Monday, July 21, 2008

BabelCon 08: Travel Tales (from the Crypt) 2

I woke up Friday morning, after going to sleep Friday morning… That just sounds weird, but it’s the truth. I slept for only three hours Thursday night…Friday morning…whatever, amounting to 5 hours total sleep for both Wednesday and Thursday. What a way to begin another four hour road trip through four states and then a weekend-long Science Fiction/Fantasy Con, huh?

I decided to stop by the Air Force Armament Museum for research purposes before I left Ft. Walton Beach, and I headed out. That’s when I looked at the gas meter. (I know it has a different name, but I can’t remember it. I’m still recovering from this weekend.)

The little yellow light next to the E was flashing.

Oh Boy! Another travel tale! And this one is Vintage Michelle!

See, I had a problem. I was stuck between of a bunch of air force bases. (Get a map of Florida and look in the panhandle. You’ll see Eglin AFB, something like Duke Field, and two others taking up a whole bunch of space around the Ft. Walton Beach area. Why is this a problem? Because there just aren’t a lot of gas stations in totally rural areas like Air Force Bases, and I can’t just drive up and ask the nice Air Force base guards if I can drop in and use some of their jet fuel. Gosh, my Camry can’t even take diesel

I clicked the “info” button on my steering wheel, and saw that I only had 6 miles left of gas.

Pucker factor of…8…

Then I saw what looked to be my salvation. A gas station! Except, I think it was called “Bob’s Gas Station” or something like that. If you’ve been reading the blog, you know how much I get nervous around gas stations—especially rundown gas stations. The last time I stopped at a “Bob’s Family Gas and Tobacco”, I ended up putting diesel in my car because the fuel wasn’t marked well enough. I pulled in anyway, and I noticed that the numbers on the gas station that tell you how much gas you’ve put in were, well…they looked like slot machines. You know…not digital. Those little roundy things from the 50s.

I simply couldn’t do it. I don’t want another Bob’s Gas experience, thank you very much. (I might have felt better if someone else was pumping gas or if someone else besides the random bum was entering Bob’s X-Mart.) So I kept going.

4 miles. Pucker factor of 9…

Did I mention that I really didn’t know where I was because I was out of my “MapQuest range”?

Now this is the beauty of understanding geography. I had no clue where I was, but I knew I was heading toward the beach, and hence toward the inhabited parts of Ft. Walton Beach with gas stations. So I just kept going driving.

Pucker factor of 10.

Then, I hit highway 85 again somehow. (I think Ft. Walton is surrounded by magically appearing forks in the road that can only be found by sleep-deprived mortals.) How did I know it was 85? Because I drove past that particular intersection 3 times the night before!!!

Heck, I even knew I was coming up on a Hess because I pulled in there the night before to try to gather my wits and figure out where I was. So I pulled into the same Hess, got some gas, and went on my way, where I hit the Air Force Armament Museum and took a bunch of pictures of planes. (You can see these pics in the “Elysian Chronicles Inspirations” album. Why? Because they are! Especially the missile launchers, but only my TSMA (Top Secret Military Advisor--more on him later) knows why…) I also spent some time talking with the museum director, George W. Jones. After that, I headed toward Baton Rouge, and for the first time, had an uneventful trip.

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