Since my extended family lives in North Carolina, most of the holidays of my childhood involved a road trip. I learned a lot from those car rides, particularly with my dad, who obsessed over time and got a little thrill when we made a particularly fast stop for food, gas, and the bathroom. As I have been in Louisiana since I graduated from college, I have continued to make my fair share of road trips. On my most legendary trips, I go to the bathroom, get gas, and hit a drive thru on my way out, and that is my only stop between Louisiana and Georgia. I completely blame my dad for this, but it’s also a point of pride. I fear that someday my bladder will no longer be such a steel trap, and my most legendary trips will involved two stops...but that day is not today.
Family road trips also introduced me to the joys of rest areas by the interstate. It’s hard to beat the convenience of a clean bathroom right off of the interstate (no traffic lights) and a series of drink and snack machines for any non-meal cravings. I particularly enjoy a state welcome center with friendly staff members and hot coffee, although stopping for those amenities cuts into valuable travel time. On the other hand, picking a gas station bathroom can be a crapshoot (no pun intended) if you’re not near a place that is famous for its clean restrooms. (Buc-ee’s, anyone?)
Today, I selected a Stuckey’s in Mississippi for my gas/bathroom/food stop, and my expectations for the bathroom were not high. I’d been to other Stuckey’s locations before and didn’t remember them being particularly clean or unclean, but the station itself didn’t look modern or fancy. Yet when I opened the bathroom door, it was not the sad single stall situation I expected. In fact, the bathroom was both bigger and cleaner than anticipated, and I was pleased. I took a few moments of my valuable travel time to browse the Stuckey’s brand goodies and left with a box of peanut brittle and a bag of bullseyes, and I wish now that I had bought some fudge. What a surprisingly pleasant stop!
I think I have touched on being surprised when my expectations were exceeded in another blog post, which surprises me a little because I don’t make it my rule in life to aim low. Stuckey’s has long been a part of road trip culture, but its status and services have changed over the years. One blog I read lamented that the true Stuckey’s sold out to a corporation, and what we experience today is not the real deal. (Isn’t that how it always goes?) Nevertheless, I was pleased to find clean bathrooms and good snacks at a Stuckey’s today, and while it takes a little more time than a rest area, it’s worth it for the peanut brittle if nothing else. So, if you’re road tripping and aren’t near a rest area or a Buc-ee’s—or if you just need some fudge, peanut brittle, or a pecan log—go on and give Stuckey’s a try.
Something that made today great: Being reunited with Richard and Scooter!
Time I woke up: 8:30 am (eastern)
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