A Mediocre American Road Trip

B&A Stowaway here. I live in Michigan, literally two miles outside of Detroit.

I recently switched careers in my military unit, from a jet engine mechanic to electro-enviromental mechanic, so I need to be retrained.  

That means another stretch in Wichita Falls, TX, at Sheppard AFB. Yay! This isn’t my first rodeo there (pun intended), but I get to write about my road trip there this time!

My first stop was to Beef Jerky Unlimited, in Dundee MI.


Oh my goodness. My brother and I always stop in here when he flies into town. This place is amazing! And perfect road trip fuel, amiright?! Add to that a beautiful military discount, and I walked out of there $40 lighter but with a nice full bag of Cherry Maple jerky, homestyle, A1, and honey jerky, made with real, non-processed slabs of beef. Oh my word, best decision ever!

After that, I pointed my car’s nose south and followed it. I’ve always road tripped alone, I’ve never gone more than 6 hours with anyone. Road tripping is an art – there are only three people that I think I could handle a road trip of that magnitude with. Two of those three crossed a narrow, snowed-in mountain pass with me in a Volvo with slick tires; a pass filled with switchbacks, another person headed in the other direction who needed both lanes (“Thanks for taking it wide, f*ck*r!” I believe the other blog moderator was recorded as saying), and at the far end, a large ROAD CLOSED sign. You can’t road trip with just anyone.


The six hour trips were my family (grandparents, down, we didn’t joke around) sojourning on our yearly vacation to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. We had large family and large cars, so you could generally cram whatever cousins were getting along with each other that day into the backseat of a ’78 Impala.

The other fun thing about the Stowaway family was that we were all broke as churchmouses. So, the vehicles were mostly junk. SO, a six hour road trip generally turned into twelve plus hours, while we parked on the side of I-95 replacing an alternator on an ’76 Olds 98. The plus side of living in Maine, there are a lot of trees, so somewhere along 95, all the cousins at one time or another trooped into the forest with a roll of toilet paper and keen eyes to make sure you didn’t follow anyone else’s path.

Yondering aside, this trip was fun but uneventful. I find that packing my S&W Airweight .38 special assists in keeping things uneventful. Granted, it also means either detouring or driving quickly through Illinois, one of the ten states that doesn’t honor Michigan CCW/CPL permits, but oh well.

Did you even notice that road trips sharpen your sense of smell AND your prayer life? Every time I got a whiff of burning rubber, funny exhaust, or any other vehicle odor, I started chatting with my old buddy J.C., and reminding him that I didn’t have the money for a transmission job in East Bum, Missouri. I did have the pleasure of driving a 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid down. Not a manly car, but I rely on this blog to fortify my testosterone. That, and whiskey. And guns. And the baseball bat I had in the backseat for my drive through Illinois (not that I DID drive through Illinois, that’s pure speculation on your part). The nice thing about the hybrid was, I only had to stop 4 times for fuel. So that meant no restaurants either, just straight driving, with my fuel stops grabbing another Clif bar, another Cranberry Red Bull, anything marshmallow covered in chocolate, and back on the road.

I left at 2 p.m., and spent the early hours of the morning driving through Oklahoma and talking to Mike Oscar on the phone. Mostly, we talked about guns, and how much easier it was to do this roadtrip was I was in my 20s and early 30s, and how much more fun the last road trip was.

My last road trip was when the third Guanella pass adventurer (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guanella_Pass) needed a car delivered to Vail, CO. My date showed up at a News Years Eve Party with a date of her own, so I bugged out early, told Machine Gun Dwyer to pull the car out of the snowbank it had sat in for two years, change the oil, and get it to Bangor Maine, and I’d take the rest from there. And God Bless Subaru, it made it just fine! I had a roll of duct tape, Swiss Army Knife, and a pair of vise grips in case any emergencies did occur. The duct tape was useful for hanging Red Bull cans out of the moon Roof to keep them cold, and for keeping various panels in place when they fell down. She’d had a rough couple years parked next to the garage.

Getting back to Texas, I started getting pretty sleep in Oklahoma, and if you’ve ever driven through the Oklahoma City area, you know the highways are pretty tricky. I pulled into a truck stop, grabbed a few winks, then completed the trip by 9:00 a.m.

I have to drive home towards the end of April, and I’m not looking forward to it. Home yes, drive, not really! I think I’ll take it slower, and maybe spend the night at a hotel somewhere. Remember when we were young and dangerous? Good times. On the way back, maybe I’ll stop and hit a few restaurants for meals, and not rely on a bag of jerky and wash it down with a Red Bull. Maybe I’ll sell the gun here, or mail it to an FFL in Michigan and pick it up when I get there. Maybe I’ll get out and stretch my legs a bit more, and see a few sights on the way home.

But I’ll probably try to cut my 19 hour trip down to 16 and set my cruise control exactly at 70 mph through Illinois. 



4 thoughts on “A Mediocre American Road Trip

  1. Pingback: A Mediocre American Road Trip | Rifleman III Journal

  2. I’ve done a number of solo X-country road-trips on my own and I can’t say I’d care to repeat them today. Must be hard leaving the wife and kids behind. Presumably chasing electrons and compressor leaks is a career promotion in the military. I think I’d find wrenching on jet engines more appealing. Should translate well to an A&P ticket later in the civilian world.


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