March 20, 2006

On Tour, Pt 2

Last Saturday, after breakfast with VW and Bou, and their crews, I made my way up to Apollo Beach. It was a pretty trying drive... I turned off of the Florida Turnpike, which is a great road for snoozing, at Yeehaw Junction. Highway 60 takes you across Florida from there.

I'm not sure what this stretch of highway is called, or if it even has a nickname. If it hasn't, I've got one for it: Tard's Dragway. Seriously.

The speed limit for most of it was 60 mph... a speed never seen in the no passing zones. Try 45 to 50. Of course, you may think that because I was in a hurry, I'm stretching it a bit. That's fine, but you're wrong. Traffic would slow, I'd start yelling (and I wasn't the only one), and we'd speed up to a slow creep. You prayed for the passing lanes to open up.

Once you hit them, however, the only thing missing from an actual drag strip was the "tree." Well, okay, the water box, too. Anyway, as you entered the passing lanes, traffic sped up to an impressive 95 - 100, with the idiot who was slowing everyone else down leading the charge. Cars flying, lane changes every few seconds, brake lights flashing... vehicles lurching everywhere. And in the end, maybe one vehicle was able to pass, with the rest of us slowing back down to below the speed limit. I kid you not. It's very obvious that NASCAR started down there... position is a valuable thing, and no one wants to lose it. Finally, I was able to reach my uncle's place, wide awake, teeth clenched, and thankful that I keep my hair short. I'd have easily been bald, otherwise.

There, it was a very informal thing, but just as my uncle would have wished. His favourite tunes playing on the stereo, with a photo album on display, and a couple videos of him at the dragstrip. (He had a little Monza with an engine that he had built himself powering it... on one of the videos, he was consistently running under 9.4, with a 9.25 his quickest.) Another uncle was the only other member of our side of the family to make it, and we sat and visited for hours. Many beers were drained, a few shots done in memory, as the stories of Uncle Russ were told. A few tears, lots of laughs, and then we headed out to the beach to watch the sun set over his favourite island, Beer Can, where his ashes had been spread the day before. It was pretty powerful...

After a few monster hugs (I thought my cousin was going to break my neck at one point) and a bit of deliberation about staying, I made my way across the bay, and over to visit Tammi's niece, Carmen. Heheheh... you should have seen her face when I walked in... They had been telling her that she might have a suprise visitor drop by for her birthday, but she had no clue. While it wasn't quite the look I'd have if Jennifer Aniston or Selma Hayek dropped by, watching her face change from "WTF?" to "Oh, my, gott!" when I was introduced, was hysterical.

These were good folks, and I had a blast visiting and drinking with them. Heheheh... one of my favourite repeated quotes of the evening: "I think I'm going to puke... who wants to do another shot?" Carmen has a laugh that just doesn't quit, and I don't think that there were more than a couple of minutes when she wasn't smiling from ear to ear. They called Tammi, and she listened in as they gave each other crap, as well as her. We played a few games of Spoons, and Bullshit, which I lost... look, I'm not a bullshitter, how am I supposed to win at a game of lying? After cards, and a couple shot offers more, we all hit the rack (not together), and they were blessed as my snoring lulled them to sleep.

Come morning, Tammi's cuz made a big breakfast, and I left... would have been great to visit more with these great folks, but I needed to make it towards home. Today's destination and blogger, or bloggers? Atlanta, to hopefully hook up with Zonker, and maybe RSM, both of whom I'd spent a lot of time visiting with last fall in Tennessee. These gents are like brothers... not to me, but probably someone. Heheheh... just kidding. I would have liked to hook up with some others, like Denny, or to even meet new, like Elisson, but because this was so impromptu, I kept it simple. I was only going to be around long enough for supper...

I got to Zonker's in pretty decent time, and had a Guinness while visiting with him. Meahwhile, RSM was working his way down from the mountains, and we hooked up at a Chinese restaurant. The food at this place was great, as was the company... when you could hear them. When we first got our table, RSM asked to have us moved, as we were right under a speaker, and Zonker is the only one good at reading lips. We picked a fairly quiet table, where things remained that way for a few minutes more. Then, we got a party of folks from the Voice Immodulation Institute sitting next to us, and the evening was filled with laughter, phone calls, and voices trying to get their point across, over the inferior voices. All the while, the three of us are communicating by making faces and waving arms and hands. Even though it was louder than hell, we still had a good visit. I think.

I parted ways with Zonker, and headed back with RSM to his place. I'm definitely planning on heading back down that way again... both to Zonker's, and RSM. I kinda felt bad that I didn't get to visit more with Z-man, but I will another time.

RSM has been lifting since I first met him... it kinda shows, but it's effects are very obvious. When I got up to his place in the mountains of Georgia, it was very evident. For his cabin, and the plot of land upon which it rests, have been wrested from Gott. I don't know if the Big Man keeps coming down on a regular basis to reclaim it, or not, but obviously RSM walks away the victor everytime. Anyway, we grabbed a couple of beers, and headed outside to enjoy the quiet, and the nocturnal wanderings of the hills' animal residents. A kickass end to a long day of driving... The following morn, I took a short tour of where he works, then we headed out to catch breakfast. I thanked him for his hospitality, promised that I would one day return the favor, and headed on out, towards Tennessee.

Much like I've gotta run for chow, now... Hopefully, I'll finish this up later on, but if not, for sure by tomorrow!

Posted by That 1 Guy at March 20, 2006 12:06 PM

oh, you can't use tards roadway, we have already have that roadway here. Now you can use tard byway-highway, tard mountain pass. However, I think we got dibs on that one.

Posted by: armywifetoddlermom at March 20, 2006 01:15 PM

Sounds like a good time.

Posted by: Dash at March 20, 2006 05:07 PM

Beer Can. One of the most beautiful places on earth. Honestly. And at sunset - it can't be beat.

Posted by: Tammi at March 20, 2006 06:08 PM

Wow! I can just guess who the puke line was coming from......

*winks at Sister in Law*

Posted by: Carmen at March 20, 2006 07:46 PM

IIRC, FL60 used to be called King's Highway, and it was a serious death-trap. Guess not much has changed in 45 years...

Posted by: Elisson at March 21, 2006 06:57 AM

looking forward to having you back round, sir. Glad you liked it here, humble though it is. Now back to the gym. I hear the big guy is bringing Gabriel for backup next time.

Posted by: RSM at March 23, 2006 09:23 PM