Mason County News
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Lady of the Dash
Wednesday, August 18, 2010 • Posted August 18, 2010

You wouldn’t think a couple from Texas would be all that happy to cross the border into Indiana. Not that Indiana isn’t a fine state, with a lot to offer. It is. But still, it’s not Texas, so there’s not really any reason to be overjoyed about getting there. Unless you’re coming from Illinois.

When my wife and I crossed the state line heading out of Chicago into Indiana we breathed a huge sigh of relief. We would have gotten out of the car and kissed the Indiana dirt, except we would have gotten run over by all the other people leaving Illinois. There were plenty of us, and nobody was dragging their feet.

Not that Illinois isn’t also a fine state in some ways. But it’s been taken over by incompetent, dishonest, greedy, lying anti-Americans such as Mayor Daly of Chicago and the governor, Blogowich or something, who’s on the news a lot lately because he’s got one foot in the state penitentiary and the other on a banana peel. Plus he needs a haircut.

We had just driven the length of Illinois from bottom to top, and we were about as ready to get out of it as my son and I were ready to get out of California last summer. There’s an oppressive feeling in Illinois, kind of like being in Mexico, where you don’t know what’s going to happen because you have no rights. Say what you want, but when an American goes someplace where freedom is restricted, personal civil rights are curtailed, and a corrupt government is in charge, he can feel it physically. It’s depressing.

We didn’t realize how painful Illinois would be when we started into the state. We were only following directions anyway, the directions the lady inside our dash had been giving us ever since we’d left home. We were afraid to disobey, because the lady was very insistent, telling us exactly when and where to turn, and if we missed a road she got testy.

My wife and I were on our way to LaPorte, Indiana, for the Fifth Annual Professional Outdoor Media Assn. conference, and we drove up so we could see some of America, to make sure it was still there. Instead of driving our own car we had decided to take a Chevrolet Equinox. This turned out to be a good idea, except for the bossy lady in the dash.

The Equinox was really comfortable, had just about every doodad, thingamajig, and doohickey available today, including OnStar, windshield wipers, and a camera in back to show you where you were going while you backed up. There was a screen on the dash, and when you put the thing in reverse, the camera kicked on, and the screen displayed what you were running over.

The screen also displayed a navigation map of where you were at any given time. My wife called the OnStar people and had them program our route into the navigation thing, since we could never have hoped to accomplish it, and our trip was plotted from end to end. All we had to do was follow the directions.

Unfortunately, just in case we neglected to look at the screen, the lady in the dash kept telling us when our turns were coming up, and she got upset when we deviated from the established route. She would tell us to make a legal U-turn and go back. We almost didn’t make it to the bathroom several times, because she seemed not to want to let us go.

All this would have been fine, except that the lady made us go through Illinois. And actually, we made two trips through Illinois at once – our first and our last. We decided there was no force on earth strong enough to make us go back. If we had left one of our children there, my wife figured it would be less trouble to have another one than go back and get it.

Indiana, however, was very nice, The people are friendly, the country is pretty, and there are lots of lakes here and there. The only problem with Indiana is that a lot of the citizens seem to be practicing for the Indy 500.

The conference was a lot of fun, too. The idea is to go to seminars to learn to be a better outdoor writer, photographer, or whatever. At least, I think that’s the idea, and I really intended to hit a speech or two, but it was hot, and there was a pool, and, well, you know how it goes.

We did get to shoot some very nice guns, such as the great derringers the Bond Arms people brought, the new Remington 1911 .45 auto, and lots of other stuff. Nobody ever said the POMA conference isn’t loud.

Overall we had a great time in Indiana, even though we had to drive through a socialist state to get there. Next year the conference is in Ogden, Utah, which should work out very well. We’re hoping to get to see a giant gopher sucking vacuum on the way. I just hope we can find Utah without any help from the dash lady . . .

Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who plans to complain about some stuff next week. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or

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