I just wanted to tell you guys a little story about my Dad. Fairly recently, my Dad's uncle, Buddy, passed on, and my father wished to go to the funeral. Considering he had just had hip replacement surgery, the braintrust and I didn't think it was a good idea for him to go alone; especially with a long drive on a new hip. So Sis and I drew straws, and it was easier for me to go.
The day started bright and early for me at 4 a.m. which give me the time to get to my parents house by 4:30 and for us to leave for the funeral by 5:00. Due to eating habits and meal necessitites, we left the house at about 6:15. It kinda defeated the purpose of me waiting at 4, but that's water under the bridge.
A little background, if you please...
Dad and I haven't always seen eye to eye on most things. Part of it is generational; part of it is bravado, and the other part is that we are so alike, we drive each other crazy. So one would think that getting in a car and driving 6+ hours with only each other would be a most tempestuous mistake. Surprisingly, I couldn't be further from the truth.
Losing someone in your family is never a happy occassion, but this trip did a lot for our relationship. I would go as far to say that this trip did alot for us, or for that I thank Buddy.
Sidebar: Skeevy roadside Bathrooms.
I know what you're thinking. "Hello! Earth to Darian! It's called a ROADSIDE BATHROOM for a reason!" Maybe I'm mythologizing my youth, but bathrooms didn't look like this when I was little. We used to make roadtrips all the time, and with a child-sized bladder, I've seen my share of rest stops and roadside bathrooms. Some of the bathrooms we saw practically required a shower immediately upon exit.
The first bathroom we came upon was in a small town in southern Virginia. We had a choice: McDonald's or Amoco. Now the McDonald's must have had everyone on the eastern seaboard eating inside. I have never in my life seen a McDonald's so full. It also had an extra large parking lot tha was full! Like they expected their popularity! Seeing the sea of cars and people, we opted to go to Amoco which in stark contrast, was completely empty.
Upon entering the Amoco, we were greeted by some guy on his cellphone. We ask for the bathroom and he points. We enter, and this place was pretty bad. You would think these places get inspected, but it was not as bad a the Subway gas station combo that we pull into about 3 hours later.
Oh...My...God. I couldn't believe that this place actually served FOOD! As soon as you walk in the door, there are flies EVERYWHERE! Thankfully the urinals were ok, but the bathroom stalls looked the battlefield of a fecal war. Now, last I checking, the aim of the roadside bathroom/restaurant game is to have a pristine bathroom experience for potential customers. The last thing you want is someone to lose their appetite and lower their perception of your restaurant's cleanliness standards by keeping a bathroom that's a biohazzard. I consider it a lesson learned: Only use a bathroom in an establishment where you would also eat.