With bellies full of caffeinated beverages and mini burgers, Kory and I drove for another three to four hours to Tomah, WI to get some shut-eye. Day 5 was the most uneventful because we put it aside to drive 14 hours to Atlanta, GA to make it to Kory’s dad’s house at a decent time.
On the long haul south, I experienced my first toll when we entered Illinois, saw the wind farms and flat lands of the country side of Illinois, was in Kentucky one minute and in Tennessee the other, and felt the southern hospitality with every Cracker Barrel we stopped at.
We arrived at Kory’s dad’s around 0130 – 0200 in the morning and was able to rest in a comfy bed for the night. Going to sleep with no rush to get up, we ended up sleeping until 1000 or 1030 and was treated to an IHOP breakfast by his dad. I haven’t seen Kory’s dad in probably 10 years, but he still remembered me from me and Kory’s childhood of us running and riding around outside. Seeing us grow up and exploring our opportunities that we’re fortunate enough to accept.
After leaving Atlanta, we made our way a little more south to a smaller town to see Kory’s Great Uncle. In the Filipino culture, everyone is an grandma, grandpa, uncle, aunt, cousin, nephew, or niece. They could be a family friend or parents’ friend’s kid, they’re family. It’s a sign a respect. So I had no clue what a Great Uncle was until meeting him. Kory got some shots of his grandfather’s grave, caught up on some family news, and I got to experience more southern hospitality.
Within 5 minutes of seeing Kory and meeting me he says, “Do you guys need a place to stay?” and it surprised me how quickly he was to let a stranger into his home for the night. Granted I was with his relative, but it felt really good.
Parting ways and having to deal with our growling stomachs, Kory and I both lose our Steak ‘n Shake virginity. I understand why Steak ‘n Shake is so popular and it’s almost as common as McDonalds where I live in Orlando. They have a $4 meal. Enough said. It’s amazing. The milkshakes. To say the least, Kory and were satisfied 12 year old boys.
In the first 5 miles, I see a gigantic confederate flag…I look at Kory and sarcastically say, “Well, this is my home now” followed by, “maybe we should drive back to Seattle.”
Surprisingly the weather is just as sporadic as Washington, but a bit more extreme.
5 minutes later…3 minutes later…then 1 minute later…
The torrential rain is something that I have gotten used to since moving down to Florida and this was actually my second time experiencing it. My first time was during my second day of interviews where I had to run to my car in order to escape. By night fall, Kory and I made it to Celebration, FL where we grabbed a comfy hotel and went straight to sleep.
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