Today is our first long day where the gap between waking and stopping for the day is at least 16 hours.Â I felt that if we could survive today, we’d be fine for the rest of the trip barring some emotional breakdown or high travesty and I was glad to come out the other end without incident.
Our first stop was Huntsville, AL to meet Dan and Josh.
Dan is joining the Air Force and told me his last name was Paladin which would be totally bad-ass if it were true.Â It was not, thus he is not bad ass until he joins the Air Force where is nickname better be either “Crasian” or “Paladin”.Â He has a dog that’s annoying as shit.
I knew little about Josh before meeting him.Â I have met him.Â I know little about Josh.
Huntsville, AL seemed to mostly consist of a cyclopean strip mall that cut the landscape as the knife of a mad surgeon where the Appalachian Mountains peter out.Â The strip mall contained a Zaxby’s, a Buffalo Wild Wings, and a Hobby Lobby as a kind of Noah’s ark of crap not available in the northeast and each held its own unique wonder.Â I’ve looped this part of the country now three times and I’ve yet to go to a Zaxby’s which is apparently slightly nicer than Chic-fil-a, a place that I consider on the high end of the Bojangles/KFC spectrum.Â We opted for Buffalo Wild Wings as Suzie longed for them after becoming persona non grata at her local site after quitting.Â But before this, we walked.
On a normal day, I walk at least 10,000 steps and shoot for 12,000 to 15,000.Â On a day of walking and shooting at say a Scouting event or a Magic tournament I can hit 20,000 steps.Â Yesterday and the day before I clocked 5,000 steps and I felt like I had soda in my leg veins as they twitched from non-use.Â Tooling around the strip mall for an hour gave me two miles and I felt better for having moved albeit at the cost of my co-trippers becoming sunburned.
A late addition to lunch was Ty who was spending part of his summer taking care of family member with his father.Â Much of lunch was spent explaining to Ty’s dad what his son was doing until 3 AM most days in Minecraft as well as the source of my compulsion to meet people.Â In exchange, he told us stories about his time as plumber in Chicago and the number of serial killers from the area he could name off the top of his head.Â Fair trade, I guess.
The group dissolved and we went into the west to meet Hunter for the first stop that could potentially require outright deception.Â He was still in high school and our group wasn’t exactly the norm his parents would expectÂ so should it be required, Suzie would liaise as a passable high school student.Â Picking him up didn’t come to such and we got to see a store that sold birdhouse trees.
Hunter was a teenager with all that encompassed including the ceremonial hair translated from pube to chin that constitutes most people’s first copse of facial hair.Â It was unbecoming of him and I recommended be bronze one and slay the rest in ritual facial shaving.Â He being a gamer, there are tools for such things.
Our cover was that we were going to watch Green Lantern and sneakily we went to the Genghis Grill, a Mongolian stir fry place that took the theme way too far.Â For instance, guess the name of this drink:
If you said “Why Terry, the lime and salt rim marks it as a margarita” you’d be sane but wrong as it’s a mongolrita.Â This of it as a standard margarita but replace the champagne glass with exploitation.Â The outdoor seat was “Khan’s Patio” and places that have Genghis Grill locations have been “Khanquered”.Â The notion of Mongolian stir fry is intrinsically appealing to me “pile foods of your choice into a dish.Â We will cook the dish and return it to you” but I foolishly left space in my bowl for the final starch which was added instead by the cook staff.Â I could have added at least a half of a dead chicken to my khancave bowl with that space.
Our waitress had the math abilities of a turnip and I left without being able to the gift card legerdemain that’d net me a $4.00 savings.Â Should this chain ever “knanquer” Philadelphia, I will first ask my server to answer a math puzzle before ordering.Â We left.
We stopped for ice khream to allow Suzie to restock on khute-fuel which is apparently bubblegum and gummy bears as Hunter dutifully watched and we dutifully ignored the clock as his alibi ran out.Â He received stickers and we returned him safely home before he turned into a pumpkin.
Our next leg was to Dallas, Texas and I got the idea in my head that I wasn’t a man if I couldn’t manage to drive this 500 mile section by myself.Â 500 miles isn’t particularly hard given the friendliness of I-30 which isn’t as kind to the driver as I-10 (one of my top 10 American roads) but it’s nice.
A Note on Interstates
The American Interstate Highway system is among my 7 wonders of the modern world for their capacity to facilitate the movement of near every physical good in America.Â The joy of driving 80 MPH in west Texas on I-10 and racing the sun as to not be subject to the night time speed limit or seeing the over one mile gap between lanes along the a particular pass on I-8.Â The 20 lanes of I-805 simply baffles my eyes but the blue shield of the Dwight D Eisenhower Interstate system always means “it’s ok, Terry.Â You can probably go 75 MPH without pissing off anyone” (‘cept for DC where it hits f-ing 50 MPH).Â I’ve received one ticket and one ticket only over the tens of thousands of miles of driving I did on the interstate and that was only because I was going 90 on the PA turnpike because it was such a nice day and the road so inviting.Â The cop agreed and downgraded it to blowing a stop sign.Â Oh, that stop sign at the mid-county exit, it always gets me.Â Should ever need to cross the country or even a state, take the extra time to get to an interstate if you can.
The drive was unremarkable to Dallas but once we hit the city limits the heavens opened and every on and off ramp was turned into a vehicular water slide.Â My top speed at times was about 7 MPH and even at this I was passing cars.Â I dropped off my car mates, parked, and was glad for my umbrella as buckets came down coupled with what I will call long lightning.Â Bolts didn’t illuminate the sky instantaneously but instead over seconds.Â There were no flashes so much as a glowing and receding brilliance over large segments of sky while still holding the distinctive bolt shape of ground/atmosphere lightning.Â We did not swim this evening.Â 0/2
Our fixer for Dallas was Dallas Peterson, a chef (can I call him that?) that lives in Dallas and provided us rooms at a low enough rate that everyone (nearly) had their own bed.Â It was wonderful.
Maybe tomorrow we’ll get to swim.