This is a very long post, but pretty much details everything that happened on our trip back East to deliver my son to his new station on Parris Island, South Carolina. Though we originally planned on taking our own truck it was having some issues that I couldn’t fix and so my dad offered to let us drive his Dodge Ram 2500 diesel back instead, which was nice because we had to pull a trailer with my sons car on it along with all his possessions. So begins our tale….

Sunday: Loaded up my dad’s truck with our needed items and headed to Pendleton. Met with my son, got a room on base and headed out to get some food from a chicken place called The Crack Shack. We’ve had it before when visiting, and it’s pretty good stuff. Not amazing, but pretty tasty and they have good adult beverages, but I didn’t get one since I knew we had to get up early the next day and then drive, drive, drive.

Monday: Woke up around 7am and met with the boy around 8 or so. Had to go to the weigh station on base and weigh both the truck and his car empty, then go load up his gear, come back and re-weigh. His room is on the top third floor of the barracks and there is no elevator. He doesn’t have too many heavy items: an air conditioner, a couple of heavy boxes. They are a pain to carry down and load up, but we get it done. Head back to the weigh station, re-weigh then go back to the barracks where the car trailer waits. He leaves for about an hour to go say goodbye to the crew in his shop, then returns and we have to load his car onto the trailer. Now he’s got a Toyota Scion and, naturally, he’s had it lowered, so it doesn’t want to go up the ramps onto the trailer without doing some damage to the front bumper. Fortunately for him I thought the trailer had an electric brake (it didn’t, it was an emergency brake in case it becomes detached from the truck) and I checked out some videos on the U-haul website which give some instructions on how to get a low profile vehicle up there, but it requires that we get some 2×6 boards, which we don’t have so, after saying goodbye to his girlfriend, we drive some thirty minutes to the closest Home Depot. Fortunately we find a full 2x6x12 in the scrap wood pile so we have the guy back at the saw cut it into 16 inch pieces and pay $5 for the whole thing. We also grab some tension straps (not ratcheting ones, just the ones you pull tight). Back out at the truck we lay out the boards as instructed and the car goes up the ramps without a problem, but because his car is so low when it gets to the end of the trailer the front bumper catches on the ratchet straps that hold the front tires down and….CRUNCH. Not only does it do some damage to the underside of the bumper but it pops one side up and out, near the headlight. Nothing we can do about it, so we strap the wheels in and off we go. We drove from Oceanside, CA up to Barstow so we could ride highway 40 East as far as we could go, with a planned stop in Oklahoma City to spend the night at my sister-in-laws house. Naturally we hit traffic headed North right away, with us coming to a complete stop or going 10 mph for short periods of time only to drive, full speed, for ten minutes or so before coming to another stop or slow-down. I hate L.A. traffic and I was happy when we finally got to Barstow and on the 40. From there it was pretty smooth sailing through the night, with occasional stops at Loves truck stops for fuel or food. If you ever have to do any long distance driving I highly recommend using Loves, as the majority of their stops are clean, have some kind of restaurant attached to it and are pretty decent on their fuel costs.

Tuesday: We drove on through the night with everything pretty much being pitch black the entire drive through Arizona and New Mexico. As the sun came up on the East side of NM I discovered that the sky was actually blanketed in thick, black clouds and I couldn’t even tell overnight.  They were so black that as the sun rose in the East, where the clouds started they appeared as a solid black tear across the sky. You could literally still see the stars not a hairs breath away from the sunlight and it was really weird and surreal. Even once I understood what I was looking at my brain didn’t seem like it fully comprehended what it was seeing. We arrived in OKC around 1pm. While driving on the highway I had the idea to lift the boys car up one side at a time and place a couple of the 2×6 blocks under the tires to lift the front end up, so he and I grabbed the jack from his car and did that. It worked really well and we got enough clearance that hitting bumps in the road no longer threatened to tear the bumper off completely. I also had him duct tape up the broken side of the bumper so the wind wouldn’t tear at it any more. My father-in-law and brother-in-law showed up and we all drove into OKC “Bricktown” for some dinner. Had a little place called Fuzzy’s tacos and they were decent. Since us three were tired we headed back to my sister-in-laws where we sat for a a couple of hours before deciding to go around the corner for some ice cream at the local Braum’s. If you’ve never been, well, you’re missing out. They have a large selection of ice cream and are a pretty big deal back East. Their stores carry a bunch of their products ranging from milk and eggs to pints of ice cream, steaks, produce. I had myself a nice banana split and took a few pictures of my son holding up the urn of his adopted dead friend, Mark. He found Mark in a Oceanside thrift store and takes him everywhere. Yeah its weird, but he said he likes the attention he gets because people are always asking him about the urn and taking pictures with him. The urn is empty now, but he looked up the name and info of the guy and come to find out he was murdered in Los Angeles somewhere. Apparently his family didn’t want him anymore so they dumped the urn in a thrift store where it found its way to my weird son. Go figure. Afterward we headed home and hit the hay. Unfortunately my sister-in-law has about four cats and a dog who thinks it is a cat and there were several litter boxes throughout the house and the dog, a German shepherd, rubbed against everyone getting hair all over everything. I slept, but not amazingly well. I could also hear the wind picking up overnight and was concerned about storms, but my dad had texted me to tell me that the storm moved ahead of us and we were actually following behind it.

