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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Bruck, How Was Your Little Vacation?

Lovely, thank you.

Mrs. Bruck and I just returned from about ten days on the road, during which we drove to the Detroit area, spend a couple days there, proceeded to northern MI, back to Detroit, and then back to VA. In all, we put about 2200 miles plus a few scratches on “Big Blue.” It was a fun and interesting trip – boating, campfires, visiting with friends and family, overeating, and expanding the Bruck Empire.

There are some things we miss about MI following our move to VA last year - people, favorite restaurants, etc., as followers of this blog have been apprised. A few more surfaced during this trip, underscoring Joni Mitchell’s timeless adage, “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone!”


Michigan driving is the best you can find anywhere, including Naples, Italy, and Naples, FL. Did I tell you about the guy I saw in Naples, Italy, driving a scooter with four passengers who appeared to be his wife or girlfriend and three kids? I didn’t? Well, I once saw a guy in Naples, Italy driving a scooter with four passengers who appeared to be his wife or girlfriend and three kids. And in Naples, FL - well, just don’t drive in Naples, FL if you can avoid it. Michigan driving is better than all that. And I’m not just saying that because that’s where I learned to drive – well, maybe I am. Anyway, toward the end of the first leg of our trip, when we were passing through Detroit, cars and trucks were whizzing past me on both sides. I was initially taken aback, until I realized that I was in a 65 mph zone and only going 70. Home again! It didn’t take me long to get my groove back. On the way back south through MI on the last leg of our trip, I noticed a highway speed limit sign with 3 speeds: 70 for cars, 60 for trucks, and a posted minimum speed of 55. In other words, don’t even think about driving below what used to be the upper limit during the Ford and Carter administrations!

Flat Land

VA is very beautiful with its forested mountains, rolling hills, lush valleys and rivers… okay, Bruck, we get the idea. But one thing I’ve found to be a little disorienting is the complete lack of flat land here in VA. Every square inch of unmolested real estate has some kind of grade. It’s not the kind of thing one would expect to long for, but having lived most of my life in a planar world, I sort of miss being able to just walk without climbing, descending, or straddling a hill. Granted, it’s not that big a deal compared to the global war on terror and homicidal astronauts wearing diapers, but it was really nice back in MI to look out over farms and streets that were flat as far as the eye could see.

Shooting Venues

Despite technically being a “blue” state, MI is pretty “red” when it comes to firearms and limitations on the use thereof. Shooting on private property is okay, subject to local ordinances and minimum distances from occupied dwellings, and the sky’s the limit for shooting on public hunting grounds, particularly outside of hunting season.

Venue 1: The Pit

“The Pit” or “The Gravel Pit” is part of a public hunting area north of Lapeer, MI. No actual hunting goes on there, but it’s a regular haunt of the southeast MI gun aficionados. A row of large rocks separates the parking area and shooting positions from a large, open field of weeds and dirt surrounded on either side by treed hills, and to the rear by a 50’ rise of sand and gravel about 90 yards back. The field and backdrop are scattered with numerous random objects delivered and perforated by previous shooters – a “target rich” environment in the literal sense. I think few would disagree that this is a perfect place for recreational shooting, with the possible exception of those unfortunate nearby residents who are not deaf.

I brought a couple of my favorite medium-caliber toys there, as did a friend who joined us, including his .223 carbine and .357 Sig. He also contributed a target in the form of an old laptop computer. With the Sig, we were able to hit a tire on the back wall (90 yard accuracy with a pistol is no mean feat), and with the 223 we rendered the computer inoperable.

Venue 2: Behind Ron’s Store

In northern MI, Ron, the owner of a local IGA, lets us use his “back 40” for target and skeet shooting. Like “The Pit,” it’s a pretty safe place for shooting, with a 15’ rise for a backdrop and treed, elevated land on either side. It is also full of old building materials from his recent store renovation, so there are plenty of things to put holes in, and which can be configured to provide audible and visible feedback, further enhancing the shooting experience. Unfortunately, the road back to Ron’s ad hoc shooting gallery is a bit overgrown with scrub trees, so Big Blue has a few new scratches we’ll need to rub out.

Okay, fine, but what about the Bruck Empire?

I summarily reinforced my claim over the state of Michigan; I learned that I share sovereignty with my brother-in-law from Livonia, MI, according to the agreement described in this column on the subject. That’s fine - together we can help speed up the governor’s plan to return MI to its pre-colonial state. Localities within MI that are now part of the Bruck Empire include St. Clair, Royal Oak, and Superior Township. And did I mention that bodies of water may also be claimed in a similar fashion? Lake Superior, the largest body of fresh water in the world, the big lake they call Gitchee Gumee, the lake that never gives up her dead, is now part of the Bruck Empire, under a claim shared with members of my immediate family.

Epilogue – West Virginia

I was surprised to learn last year that WV is actually part of the north. It is technically, as it fought for the Union in the Civil War, I mean the War Between the States, I mean the War of Northern Aggression. It also is part of the north, according to the Pork Rind/Beef Jerky Factor, upon which I’ll expand in a future VOB.

We stopped at a Sheetz gas station/convenience store off the highway in WV as we approached home. The “no shirt no shoes no service” policy must have been abridged somewhat, as evidenced by some of the partially-clad clientele. Actually, one of the shirtless fellows had enough tattoos to make him appear to be wearing a shirt, but his abundant gray body hair negated the effect upon closer inspection.

In the restroom, I read some graffiti wherein an itinerant scribe penned the poignant phrase, “KILL WHITEY,” a challenge answered by a racially complementary and equally provocative rejoinder. And the multitudinous array of junk food boasted only one brand and style of pork rind, the dry, puffy kind, providing conclusive evidence that WV is a northern state.


  • At 9:09 AM, Blogger Mike said…

    In the South, they also like to refer to the Civil War as, 'The War of Southern Independence.' It delights me to no end when I can rile up some of the locals here in S.C. when I call it, 'The War of Southern Stupidity.'


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