Lazy Sunday CVI: Adventures

One irony of The Age of The Virus is that while every event and institution found itself shuttered, I got out and did way more than I would have in The Before Times.  The constant demands of The Before Times—the sheer tempo at which I forced myself to operate—also prevented me from getting out and doing the sorts of things that make life worth living.

Indeed, I was bitter about it for a time.  I spent most of my twenties working and hustling, sacrificing many of the social opportunities of those salad days in order to store up my acorns for the future.  Now in my mid-thirties, I’m beginning to enjoy some of the fruits of those sacrifices, though most of the acorns are locked up tightly in my HSA, 403(b) and IRAs.

That’s all to say that The Age of The Virus forced me to slow down a bit, and granted me the time to do some exploring.  I will hasten to add that the misery and death of The Virus was not a cost worth paying just to grant me some more free time; rather, I’m acknowledging the silver lining, and stating the reality of the situation.  It’s not an endorsement of The Virus to take advantage of some it’s few, more positive consequences.

All disclaimers aside, here are three posts for this Lazy Sunday, detailing some of my adventures over the past year:

  • Road Trip!” – I filed this post while heading to my second of five Universal Studio trips (which consumed a lot of acorns) since February 2020.  The primary focus of the post, however, was to detail a trip through the backroads of South Carolina, an off-the-beaten-path excursion from Columbia to Aiken that took me through Pelion and New Holland.  It was a beautiful drive; New Holland’s vast swaths of cattle pasture were particularly beautiful to see on a summer’s day.
  • Midweek SubscribeStar Exclusive: Sloshing through Lee State Park” – This post—a midweek exclusive for $5 and up SubscribeStar subscribers—detailed an adventure to Lee State Park, a 1935 Civilian Conservation Corps project that is still open to the public to this day, and just seven miles from my house.  My girl and I ended up sloshing through a flooded-out equestrian trail—on foot!—along with her two-year old German Shepherd.  It was great fun, and a memorable adventure.
  • Backroads Exploration: Una Adventure” – I own an aging, dented, dirty minivan—a vehicle I love dearly, even if I don’t always give it the TLC it deserves.  To keep its battery charged, I like to take it for short excursions, little jaunts around the backroads.  One recent Thursday evening I took a longer-than-planned trip to the tiny community of Una, South Carolina, just to see what’s there.  Turns out it’s not much, but it’s all about the journey, not the destination—right?

The weather is getting warmer and the days are longer.  It’s a great time to go out and enjoy some adventuring.  Let me know about yours in the comments!

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

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Backroads Exploration: Una Adventure

As I recently detailed in the post “Routine Maintenance,” I managed to get my old 2006 Dodge Caravan running again thanks to an $80 battery.  I finally hooked up the battery maintainer, too, so hopefully the old girl won’t drain down due to neglect.

After installing that battery, it reminded me of how fun driving a busted up minivan can be.  Readers might scoff at that notion, but that van and I share an intimate connection (well, at least I do with it—it can’t really think about who is driving it).  After fifteen years, I’ve learned that machine inside and out.  Sure, after driving my tiny Nissan it takes some adjustment (I still reach for the gear shifter in the wrong place occasionally, and briefly forget where the lights are), but it’s surprisingly nimble.

Aside from the maintainer, I’ve been taking the van for weekly drives to keep the battery up.  My girlfriend and I took it to Lee State Park a few weekends ago, loading our small bit of supplies and her faithful German Shepherd into the cavernous interior.  Since then, I’ve only done a few small jaunts with it, with the exception of last Thursday night.

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Lazy Sunday LXXI: Road Trips

Well, we’re headed back from Universal Studios after a fun-filled visit (I’m assuming as such; I’m actually writing this post before the trip, so it may very well have been a disaster, but I prefer to be optimistic).  It seemed like a good time to review some of my road trip posts.

Back in Fall 2019—in The Before Times, in The Long, Long Ago, before The Age of The Virus—I was on a festival kick.  Every small town has some obscure but beloved festival (here in Lamar it’s the Egg Scramble), usually dedicated to some local foodstuff or cultural group.  Most of my recent road-tripping has been on those kinds of excursions.