Wednesday: We were up by 5 AM and on the road by 6 AM. The drive was pretty uneventful, but once past OKC I was officially the farthest East I had ever been in the United States and it felt kind of cool. Things, however, were about to get really, really bad. Google maps told us that it would be about a 16 hour drive from OKC to Parris Island, so the plan was to simply drive through the night and then grab the room at the hotel in Beaufort my son had already gotten a reservation for. On our way through Alabama we missed a stop at the Buc-ee’s, which I had never been to before. My son had been looking forward to stopping and his girlfriend was really talking the place up before we left, so I offered to turn around, but since it was getting late we opted to drive on. Buc-ee’s will be important later. Toward the East end of Arkansas it started raining and my son was driving. Naturally, being a young guy in his early 20’s, he thinks he’s not only invincible but also an expert at everything and was scaring my wife with his consistent 70 MPH so I told him to pull over in Georgia so we could fuel up and swap out. This was at around 11:30 PM. By then the rain had let up and was down to a very slight drizzle. Unfortunately, however, the lighting at the driveway of the Loves in Waco was horrible and none of us saw the triangular island right in the middle of it until the boy was already on top of it. Since he was already halfway across I told him just to keep going, I mean, it was a fairly small and flat island, and the truck and trailer both made it over without issue. We pulled up to one of the pumps and as we made our way into the store the boy looked back and found that the rear tire of the trailer on the driver side was flat! Now these trailers have two tires per side, so it wasn’t dragging, but with the rear tire flat there was no way we were going to make it the five or so hours to South Carolina.  We were able to buy one of those tire repair kits from inside the Loves, you know the ones, they have sticky tar sticks in them that you jam into the hole of the tire and it seals up? The only problem was that at some point, probably when we went over the island, we hit some kind of industrial staple so there were actually TWO holes, right next to each other. I figured the repair kit would still work so the boy and I got to doing the repair….just as the rain picked back up. And boy did it pick up. Within minutes we were soaked to the bone and only the fact that my son had packed the Kingdom Hearts umbrella his sister had bought him in the front seat of his car kept us from being deluged even more!  One of the patches took right away while the other one had to be removed and a new one inserted before the air stopped leaking.  We pulled back up to one of the pumps, under the awning, and he and I grabbed some dry clothes and went inside to change. Now I don’t buy expensive work boots, just the $40 Brahma steel-toed ones from Walmart, but I’ll tell you what, when I took them off my feet and socks were DRY, so Walmart has my business for boots for life, now. Every other part of me, from my jacket to my shirt and pants were wet as though I had jumped into a swimming pool. Satisfied that the tire was holding air we pressed onward, with me in the drivers seat.

