You might have thought that we had covered El Centro enough. Nah! The day after the photocall, I was planning to head across to San Diego. However, I didn’t have to be there until lunchtime and it is only a couple of hours drive to get there. Since I was going to be up early, why not finish of the time at El Centro with one more visit to the base to shoot from outside.
I wasn’t going to be there too long but there was the probability of an early launch wave and they would recover before I was going to depart. I got there early enough for some of the first launches and was the first visitor. I was going to be joined by some of the friends from the photocall and there was a second visit scheduled by another group for that day so the attendees for that were likely to show up before too long.
We did get a similar bunch of traffic to the previous day with waves of T-45s heading out as well as some F/A-18s doing their thing. I got to cover the first wave without any trouble and then quietened down around the time I was planning on leaving. However, leaving proved to be a bit more troublesome than I would have expected.
Some of the people that arrived for that day either hadn’t been before to the location and/or were not very thoughtful when it comes to accommodating those around them. The location is alongside a drainage ditch with a drop off to a lower level which then has another ditch beside it. There is space to park along the ridge and leave space for other vehicles to get past.
Sadly, some of the new arrivals hadn’t bothered with that concept. When it came time for me to leave, the easier was out – since there were poorly parked vehicles both ahead and behind – was actually backwards. Reversing around the parked cars on the top of the ridge was hardly fun and then reversing the remaining length of the ridge was also less than enjoyable. It wasn’t difficult but the presence of water on one side and a drop on the other tends to increase the level of concentration.
Anyway, despite the thoughtlessness of a few, I did make it out and got a good start to the day. Sadly, I should probably have hung around a bit longer since my next stop didn’t go quite according to plan – but that can wait for another post.