Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Louisiana Road Trip {Part 1}

*I wrote this post yesterday on my iPad while we drove to Louisiana to Tennessee and my iPad failed to post it so I'm picking up the slack on this fine Tuesday morning** 

The greatest thing about vacation is when you lose track of what day it is. Then when you wake up on a Monday morning you aren't nearly pissed off as you normally would be about going to work. That's exactly how I felt this morning when I woke up this morning. First I was mad that my alarm was going off. Then I unconsciously questioned what day it was. I felt much better knowing it was Monday and I was still on vacation. 

It's been a slightly eventful last couple days and I've got a lot to talk about! Although I will promise that it won't be nearly as much as what was talked about in the two day class we attended. Holy moly PowerPoint presentation and information overload! 

So let's rewind to last Thursday... April 10th to be exact. 

Michael got home from work in the morning. Funny {not really} he was working down south in Kentucky and drove home only to drive all the way back down south that night. I worked a full day and had our stuff all packed and ready to go. We had to take a slight detour to drop our fur babes off at my Ma's. Aka Mammaw and Pappaw.  Then the journey officially began. We had a 1200+ mile road trip ahead of us. No stopping except for gas. Taking turns sleeping. And pounding the caffeine. Lets be honest here.... Michael travels for a living so I had no doubt he couldn't handle all that driving. Me on the other hand? Not so much. But hey, I'll sure as hell give it a try! 

Only 3 hours into driving, it was 8pmand we have both been up since 6am. Who was gonna fight for sleep first?! Me, duh. Although I wasn't necessarily ready for bed at 8. I felt like a child that gets put down for a nap and the parent says "you'll lay there until you fall asleep". 

Six hours later, Michael woke me up at a truck stop in Kentucky. He was ready to switch. I wasn't. But I knew I had to take one for the team. He beat off the redneck lady begging for money and hopped back in the car. There's some weirdos out there! Mental note taken: Don't stop for gas while the hubs is sleeping. 

After 3 short hours of driving, I was ready to go back to bed. Michael said okay just a little bit longer. An hour later I said "how about that switch?" No response. An another hour later "Babe, my eyes are getting pretty heavy..." No response. By this time my Mom and BF {best friend not boyfriend} were awake back home so I talked to them a little bit and remained a good wife. 

Around 6am {which was really 7am but we changed time zones and lost an hour} Michael was finally awake and we agreed to stop for breakfast. I was hesitant to go in public looking the way I did but then I remembered people go into walmart everyday looking just as bad, if not worse. {seriously those walmart captured pictures are disgustingly hilarious} To make matters worse, we needed to brush our teeth. So we did that in the parking lot before we walked in. If anyone watched us, they probably thought we were a redneck piece of work. Okay so maybe we are. In all reality, I would MUCH rather brush my teeth outside than in a public bathroom any day. 100%! 

Clean mouth, full bellies, coffee {him}, and a small amount of sleep later... We were on the road again. Only 6 more hours to go! The hubs was impressed with my length of driving through the night and the fact that i shaved somr time off Garmin so he let me go back to bed. :) Couldn't pass that up! 
Once we got to LA we went to Sonic to get some ice cream. I've never been to Sonic. It was okay. I was more enthused that the servers wore roller skates.

We arrived in Louisiana a little earlier than anticipated Friday afternoon. I contacted our hotel to request our room be ready early. At this point I would give my left boob for a shower. But apparently that was too much to ask. I don't understand people that work in customer service and don't do anything to satisfy the paying customer. I wasnt accepting what they had to offer. How could a house keeper not go clean such and such designated rooms for a customer that paid extra for a suite and is there 2 hours prior to check in?? Is it really that complicated. I even offered to downgrade and take a basic room. I just wanted a shower. After much bickering, the manager offered us a "handicap" suite that was ready. Okay, great. We got the keys and our bags and headed to the room. A room that was being remodeled!!?? Dust, ladders and sheets covering all of the furniture. So I went back to the front desk. Apparently they didn't know about the remodel. Until the maintenance guy came walking up behind me. Poor management and communication there. So now we were promised a room within an hour. They took our bags in the back room so we didn't have to carry them back to our car. By now we have met up with two fellow QDMA board members. We went to the bar. Again, I was a bit unhappy about going in public but I was all about a chill pill {cocktail}. 

