I can't really describe the nasty surprise I got when I wrote down the wrong directions trying to get to Hannibal MO. I turned where I usually do to go to KCI, at the KS Speedway, where I-70 beets I-435. It was somewhat fortunate that there happens to be a giant mall there. Guess what. I finally got the dam shoes, but, and you'll really love this one FORGOT SOCKS!!! I even chatted with the clerk about my new tattoo (I had to wear a pair of board shorts because I couldn't stand the feel of long pants on it for any period of time) and how much fun it would be as the hair grew back AND the tattoo healed, oh and when they asked for ID for my Debit card I even showed them my Geneva Convention Card. But I was in such a rush to get there that I rushed out and forgot the dam socks!!!
Well by this point I'm wicked lost, have no idea where to go, cuz lets face it, I'm not from the Midwest. Well come to find out (I found this out on the way back) I could have just stayed on I70 and I'd have gotten to I-35, and conversely BOTH the 435 and 635 lead to the 35, but I didn't know that, and I tried my darnedest to get myself lost, taking the wrong road, and when i finally take the right road it was till I-29 then to 35. It was so confusing I got pretty horse screaming in frustration. Thanks a lot Map quest!
The funny part though is I called Herman, and it was clear that I'd just woken him up. He gave me absolutly great advise. "you want to take the 35 not the 35" I was like ok, so where is it? he kinda mumbled something, and he hung up the phone. I found out (after I got there) that his Bachlor Party had been the night before and he had gotten absolutly hammered. I had to turn around and go down the 70, a bit further, and finnally got back on track.
Well going up there I saw a lot of evidence of the recent flooding. It was kind of weird because at some points the water line was just right below the bridge, and it looked pretty muddy, and it was moving pretty darn fast. Well by the time I got on the right interstate I realized it was time to get gas (again). As soon as I stopped and got gas I found out that I just went 20 miles in the wrong direction after getting off I-35. I couldn't believe that I'd gone the wrong direction, and I also couldn't believe that I was still over 120 miles out of Hannible.
Now for some odd reason this stretch of road was under construction for over 60 miles. Most of the time I was speeding, anywhere from 10-25 MPH over the limit which averaged around 60MPH. well at this point Map Quest absolutly failed me. Somehow, and I couldn't tell you how, I made it to the Wal Mart. At that point, tired and with a sore knee I decided to FINALLY get socks. After that was done with I tried yet again to get directions from Herman. I never knew that an Infantryman could give such bad directions. haha. He ended up sending me down the wrong road until he gave his phone to his soon to be mother-in-law. She finally got me there.
After a breif meet and greet with the brides parents (the Groom's hadn't showed up yet.) I rushed downstairs and got changed into my suit and tie (which Herman later retied. something about a windsor or some crap like that) and I was ready to watch the ceremony. . .which didn't start for another two hours. It was kind of one of those things were I was bemused and bored at the same time. I thought it was kind of funny how Herman (Jared) was hidding from the photographer who was going INSANE with the camera. I have to wonder if that's how Nicole's subjects feel haha. Well it was perrtty clear it was more for Amanda than for Jared.
About the ceramony, I can only say it has got to be one of the shortest I had ever seen. the whole part of "if anyone should have reason. . . " part where anyone could be at the last min "NO DON'T DO IT, HE'S A SOAP OPERA STAR!!!" or something along those lines was completly omitted. If Jared were still drunk he sure didn't have enough time to sober up and be like "holy shit". Probably for the best. Seeing as they were all googlie eyed at each other the whole time, I highly doubt it.
After that instead of throwing rice we blew bubbles ("this blows" I proclaimed loudly and proudly) and I got the honors of driving the happy couple to the reception. Well I suffered having the whole "Just Married" put on my car, and the insessent honking of horns. It was kinda funny cuz it was almost like a clown car, the way those two were shoved in the back, but I had no qualms with lending my baby to them. Hell I'd have given Jared the keys, but I forgot his lisence was suspended.
Upon reaching the reception I asked where I was supposed to sit, not at all sure if there was assigned seating, and being somewhat of a hanger on. Mrs. Herman, and Mr. Herman gracously invited me to join them saying that I was family. For most of the night I tried to tell them with out revealing too many gory details, just what kind of man their son was. In essence he is a son, and a friend to be proud of. I skipped over the rough details about when Craig got hit, but I let it be know that I had offered him the option to take a break and stay back for a rotation, but he, like the rest of the platoon was out ther two days later, and I have never been prouder to be a part of a group of people.
Lewis and his whole clan it seemed was there. That man has a lot of brothers. and after the festivities kicked off I procedded to drink thimble sized shots of Jack that were WAY overpriced, but I had a good time. It was a good town, and there were good people at the reception. Its strange, but I seemed to have left a really good impression on both families. I think the highlight of the reception for me was when i just kinda reached out and caught the guarter belt. I suppose that means I'm due to get married. HAHA wouldn't that be my luck.
Well I was offered a poop table to crash out on at Amanda's home, but the lure of more Alcohol took me to Lewis' dad's place. If I thought there's be more party I was dead wrong. Lewis got in a fight with his brother and almost took a swing at me, and everyone else including his gf. oh and there was a shoot out. 3 rounds from a pistol. His gf had said something like fireworks and both me and Lewis agreed it was a pistol on the other side of the apartement complex. Out of sight. Well I tried to crash out, cuz I figgured if I was going to make it to the one day of country stampeede that I did have tickets for, I'd have to take off at oh-dark thirty. Finally at 0330, I'd had enough and asked for a ride to my car.
Well it is probably a bad idea to drive when i did. After all not only was I tired but I was also buzzed. I figgured 0330, if I actually take anyone out it'll probably only be me. Strangely enough I had no problem driving. Apparently I hadn't had as much to drink as I thought. I even gave myself an FST, and passed with flying colors.
The drive back was. . . long, and oh so boring. But there is one thing I did that had me feeing really good. As the sun was comming up I happende to see the first bit of trafic since leaving Hannibal. it was a van, you know one of those family cruising vans with the extended roof, parked on the side of the road and a guy was sticking out his thumb. Well I'm not going to try to stop on a dime when I'm doing 80 MPH unless I have to. I pulled probablly 250-300 meters ahead of him, turned over and backed up to him.
Come to find out he had been returning from his daughters gratuation in Illinois, and headed to KC. Well the poor guy had run out of gas, about 10 miles short of a gas station. Pushing that big ass tub of lard for a van 10 miles was out of the question. Well I gave him a ride to the gas station and back, and once I dropped him off we said our good byes, and good lucks, and congrats on the good news we had just had, and that was it. I never got his name, and I never gave him mine. I don't think that really matters. It was a good thing to do. It felt like the right thing to do. I'm not braggin or even seeking recognition, I want other people to know that every once in a while helping a stranger out is a good thing.
the whole trip finally ended a 1000ish back in my room at Riley, almost 26 hours, two and a half tanks of gas, a shit load of cafeen, ten thimbles of jack, 2 and a half hours of sleep, and one helped stanger later.