Last night, I arrived in Ozark, Alabama, at 6:30 PM - meeting the Dawsons at the local Sonic Drive In.
The drive from Monroe to Fort Rucker was the shortest, but probably the most "painful". I found out the hard way that Alabama public toilets (including those found at Wendy's in Selma) aren't ever supposed to be cleaned.
Approaching Uniontown, Alabama on State road 80, I waited for 1/2 hour at the worst semi truck wreck I've EVER seen. I was lucky, some people had waited over 3 hours for the wreckage to be cleared.
Also, as you enter Montgomery, exit 168 off of I-65 is closed - so in order to get back on the Troy Highway, I had to take a 20 minute detour past 2 more closed exits and then take the "scenic" route through residential Montgomery.
I also had the pleasure of having 3 Indian (think Apu from the Simpsons, not Geronimo) gas station cashiers refuse accept payment with a credit card for a few bottles of water, unless I purchased at least $5 worth of merchandise.
I was glad to finally meet up with Josh and Chanelle Dawson, and later with the Tarbets and Shepards. It's funny to be around all these guys now that they have kids toddling around. We enjoyed some fireworks on post and talked as we walked back home (last night it was the Dawsons' home as they were kind enough to put me up for the night).
I'm still looking around for the Andreasons...
Anyways, I am quickly remembering what it's like to be in the South - there are bugs everywhere, and the humidity is palpable. Last night's 4th of July festivities were marked by a color guard dressed in Civil War period Confederate uniforms.
Also, most of the drive had the same scenery - vast expanses of tall trees, with a narrow swath through them for the roads. It doesn't feel like "home", but it doesn't feel as foreign as the first time either.
Hope you had a great 4th of July!