2:25 rolls around and we haven't recieved a phone call from the hotel telling us our room was ready. We have a registration and dinner we have to be to by 4:30. I'm not a fan of being rushed and/or late. So now a new manager is working the front desk and she's ungodly rude. I won't even begin to repeat or explain the things that I said. Needless to say, they magically had our room ready two seconds after they just told me it wouldn't be ready for another half hour at the least. Ahhh... Shower time. Then beer and sunshine on the patio.

Friday evening we headed to the registration and dinner for the QDMA Deer Steward course at Willie's Duck Diner. Excuse me while I complain... I'm grateful for the opportunity to go to this course and have certain amenities included... However I don't like when I'm giving a specific prepared meal and expected to like it. I admit, Im a very picky eater. Seafood and duck gumbo, seafood jambalaya, and red beans over white rice. No thank you! So it was a couple bites of not so tasty food followed by liquid dinner. {nothing against the restaurant, it was just not something I would have picked off the menu if it were my choice}. 

Saturday morning we got up bright and early to begin our class. I felt like I didnt catch up on sleep at all. Class was from 8am until 7pm. It was a really long day. Especially considering it was extremely freezing in the conference room. I was literally shaking because I was so cold. Lunch time rolled around and again, they provided plated food of something I wouldn't eat. So Michael went to get me some chicken tenders. Thank goodness. I soaked up the 80° and sunshine on lunch break. We finished up class around 6:30pm and dinner was served. Luckily, it wasn't a plated meal. However, it wasn't something I would eat. Again. Catfish to be exact. Barf. Thankfully, they had salad and veggies as well so I was able to finally eat something. {I realize I'm full of complaints. Sorry I'm not sorry} One of the guys sitting next to me pointed out to the director that I wasn't enjoying their meals, so they offered to get me something else for day two. I mean I wasn't going to speak up about it but I also wasn't going to turn down their offer! Saturday night we had a couple drinks after class, skipped the hot tub and headed straight for some rest! {Shockingly, I didn't take one single picture on Saturday}

Sunday morning we were at it again bright and early! It was a little more exciting knowing it was the last day of sitting in class all day. I haven't done that since college in 2011 and let me tell ya, I don't miss it! Oh and it was also exciting that I knew I would have food that I would like. ;) 

Sunday afternoon we took our tests. 80 questions on the material we learned. Which was a brain overload of valuable information in such a short period of time. Luckily, my anxiety level was reduced when they told us we could take our tests in teams. Phew! I felt a little less pressured to pass considering I know my husband is borderline genius when it comes to this stuff. So we took our tests as we drank beer they provided. Which was pretty awesome! Why didn't our college professors do that?! Ha! 

After dinner we were all brought back in the room to receive our test results and awards. Price less moment: 

"Michael and Julie Joy. Now folks, who do y'all think got the higher score?!" 

Me: "It better be me!" 

"The wife wins!" {By 1 point FYI}

Then we received our awards. 
Joe Hamilton - Founder of QDMA in 1988 
The QDMA Thumb Branch along with the Doctors, Biologist, Forester, QDMA Founder, & QDMA CEO

Now that was pretty cool! But wait, it gets better! As we reviewed the questions as a class, Michael noticed he got marked one wrong that was actually correct. So really, we scored the same {which makes since considering we took it together}. But Michael didn't point it out. He let me look good. What a man! Haha. 

After class we visited with other classmates and the teachers. Most attendees were from the southern states and were literally amazed that we live in Michigan. We were pretty amazed at some of the lifestyles and stories from the southern folks too. There was one other gal in the class too! 

Overall the course was interesting for the most part. Although I will admit that it was hard to watch that many PowerPoint presentations (1070 slides to be exact) and not get slightly bored at times. The biologists and doctors that taught the clad were extremely knowledgeable and intelligent. It was quite amazing actually. 

Part two of our venture to the Duck Dynasty Warehouse and Nashville to be continued...


  1. There's no way I would have been able to sit and listen that long! It stinks you had such a difficult time with the hotel. Customer service is a must for me!

  2. I cant even imagine being in a car for that amount of time - you both are troopers!! Congrats on passing!!! Hope the drive back is a little better for you!

  3. Loving the pictures!!! But catfish?! No thank you!! Looking forward to part 2 :)

  4. Fun!! I can't believe you did the whole drive in one go lady - you are troopers!! I get antsy after like 2 hours haha!
    Can't wait to read part 2 :))