Freaking On Fumes

Daryl Gay | October 2, 2023

So. Here we are. Decision time.

You’ll have to think back a month or so; it’s a strain, but work at it.

We’re talkin’ Wednesday, Aug. 30. On the one hand, we got this old gal Idalia. Calls herself a hurricane. T’other?

Dove season opens in three days.

The problem, however, lies in-between…

In Monroe, Georgia, reside  September issue GON magazines, fresh off the press. One of the things I do around here—as soon as I’ve swabbed the kitchen floor and odoriferized the outhouse—is pick up those mags and distribute them to drivers, who stock lovely orange convenience store racks in my beloved south Georgia.

Presently directly in Idalia’s crosshairs.

OK, let’s do a little route math.

From my home to Monroe is 112 miles NORTH. My first driver is in Macon, 76 miles SOUTH of Monroe. Continuing in that direction, let us drop down I-75 to Cordele, then Tifton, turn EAST and hie on over to Nashville.

Another 134 miles.

And, last, we can shoot back NORTH for 116 miles and home: a grand total of 438!

In a hurricane.

Sooo, maybe we should put this off for at least a day or two? I mean, driver rules are you don’t deliver until next week, after Labor Day, anyway…

What, and set back my plans for opening weekend? Has your top gollywoggled off its spindle???

Besides, what’s a little hurricane? Even if it does have a funky name? I ‘member sloshing 14 miles out of Savannah into another monikered monster simply to catch two redfish. Thirty-eight and thirty-two. And yeah, they was worth the trip…  We get the goods to you guys each month. On time. That’s what we do. However…

What you gotta get perpendicular in the left hemisphere of your cerebrum here is perzactly what dove season means to me. Especially opening day. And, by far most important of all: with my sons Dylan and Myles.

OK, I’ll fess up: nothing I do—NOTHING—gives me greater joy than busting caps in a field with these two knuckleheads.

I recall each of them, knee-high, firing away at circling buzzards 3 miles away. With BB guns.

“I think I got him, Daddy! I saw a feather fall! He’s going down!”

“Yep, you blasted him, Bud! We’ll retrieve that rascal on the way home; dropped two counties over.”

They’re 6-3 and 6-4 now and have  graduated to Berettas. Right; nothing has changed. For me.

Bottom line? Idalia, Smidalia! We got mags to get and 438 miles to drive—but you know it ain’t gonna be easy…

My official Georgia Outdoor News Covered Pickup Truck, as you may recall, slips along incognito as a Chrysler Town and Country van. Vintage. Holds bunches of GONs. DRY ones.

But it’s about to get a little peeved. And show me how much…

Over my driving days, I’m guessing I‘ve put in well over a million miles. (GONCPUT is at 506,000 and will retire with me in 2054.) I may be the only person in this state who has driven that far—and never nailed a whitetail.

Well, Wednesday morning…

Pre-dawn, hoping to get ahead of oncoming monsoon activity, we’ve tooled up 441 from Dublin, 97 miles to DOWNTOWN Madison—planetary headquarters of GON. I’m 500 yards from the office at 35 mph—I can’t begin to make this stuff up—when a doe that I mistook for a moose zipped across the road faster’n you can think it.

What I DID think in that split-second was something like this: that fat broad is a freezer FULL of venison, followed by “We in trouble ‘cause she ain’t by herself…”


Only glimpse I got was in the rearview—of the lickety-split offender bouncing off the side of the ride, then asphalt.

GONCPUT 1, Stag 0.

Yeah, I stopped. To look for dents.

Nary a scratch as far as I could see; what I didn’t realize at the time was that it didn’t much appreciate my misdriving skills.

Hey, IT hit US! (Don’t count.)

So’s you’ll know, we never leave Dublin without at least 60 bucks worth of petrol—thanks, Uncle Joe—in the tank, but down around Tifton GONCPUT’s gauge is getting a little jittery.

So am I, because it’s pouring like camel pee on a lizard.

Awww, we can very easily make Nashville; fill up there.

Except mebbe for the fact that Nashville is shut up tighter than Fort Knox because a huge pine decided to fall completely across the road I need to take, AND snatch down about 200 feet of lines. No power… no gas!

OK, you ain’t injured, so stop pouting and motor me on to Alapaha. Which also has no power and… no gas.

So what I get next, along with the pouting, is a neat little gas-pump-shaped light presenting itself just to the left of said gauge. Plus a needle appearing to lie dead drunk on the floor.

Right; this ain’t funny no more. Get your gas together; we gotta move on to Ocilla.

Did I mention it was raining? Limbs leaping from trees? Horizontal trees? Can’t tell you how glad I was to see that Ocilla City Limits sign… until I noticed it was in the dark. You guessed it.

It’s nine miles to Fitzgerald—and I’m getting ready to bunk in the back until this blow is over. But them lights was beautiful—and we made it with a wheeze.

Shoot ‘em up, Boys…

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