Thursday: Eventually we made it to Georgia and it started raining. Then it rained some more. Then it was raining so hard that when the reflectors on the highway were damaged or missing I couldn’t tell at all what lane I was in. To top it off the lightning was VERY bright, VERY loud and VERY close! One strike was so close I couldn’t tell if the hair on my arms was standing up straight because the strike was right next to us or simply because it was so bright and so ear-shatteringly loud it just scared the crap out of me, but I’m sure that if I hadn’t been seat-belted down I would have probably been in the center console I jumped so high. The truck was holding up well, though, so we pressed on until the rain finally ceased. Feeling kind of uneasy about the tire, despite us driving at about 45-55 MPH, I decided, after about an hour, that we were going to stop at another Loves and check it out, just to be sure. We pulled off the highway and, again, up to a pump, under the gas station awning, even though the rain had pretty much stopped. The tire was low again, but not by much so we pulled around to the station’s air pump but the card reader wouldn’t work, the coin slot was jammed full of quarters and the lady inside didn’t know how to turn it on. In my finite wisdom, however, I packed a bag of tools that included my Ryobi tire inflator and a couple of 4 amp hour batteries so I hooked her on up and filled the tire with air. Now when we repaired the tire back at the last station I checked the front tire and found that it had been filled to 55 PSI, with the tire indicating a max fill pressure of 65 PSI, so I filled the repaired tire to 55 PSI using the air pump at the station. My inflator, however, CAN fill a vehicle tire to 55 PSI, but it takes a really long time once you get up past about 45, so I stopped at 50 PSI and we headed out on our way, a mere four hours away from Parris Island. This was around 1 AM. So we drive another hour or so and I decide to pull off again and check the repaired tire, thinking that if we had to stop every hour to check on it till we got to base that would be fine, no big deal. We pull into another Loves and, sure enough, the tire is low with only 19 PSI in it. Figuring if we aired up and drove another hour we should be okay to refill it I hooked up the little Ryobi compressor and went to town. Now as you compress air it gets hot. Really hot, and because of this, whenever I have to fill a large tire, I turn the Ryobi compressor off every so often to let the air hose cool down before continuing, so I did that here. At about 35 PSI I turn it off, let it sit for a minute or two and then turn it back on. It gets to around 45 PSI and I do the same thing, turn it off, wait a couple of minutes, then turn it back on. As we are getting closer to 50 PSI the boy and I are standing there talking about something or another when – BOOM! The entire back of the tire blows out completely, leaving nothing more than a gaping hole! The tire must have been damaged while it was being driven on at such a low pressure, and there was absolutely no possibility of repairing the damage! Frustrated and angry we milled around for a few minutes before I finally asked the boy if there was any kind of contact info on the U-Haul paperwork he got, to which he responded that t here was none, but he decided to take a look on their website. While he was doing that I went ahead at inspecting the damaged tire and continued scratching my head hoping for a solution to the problem. I noticed an 800 number on the sticker stuck to the fender of the trailer and told the boy to call it, which he did and were were told by U-Haul that they would send someone out to fix the problem but that it could be up to four hours wait. Frustrated, but grateful, we grabbed a little food from inside the Loves and settled in the truck to wait. Fortunately the guy showed up within thirty minutes and, man, was he quick! He pulled up, got out of his truck, pulled a new tire and the jack from the back and had the trailer, car and all, up within seconds and the tire replaced within minutes! He gave the other tires a quick inspection, declared we were good to go and left! We were ecstatic, but so tired that we could barely see straight. By this time it was around 3 AM. We were three hours away from Parris Island and I suggested we get a room at the hotel right down the street, sleep for a few hours, then hit the road and arrive around noon or so. The boy said he was fine with that, but that if we could just press on it would give him the entire day to get things prepared, since he had to report on Friday and wouldn’t have time to get some things done that needed to be done before that. Figuring we could swing it, we continued. Three hours later we arrived in Beaufort, South Carolina, right outside of Parris Island. The boy had gotten a reservation at a hotel and as soon as we pulled into the parking lot I knew we were in for trouble. The parking lot was shaped like a big ‘J’ with the long part being the driveway back from the street, which then curved around into two lanes. However, for some reason, there were cars parked EVERYWHERE. In every parking spot, in front of the main doors, and here I was with a giant truck pulling a long trailer with a car on top of it. I had to squeeze my way between vehicles only to back up over a long distance more than once while the boy was inside getting the room. My wife had to get out of the truck and guide me to keep me from smashing into other cars or walls and it was so crowded that I eventually settled on parking in the parking lot of the little gas station in front of the hotel.

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The actual hotel we stayed at from MS Maps.

