With Bob driving I sleep maybe 20 minutes. I have trouble sleeping in cars, and I am paranoid that Bob will fall asleep at the wheel if I'm not up to keep him awake. I begin to feel better now that I am not driving. We continue driving towards South Carolina, not knowing where we are going to stay. Our target is Myrtle beach, but it'd be kind of late by the time we got there, so we consider staying in Charlotte for tonight and then heading to myrtle the next day.
I begin to think of people I know whom we could possibly stay with. Stanford goes to Appalachian state, which I know is somewhere in North Carolina. When we finally get somewhat out of the mountains and I get reception, I give him a call. He doesn't answer. The kid rarely answers his phone. I'm hoping that he calls me back before we get too far into North Carolina.
I remember that my cousin, Kyle, lived in South Carolina a few years ago but he seems to move a lot so I have no idea if he still lives there. I figure I'll call him if Stanford doesn't return my call by the time we get to Charlotte.
Before that happens, my mom calls me asking where I am. She is not surprised to find out that I am not in the state after hearing about what had happened two weeks prior. I ask her if Kyle is still living in South Carolina and she confirms that he is. She says he'll probably help us out if I give him a call.
I call him about a half hour later and he sounds excited. Apparently, my mom had already called him and filled him in on what was going on. He lives in a hotel paid for by his company and he said he could hook us up with a room for a night or two and take us out to the bars. We decide to go for that, as it is the best option available and I haven't seen my cousin in a while. We are near Charlotte, about 2-3 hours away from where my cousin lives in Sumter. It's a town about 45 minutes away from Columbia. Not anywhere near the beach but we're sure we'll find something to do. Just having a place to shower is a plus.
About 10 minutes later, Stanford finally returns my call and says we could come to Appalachian State. He promises huge parties, as it is the football team's last game. We would have to drive back 3 hours the way we came, so we decide to go to my cousin's for the night and maybe hit up App state the next day if Sumter turns out to be beat.
One big problem we have is that both of our phones are nearly dead and we don't have any chargers. Without phones, we will not be able to call my cousin or get directions off the I-phone. We will pretty much be lost. We exit just before Charlotte to get some food and look for phone chargers. Bob recognizes the area as some racing town and starts driving away from all the food places. I have no idea where we are going but apparently he knows exactly. He drives through a more residential area before we come upon some NASCAR garage. We have to stop to take pictures to send to his dad to prove that we are there. I could careless about NASCAR but I am amazed that he knew where we were somehow.
We then head back towards the interstate where all of the food places and shopping are. We find a plaza where there is a chick-fil-a. I have never eaten there before but for some reason we were having a conversation about it with someone the week before we left so we decided to try it out. I was not disappointed. They should have one up here.
We find a Radio Shack, where we purchase a charger for our phones. We get back on the road in hopes to getting to Sumter in time to do something that night.
As we're driving, Bob is in the left lane, passing a car on the right. Apparently, he's not passing fast enough, so some asshole starts riding his ass. Bob does not take too kindly to this. Lacking good judgment, and driving my car, Bob hits the breaks. This guy is not happy. When he has the opportunity, he passes us on the right, cuts in front of us, and hits his breaks so hard that he smokes his tires. I don't know how we didn't rear end him but somehow Bob avoided it. The guy continues to go fast and hit his breaks. Bob switches lanes in an attempt to pass him but the guy cuts over in front of us and smokes his tires again. Bob is not having any of this. His race car driver instincts kick in. He swerves left to make the guy think hes switching lanes. The guy bites on it and swerves back into the left lane. Bob swerves back into the right lane and floors it. We are passing this guy and he's not having it. He swerves back into the right lane. Problem is, we are now right next to him. Bob swerves off the side of the road, over the rumble strips. That guy would have hit us had Bob not gone off the road. We are doing 80 or 90 so that could have been our death right there, or at least the death of my car. I convince Bob to fall back, as I am not interested in totaling my car in North Carolina. He agrees and we continue driving. This will not be the last time on this trip that I fear for my life.
After passing our exit and doing some backtracking, we finally make it
to Sumter at around 8:00. It has been nearly 24 hours since we started drinking and 34 hours since I got out of bed. I have slept 20 minutes on this entire trip. Kyle hooks us up with a room and we go out to
eat. We eat dinner and
drink some beers before returning to the hotel. Kyle goes to bed as he
has to get up at 7am to work, but promises to take us out in Columbia if
we decide to stay Saturday night.
Since my cousin went to bed, we are on our own. We could go to sleep, or go explore the city of Sumter, South Carolina. We discuss it and decide that we didn't drive this far to sleep, so we begin to pregame.
We had bought some red bull earlier, which was a great choice, and we had also
stolen a bottle of vodka from the house when we dropped Dan off. Hey, we
lost Dan, but got some vodka. Pretty even trade I'd say. We mix up some
drinks and decide to check out a bar down the street. We are still
wearing the same clothes as the night before, as we didn't bring
anything with us. The hotel provided deodorant, but my shirt had already
absorbed the stench that comes with being in a car for 14 hours with no
deodorant. Oh well. We're in the South, this should be expected.
Sumter is not much warmer than Buffalo. It
is probably actually the same temperature, 35 degrees. We are freezing
and tired on the walk over but we are ready for adventure.
