I'm home. I was only gone for three weeks, but it felt like three months this time around. Spending a month at home and then having to leave again probably didn't help. Either way, I was still pretty stoked to be sleeping in my own bed with my luxurious flannel sheets.
Anyway, I turned 25 last week, so my friend Leah reminded me that I haven't given her any advice in awhile. Leah is more responsible, way smarter, and much more mature than I am, but I just happen to be a month older than she is, so I feel obligated to give her advice on a regular basis.
My first bit of wisdom for you, Leah, is this: do not wager with me if you are not prepared to face the consequences. My sales rep in Atlanta learned this the hard way. He lost to me in a round of bowling, so he had to wear a tutu. He thought I would forget or that I wasn't serious about it. Who's not serious now, Shawn?
I have one more bit of wisdom I'd like to pass on to you, Leah. If you decide to erect a huge chain link fence across what is CLEARLY a 4-lane highway, put up some signs declaring such. If anyone from NASA in Huntsville, Alabama is reading, then you especially should take note. You almost killed me, you assholes.
My coworker Tori and I were trying to get from the bike shop to our hotel. We were doing fine until the navigation system said to turn right. We turned right, which put us on this 4-lane highway. Then we saw our hotel which did not appear to be accessible from this highway. I looked down at the navigation screen and it told me that we were "Off-Road." Great. So we really didn't have any choice but to keep going until we found the next exit at which point we could turn and go back the other direction. We drove for awhile and started getting pissed off because there were no exits and we were getting further and further from civilization. What was a normal looking highway started looking dark and desolate. Finally we saw one lonely little light up ahead. Great! An exit! So I was approaching what I foolishly thought was an exit at approximately 75 miles per hour. We were on a highway, after all. Then I realized that the lonely little light was illuminating not so much an exit, but a chain-link fence stretching across the highway. Consider the following: chain-link fences are not that visible, especially when it's dark out; it takes some distance to stop a vehicle traveling 75 mph; it takes considerably more distance to stop a vehicle towing a trailer weighing a couple thousand pounds. Fortunately, the distance between the point at which I realized there was a fence and the fence itself was greater than the distance it takes to bring a Volkswagen Touareg towing a 7,000lb trailer to a complete stop. It's not much greater, though, it's only about 2 feet.
So, luckily, I did not plow through the chain-link fence. Tori and I stepped out of the car for a moment to investigate just why the hell someone would put a fence across the highway. Then Tori noticed the NASA sign. So we took a picture:
Tori also noticed some signs that said "Military Installation. No Trespassing." So we decided we'd better get out of there. There was no place to turn around, so I had to back the trailer up for about a 1/4 mile until I found a place to get it turned around.
So back to my original advice ... put up some freakin' signs! Prior to almost crashing through the gate and breaking our country's space program, we didn't see a single sign warning us that maybe we shouldn't drive on that road, or that perhaps we should know that there's a huge fence blocking the highway ahead. Seriously, NASA, you're literally a bunch of rocket scientists. I would think you'd realize that you should alert motorists to the road hazard you've created.
So anyway, there's your "older and wiser" advice.