went on during.

From there on we all went back to the hotel to unload our stuff and to get ready to head back into town but that wasn’t going to happen before Neal opened up his seemingly 'never running out of goodies'-bag and started handing out gifts to us guys. Apart from the Ubi team, who naturally got a few really nice gadgets for their contribution to the past few days, a bunch of t-shirts were handed over and a few caps as well.

To determine who would get what from Santa's bag, Neal had thought up, or was doing so right then and there, a few challenges. One was to find out who had goofed up the most during the past few days and I hesitated to mention that I had managed to stall the engine of a submarine. That would probably have been a clear winner but sometimes it's best to keep stuff like that hidden. I mean you never know who's listening in so I waited my chance. In the end I still ended up with a very cool Subsim shirt and I’m sure each and every item that was given away will be worn and used with great pride and will add to even greater memories of the 2009 Subsim meet. I'm 110% sure mine will.

After this everyone got a chance to clean up a bit, change into our new shirts and then we head back into Copenhagen to get a drink and some snacks. We landed at a nice terrace on the opposite side of the Ferris wheel which I think was next to the Tivoli. There I was introduced to a new way of getting coffee and enjoyed that and talking to Chris and David very much.

Meanwhile Chad had a hard time fulfilling his new goal in life: getting the waitress on camera. As soon as he explained his plan to Lars, the later started calling Chad's bluff and I guess because Chad wasn't moving fast enough Lars got up and got his picture taken with the waitress. You know, probably just to show Chad the ropes. In the end Chad got all his strength together and asked her too. Luckily for his chapter this patrol report she accepted, so in the end both men succeeded. :-) And when she finished her shift and left, the camera friendly waitress waved the entire crew goodbye so I guess she enjoyed the whole thing as well.

The evening got on with us talking only to get interrupted by a small bathroom incident which involved poor Chad as well. I'm still grinning like silly just thinking of that one. I guess, in all honesty, our end of the table was having a little fun with Chad but he took it like a true sport.

With the evening getting on, and after him explaining that he was at legal alcohol age, we pushed our luck a little bit further by talking him into having a go at an Irish coffee. When the bowl arrived we could almost see the whiskey burning down his throat and he quickly decided that it wasn’t a very good idea for him to finish the entire thing. We pressed on a bit but having a few more sips he declined indefinitely so David and myself emptied it for him.

Good stuff that was, I had a truly great time.
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Last edited by Von Hinten; 09-23-2009 at 07:25 AM. Reason: Changed the amount of 139's :-)
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Old 09-23-2009, 05:22 AM   #12
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Love it
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Old 09-23-2009, 07:08 AM   #13
Onkel Neal
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18 times ‘the 139’ was actually 20 times, lol, I had to do the count

Great report, engineer.
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Old 09-23-2009, 07:26 AM   #14
Von Hinten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neal Stevens View Post
18 times ‘the 139’ was actually 20 times, lol, I had to do the count

Great report, engineer.
I stand corrected! Glad you liked it though and I'll try to finish up the last two days this week. That's right, 2 days.
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Old 09-23-2009, 08:42 AM   #15
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Har har, laugh all you want, you guys told me to go downstairs, I just went to the wrong stairs

Great reports and glad you had a good time. It was a fantastic trip!
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