My Saturday

I went to Mike’s funeral today. While I was there I hooked up with DixieDennis who drove down from western Kentucky and Doc from Maingun LLC who drove in from Georgia, both of whom I’ve exchanged emails with and wanted to meet.
It was a good service as far as those things go. His survivors, interests and accomplishments were recited and two folks got up to speak, the first one a friend of Mike’s who shared some memories and spoke some very moving words and the second being David Codrea of The War in Guns and who was instrumental in breaking the Fast and Furious/Gunwalker story with Mike.
After they finished there was a word from his brother and then a short sermon and that was it. 45 minutes.
One thing I found funny was a handmade sign posted on the door and also displayed prominently inside: No Weapons allowed inside. I walked back out to my truck to grab a chew for the service and started noticing all the male mourners checking to make sure their shit was covered up before they went inside.

We did stick around and visit for a while, me and Doc spending a few minutes talking with David – a very intelligent and passionate man, then we joined Dennis in the parking lot where we shot the shit for a few more minutes, then me and Doc went back inside and prowled around in the back of the funeral home. It’s cool, they knew we were back there.
We all had about a 5 hour drive home, so we shook hands and was on the road by 3:15.

Okay, so I jumped in the truck this morning to leave for the funeral. I know Portland is in middle Tennessee and Leeds is near Birmingham in the central part of Alabama so all I gotta do is jump on 65 and it’s a straight shot down for the most part. I punch in the address on my Tom-Tom and see that the route chosen will take me right through Nashville right in the middle of the morning commute. Okay, that shit ain’t happening. What I want is a route that will plug me into 65 below Nashville so I click to alternate routes, see one that will take me on backroads towards Murfreesboro and then to 65 so I selected that one then I went on my merry way, crawling behind trucks hauling trailers of tobacco leaves and dodging potholes.
You can imagine my dismay when I looked up and saw a sign that said “Welcome to Georgia”. Fucking Georgia. I’m like a hundred miles off. What I had done was punched in Route 3 instead of Route 2. Route 3 evidently was the scenic route.
I have made no secret of the fact that I have the sense of direction of a rock, but this is the first time I have ever missed an entire state, at least while I was sober. I mean all I had to do was go due south for about 40 miles then hang a right and I would’ve hit 65 – in theory anyways. Around here you don’t go straight anywhere – the roads pretty much follow the contour of the land. I bet there ain’t a mile long stretch of straight road other than the major highways in the entire state. Sure, there were a few times I was wondering if I was headed the right direction – it was so overcast I couldn’t see the sun – but Tom-Tom assured me all was well so I kept on traveling. Saw some pretty country though.

The trip home was pretty uneventful – I did take 65 home figuring that by the time I got to Nashville the evening rush hour would be over.
Right after I cleared Birmingham the sky opened up and that shit was flat coming down. I had my wipers going lickity-split and I still couldn’t see 50 yards in front of me. I had to slow down from 80 to 70, man. On top of that, the truck was pretending it was a boat and kept trying to float on me. It rained like that off and on all the way to Nashville.
Oh shit, another sign I saw today that I got a kick out of: I stopped off in some crossroads for some barbecue and when I went to use the restroom I noticed a sign taped to the door of the ladies restroom – Natural Born Women ONLY (kiddies are okay too). I don’t know if they’d already had an issue with it or if they were just heading that shit off at the pass. They evidently don’t go for that gender identification nonsense in rural Alabama.

Below Nashville, I figured fuck it I’ll go through it instead of around it. It wasn’t that bad until I hit traffic all going to the Titans stadium for something or another. Traffic came to a stop for about 5 minutes and then started rolling again.

Other than that it was a nice boring trip home. I gotta tell you though, I’ve gotten to where I hate driving on a freeway any more. I mean, I only have to do it maybe once a month, but I had my fill of it today. I had 35 years of California freeways and now I avoid them anytime I possibly can.

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18 Responses to My Saturday

  1. danielkday says:

    It’s funny you mentioned Tomtom. I just put up a product review on a social media site. I told readers not to buy Tomtoms. The suction cup is not very dependable and the fucking thing falls off the pad on the dashboard. I wonder if the extra hundred dollars on a Garmin would have been worth it.

    • Wirecutter says:

      Try cleaning the cup and pad with alcohol every once in a while – it works wonders. Also, wipe both sides with a damp paper towel before attaching it, you almost can’t get it off with a crowbar.

  2. Tom Smith says:

    That drive through Cloudland Canyon would have been a good one. I worked in BHam and traveled Tennessee a lot back when I was working and loved that route. Next time……..and if you head to Atlanta give a note

  3. H says:

    LA Freeway
    Guy Clark (R.I.P.)

    Pack up all your dishes.
    Make note of all good wishes.
    Say goodbye to the landlord for me.
    That son of a bitch has always bored me.
    Throw out them LA papers
    And that moldy box of vanilla wafers.
    Adios to all this concrete.
    Gonna get me some dirt road back street

    If I can just get off of this LA freeway
    Without getting killed or caught
    I’d be down that road in a cloud of smoke
    For some land that I ain’t bought bought bought

  4. Robert Evans says:

    Go old-school and buy yourself a dashboard compass for your vehicle, at least you’ll be able to avoid that “end up in Georgia” error in the future.

