I bet it was satisfying for her

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time on the road and I always imagine I look like Jimmie Johnson out there. Great hair, perfect beard, manly, the envy of all my peers. The problem is I don’t drive anything like he does professionally. But sometimes, yes sometimes, I like to think I’d win a track race. Or heck, even just cruise ahead of the cars next to me on a regular road. It rarely happens because I don’t have a Subaru. Or a Porsche. Or a neat little Ferrari.

Today, I swear I came off the line first, but there was not much else I could do driving the ultra gas-friendly hatchback Nissan Versa. Take a look.

The driver next to me, while slower to put her foot on the gas, passed me with ease and soon enough she was rolling off into the sunset, with another trophy marking the implosion of my pride. Good for you, woman!

-Out of the Wilderness

I have an aunt Possum

Nicknames. We all know someone who goes by what seems to be a random (and odd) name, but isn’t actually their birth name. Well, my family comes from the south. So I have an aunt Possum. She’s a quirky lady, but then again, possums are quirky animals, right? Problems_When_Having_A_Possum_PetMy grandmother on my dad’s side was often called Nim by my grandfather. They called my dad Finnegan. My dad calls my oldest sister Scooter every once in a while. Somewhere along the line I started calling her Punk, or Punky, probably because she cheers for Jeff Gordon and I think that’s a punk thing to do. #TheChampDrivesthe48

My mom’s dad called her Teddy (her name is Terry so I’m sure it comes from that).

Do you have any odd nicknames in your family? Feel free to share in the comments!

-Out of the Wilderness

What the phone thought she said…

Sometimes using the little mic icon on your phone to search Google is awesomely accurate… sometimes it’s not. My sister was in town and since we have a heated competition going between our two favorite NASCAR drivers, of course we’re going to search for the latest news. All I have to say is, Jeff Gordon’s cat is probably quite embarrassed after this…
Jeffy 1Jeffy 2

Let’s Burn Rubber! (Daytona 500 Part 2)

Mean pirates.
Local fare.

We all knew we should get to bed early for the long day coming, especially my dad who would do most, if not all, of driving. So the night before the race was low key. However, I scrambled to come up with some sort of allegiance to Jimmie Johnson because it turns out pretty much no retail store anywhere carries NASCAR apparel. OK, I’m obviously not an expert when it comes to fashion, because who goes to Lowe’s for clothes? Well, I do. I picked up a tool pouch and some brushed nickel address numbers. The idea was to do something a bit out of the ordinary to cheer on #48. An hour or two later, and possibly too much glue sniffing and I had it. The perfect way to support my favorite racer and carry water at the same time. #doublethreat
lowe's pouchlowe's pouch2Once my project was complete, my dad and I settled in to watch Captain Phillips. It’s a movie about a freight ship carrying containers around the coast of Africa and the crew’s encounter with modern-day pirates. Very good movie. I won’t spoil it for you but I came away being more impressed with the military and even with a bit of compassion for the pirates, which I didn’t see coming. After that, bed time.

Rise and shine! The sun didn’t get the memo because we left in the dark headed east to Jacksonville. Just outside of Daytona we stopped for breakfast at this great little hole-in-the-wall.
mcdonaldsAnd of course my sister was quick to point out the number of her favorite driver, Jeff Gordon.
24 hours

on the bus.
on the bus.

After breakfast, my dad dropped my sister and me off at Lot 10 where we caught a bus to the track. Crowds and crowds of people were already there and since it was about 9:00am, we had plenty of time to wade through the crowds in search of fun things to do. She was most excited to see Jeff Gordon’s trailer, so while we were there she bought a #24 backpack. And for those of you asking, “What’s hashtag twenty-four?” Let me drop some knowledge on you. It’s number 24! #pwned

I’m a Jimmie Johnson fan if you didn’t catch that yet. And let me tell ya, I got some looks with my manly apron. But I forgot to keep paying attention to the stares because hey, we’re at the Daytona 500! So much fun. We walked around to check out all the other trailers and some of the vendors. We got a Ford backpack, a few bottles of 5-hour Energy (I love that stuff!), and a few other trinkets. Time went by faster than I thought it would so around 11:15am we made our way back to the entrance near our seats. Here’s a gallery of a few pre-race photos.

Here’s part 3…

Lady and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines! (Daytona 500 Part 1)

Fast cars.
Loud engines.
Jean shorts.

Lady and gentlemen, start… your… engines! Last week, my sister and I went to our first NASCAR race, the Daytona 500. There was fun, there were games, but it wasn’t all fun and games. I’ll get to some of that later, but the story starts back in November on my sister’s birthday.

Then next few months flew by and before I knew it, the Great American Race was only a couple of days away. The plan was to drive from Nashville, where I live, to meet my sister and parents in Tallahassee, where they live. The morning of the race my parents would drop us off then pop over to Orlando to see my brother and his family till the race was over. And it all went according to plan until, oh I don’t know, about an hour outside of Nashville. I was so sleepy I had to pull over at a rest stop. I swear I set my watch for a 15 minute countdown thinking that would be enough of a power nap to get me back in the game. Only thing is, I accidentally set my watch for a 15 hour countdown. So I woke up and, after discovering the disaster, was  soon passing through…

Alabama the Beautiful.
Alabama the Beautiful.

If you’ve ever driven I-65 through Alabama, you know there are a few landmarks you can’t miss. The most obvious is the huge rocket at the Alabama welcome center. And of course, if you need any sort of shoe wear or clothing, it’s hard to pass up a pit stop at Sikes and Kohn’s Country Mall.
sikes3sikes2And then there’s this…
Go_to_churchIt’s actually a pretty nice drive down 65 then east on 231 over to Interstate 10. Along the way, you’ll notice great example of life in the south. Everything from roadside vegetable carts to giant American flag eagles to peach water towers, as seen in this gallery.

I finally made it to Tallahassee around 2:30pm on Saturday, just in time to meet my dad for his church’s annual “Manly Man” lunch. There were venison burgers, barbecue, hushpuppies, fried fish, pork… so much good meat. And looking back, I’m so thankful I’m not a vegan. I even had the chance to take part in archery because when you think about it, what’s more manly than shooting something with a bow and arrow, am I right Maid Marian? Robin Hood has nothing on me! And if the 3 people who actually saw me shoot wildly out of control would feel free to not chime in on this, my off-off-off-so-far-off-Broadway-it’s-in-Nashville role as Legolas in the stage adaptation of Lord of the Round Shiny Things (what? New Line Cinema can be very litigious with “Lord of the Rings”) should stay in tact.

The afternoon continued with an inspirational talk from a guy who can boast a National Championship ring and a Super Bowl ring… Peter Boulware.
Peter BoulwareLater that night, we talked about plans for the next day. Yes, the day I was sure Jimmie Johnson would repeat as the winner of the Daytona 500! Here’s part 2 >>>