CHAPTER FOUR - Sunday Afternoon with Jackson

We woke up a few hours later, heads ringing and mouths feeling like cotton balls. We showered up, and began traveling up Route 55 towards Jackson. The goal was to stop briefly in Jackson, then head to Memphis, TN for the evening, where we would watch the last 2 NFL playoff games before the Superbowl. But, because of our late night, we were again off schedule. It would take a miracle to get us to Memphis, so we decided that Jackson, Mississippi would be the place to spend our late afternoon, and night.

We all decided to take turns driving the RV back to Pennsylvania, and JC had legs of the trip mapped out and assigned. He is a bit of gadget freak. Between his laptop, Microsoft Streets and Trips, and the GPS he had placed on the roof of the RV, JC had the whole route planned, or so he thought. Too bad that the trip would constantly fall off course, and today was no exception. But, in a few hours, we arrived in Jackson, and decided to hit the local Hooters for some beer, wings, and football. T-Mo dropped us off, and took the RV to a secure location, a nearby hotel parking lot.

After the first football game, and many pitchers of beer, the Pennsylvania boys began outliving their welcome in Jackson. The Philadelphia Eagles were playing The Carolina Panthers in the NFC Championship game, and the 6 of us were die-hard Eagles fans. We were all wearing our Green and Black jerseys, and by kickoff, were half in the bag. Honestly, I don't remember much of the game, and I'm kind of glad I don't. The Eagles suffered a devastating loss that day, and many of the southerners didn't care too much about Philly's team. We were outnumbered that night, as most of the restaurant and bar was cheering on the Panthers. That just made the 6 of us louder and more obnoxious. By the end of the game, we were three sheets to the wind, and not in the greatest of spirits. Luckily, we got out of Hooters before we were kicked out, which was inevitable.

Stumbling back to where Tony had parked the RV, we stopped at a convenience store for more beer. Getting to the convenience store was a bit tricky though, for the path from Hooters to the Quik-E-Mart and then the Hotel resembled an obstacle course similar to the show “Fear Factor”. It included an eight foot retaining wall and a hidden mud bog. We stood at the cliff, and proceeded to jump off, down to the ground below, and on to the store. Somehow, everyone but me had no problems with the jump. I, however, landed in the massive pile of Mississippi mud. Although I landed on my feet, I sank almost a foot into the quicksand. The mud splashed all over me, and by the time I walked forward I was covered in Mississippi's finest. I was so coated, I could not walk into the store to purchase beer, and the others had to do it instead.

We proceeded to head to the RV, and on our way a few southern teens that had been having a party in one of the rooms at the hotel started yelling at us. We were still wearing our jerseys, and they quickly pointed out the Eagle's loss. We sarcastically thanked them for the update, and told them that we hadn’t seen the game (which, thanks to all the beer and more importantly the southern belles working at Hooters, was almost the truth). As we kept walking, the boys took an interest to JC; almost to the point that we thought there would be a tussle. JC reminded himself that there was plenty of cold beer in the RV that needed his attention, and ignored the scamps. Finally, we got back to the RV, had some beverages, and proceeded to pass out. T-Mo had rented a room at the hotel, so he decided to sleep in the room for the evening, and forego the potential snoring in the RV.

Now I'm a deep sleeper, a nuclear bomb could go off in my ear and I wouldn't wake up. Others in the crew aren't as lucky, and when our little teenager ‘friends’ from the hotel decided to pound on the outside the RV while we slept, some of our fateful six woke up.

JC was the first out of the door of the RV, Kostival was right behind him. (Side note: the RV is a tall vehicle, so it needs a set of steps to get in and out of. These steps are mechanical, and retract when the door is closed. When you open the door, the steps open back up.) JC had thrown the door open and jumped to the ground. Kostival was right behind him, little did he know that the steps take a few seconds to fold open. As he ran out, the steps were not ready for him. Screaming "BATON ROUGE!!!” our friend Kostival took a nasty tumble, rolling his ankle, and causing severe pain. He lay there, on the ground unable to defend against our attackers.

What are the rest of the crew to do? Well, that night, cooler heads prevailed and after snickering a bit at our haphazard friend, we proceed to make peace with the teeny bopper crew. They were befuddled by our technology (laptops, mp3 players, etc.), and were soon touring the RV with JC and crew. After a while, the youngsters left, and we all settled in for much needed slumber.

The slumber, however, was ended abruptly when a police officer knocked on the RV in the early hours of the morning. We were informed that we "couldn't park our RV here", which made little sense because we rented a room at the hotel and the front desk clerk had shown us where to park. Well, there were two small hotels that shared the parking lot that we were staying in. We were parked a few feet over an imaginary line that separated the two hotel's parking lots, and we would need to move the RV. Mere technicalities! We moved the RV a few feet, and Jackson's finest left.