  5. Rob says:

    I tossed my Tom Tom in the trash & bought a Garmin., that was years ago.

  6. tom762 says:

    I am out here in Arizona. It was not practical for me to attend, regretably. I know he has been waking dead for quite some time, but Mike’s passing was a kick in the nuts.

    Thanks for going and representing all of us that could not attend. I spent the time working. A fitting tribute to a mountain of a man.

    We are all walking dead. Never forget. Long live Mike Vanderboegh.

  7. Guy Stumpman says:

    For future reference, briley pkwy e will bypass most of the bad nashville traffic and put you on I24 real close to murfreesboro. If you head west on I24 from there it will put you back on I65 just below where the shit traffic starts. Me & wife been doing that one for a while going from Atlanta to Ky.

  8. Terry says:

    109 from Portland to 840
    840 to I-24 at Murfreesboro

  9. Dennis says:

    I didn’t know who Doc was. I own a set of steel plates and carrier from him. Folks, don’t let Kenny pull the wool over your eyes re: driving in traffic. I followed him out of Birmingham, and when traffic got the heaviest, he speeds up and left me in the dust!!

    Stumpman’s Nashville route is a good one, most times.

    Great to have met you face to face.


  10. Angel says:

    Wrongway Wirecutter

  11. Tennessee Budd says:

    Robert Evans, you’re right. I took an exit that was listed as “North”, but it went south off an E/W interstate (actually, NE/SW, & the road cut south around a mountain, then resumed roughly northeast). Hard to keep north in your head in places like that, especially in overcast. I’ve been meaning to get a dollar-store compass for the shop van.
    Terry’s mostly got it. 840 will take you all the way to 65, though, if you want.
    Part of my job involves going in & out of Trashville at rush hour, whether on my way to or coming back from an onsite–the time just works out that way. I’ve used Briley, Lebanon Rd, Murf. Rd, & more others than I can remember.
    Although I hate sitting still, & would rather drive 1/2 hour out of my way than sit 1/2 hour, Trashville has certain areas that back up pretty predictably. Silliman Evans bridge, the northern & southern 24/65 junctions, Trinity Lane, those are the main ones, but although they back up, the don’t usually back up really long (although sometimes…). I mainly run N/S; less familiar with E/W.
    North of Dickerson Rd, especially northbound afternoon rush hour(s), give up. It may clear about OHB, but it’ll always back up south of 386 (Vietnam Vets’ Pkwy), for a good long time. Same for a mile or three south of the Millersville exit (X98). If you’re going west on I-65, take 24 toward Clarksville & go from there. If east of 65, go up 31E, or go past 386 if it’s before 1500 or so, east on Long Hollow, & take 25, 52, or 109 home.
    Sorry to bore all the non-Tennesseans, but I thought it might help. I deal with this shit all the time.

    • Wirecutter says:

      Shit, it confused the hell out of me. I’m still fairly new to the area and I don’t recognize half those roads.

    • Terry says:

      I saw the Murfreesboro part, and completely missed the “on to 65” part, and didn’t extend the instructions.
      I used to run a route that pretty much encompassed a 50 mile radius from Nashville, so I understood you perfectly.
      Now that my normal route is only from White House to the Spring Street area and back every day, I get the same backups in the same places every day.

      My normal route is Ellington to 65, and up from there.
      However, I will not hesitate to take an alternate route if it is known ahead of time that traffic is backed up worse than normal due to an accident.

      My motto in those cases is “Movement is progress”

  12. David Codrea says:

    Sorry that when I met you, I was just so overwhelmed processing new names and associating faces with screen names like “Backwoods Engineer” and “Old Greybeard” that it didn’t click you were “Wirecutter,” If you told me, I didn’t hear it. I also didn’t find out until after the service that the family and some of the attendees were going to an Irish pub to hoist a glass and grab a bite — wish you could have joined us, ’cause I’d have loved to talk more, especially about a mutual “friend.” And yeah, that sign put me off, too, but I think I acquitted myself in a way an old smuggler would have approved. I didn’t vocalize an objection out of consideration for his already-emotionally overwhelmed wife and daughters.

    Btw, added Knuckledraggin to the WoGroll.

    • Wirecutter says:

      Ah – glad you made it home safely, I could tell you were exhausted.
      No problem on the name thing, I have the same problem when I meet more than two people in the same day – besides, I was a little overwhelmed with the much better writers and speakers in the group like you, Bob Wright and Backwoods Engineer.
      Although we have information we could’ve shared, in a way I’m glad we didn’t discuss our ‘mutual friend’ – I’m pretty sure that Mike would’ve gotten a kick out of the fact that he’s such a little bitch that his name wasn’t even brought up inside the funeral home. But if you get bored some night and feel like discussing him, shoot me an email and I’ll pass on my number.
      Aaaaaand I just realized that you weren’t in my Patriot Links page so that’s just been rectified.
      Again Sir, it was a pleasure although I really wish it had been under different circumstances.

  13. Karl Ushanka says:

    Very nice of you to make the effort to go to Mike’s funeral. You scored some points with the big man in the sky there.

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