Wednesday, June 19, 2013


I'm a bit of a Plan-a-saurus Rex, so when it comes to organizing cruises for the NSOC, I tend to go a little overboard.  On the one hand, it's just kinda fun for me to plot things out.  On the other, it's helpful to those who are along for the ride to have an issue-free drive.  That's why I've gone and taken this a step further with the "Growlers".

This was an idea that stemmed from talking about furthering our efforts to organize and help run cruises as efficiently and smoothly as possible.  It's an idea that's slowly been coming together that, with the help of a few fellow cruise-aholics, we plan to utilize for larger turnout events.

The goal of the Growlers is simple: run the cruises smoothly by designating a scout, lead, middle, and tail end car to communicate with eachother to keep the group together and keep watch for possible issues.  Cell phone or Radio communication between cars is a key role in keeping the group together.  I try to plan routes with minimal road changes to simplify things, but when we get more than 10 cars lined up behind the lead car, often times you can lose a few cars at a light or a busy turn.  If that happens, the Growlers either in the middle or tail end of the group give the lead car a call and inform them of this.  Arrangements are made to either wait up for the rest or to continue on and have the other cars catch up.  If needed, the Growler with the group that has been separated from the rest can lead them along the rest of the route, since they are familiar with the route we've plotted out.  Having radar detectors on the Growler cars can be helpful too if we want to open up the throttle a little bit.  The scout car can move out ahead of the group and report back to the lead car to make sure the stretch of road ahead is clear.  Sometimes in rural areas there are farm equipment moving on or near the road or a speed trap, so sending a car ahead to check for that can make things safer for everyone.

Growler cars are designated by an easily identifiable logo applied to the rear of the car.  The logo is actually taken from an F/A-18G Growler, an ECM-equipped version of the Navy's popular Hornet fighter aircraft.  I thought this name would be appropriate given the kind of role our cars have that is similar to that of the F/A-18G as well as representing the distinctive "growl" that boxer engines in Subarus are known for.

This Friday, I've planned out a cruise for the NSOC that should include about 15 cars.  While the route is quite simple with minimal road changes, a group this big can easily be spread too far apart and separated.  I'll need to recruit some help to get this rolling.  The "Growlers" idea is still new and I've officially only got a couple of cars that have helped me out before.  We'll see if I can grow our ranks!

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