In September 2014, I took off 5 days and drove to Mississippi for 3 days of STOG-U training. 1 day of Force Options and 2 days of Beyond the Band Aid.
Being opposed to the TSA and their illegal pat down of American Citizens and one who is more than willing to smack someone who violates a child or is physically aggressive with an elderly person in a wheel chair, I knew my best option for getting to Mississippi (I just love spelling that, no really, I do!) was to rent a vehicle and drive. $213 later I had a rental.
The drive showed 10 ½ hours on Google Maps so I left on the Thursday before class started at about 7:30 am. I decided to give my Nuvi Garman GPS control of the drive. Zig-Zagging on Hwy 63 between West Plains Missouri and Walnut Ridge Arkansas reminded me of a drive almost 3 years earlier along that road, in the dark, with my wife and two girls. Nausea city! Up down left and right all in the same 5 seconds. I never was a roller coaster guy.
I made it to Jonesboro Arkansas in time for an early lunch at IHOP, the service was slow but that gave my stomach time to settle. Once in Tennessee I had a lane issue crossing the river at Memphis, trying to stay on 55. Tennessee Department of Transportation, please figure a fix for that! The drive on 55 to Jackson was very beautiful.
Now, believe it or not, I like the box, it is comfy, so I drive right at the speed limit. My nerves get all twisted if I get 3MHP over the limit, that is just the way it is. So when on the way to Jackson and people were passing me by 20 to 30 miles an hour over the speed limit and the State and County LEO’s were too, I was frantically checking the radio to see if the Zombie Apocalypse had started. I mean seriously, the law was not pulling people over, they were all driving that fast! So I pushed it and got to 5MPH over the posted speed limit, set the cruise control and went on my snail pace way.
I was on Hwy 67 in Mississippi when it got dark, not something I wanted or hoped for. The GPS let me pass my exit, ok, somehow I was not paying enough attention, there, I said it. Happy?
I had reservations at the La Quinta in Biloxi, the best priced place I could find for the next four nights. It was not located on the peninsula of Biloxi, but right off of Interstate 10. The hotel was not perfect but great for just one. Floors were not carpeted and lots of touchup paint was around. With that said, the Queen size bed, the free breakfast and overall solitude was nice.
That night I ate at the Applebee’s that was basically in the hotels parking lot, then called my bride and daughter and finally went to sleep.
The next morning I woke to a decent breakfast and managed to find SOTG-U without issue, just about 10 minutes from my stay. Walking into the building about 15 minutes before class I was greeted by Zack, I knew him from the YouTube video where he got pepper sprayed, or at least I assumed correctly that it was him. He showed me into the University classroom where two other students, Chris and Nick were at tables.
As it turns out there were only 3 of us. They were both from Florida, the Orlando area.
In case you did not know it, I am a people person, I hate being by myself. Like my mom, I can talk to anyone. The problem if it is strangers I revert to the stupid comedy and this was not different. When I get nervous I start cracking jokes, nervous jokes. As my mind kept telling me to shut up, my mouth kept running. Fortunate for me, the other students did not blacklist me for this.
Well that exceeds the recommended blog size of 600 characters. Click here for Part 2, about the classes.
Until we meet again, keep your booger hooker off the trigger.