As such, this edition of Lazy Sunday will have a good bit of overlap with “Lazy Sunday XXXII: Festivals“—I mean, it is Lazy Sunday, after all.

  • SubscribeStar Saturday: Aiken Amblings” – This post is about the annual Aiken’s Makin’ crafts festival, which my hometown hosts every September.  It’s a huge draw, bringing tons of vendors and visitors to downtown Aiken’s parkways.  I have many fond childhood memories of running around at the festival, though it’s shifted its location (to its detriment, I think) and its spot in the calendar (because it’s earlier in September, it’s hotter).  It’s still a great deal of fun, and I always manage to find some fun gifts for my train-loving nephew.
  • SubscribeStar Saturday: Yemassee Shrimp Festival 2019” – Since I was a young boy, I’ve been riding through Yemassee and past Old Sheldon Church on my way to Fripp Island, which is out past Beaufort, South Carolina.  Yemassee is an old railroad town that straddles the line between Hampton and Beaufort Counties.  The Shrimp Festival is fun, sweltering festival with—you guessed it—lots of friend shrimp (and fried everything, for that matter).  I highly recommend making a day of it for reasons stated in the full post.
  • Road Trip!” – This post is about heading down to Orlando (a nice bookend to today’s post, while I’m heading back) and some of my meager backroad explorations around rural South Carolina.  There are a lot of hidden gems if you’re willing to get off the Interstates and look around.

That’s it!  I should probably stop typing while driving (just kidding, just kidding).  This return marks the beginning of the end of summer vacation—the tempo of back-to-school preparation will just pick up from here.

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Pizza Paving Potholes

I love pizza and politics, and writing about both runs in the family.  So while looking for South Carolina’s primary election results this morning at thestate.com, I was intrigued to find the following headline:  “Tired of potholes? Domino’s Pizza helps pay for road repair. How to nominate Columbia.”

The State‘s article links to Domino’s Pizza’s Paving for Pizza program (how’s that alliteration?).  Here’s the gist of it:  nominate your town using your zip code, and Domino’s might pitch in some dough (tee hee) to fill its potholes.  They’ve already done it in several cities around the United States, from California to Texas to Delaware.

Every South Carolinian knows that one of our major issues is the poor state of our roads.  Indeed, last year the legislature passed a gas tax hike, the first phase of which kicked in at the beginning of 2018.  That tax will raise the tax by $0.02/gallon each year for six years, ultimately topping out at $0.12/gallon by 2023.

It also introduced increased fees for registering vehicles from out-of-state, and raised registration fees for hybrid and electric vehicles (which put more miles on roads using fewer gallons of gas, meaning hybrid and electric owners pay less in gas taxes—ergo, the State wants to get their cut from those drivers, too).

(Remember, South Carolina drivers, you can save your receipts from the gas pump starting this year—2018—and deduct what you paid in gas taxes from your SC income tax when you file for FY2018.  It has to be gas purchased in South Carolina—of course—and the receipt has to show the number of gallons purchased.  Hold on to those bad boys!)

So, what does this have to do with pizza?  Domino’s—like many companies in South Carolina and throughout the nation—needs good roads to deliver its gooey pies safely and efficiently.  Bad roads, littered with potholes, negatively impact Domino’s business, incurring expensive tire replacement and vehicle repair bills (and preventing your mushroom-and-pepperoni pizza from arriving in thirty minutes or less).

As such, Domino’s has a vested interest in seeing that roads are repaired.  Rather than lobbying for more roads funding or pushing for a gas tax, though, Domino’s decided to act directly in its economic interest—that is, to have better roads—and has committed to helping communities fill their potholes.

This kind of public-private partnership is innovative (and good marketing—I’m dedicating an entire wall-o-text to Domino’s Pizza!), and it demonstrates that free-market principles can work to the benefit of all parties.  Domino’s and its drivers get safer roads; residents of a “Paving for Pizza” town also enjoy safer roads; State and local governments save on astronomically expensive road repairs (I once heard a Florence County, SC Councilman say that it costs $1 million to repave one mile of road—yikes!); and taxes on gas or property don’t have to increase, which hurts everyone.

Kudos to Domino’s for taking a proactive approach to solving a public problem.