03 January 2010

Oh the places you will go....

I LOVE to travel...love to see the country/world. It started when I worked for a little company called Cracker Barrel. I was lucky enough to be a their traveling team, they paid ME to travel. However, they did work my butt off in the process, you were lucky to have one day off in a month and maybe a half day (a 9 hour shift instead of an 18 hour shift). But you know on that one day off (or half day) I made the most of it.

My first store was in Jeffersontown, KY...I had NO idea what to expect. No idea of the hours my new job would entail, and definitely no idea what it was like to share a room with a smoker...cough cough. I got to make a few side trips during my time off, I went to the Mall of St Matthews and thought I was big stuff because I got to go all by myself. I drove down to Elizabethtown one weekend to stay with my old preacher and his family (my dad met me there), and once I drove to Bowling Green to see John.

In Jacksonville Florida (this trip was a day and a half off because the store was not open yet), I drove down to Orlando and went to Disney World, not for the first time, but the first time by myself and it snowed in Orlando for the first time in many many years. The power went out and my cousin's dad, booked a hotel and then we got up the next day and went to WDW! It was nice to be in charge of what we were going to ride and what not. Oh, on that 1/2 day the day before, we did seaworld (my first trip).

Next Cracker Barrel sent me to Texas. God Bless Texas...I was so mad, my mom (yes I am still mad about it) told the company that I would fly down there. So 6 weeks in Dallas without a car!!! I got to drive by the Book depository, but did not get to see it...never got close to South Fork, did hit the hard rock on my 21st birthday, but had to bum rides, and walk to work across an interstate. That sucked big time. So I saw nothing here...NOTHING!!!

My next trip I totally made up for it...Round Rock Texas and I made the most of it...drove to Waco (the whole Janet Reno thing had just happened), San Antonio (river walk, SeaWorld, Alamo)...hung out all over Austin, whenever I could. Found a great used bookstore on Research Blvd, that I still think of to this day. Wonder if it is still there, Susan is it? I went to my first Hobby Lobby here in Austin...oh my I was hooked. I was driving all over looking for a Michaels and there was a Hobby Lobby near my hotel...duh. I enjoyed driving along the river bluff and seeing all the fancy houses and paying homage to the Stevie Ray Vaughn statue. I even ventured down to the famous (then...have no clue about now) 6th street and bought some BBQ...YUMMY!!!

Chicago was next...now this way happening...Sears Tower, John Hancock, Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Museum of science and industry, great restaurants (I feel in love with food on this trip), first super walmart, first super target, first driving in snow, first bronchitis, United Center, Cominsky Park, and first run in with the law over Wrigley Field, McCormick Place, Grant Park, Water Tower Place (began my love affair with malls), Lake Shore Drive, The Drake Hotel, Oprah's condo, my first submarine at the Science Museum, watching a movie on the side of the Field Museum, and getting lost under the "el"...good times. We had some celebrities to come in the store here..Flo Jo, some chick named Oprah, Scotty Pippen...and a few more basket ball players. Speaking of basketball, we got to go into the new bb arena where Michael Jordan would get to play. They were just building it and yeah, we ventured inside. We were a little brave this trip. I really wanted to see the ivy at Wrigley Field. Very badly...well, we parked in the lot and walked up to the stadium, there were these security bars that we "overlooked". We climbed inside and got out onto the field. UH, this is where is got bad, a cop came in and told us we had 30 seconds to get out of there, I don't think that I have ever moved so fast...NEVER!

Next was the lovely city of Cleveland. Now I was really in love...really really. Cedar Point, all those malls, Rock and Roll hall of fame...This was great...This was wonderful. I drove all the way to Lima to pick up to go cups for the store, just because I could, we did need them. Football hall of fame (bored to tears, went with the gang), Wynonna Judd (yep stayed next to us at our hotel), Bath and Body seaspray (I really stocked up) and Lake Erie.

I remember the last store the best because I really wanted to soak it all in...This was the last one, the last time I would travel and make the big bucks and it was in Virginia. I was so thrilled to be opening Newport News. I had big plans....to see William and Mary, and to get to DC! My friend Scott had been to DC so he knew how long it would take and how to get there. So here we go on our one day off for the month, we get up VERY VERY early and head to DC. I get to see Mananas (the first big stop) then as we are driving along I see it! OMG it was so exciting. I was in the front so I had a great seat. The first thing we did was buy a bus ticket. This ticket would take us to the sights, we have ONE day its really got to count. Scott was the leader but he let me pick the sights because I was the only one of the 4 that really really really wanted to go to DC. First Stop the White House. In pre 9/11 days, we got to walk onto the grounds, Scott drove up Pennsylvania avenue so I could see the whole house. We could not tour the house today, the line was forming but if we wanted to do the other things we had to move on. Next stop was the Washington Monument. We climbed all the way to the top and I took some photos with my crappy camera (however they turned out good--got to get those scanned). I told everyone the story of Zachary Taylor at the base of the monument, then we trudged on (yeah cause it was freezing, the ground was like ice and there was a threat of snow). I wanted to see the Jefferson Memorial....we walked all the way over there but it was closed due to the fact that Air Force One was was tearing it up....everytime Air Force One took off a chunk of the structure would break, so the best I could do was see it from afar (the only disappointment of the day). We next saw Arlington House and ate lunch while walking (no time to stop). At the Lincoln Memorial I got teary eyed...this was the best trip ever (I wished my parents had brought me here). Well, I was crossing the street near the Lincoln and hit at ice patch, fell down right in the street flat on my back and could not move for a bit. Finally, I was helped up a little dazed but determined to go on. My back hurt and my head hurt but I kept going. Arlington Cemetery was next. My first stop here was JFK and William Howard Taft. Second on my list was the Challenger spot and then I could relax and look around a bit. I bought 2 books on Presidents in the gift shop and then the bus was moving us to the next location. The CAPITAL!! WOW!! Mesmerizing was the word that I used. I could not stop looking at the architecture and the beauty of the design. Oh my, this was our last stop, we had a 4 hour drive, it was late and beginning to snow. It sleeted all the way back to Newport News, I slept Felicia thought I had a mild concussion from the fall, but we will never know. This was the greatest excursion of any of my Cracker Barrel trips what a way to go out....