We get to the bar. There's a decent amount of people but it
seems like a slightly older crowd for the most part. The band is playing
some good songs though, covering a bunch of bands from my youth such as
oasis and third eye blind. Bob and I sit at the bar and start
drinking. We are both completely exhausted.
outside to talk on his phone while I sit there and drink alone. There is a
table by us that two guys are standing at. They are very flamboyant. One guy looks like Elton John and he is extremely
intoxicated. I try not to look at him because I don't want to make eye
contact with a gay guy, but he is hilarious so I cannot avoid it. Two
girls are sitting at the table next to them. They find him as funny as I
do. He is really rocking out to the music. The one girl keeps looking
at me while laughing and I am looking at her while doing the same. I ask
her if she knows him. She says she doesn't. Bob comes back and joins
the laughter and goes to the girls table. I follow him.
girl is pretty hot, Angel and the other one is not too good looking, I
can't remember her name. They both have awesome Southern accents. They
like us because we are from Buffalo. We talk to them for a while and
keep laughing at the elton john guys when some dude walks by, gives Bob a
shoulder bump, and puts his arm around the not too good looking girl.
Ok, maybe that's his girl. Bob doesn't walk away and I fear that he is
gonna start some shit. Surprisingly, Bob doesn't say anything, but
continues to talk to the girls. I am hoping that us yankees don't get a
good old fashioned southern ass kicking.
find out that the guy is her boyfriend and his name is Yancey. He is
the first Yancey I have ever met. The more he drinks, the more friendly
he becomes. By the end of the night we are making fun of him for pushing
Bob and getting pissed. We're buying each other drinks. Bob keeps
ordering shots of "Buffalo," which is a shot that he invented. It's a
little Jack mixed with a lot of Jack.
Bob tells them they should go to Buffalo because it's so awesome. I have
no idea what he is talking about.
The bars there close
at 2 but the group says they know somewhere else we can go. O god, what
kind of hick after hours bar are we gonna end up at? Angel says that
her boyfriend will drive us and bring us back after. O, she has a
boyfriend too? We don't meet him until it is time to go. He doesn't
like us as much as Yancey but Angel makes him drive us. We make a stop
at some other place, where it looks like a fight might be about to break
out. I don't know what's going on, so I sit in the truck and drink some
beer. Yancey is very drunk. He sees a black guy and asks me and Bob if
he should go hit him with a stick. Apparently racism is still very strong in the South. I think he might be serious so we
don't joke around and tell him not to. I'm not trying to get arrested
for any hate crimes tonight.
Angel's Boyfriend gets back
in the truck and drives. We end up at some after hours karaoke bar,
which is open until 4, but they can only serve beer, no liquor. We're
going in when we find there is a $5 cover and they only take cash. Me
and Bob have no cash, so Angel makes her boyfriend pay for us. This is
great. I later on buy him beers, as they take my credit card at the bar.
The boyfriend seems ok with me but I'm still not that comfortable
around him. He seems kind of shady.
Yancey gets on
stage to sing some country song. He says, "this one goes out to Buffalo,
NY!" I drunkenly cheer him on. He actually sings the song really well
and I am surprised. Angel eventually joins him on stage.
later see Bob talking to Angel. The boyfriend is behind him with his
group of friends. I see him make one of those fake punching motions
behind Bob's head, to show his friends that he doesn't like Bob talking
to her. I don't like the looks of things. A bunch of red necks vs. me
and Bob. Well at least it seems as if Yancey is on our side now. I warn
Bob that I don't think the boyfriend likes him. Bob is wasted. Instead
of just talking to Angel less, he decides to confront the boyfriend.
"Word on the street is, you don't like me." O god. The boyfriend says that's not true and nothing ever comes of it. I know the boyfriend
doesn't like us, but he doesn't want to piss off his girlfriend. I still
fear that he might not give us a ride back, and we have no idea where
we are, or where our hotel even is.
We're standing at
the bar and some rap song comes on and Yancey just goes, "nigga, nigga,
nigga, nigga." The bar owner comes out and yells at him to not be
racist. Well at least some white people in the South don't hate black
people. Later on Yancey throws his beer bottle in a garbage can and
splashes some beer on a pregnant bartender. We are thrown out. It's
always been a dream of mine to get thrown out of a Southern karaoke bar
at 3:30am. Yancey is pissed off and I'm thinking he might fight a
bouncer but his girlfriend gets him outside. He would fit in perfectly with our friends back home.
back in the truck with Angel, her boyfriend, and some other dude. Yancey
is driving his truck with his girlfriend. The boyfriend heads back to
our hotel. Apparently, he is much more intoxicated than I thought. He is
not paying attention to Angels' directions very well. He turns into the
parking lot next to our parking lot and starts driving around in
circles. Angel tells him it's the next parking lot over. He doesn't say a
single word the whole time he is driving us back. A man in the drunken mute stage is driving us home. Great.
We are lucky that we made it this far, so we offer to get out
there but he decides to just drive right over the median. What a nice
guy! We get out, and retreat to the safety of our room. They want to
hang out with us again the next night but we may be going somewhere
else. We would receive drunken voice mails from Yancey weeks later.