Now for whatever reason my son still had not come out from the hotel lobby, despite the wife and I maneuvering the truck around for a good twenty minutes or so, so I decided to go in and find out what was going on. When I get inside I find him at the front counter, on his cell phone, and with one of the laziest looking people I have ever seen behind the desk. I approached him and asked what was going on to which he replied, “They said they don’t have our reservation”. I would have been mad but I had to use the bathroom so bad by then I just said “whatever” and went to the facility there in the lobby. When I came back I heard him talking to the lady behind the counter and saying something about “the website I used to make the reservation seemed kind of sketchy, so, I don’t know”. Frustrated I went back out to the truck where my wife had been waiting and dealing with some guy in an old Cadillac that felt the need to intentionally try and go around where we had parked on a side that was blocked…despite the other side of the truck being wide open for him to drive by. She had moved a little to accommodate him but was angry that he was acting dumb and hateful. Getting on my phone I found another nearby hotel and gave them a call, explaining that my wife, son and I had been driving for about 24 hours now, and that he was being restationed at Parris Island and could we please get a room so we could get some sleep, and we would be staying overnight until at least Friday. No go. Check in was at 3 PM and since it was only 6 AM they could not give us a room. Eventually the boy made it outside only to tell us that all he could do was get a refund for the reservation and that the hotel could not put us in a room. Frustrated we left and went down the road to ANOTHER hotel where I actually went inside and spoke to the girl behind the counter, explaining our situation, that we were all tired, having been on the road for 24 hours and dealing with car troubles and another hotel that lost our reservation and could we please get a room so we could sleep and we would be staying at least until the next day, possibly until Saturday. Nope. No go. Check in wasn’t until 3 PM, and that was the best they could do. Disgusted by now I marched out, got back in the truck and took a minute to breath. While I was inside my son called the other base on the island, Beaufort MCFTB and was told that we could get a room at the Inn of the Corps, on base, but that they couldn’t check us in until 9 AM. Satisfied with that, since it was 7:30 AM anyway, we drove down the street and got on base, stopping in a parking lot around the corner from the hotel to wait. Now my son and my wife both fell asleep but I could not. I mean, we were on a military installation, 2500 miles from home where nobody knows who we are in a big black truck with a trailer hauling a car on the side of a parking lot to wait for an hour for a hotel room. I was a bit nervous and was honestly waiting for the MPs to come by and ask us what we were doing. Finally 9 AM rolls around and I wake the boy, start up the truck and go around the corner to the hotel where he and the wife go inside, since the wife needs to desperately use the facilities. No sooner did they walk through the front door then the walk back out!!!! Why? THE POWER HAD GONE OUT NOT MORE THAN TEN MINUTES BEFORE, SO THEY COULD NOT CHECK US IN! I kid you not! You cannot make this stuff up! So tired I can’t even be frustrated anymore we went around the corner to the MCX so we could use THOSE facilities and I ask around about any other hotels on base. The nice old attendant there tells us we might try the Irby Inn, which I pull up on my phone to find that its toward the back side of base, so we load up and head out again! A few curvy roads later and there we are, though the sign says “Bachelors Officers Quarters”. The boy goes inside and, SUCCESS! WE HAVE A ROOM! We scramble up to the third floor (there are no elevators here either) carrying only what is necessary, take our turns rinsing off and, FINALLY, lay our heads down for some sleep.

We awaken some four hours later, still tired but feeling TONS better and hungry as all get out. We take some time to get the boys car down from the trailer, which was super simple now that we knew all the tricks, then drive the U-Haul down around into town to return it. Now, I don’t have to back up trailers all that often, and normally it takes me a bit of work because I never remember how to control the thing until I mess with it for a few minutes, but I have to say that I backed that trailer into its designated spot like a damn boss. Its the little things, people. It even looked like I knew what I was doing.

So we drop the trailer off and the boy punches up “best bbq places in Beaufort” into his phone and we head to a place called Dave’s BBQ. Now, Dave’s is a hole in the wall that’s in a hole in the wall, but I’ll tell you what, they make some damn good food. Buffet style, all you can eat. If the measure of a food joint’s success is the return customers and the size of their waistbands, well, Dave’s had both in spades. The diners were all of rather rotund stature and while paying for our plates at least two groups of people came in and were recognized by the staff as ‘regulars’, one group even being told they were missed last week when they didn’t stop by. I piled my plate with pulled pork, chicken, mashed potato, some kind of corn cake and some fried dough while the wife and son piled up their respective plates with everything from cole slaw to chicken livers/gizzards (a delicacy, always) and banana cream pie. A good time was had by all and it was nice to see a bunch of families laughing and having a good time with good food.

