During my brief stint in college, I was lucky enough to be on the University of Florida College Bowl team, and I got to travel to a couple fine cities, and many not so fine places. Even if our destination sucked, the journey was usually fun, and the people watching potential, always made things even more interesting. After graduating, I had to pass the baton onto a new era of combatants, and I left the glory days of road trips behind me.
Well that was the way things were until one summer, Jeff, the never ending student asked if I wanted to join the folks on a road trip--a masters tournament, which basically means one open to old hags like me (I may have been 23 at the time). Anyway, I jumped at the chance. We would be going along with Alex, the fella with the most remarkable memory I've ever seen and Mark, the only dude I knew who took estrogen pills--long story. Anyway, the tournament was in Washington, DC, and it also had a trash tournament, which probably was the main motivation for Alex and Jeff. We were taking a rental up there, and we would stay with Stacia, our old advisor, who fondly referred to us as 'pookies'. She was living in DC as a part of her career as a PC PR rep.
The trip started ominously enough, as the rental was a Mazda 626. I've rented dozens of cars over the years, and I've never so much as seen a Mazda on a rental car lot. The car wasn't the biggest means of transit for a Sasquatch like me, and four dudes in any car could get crowded. Oh, and it started to look like I would have to drive the whole way. What was worse was that we were gonna drive all night and get there in the morning, which was when the tournament began. Ugghhh.
After a couple hours on the road, we stopped for gas, and owing to the fact we were in Georgia, the guys came back from their trips to the restroom with 40s (such beverage choice is illegal in Florida, though I'm pretty sure driving with open 40s is illegal in Georgia as well). I resigned myself to having to drive the whole way. ugghh. The trip through Georgia was rather uneventful otherwise. South Carolina too, but we were looking forward to a stop at South of the Border. South of the Border is a uh ... well it's hard to describe. Basically it's the last exit in South Carolina (thus the name, well at least from a North Carolina perspective), and it is Mexican themed--very badly stereotyped, and rather racist. Pedro is the Mickey Mouse equivalent, and he's quite the beaner. They have restaurants, hotels, campgrounds, and Pedroland. Of course there are bad tourist trap style souvenir stands, gas stations, and stands. What was new and quite foreign to all of us was these big empty buildings with signs that said "Adult Video Games".
?!?!?!?! Adult Video Games? Interesting--bizarre, yet interesting. First off we wanted to know what exactly an adult video game is--our imaginations wandered. Secondly, why was such a brilliant idea so popular to create such vast establishments, yet so mysterious to us? Also, why were they all closed? We were rather perplexed, yet too shy to ask. We had to drive on--confused, tired, and wearily looking ahead to North Carolina and Virgina yet to go.
We eventually got to DC and the lovely campus of George Washington University, which really wasn't that lovely. The tourney was a disaster for me, as I was basically a wreck from having to drive the whole way without rest, and owing to the fact it was a masters tournament, it was rather dry and free of the usual chaos and unpredictability (and endless supply of Krispy Kreme and Surge) of regular tourneys. It was summer, so campus was dead, and I don't remember much else.
We hung out with Stacia, went to Georgetown (shamefully commericalized these days) and washed down a few margaritas. We waxed nostalgic about the good ole days before crashing. We headed home the next day, with some relief while Jeff drove. Thank god for that, as that 626 was the biggest piece of shit I ever drove. It would bounce the opposite direction of any pothole or bump. We figured out what the adult video games were--video poker, which was just banned, thus the closed establishments. Not as exciting as I imagined.