Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Epic Illustrated Vacation Blog Post

I wanted it to be my "re-bachelor party," but that never really came together. It was more like a test to see how bad I can abuse my body over a long weekend.

I spent a lot of time in the car, wearing my dorky middle-aged-lady shades that fit over my glasses:

I drove for 13 hours the first day, and visited my dad and his wife in their new house:

It's way too much house for two people, and they can't afford it, but to each his own overly extravagant, unnecessarily huge domicile.

Then I hopped back into Smuggy (with his new license plate)

and drove another 3 hours to the coast. On the way, I set a new record for the most miles on a tank of gas: 520. It was the first time I topped 500 miles. I did it again on the way home, getting 506. Overall, I averaged about 51 MPG for the trip. Much better than I expected from mostly highway driving.

I visited my old high school friend, Lee, who lives in Wilmington. Here's Smuggy posing in front of his place:

It's a nice old house that he's renovating. I got to stay in the "love shack", a room off the kitchen with red walls and a pink ceiling. (No picture available.) The Love Shack didn't live up to its name, however, since the only 'love' I got while I was there was when Lee's cat snuggled up next to me.

We spent every evening in a bar/music club listening to visiting bands play at a music festival. I drank way too much and was out till 5 am three nights in a row. (Picture not available.) For a librarian who goes to bed at 9:30 on school nights, this was quite a shock to my system. Here's me at 11:30 the next morning, hungover and on the way to breakfast/lunch, and Lee showing his concern for my condition:

The rest of the weekend was a blur. One interesting thing is that North Carolina, being a tobacco state, has not banned smoking in bars or even restaurants yet. It was the first time in years I walked into a restaurant and was asked, "Smoking or non-smoking?" In my everyday life, I am very much anti-smoking, but since I was on vacation I was able to suspend my intolerance, and even indulged myself. My average is about one cigarette every three years. I smoked two cigarettes this weekend, so I'm good for the next six years.

On Saturday night, Lee had to go to a wedding so I was on my own. I walked around downtown Wilmington for several hours, looking for a suitable bar that was relatively quiet where I could have a beer and watch the NBA playoffs. I finally found one, with four people in it, and I saddled up to the bar. I've heard stories of people who meet lots of friends in bars, but I never knew quite how that worked. Apparently, it's really easy. It took about two minutes for the guy two stools over to strike up a conversation with me, and soon we were talking about sports, different cities, movies, etc. Then two girls came in and wanted to play the bar's Wii. I had no idea you could play Wii in a bar, but here you could. I said I liked to play Wii, so the four of us played Wii bowling. At one point in the second game, one of the girls said she'd buy me a shot if I could get a 200. Thanks to the beer in my system, I got a 202. So we all did a shot called a Jaegerbomb, which got me really messed up right before I left to meet Lee back at the music fest.

At "Lee-thirty" (a time Lee invented that's something like 3:37 am), we went to a beach house where a party was supposed to be. When we got there, it was dark and people were sleeping on the floor in the living room. They yelled at us when we turned the lights on. I peed in the ocean (definitely no picture available) and then we left to go back to Lee's place. So my journey of 800 miles and 16 hours toward the ocean culminated with me peeing in it and then turning back. I guess it's true what they say about the journey being more important than the destination.

The next morning I decided I had to escape this lifestyle while I still had a functioning liver. So I went back to my dad's and the next day drove back to the Midwest.

In the mountains of West Virginia, I got gas, which reset my MPG gauge. The next 50 miles or so were mostly downhill, so I got some awesome mileage. I was so excited that I took out my camera and got some pictures (Do not try this at home, especially if you live in the curvy highway mountains of WV):

Holy shit, 73.6 miles per gallon! Look how happy I am:

By the grace of the highway gods, I made it home in one piece. Although coming home to an empty apartment was a little depressing, it was good to see the cats and be back in my own space. I plopped down on the couch and was immediately perched upon by Katya:

It's good to be loved.

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