Afterward we went straight back to the hotel and crashed. We all needed it.

Friday: The boy woke up early and left for Parris Island to see about getting himself a room at the barracks and to check in. The wife slept in a bit while I tended to something work related on my laptop and after she woke up I went to the Subway on base to grab us some breakfast. We found out that neither Beaufort or Parris Island had a truck scale so I had to call around to find a commercial scale, which I found at Loves about thirty minutes out of town. Once we were all dressed and fresh we headed out.  The way there took us through a little place called Blountville, but also past a interesting spot which I will talk about later. Once at Loves we had to weigh the truck, unload it on the side of the scale, then reweigh it empty, then reload it. Now when we left Oceanside I told the boy to grab two large tarps and some duct tape and we wrapped everything in the bed of the truck up like a present meant for christmas morning and it was a good thing we did. He had three plastic crates and three carboard boxes and if we hadn’t taped those things up between the tarps the boxes would have been lost due to the rain, but as it was they were dry and safe, but the wife and I had a hell of a time getting the tarps apart because of all the duct tape!

On the drive back into town we discovered that the weird little spot on the side of the road were the remains of an old church. The Old Sheldon Church Ruins, to be exact, so we stopped to take a peek and, wow, it was pretty darn interesting.  While walking around the ruins and looking at all the graves it struck me that I was standing on the side of the country where this country was birthed, and that the graves I was walking around likely contained men and women who died building this country, particularly after finding out that the church had been burned out, the first time, by the British! It was quite humbling. While we were there I also saw a blue butterfly for probably the first time in my life, as well as some Cardinals, which I have only seen pictures of up until now. The trees were crawling with some funky little caterpillars and some red finches were having a heyday climbing on the clumps of silk that must have been the caterpillars homes and plucking them out like little treats.

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Being unable to get back on base without the boy the wife and I decided to drive around to a couple of nearby Walmart’s, using them only for points of reference, but mostly to see what the city and surrounding areas looked like. Its about what you’d expect being on an island. Plenty of water and a shockingly large amount of mud. In fact, while passing over a bridge the wife and I noticed a couple of trucks down on the beach at one end. It appeared that one truck thought it would be smart to drive onto the mud, only to sink down to its axles. The second truck appeared to have made an attempt to pull the first one out only to meet the same fate, and they were BOTH stuck in the mud up to their axles. Probably had to call a tow truck to come pull them both out! The traffic wasn’t so bad considering Beaufort and the surrounding areas are basically military towns. The Walmart in Beaufort was pretty nice while the one down the road a way was a bit more low-brow and noticeably dirtier and unkempt.

Eventually the boy called and I don’t even remember where we got dinner from, but he reported that he had successfully gotten a room in the barracks and I suggested we unload the truck ASAP, so we did. Leaving his car in the Walmart parking lot we all got into the truck and headed onto Parris Island, which happens to be pitch black dark at night. Naturally he got on the top floor of the building, again, and there were no elevators, again, so we had to carry everything up a couple flights of stairs. He ended up getting the nicest room in the joint, though, probably the only one with a bathtub/shower and larger than the rest. While bringing things into the room I noticed there was a framed picture on the wall, property of the Marines, of course, but the image looked mighty familiar….it was the burned out church we had visited earlier in the day! I told my son the picture was haunted and he said that Mark might be getting some company if that were the case (Mark, of course, being the guy in the urn, if you don’t recall). Once done there we headed back to Walmart, then back to the other base (can’t get in without him, so he had to come with) where he and I walked out and smoked a couple of cigars in the cool of the night and talked a bit about what his plans are and what his training is going to be consisting of. A couple of Deadwood Leather Rose Belicosa cigars and they were absolutely delightful. Probably the best cigar I’ve smoked since I’ve started. It seems that a couple of guys from Pendleton also ended up over here and though they aren’t his friends he knows them and they hung out during the orientation and all that. Most of them flew in but two other people brought their cars which makes 3 vehicles between all of them. Well, 2 vehicles since one girl unfortunately got t-boned by a truck right outside of Beaufort and her car was totaled, but she was safe.

