Yep. Looks like your one week Nash-less vacation is now over, cause I'm back home from the 205. Hope the peace and quiet was good for y'all, cause on my end I had a helluva good time on my mini-vacation. Full con report to come later...football's on now. Just the LSU game for now, but the Tide kicks off at 2:30pm and I doubt I'll get much done till that's over with. (Just look at last week...I miss one game, and see what happened? Bah.)
The drive was good, though. While I love to drive, I hate getting lost in unfamilliar places far from home. And I've heard horror stories about getting lost driving around Atlanta - can't say that I was really worried, but all the same I gotta thank God for gettin' me there and back safely in great time with no speeding tickets or wrecks or getting lost or anything. Just pulled into the parking deck, found a space almost immediately, and things couldn't get much better.
Two minor hiccups on the way up there, though. The first was relatively minor - my headlights started going out the night before when me and jovan_scorn were cruising around town. I changed the bulbs, and now one would work 100% of the time and the second would have random glitches. Sometimes high-only, sometimes low-only, sometimes no lights at all and sometimes it would work as it was supposed to. Till I screwed everything back into place and tested it one more time to be sure, and then find out the light was out again. Meh. Turns out there was just a loose connection on one of my headlights in The Truck, and since I didn't have enough time to fix it I took Dad's lowrider instead. Not that I minded - it's pretty badass, especially now that it's got those loud, crome side pipes on it. Plus it's better in gas, had more interior room to shove stuff behind the seat, and made driving around the interior of the hotel parking garage much less worrisome.
That was perhaps a blessing in disguise. The second was comical, but even less serious than the former. My printout directions said to take exit 67 to I-285. Not a problem. So I'm driving through Lee County - the one ass-backward corner of Alabama that even I won't claim - and I'm counting the road signs. Exit 64, 65, 66, 70...wait, what? Was I just asleep or something? I took exit 71 or 72, spun around, and backtracked. Exit 71, 70, 66, 65. WTF?!? What kind of Auburn grad designed this Mickey Mouse piece of shit? Did they get their Civil Engineering diploma out of a Cracker Jack box or something? I shrug it off, make another U-turn, and keep driving till I cross the county (and state) line. I pull over at the Georgia rest stop, take a quick peak at the map, and chuckle when I realize that MapQuest didn't say Alabama Exit 67 or Georgia Exit 67, just "Exit 67". The numbers, of course, just restarted with Exit 1, and I still had an hour's drive till I needed to turn off of the main road. ^_^;
The drive back was even more uneventful...just mile after mile of beautiful scenery, same as the ride up there but different as I took a different path upon my return. Drove through the Talladega National Forest, as well as several other more naturally occurring woodlands. Saw the foothills which would lead up to the mountains in northern Alabama, tons of peaceful lakes and rivers and streams, rolling fields of farmland, and just about everything else. Went through the state capital of Montgomery, big cities like Birmingham, small Mayburry-esque towns that looked like they were plucked directly out of 1940's Americana, and of course my second home of Tuscaloosa, AL. All in all, it was a very relaxing drive.
Yeah, I've been to Japan. I've been to Europe. Paris? Tokyo? Washington DC? I've seen 'em. I don't give a shit about what those damn yankees think of us Southerners. Nor do I take too seriously the complaints of some of the locals who want to "escape" their small-town upbringings when they really haven't been anywhere else or seen things for themselves. But no matter what kind of ignorant stereotypes folks say about us, Alabama kicks so much ass. Ain't nowhere else I'd rather claim as my home.
Ahem. So, where was I? Oh yeah. Very nice drive, especially since it was the first time I've seen some of these sights in years. But even though it's been so long since I've travelled northward, I still knew the route like the back of my hand. Even the small, unnamed logging road that I use as a shortcut instead of the interstate. And while it was still fun to take that long, winding road through the middle of nowhere...it was a little odd that no one recognized me anymore. Partly cause I wasn't driving the Big Red Machine, an easily recognised vehicle that has my CB handle proudly displayed across the windshield, but partly because I haven't used my CB in ages. My kicker fried the box, and I've yet to bother spending time and money buying a new system. While it was kind of fun being a big fish in the admittedly very small pond of amateur CB radio operators, I just got more important things that I need to save up my cash for. Ah well. If it's any consolation, I saw that the family business of those cajuns that mangled my spine in that bad wreck closed down, and was out of business.
Another perk to taking Dad's truck was that he has a CD player. To get myself in the convention mood, I burned a few discs of Anime music to listen to while I was on the road. Good times. Though about halfway down, when I started running into all the truckers, a random thought struck me. Even though nobody's gonna recognize me as the Maverick, all they're gonna see is this cocky badass, wearin' dark glasses and riding around in a souped-up lowrider. Fairly accurate description...though I wonder what they'd think if they knew that I was rocking out to something as macho and nut-scratchingly manly as the soundtracks to Card Captor Sakura and Magical Girl Pretty Sammy and such? XD
I think the most bizarre thing was what didn't happen. Drove all the way from Mobile to Atlanta, to Tuscaloosa, and almost all the way back to Mobile without seeing the first lovebug. The odds of that are at least a billion to one, at least this time of year. But it wasn't till I passed Cadillac Ranch that I had the first splatter on my windshield. (That's near Wilmer-Georgetown Road for you locals, and roughly ten-fifteen minutes away from my house for those of you not lucky enough to live in LA.) I turned that one corner, and saw eight hundred black dots hovering in midair above the asphalt, looming like a Biblical plague. So I punched the gas, and eight hundred small explosions later I didn't see another one of those annoying critters for the rest of my trip.
Now it's time to unwind, watch some football, eat some steak and taters, and rest up my sore back till it's time to get back to work, job hunting and doing chores and other less than plesant tasks.