So last night I drive out to Aiken, SC for a darts tourney. It takes about an hour and 15 minutes to get to the VFW post which serves as the venue. I’ve driven it two or three times before, but not since last September. And never on a dark, rainy, foggy night.
There are two ways to go–one through Aiken with multiple traffic signals, and the back way down narrow country roads. I prefer the back way. There are a couple of turns you have to make, but I figured with my trusty Garmin GPS navigation system I was golden. Except my Garmin was non-functioning due to a missing power cable (my son had borrowed it and apparently returned it with the wrong cable). Alright, no worries I figured, I can remember the way.
And I did remember, for the most part. I made all the right turns except the last one. Of course I didn’t realize the error of my ways until I was 15 minutes down the wrong road. And I had about 15 minutes to get to the tourney, so there was no turning back. I reckoned I was going in generally the correct direction, but given the twisting, turning nature of the highway I couldn’t be sure. I realized that I had made the turn too soon, but calculated this road could potentially drop me in the vicinity of my destination, albeit further up the street.
So I kept driving and driving. It was, ahem, black as night and I couldn’t see much except the occasional ramshackle farm house. I could almost swear I heard faint echos of dueling banjos playing in the distance. I was seemingly the only car on this road to nowhere and there was nary a gas station or convenience store in sight. Not that I would have stopped and asked for directions mind you.
Eventually I came to a fork in the road, so I took it. I hoped that bearing right was the correct choice, but at this point I was pretty much without a clue. Then I came to an intersection and chose to go west. It was a pretty major highway and I figured it had to lead somewhere. Although when I saw a sign for the University of Georgia conference center I was more than a little concerned. Well, turns out I wasn’t in Georgia but I was still pretty far from where I was supposed to be and still wasn’t clear on just how to get there. So, I figured the tourney wasn’t going to be happening for me despite my best efforts.
After awhile things seemed more familiar and sure enough I spied the road to the VFW on the left (it should have been on the right). I figured they’d already completed the draw, but they were sitting on 33 players, so I was the odd man in!
Played the tourney, took a fourth place (which isn’t bad considering how out of sorts I was upon arrival). We finished after midnight, but I braved “the back way” for the return trip. I saw where I had gone wrong (turned one road too soon, but that made all the difference). Made it to I-20 and had the highway pretty much to myself. It was raining like crazy though and I remembered the Big Hominid doing a crash and burn due to hydroplaning, so I slowed down to the speed limit.
Made it home by 1:30, tired and hungry. Now, in the olden days I would have fixed myself a big bowl of ice cream but sadly those days are in my past. Instead, I took out some cook and serve roast beef slices from the freezer and popped them in the microwave. The instructions clearly state to let the package stand for two minutes after cooking. I was hungry so the hell with that! Wound up with two big steam blisters on my left hand. Hurt like a motherfucker all night. At least it wasn’t my dart throwing hand.
I’m back to Aiken this morning to play in a qualifying tourney for the Regionals in Augusta next weekend. I’ll have to throw better than I did last night, that’s for sure. But, by gawd, I know my way to the VFW now. Even in daylight!