No, Tom-Tom is not the nickname of a friend of mine. Tom-Tom is my navigation system and it has served me well in my endeavors as a journalist. When I’m lost, I simply plug Tom-Tom in and he guides me home. Dare I say he has become a trusted friend of sorts, or at least that was the case until this weekend…
Me, MJ, Will and our friend Jim had driven about 45 minutes from our vacation house to a part of Vermont I wasn’t too familiar with. On our way home, MJ wondered if there was a shortcut we could take. I told her I don’t know, but I know someone who might. And with that, I dug out Tom-Tom and sure enough he immediately told us to take a left off the main road.
At first the “shortcut” looked fabulous. We were on a dirt road but we could easily travel 35-40 MPH and the scenery was gorgeous. Quintessential Vermont. We praised Tom-Tom for his sage like advice and wondered how far ahead of everyone else we’d make it home. We even stopped to take some pictures like this one:
So we dutifully followed Tom-Tom’s directions and we took very obscure roads that slowly meandered up into the mountains. We started wondering how Tom-Tom even knew about these roads, but the going was still relatively easy and we were enjoying ourselves, so we kept going.
But then the road got really narrow. At that same time we came upon two trucks unloading ATVs, looking at us like we were absolutely nuts. But Tom-Tom told us to take a left and so we did. And that’s when things got dicey. The road was no longer a smooth dirt road. It was more like 50% dirt and 50% rocks. And at this point, we started seeing sporadic “houses” along the road. I put houses in quotations because…well, see for yourself:
Please take note of the bullet holes in the trailer. And the “No Trespassing” thing cracked me up. Because yeah, I’d really stop at this point and poke around a crazy redneck trailer. But unfortunately for us, this was one of the nicer domiciles we’d see.
This doesn’t look so bad, until you realize what the structure on the left is. Yup…that’d be an outhouse. I’m guessing some of these are hunting cabins and we were so in the middle of nowhere that there was no electricity or indoor plumbing. It’s safe to say we were officially nervous at this point. But then we hit the redneck, mountain people jackpot…
Oh yeah. Soak this one in. And keep in mind the picture doesn’t even do it justice. There was junk EVERYWHERE! Most everything had bullet holes in it too. And again, the guy had a big sign just to the right that said “KEEP OUT!” As if I was going to help myself to his crap. As you can see in the left of this picture, we were too scared to even get out of the car to take a picture, what makes you think I’d actually set foot on your property??
That sucker is welded onto the main building. Honestly…the trailer is attached. I’m not snobby, really I’m not. But can you imagine living in that?? It gives me chills just thinking about it.
Anyways, we got to a point where we actually had to turn around because my poor Toyota Highlander couldn’t navigate the road. Actually scratch that, it wasn’t a road. Eventually it turned into a trail. The rocks were huge and we were literally trail riding at that point. Then it got to a point where it was too steep and rocky for me to continue.
At that point MJ nearly had a breakdown because we were out in the middle of the woods, crazy rednecks were looking at us like we had just wandered into their trap and I swear I heard the strains of banjo music all around us. And what’s worse, Tom-Tom was still urging us along the path and refused to consider alternative routes.
Thankfully we backtracked and were able to get out of there without a flat tire or being gang-raped by a group of outhouse-using hillbillies. But then, even when we were back on the main road, Tom-Tom was STILL trying to take us on that route!
I haven’t even so much as turned Tom-Tom on since then. He can’t be trusted. He tried to kill us once and then refused to show me another way home. I don’t know what was in it for Tom-Tom, but he obviously had ulterior motives. Needless to say I’m writing a nasty little letter to the Tom-Tom folks and I’ll stick with maps from now on.