So my new boss is looking for a helicopter. The market for such helicopters is "tight," and there are not many good ones around. The other problem is that the market is national; there just aren't any in our backyard. But we found one "sort of" in our backyard - down in south Florida. Last night I told the boss that this one was worth a look, and he said, "Would you like to fly or drive?" Well deciding that took all of about a nanosecond. Fly? As in "on the airlines?" Not me, babe. I told him I'd be driving. "Then take-off! Call me when you get down there."
So I picked up a shit-brown Nissan Pathfinder from Enterprise Rent-a-car and off I went. Well, to be fair it's not shit-brown. It's really more of a turd-brown. Either way, I don't like it much. Gas mileage sucks, and it's like driving a bus. The Enterprise guys know me and said they were doing me a favor by giving me an upgrade, or so they thought. "Would you like a minivan or an SUV?" he asked. Well I really just wanted a car. "These are our last two vehicles," he said. "We're all sold out." Great. Okay, it's got cruise-control, but the radio sucks: really muddy, boomy base. Although, maybe my ears are just shot from a career spent flying noisy helicopters. However, I do have my iPod along and as luck would have it, nearly all of the songs I've downloaded make great "road tunes."
What is it about a road trip? Florida is the most gawd-awfully boring place to drive. I mean, look at the above picture (click on it to blow it up). Miles and miles of flat nothingness. The scenery never changes. You just drone along for hours and hours and hours, stopping only to refuel and de-fuel, which I did once each. It might as well be Texas! Still, I don't hesitate to jump in the car and head across the state. And that's what I did. I pinned the cruise-control on 79 mph, kicked the seat back and just tried to enjoy the ride. Staying awake was the hard part.
By the way, I will now share with you Bob Barbanes' Proven Method of Speeding: "Speed limit + 9." Just do not exceed the posted speed limit by more than nine miles per hour. If you do that, the police simply will not bug you. It's just not worth it for them (unless the cop is in a really bitchy mood, I guess, but I've never met one). All around me, I see people going faster than me, slamming on their brakes whenever they see something that even looks like a cop car. Not me. I don't even slow down; they never bother me. Just keep on truckin', as Eddie Kendricks and the Grateful Dead used to sing in their respective songs.
How fast do we have to go? In Florida, the speed limit on the Interstate is 70 mph. "Speed limit + 9" gives me 79 mph. That gets me anywhere as fast as I need to be there. Yes, I could buy a radar detector and maybe go faster, but there would always be the worry and expense of a speeding ticket. Who needs that? Not me. I like driving to be relaxing. I don't like to be worn-slap-out or really wired when I get where I'm going. Must be part of getting old.
Anyway, I'm here in a motel with a wireless internet connection and a free continental breakfast, not far from where I'm going to see this helicopter tomorrow morning. If all goes well, I'll check it out, take a few pictures, take it up for a little flight, then be back on my way home before lunch.
We guys do love our road trips.