Since we were all pretty tired we all settled down for the night again, with the boy returning to his new quarters.

Saturday: The wife and I got up Saturday ready to take on the day and head back to California but there was still one little problem…my son’s car still hadn’t been weighed. We ended up meeting with him and eating breakfast at a little chicken place called Bojangles. The food was okay but the service was just awful. Even though the doors were unlocked we were told we had to go through the drive thru. There were two or three cars ahead of us and a line forming behind us. When we got to the microphone to order, however, there was no response. I sat there waiting for a good five minutes or so, occasionally asking “hello?” until I got so fed up I just drove up to the order window where, again, I saw some of the laziest looking people staffing the place I had ever seen. I placed my order, which they got wrong, and we pulled around into the parking lot and ate.

From there we headed back to Parris Island so my son could take us to the MCX, and we wandered around the store for a bit looking things over. The wife grabbed a couple of Marines shirts and some stickers and I admired their selection of firearms, but only ended up grabbing a cigar from their humidor I had been wanting to try (a Deadwood Fat Bottom Betty). We also took a quick trip back to the barracks because I wanted to see what the view was like back there in the daylight, since you could see nothing at night. It was pretty cool, a direct view of the ocean. Might not be so fun during a really bad storm though!

From there my son followed us in his car to the same Loves we got the truck weighed at and we helped him weigh it, unload it, re-weigh it and re-load it before finally hugging him goodbye and heading out.

The wife asked if we could stop by in Savannah, Georgia and since we were passing nearby anyway I punched the Historical District into my phone and off we went. I guess because there were so many accidents on the freeway Google maps took us down some back roads, but there were tons of accidents down those too! At one point I was looking at three separate accidents marked on the maps screen and the road was only two lanes, coming and going! I was starting to get frustrated when I saw, in the distance, a large suspension bridge! Now I have never been over a bridge this big so I was really excited (yeah I’m a nerd) and it was super cool going up and over it, then down into Savannah! It took us forever to find parking and almost all of it was pay-by-the-hour, but eventually we found somewhere and took to the city. It was very cool to see all the historical buildings with different signs informing people when they were built and who they were built for. Many were built in the 1700’s! Unfortunately there was a ton of people about and many of them drunk, then my wife remembered that it was the beginning of spring break, and that explained a lot. Really it was embarrassing and frustrating to see people stumbling around or playing their loud music in a place where there was so much history. We walked around a bit but it was a little overwhelming at the time so we ended up walking an old cemetery and visiting the Church of John the Baptist, which I have posted some pictures of.

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From Savannah we headed out back West toward Oklahoma City where we planned to spend another night at my wife’s sisters house, but while we were at it we decided to stop at the Buc-ee’s, since we hadn’t stopped on the way in. I punched it into Google maps again and off we went. Now Maps had us get off the main highway and, again, onto some creepy back roads where if I had heard ‘Dueling Banjos’ playing anywhere I would have floored it, but eventually it brought us back around to the main highway and….nothing. No Buc-ee’s, just a gas station and a couple of buildings. We were both really frustrated but, whatever, so we punched in the sister-in-laws address again and headed toward the main highway back toward Oklahoma.

That’s when we saw it….

Now people will tell you that Buc-ee’s is the worlds largest gas station, but they are wrong.

Buc-ee’s is a temple. A temple of worship to a beaver in a red cap.

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There must have been fifty gas pumps, each one with a car at it and each car with a car or two in waiting behind it. We pulled in to a parking spot and went inside. Disneyland itself was never this bad. We were literally shoulder to shoulder with a massive crowd of people. We had to use the restroom but the wife was unable to because there must have been thirty women lined out of the ladies room. The men’s restroom was similar to one you’d see in a sports stadium, just, huge. Buc-ee, the beaver, is everywhere and on everything, and I dare say he’d give a certain Mouse a run for the money. There is Buc-ee chips, Buc-ee candy, Buc-ee jerky, shirts, frisbees, travel cups, bathing suits, chairs, keyrings, lanyards, signs, baseballs, footballs, paddleballs – EVERYTHING BUC-EE! They have a deli counter lined from one end to the other with probably twenty types of beef jerky and sausage. They have a counter in the middle of the dining area where people just stand all day chopping meats and making sandwiches. Pulled pork sandwiches, sliced turkey sandwiches, beef brisket sandwiches, all hot and ready to go! We grabbed a bag of Beaver Nuggets and a couple of other snacks and waited in the long line to pay. While there I found an awesome Yeti style cup in bright yellow with the Gadsden flag on it, and though I do not need any more cups in my house, I couldn’t pass it by at $10. It will be my office cup now.

