It could have gone better.

We love to say that a Bad Day at the Range beats any Good Day at Work. And while true, sometimes the Gods of Things that Go Bang decide it is time to test our resolve. Last Saturday I was tested.

The first go around of the Florida IDPA Triple Crown was to be held at Frank Garcia’s Universal Shooting Academy, just three hours from homebase so it was decided that we could make it a one day affair if the Missus and I left early enough. After consulting the usual online map suspects, I concluded that with one pit stop, if we left at 2:30 am, we should be at the gates of USA at around 5:30 am if nothing went wrong. On advice of people that had done the trip before, we eschewed taking US 27 due to the multiple speed traps on the way so it was Florida Turnpike all the way to Yeehaw Junction where we would switch to FL-60 and then State Highway 630. All nice and tidy…. right.

Once you hit FL-60, urban life as you know it ceases to exist. It is mostly orange groves & farm houses and very little in the way of amenities, including street illumination unless it is from incoming 18 wheelers with loads of oranges on the way to a processing plant. We arrived at USA at exactly 5:35 AM and I would have felt nice and cocky but nature was calling rather loudly. Knowing that Frostproof was just 8 miles down the road, we continued in search for public facilities but when we reached Frostproof nothing was open. Things were getting desperate on the bladder side so I though I should go back in the truck, drive back, select a really dark spot on the road, pull over and commune with nature. I drove till I found a likely and wide spot and got off the road to find myself feeling the truck suddenly sinking ever so slightly. I stopped immediately as old Off Roading memories came flooding back screaming warnings but it was too late and I was sorely confused. I knew what the sign meant, but my mind could not process it till my wife opened her door and said one simple word: Sand.

I was dumbfounded. What the “F” is this ungodly amount of sand doing on the side of the road in the middle of Deliverance County? I got out of the truck, relieved the pressing matter at hand and returned to evaluate how deep in crap I was into. In my youth I did a fair amount of off roading that included beaches and deserts, but I knew what I was getting into and I had a 4×4 vehicle; this was embarrassing and insulting to say the least. I tried rocking the truck, but the damn sand was so fine I only achieved to dig deeper as you can see in the pic above. The pic shows how dark it was, you are not gonna believe it, but there are orange trees about 10 yards from the front of the truck, but the camera could not capture them.

I called a couple of friends that I knew were in the area already and after the appropriate amount of chuckling & chiding I was rescued from the sand trap. Thanks Brian!

I just got this pic from Google Maps. If it ain’t the same damned spot where I got stuck, it is one that looks very similar. I still have not figured why there is so much sand there when there are no oceans nearby. I am sure there is a logical horticultural reason for it, but it escapes me.

We finally make it to the range and while unloading the equipment, I managed to strain my lower back once again and by the time shooting starts, I know it is gonna be a miserable match. I braved for seven stages but on the last one I caught myself millimeters away from sweeping the gun over my right foot trying to favor my back off any movement that might cause extra pain. I made the decision to DNF (Did Not Finish)  for the last three stages and head home to rest and engage in medication.

Somewhere between Ft. Pierce and Jupiter, I had a fit of sneeze but did not give it too much of a thought. At Boyton Beach I was sneezing and coughing and by the time we crossed Ft. Lauderdale my eyes felt like they were being painted with boiling oil. WTF? When we got home, I was able to barely get out of the truck, retrieve the range bag & the guns and make it inside before collapsing. The Missus coaxed me into getting in bed, shoved a thermometer in my mouth and covered me with a ton of blankets since I was shivering more than a convict in Siberia. 103 F came back the reading which was promptly followed by a couple of Advils. It had been decades since I had any kind of fever, in fact, my wife had never seen me suffering one and we have been married for almost 26 years so she was rightfully worried. My back pain had to take a respite from cure because I did not know what kind of interaction I would get from such a nasty bug and a muscle relaxant.

My fever finally went down sometime Sunday morning but the rest of the cold cavalcade stayed for the party. My head is stuffed, I am coughing like a TB ward and my chest & side muscles hurt from the exertion. I braved myself into going to work, but after three hours I realized I was not going to make it through the whole shift and returned home.

And yes, it was worth the suffering. Even with that nasty back pain, I had a wonderful time with my squad and felt good about my shooting (I shot pretty damn accurate!)

So, I hope the Gods of Things that Go Bang are satisfied of the value of my faith and leave me out of the next round of suffering. M’kay dudes?