I have to admit, I’m pretty lucky when it comes to the employment part of life. I mean the gig of being editor of Mopar Muscle definitely has its advantages. There is, however, upon occasion, an instance or two that makes me go, really?! But overall, I consider myself a schmuck with a really cool job.
Like I said though, there are times when I think that Allen Funt has a hidden camera following me around. Take for instance a couple months ago, when I conveyed an experience where I got into a situation that required me to back truck and trailer out of said situation that caught me off guard. One would think a situation like that would most certainly be a rarity, but once again, when traveling with Randy...
It was during the return from my latest road trip to the All-Mopar Southern Nationals at South Georgia Motorsports Park when I had this recent really?! moment. The trip up to the event and the event itself went off without a hitch. We had a great turnout of show cars, vendors, and racers, and everyone we talked to said they would be back again next year. We actually had a few project cars at the event. Tech Editor Dave Young took his NSS car, I took the Superbee, and we were even able to debut our Speedfactory-prepped Ram truck (the Speedfactory guys delivered it to us at the event). The weather was great, the event was great, and you can see it all at www.moparmuscle.com.
Anyway, since I had multiple vehicles at the event, I needed to figure out how to get them back to Florida. I couldn’t drive my Ram and the dually that was pulling the enclosed trailer, so a friend offered to drive the Ram back to Tampa for me. Cool, problem solved. I also needed to stop in Lake City, Florida, and pick up a car rotisserie, so I figured that would fill the empty space in the trailer. The plan sounded good, and when the event was over, we initiated said plan. Here’s where things get interesting. In order to protect the innocent, I will change their names, but this is how the trip home went.
Upon leaving the event, I tried to call the gentleman selling the rotisserie. I’ll call him "Otis." Now, I call this person Otis so you can get an idea of what I was dealing with, because any of you guys who've ever seen The Andy Griffith Show can now have a visual of the drunken guy walking into the jail cell on his own. Anyway, I call Otis and get his voicemail. I leave a message, but after a while of not hearing back, I call again, and again, and again. When I get to Lake City, I decide to stop and get a bite to eat, and maybe Otis will call me back. Unfortunately, he does not. Without hearing back, I have no recourse except to keep heading for home. Here’s where things get comical. I am approximately 20 miles south of Lake City when I get a phone call. Otis sounds like he might have had a few more beers than just a six pack, and after a lengthy one-sided conversation, I get an address where I can meet Otis. I turn the truck around and head north -- again. After a 30-or-so-minute drive back to Lake City, this is where the first portion of my really?! experience presents itself.
If you remember in our July ’13 issue, I talked about an experience that stopped my forward travel. Well, here we go again. You see, I get to where Otis tells me I need to go, and this location is at the end of a dead end road. Not only did I get to a dead end, but there is nothing that resembles the body shop that Otis told me he was at. So, as I sit there in the truck saying really?! to myself over and over again, I once again start the quarter-mile trip in reverse. During my exercise in driving using only the rearview mirrors, my cell phone rings. When I see that it's one of the guys in the group driving my truck, I figure I need to answer. When the voice on the other end tells me that there is a problem with my truck and they are stuck at a rest area, I get a little concerned. Immediately, the voice on the other end lets me know there is no mechanical issue with the truck, but the friend has inadvertently lost the key to my Ram while they were at the rest area. It’s at this point that I stopped driving in reverse and sat there while the thought of really?! kept getting louder in my mind. Curling up into the fetal position actually had some merit, but I composed myself.
It seems that “Merle” got out of the truck, put the key in his pocket, walked up to the vending machine, and returned to the truck to find the key was no longer in his pocket. OK, it happens, but something is up when you immediately retrace your steps and still no key is found. I can still imagine some youngster sitting in the backseat of his mom and dad’s car, playing with his new found toy key while dad drives away. But, oh well...things happen.
This was, however, an “overcomable” situation. Lucky for me, I had a spare key for the Ram. Unfortunately for me, the spare key was at my house, which is a three-hour drive from the rest area. We were going to have some time to kill. So, while I had my oldest daughter bringing the spare key to our location -- again, three hours away -- I needed to find something to pass the time. Because having an “aged beverage” is frowned upon while on state property, there isn’t much to do while sitting at a rest area, spending several hours enjoying the sounds of traffic actually being able to drive home. When it comes down to it, I need something to occupy my time, or some very strange and sometimes dangerous ideas come to mind. These ideas could end badly, or with me in jail. Fortunately, I happened to have a new set of headlights that I needed to install in the Ram, and what better way to kill some time than actually making myself useful. The spare key finally got to our location, and the surprising thing was that only one person asked why I was changing the headlights in my Ram while parked at a rest stop. All I could think of for a reply was, “because it’s about to get dark.” Yep, that’s just another weekend with Randy.