Monday, July 23, 2007


Red Stick or Bust!

I just returned from the longest road trip of my life. My close friends Burt and Jennie B got married in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Saturday. From Columbia, SC, Google says that the trip should take eleven hours. The plan was to leave at 4:00 PM on Thursday, but anytime you have several people involved, it usually delays departure a bit. There were four of us: Melissa, me, Neil, and Joy. We still wound up leaving fairly quickly. We left at just past 4:30 PM on Thursday afternoon, arriving at our hotel in Baton Rouge at approximately 2:30 AM Friday morning (for the sake of ease, I’m leaving everything in Eastern time, although Baton Rouge runs on Central.) That’s just shy of 10 hours, plus we made several stops for gas, food, drinks, and restroom breaks. As hard as I try to orchestrate the stop so that everyone uses the restroom and grabs food while I’m filling the gas tank up, it never quite works out that way, although this trip was exceptionally simple.

Did I mention that I drove the entire way? As Neil put it; I’m a “driving machine.” He has also called me a “drinking machine.” That brings the current count of activities I’m a “machine” at up to three: drinking, driving…and crossword puzzles. What did you sick puppies think the third one was going to be? Get your minds out of the gutters. I should also probably point out that while I am a drinking and driving machine, the two are mutually exclusive. I am a drinking machine, and I am a driving machine, but I try not to be a drinking and driving machine at the same time. My parole officer discourages it. Drinking and crossword puzzles? Oh, hell yes. Bring it.

Anyway, I’m sure many of you out there in interweb land are wondering “How did he drive that far all in one sitting? Is he a god among men? Some type of driving robot sent back in time from the future?” While the answer to both of those questions is “yes,” there are other factors to consider. For one, I had a great support team: my lovely girlfriend, Melissa, my wacky partner-in-crime, Neil, and his friend Joy, whom I don’t have a great description for because this was only the third time we had hung out. Also, I was sucking down energy drinks like it was Arbor Day and I just wanted to get drunk and plant a tree (an awkward simile, but I think it works.)

I have a theory on energy drinks: the sweet tasting ones such as Rockstar, Vault, etc. do not work. Or perhaps they do, but they do not affect me. Keep in mind I used to drink at least two pots of coffee a day, so it takes a lot to kickstart me. Also, did I mention that I have a problem doing things in moderation? Regardless, I try to find the worst tasting energy drinks and guzzle them as quickly as possible. If it tastes like there’s some kerosene in it, I know it’s going to do the trick. The last one I bought in Mississippi had an image of Cerberus on the can, so I had a good feeling about it. Not only did it taste like a mixture of kerosene and mangos, but it also left an unpleasant burning sensation in my mouth. To top it all off, my head, neck, and shoulders soon started to itch fiercely. Not exactly what I was going for, but who the hell can fall asleep with a burning mouth and an itchy upper body?

We arrived safely, all in one piece, although I was itchy and somewhat jittery. Nothing a few cold beers didn’t fix, though. Kind of like lupus. On Friday morning, we got up and headed to New Orleans. Since we were only an hour away, and none of us had been, we decided it would be a shame to waste the chance. Although New Orleans is called “The Big Easy,” don’t let that fool you. Parking is a bitch. Other than that, it is extremely easy…although somewhat expensive. You can buy beers at to-go windows walking down the street! Also, the Abita Gator is 10% alcohol by volume, so a 22 ounce pilsner glass puts a bit of a grin on your face. We had a great lunch of gumbo, fried alligator tail, and crawdad cakes, and then hit Bourbon Street to start drinking…I mean sightseeing.

Our first stop was a place called the Krazy Korner, where we saw a band called “Old Number Seven Brand” play. If that sounds familiar, it’s because they got their name from a Jack Daniels sign. The lead guitar player was awesome, and I’m going to copy his look for the next white trash party. Plus, they had buy-one-get-one-free beers, so I was pleased.

All in all, it was an exhausting day, and we pretty much crashed as soon as we got back to the hotel. Saturday was a pool party at the hotel with all of us who had traveled from South Carolina to Baton Rouge for the wedding. I got a sunburn and a hell of a buzz. We went back up to the room, cleaned up, sobered up, and went to the wedding. I’m sure the wedding was very nice, moving, etc., but I’m not much of a wedding guy. I’m more of a reception guy. Especially when the open bar includes Abita Amber, and lots of it. Abita is my new favorite micro-brew, so I made it my mission to drink as many as possible while I was still in Louisiana. Burt, the groom, is a hell of a drummer, so Kyle, Neil, Shawn and I convinced the band to let him sit in on a few songs. I know he did the Rolling Stones' Satisfaction and a blues number. It was great, and I had a blast at the reception overall. In fact, we had such a blast at the reception and after-party in Kyle’s hotel room, that it really, really hurt to drive back yesterday. Especially since we hit stop-and-go traffic in Montgomery, AL and Atlanta, GA. The drive home too 14 hours, with Neil and I trading off behing the wheel. My sunburn and hangover prevented me from being legendary and driving all the way both ways.

We got home at 2:30, having left at 11:30, and I was asleep almost as soon as my head hit the pillow. This week promises to be a good week. My copy of the new Harry Potter should be here soon from, and my 10 year high school reunion is Saturday. I’m not going…I’ve planned a counter-reunion. I’m such an ass. Hope everyone had a great weekend, I’m going back to bed.

JT out.

11 hours is decent. It's a great length for a road trip. Good work!

It sounds like you stuck around the Quarter, which would explain why everything was expensive.

Glad y'all made it back in one happy piece.
Yeah, I asked the waitress where we ate lunch about good local spots where we could find better atmosphere and prices, but we got sucked into the tourist traps anyway.
"I was sucking down energy drinks like it was Arbor Day."

Wait, what?

Good post; I found myself laughing a lot. Sounds like you had a great time. The Missus read that entire Harry Potter book in 7 hours.
Yeah...that didn't really mean anything to most people, but it's always been an inside joke among friends that Arbor Day is one of the days when drinking before noon is acceptable.

Try'll like it.
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