Friday, August 26, 2011

The Back Roads I’ve Traveled Late at Night, Alone, a Little Drunk, Wishing I Were Someone on Whom Nothing Is Lost, Are the Roads by Day I take to the Car Wash in Hammonton or to Blue Anchor’s Lawnmower Repair Shop When the Self-Propel Mechanism Goes

Blogfriend and fellowmoco Fish's post reminded me of my favorite post ever, and I'd been thinking of it since Ohio when, yes, I figured out the best backroad route to Bamgier, plus I'm strangely happy between death by earthquake or death by hurricane, plus there was no TNP this week, plus I owe myself a present, plus it was written before I'd driven on the ICC making the post obsolete, plus I need reassert the what the fuck, but mostly because just like the first time I posted this almost two years ago, if don't I don't post in now it'll drive me nuts until whenever:

is the spine of MOCO and the defining highway of my MOCO experience, having grown up in Gaithersburg a quarter mile off 355, now owning a house a half mile from 355 but

is my favorite state road in MOCO, but only west of

where they intersect near Casa Satanica in the Quince Orchard section of Gaithersburg (called by realtors "North Potomac"). 124 has always been an odd, disjointed route, long before the Mid-County Highway was built and 124 re-routed onto it through Montgomery Village (in theory, 124 once ran along Diamond Avenue through Gaithersburg long before there was a Montgomery Village, though there was never any signage as such through Gaithersburg, though there was a shield where the road curved left past Washington Grove and the humpback bridge).  It doesn't really start proper until it interects

near the MOCO Airpark. 115 runs east from 124 as Muncaster Mill Road all the way to

in Norbeck (which is the same 28 but not the same 28 that I love), 300 yards from

in a different country than Muncaster Mill Road started. Anyway

runs north to Damascus as Woodfield Road, past Goshen, home of prebilics and bryds and vetters and Audrey of My Heart's house and terminates at

which is in itself worthy of a future post, a wildly S-shaped route, which from Damascus heads due east then due south and then due east to intersect

in the Dismal Empire of Olney (about three miles north of Norbeck), a town know solely for the traffic jam caused each rush hour by that junction, but what's really odd about

is in Etchison, when it turns due south,

branches off to the east to run for seven drop-dead gorgeous miles to intersect

afterwhich it runs five more drop-dead gorgeous miles to intersect

again, this time in Ashton, where it continues south as New Hampshire Ave. The section between Ashton and Colesville is renowned (locally at least) for its dozens of churches and temples of many different religions and their denominations, and then

continues south through White Oak and then Hillandale, which is as far in my imagination from Dickerson, where my favorite MOCO road

finally reaches the Frederick County line after heading west from

and Casa Satanica, then goes past

which goes west from Darnestown to Seneca Aqueduct and McKee-Beshers Wildlife Reserve, then

which goes north to the horror that is Germantown, then

which goes west from Dawsonville to the foreign country of Poolesville (imagine Burtonsville, imagine Poolesville, figure out the faster route to get from one to the other), then

which isn't 121 anymore, the state giving the section between 28 and Boyds to MOCO to maintain (Boyds home to the now underwater Ten Mile Creek Road, where Willy Bayne in a cocaine and whiskey-fueled fury ran down the cat), then

which runs east to Boyds, then all the way back to Gaithersburg, from Boyds to Gaithersburg called Clopper, then

north from Beallsville to the charmingly otherworldly Barnesville then Comus then Hyattstown where it dead ends at the spine that is

From Beallsville


is downhill all the way to Dickerson, where after you go under the railroad bridge to the stop sign, you make a right on Mt Ephraim and go four miles to the base of Sugarloaf Mountain, which is my Olympus.


and it's two-named two miles between


that might as well be a hundred miles.

Or, now that I've got this out of my system - and here's truth: if I hadn't finally posted this after thinking about it for the past two years off and on and the past week intensely, this would have gnawed at me harder each day until I posted it.

GROUP A- Bayern Munich, Villarreal, Manchester City, Napoli
GROUP B- Inter Milan, CSKA Moscow, Lille, Trabzonspor
GROUP C- Manchester United, Benfica, Basel, Otelul Galati
GROUP D- Real Madrid, Lyon, Ajax, Dinamo Zagreb
GROUP E- Chelsea, Valencia. Bayer Leverkusen, Genk
GROUP F- Arsenal, Marseille, Olympiakos, Borussia Dortmund
GROUP G- FC Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Zenit St Petersburg, APOEL Nicosia
GROUP H- Barcelona, AC Milan, BATE Borisov, Viktoria Plzen

  • Remember, fuck all Italian clubs, Chelsea, both Manchester clubs, all Spanish clubs, Bayern Munich, but especially fuck motherfucking Madrid.
  • United's moved it's game to two tomorrow b/c of Irene.
  • I haven't stopped reading Gaddis, I just haven't had a chance to read in the past week for various reasons - I suspect I'll have lots of time this weekend, and I've batteries for the flashlights.
  • On MFAs.
  • New Bill Callahan!
  • Yes, second time this post (there might be third):


Stephen Dunn

     Night is longing, longing, longing, 
     beyond all endurance.

