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On The Road Again: Alabama


I’ve been hanging out on the Redneck Riviera this week – lovin’ the beach.

One of the benefits of the day job is I get to travel to different states and update our state associations on the latest happenings in Washington. I find it refreshing to get out of DC as often as humanly possible to talk to real people. Granted the conversations are still about politics. Just once it would be nice to spend a week outside DC and never have anyone mention Presidential campaigns, Congress or politics in general.

When you live in DC for longer than a week, you discover two universal truths. First, every conversation you have with a stranger involves the following three questions:

  • Where are you from? (nobody is from DC)
  • Where do you work?
  • What do you do?

If the answers to those questions don’t indicate that the two of you can do anything for each other professionally, the conversation usually ends there.

The other universal truth is that when you leave DC, if you tell anybody that’s where you live, it will immediately begin a conversation about politics. When I’m not traveling for work, I’ve begun to tell strangers that I live in West Virginia and study insect feces for a living. At least I can occasionally have a conversation about something other than the failings of our elected officials.

So anyway, I’ve never been to the Pensacola/Alabama region, and it is actually quite nice. It actually reminds me of my trip to Turks and Caicos. The geography (at least near the beach) is fairly similar. Turks & Caicos didn’t have as many trees, and the houses a half mile inland were not as nice, but the overall feel is very similar.

I could do without the humidity. It was quite muggy the last couple of days, but that’s Florida in summer. You can’t build on swampland and not have humidity. I’ve come to accept that about DC as well.

The two downsides (which I am always looking for in every situation) were the age of the hotel (it was built in the late 70s or early 80s) and my breakfast this morning. The trouble with a hotel knocking on 30, is the lack of modern conveniences – especially if they have not done renovations to the infrastructure. For instance, the hotel had beautiful views of the Gulf, but it had no Internet at all (forget wi-fi, I would have taken a cable) in the rooms. There was free wi-fi in the lobby, but I’d rather not hang out in the lobby. It also had no OnDemand movies, no decent cable, and little in the way of amenities. They really need to do some work.

Breakfast this morning was sort of an oddity. I would not think it was possible to get bad orange juice in Florida. I don’t know why I would assume that, but I did. Village Inn proved me wrong. I had a small drink of the worst orange juice I’ve ever had. I would have asked them to replace it, but I always fear doing that. I assume they’ll either taint it or they’ll give me another glass just as bad. Fool me once, and all…

In the words of the immortal Franz Zedlacher:

The meal was great, and would have recieved [sic] a 10 if the roll was warm.



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Written by Michael Turk