If you have never had Buc-ee’s Beaver Nuggets, well, let me tell you, the stuff is legalized crack. Its like Saturday morning breakfast cereal covered in some kind of caramelized goodness that melts in your mouth and once you start on a bag you have to force yourself to stop jamming your hand into the bag and pulling up as many as you can hold at once. Since they bits are kind of big and round you might start with 15 or so but as you tighten your grip you start to lose them until you are only left with a few! This bad would be my bane all the way back to California.

What’s sad is that, since this Buc-ee’s was so darn busy we decided to stop at the one on the other side of Arkansas and we got there pretty late at night, maybe 10 or 11 PM. It wasn’t nearly as busy but it was still busy, and to top things off a ton of kids were coming in, apparently from their Formal, as they were all dressed up with the guys in nice clothes and tuxes and the girls in shiny, pretty dresses. We ended up grabbing a couple of those delicious sandwiches and some bags of fresh cut and fried potato chips and drove on to OKC. It was an interesting place, and now the boys girlfriend, who is still in Oceanside, wants to make a road trip with the wife and my daughter strictly to go visit a Buc-ee’s in Texas (where she is from).

We got to the sister-in-laws at around 9 AM the next morning. My plan was to sleep for a few hours and then head out, but instead I opted to sleep for about four hours, get up, eat and relax, then sleep for a couple more hours before heading out at midnight. We slept till about 2 PM, then the wife got up to visit and I crashed for another couple of hours. When I got up the ladies made tacos, of which I ate too many of, but then I messed around on my phone for a bit before going back to sleep for couple of hours. When I woke back up around 9 PM I sat around for a little while and then the wife finished watching whatever episode of Friends she and her niece were watching and we decided to leave. This was around 11 PM. We hit the road and I drove until 6 AM the next morning (including the hour time change into PST, so about 7 hours total). Unfortunately for me my body decided it needed to go to the bathroom ever hour and a half or so, so we made plenty of stops along the way, each one at a Loves station, with the exception of one that was at the very nice Texas rest stop/information station. The wife slept through the night and finally woke up, drove for a couple of hours while I slept, then I took back over. We kind of went on and off taking turns up until we got to the California border. Almost as soon as we crossed over the wind kicked up and all the sand in the desert was blowing from the Northeast, blocking the view of the road and threatening to blow diesel trucks and RV’s off the side.

We pressed on, however, eventually pulling into the driveway just in time for it to start raining while we unloaded. After a nice shower in our own home we crashed in bed and slept till the next morning. I didn’t go into work on Tuesday and instead spent the morning cleaning up and fueling up my dad’s truck, getting the rest of our junk out of it and then washing off our own truck, which had become covered in dust then pelted by rain drops.

All in all it was a good and fun trip, despite the weird issues we had and the fact that so many people didn’t seem to have their act together. Now the boy is in for 11 weeks of ‘boot camp 2’ while he gets his drill instructor training, then he’s stationed on Parris Island for three years, plus one year so he gets some kind of additional benefit. After that he says he is done and out. My hope is that within the next few months the wife and I can be out of CA and move to Florida where we will be about eight hours away from him. We are not moving for his sake, but for our own, but it will be nice to know that he can drive down and visit or that we can go visit him.

Well that’s it, folks! Again thanks for your prayers, they were VERY effective, as you can see! I may ask for them again in a few short months as we prepare another cross country trip to our new home in Florida, but we shall see!

Below, some pictures of the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Colonial Park cemetery in Savannah, Georgia. I might come back and post some of the other random pictures I took, but I’ll admit I didn’t really get what I had hoped for mostly because I was either driving or doing something that kept me from taking pictures. Still, I’m happy with what I got.

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