          —Henry Miller

The back roads I’ve traveled late   
at night, alone, a little drunk,   
wishing I were someone
on whom nothing is lost,

are the roads by day I take
to the car wash in Hammonton   
or to Blue Anchor’s
lawnmower repair shop
when the self-propel mechanism goes.

Fascinating how the lamplight   
that’s beckoned
from solitary windows
gives way to white shutters
and occasionally a woman
in her yard, bending over
something conspicuously in bloom.

So much then is duty, duty, duty,   
and so much
with the sun visor tilted
and destination known
can be endured.

But at night . . . no, even at night   
so much can be endured.

I’ve known only one man   
who left the road,
followed an intriguing light   
to its source.
He told me
that he knocked many times   
before it became clear to him   
he must break down the door.


  1. Heh. Awesome comeback from making me wish I could convincingly cuss in French. Bravissimmo.

    "Tie Your Mother Down" started playing in my head when it became clear that we were headed toward Snouffer School Road. It always does; the meme remains the same as it has for 35 freaking years.

    While I don't share your disdain for Barca, I accept your formula, with the caution that I must add to your math "fuck all German clubs" and note that you forgot to damn Arsenal (no, really, you forgot, understand?) leaving, by my math:

    Some froggers, some Rooskies, and some assorted Balkanization. Oh yeah, and Ajax. Wow. Our chance of caring about the CL final Verging on subzero?

  2. That was awesome. Now I need a smoke. Or some fried chicken from Red Rooster.

  3. You don't really dig into our shared profound sadness that how much of the drive is so fundamentally altered from the drive 35 years ago.

    No, not just that we're sober when we drive it now. And we might not be driving it quite as fast, despite Planet's horrified but loving realization a while back that, despite doing about 60, I was holding back on Clopper Road.

    And not just the incredible spew of townhomes and colonials upon the farmlands where we hurled, though I guess that's what drove the complete reconfiguration of, say, the entire road from making a right after a left off of the real humpback bridge, out for..what, 10 freaking miles? Or, as you note, the bizarre jogs of 121 west of 355 occasioned by the installation of...what? A freaking lake? WTF?

    Hell, even that high school 400 yards from Casa Satanica isn't supposed to be there--let alone two of the four high schools at which Ilse has taught (did you know that her current emblem is the coyote, which is multiplicatively meta-awesome, and that she now dresses like she plays for Dean Smith? Hah! Rule Trojania!).

    That, of course, is the point at which I'm yelling at children to get off of my lawn. Any archaeology of part of the loss I mourn would yield caselots of Old Milwaukee empties and some broken U.S. Bongs. And of course, without change, we miss plenty of good, as evidenced by the reasons for your recent trip to America.

    But still. It really pisses me off when I drive over 121 from 117. And I do. Way more than I really need to. I mean who, other than outlanders like my beloved, or congenitally downcounty folk, would take 124 east to 270 north?

  4. Red Rooster! On the way, meet you for lunch, fish.

  5. The Callahan's been out for a while now, and it's disappointing. But the song "America!", especially, is one of his worst. Contrary to the reviewer's claim that "These lyrics are some of the best in his catalog, a message of how America is losing itself and its former glory".

  6. Yah, I agree, but since I usually agree with Obscure I thought I'd throw it out for a general reassessment.

  7. All that signage leaves one lost but the soundtrack's swanky.

    Given the entirely supportable hatred towards certain clubs, this is why a return to two-legged KO action would be far superior but which won't happen until everyone decides money sucks. Go Genk.

  8. re: MD Roads: But it doesn't rhyme?

    How many will be flooded this weekend is the question.

    re: CL: I guess that leaves APOEL Nicosia. Woot! Go Cypriots!

  9. Credit where due: YFWP publishes Greg Sargent calling George Will a motherfucking cracker liar.

    Dang, I never finished my Krauthammer blog post from two weeks ago.

    But he typed up the same lies about what happened in Wisconsin.

  10. Holyfuck, read about Ric Flair. More tomorrow, or not.

    Did anyone really think this wasn't going to get worse...