Day 20 – Part 2 – Beyond the Gate

About 2:30 this afternoon we decided that it was time to get something to eat and we had pretty much exhausted the on-base eating opportunities so it was time to escape and see what’s out there, outside the gate. We walked out of the hotel into cool air, light breeze, and a beautiful cloudless sky.

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We went looking for an exit. Turns out there are quite a few of them, unlike the JBAB base in Washington D.C. That makes it easy to leave but knowing which gate to use for an exit would take some practice to learn where they are in respect to where you want to go. Since we didn’t know where we wanted to go it really didn’t matter which exit we took. So, we took the second one we found. The first one we tried ended at a fence and looked like it hadn’t been used for many years.

The second exit was on Sisisky Blvd, a street with which we are familiar because we’ve crossed it many times on trips to the commissary, the PX, and the gas station. We didn’t actually pick it because we knew it would get us off base. It just turned out that we saw the gate and noticed it was, gee, Sisisky Blvd.

Once out the gate, which is easy to do because no one has to stop on the way out. All the ID checking happens on the way in. There’s a stop light just outside the fenced area on Highway 36. Sisisky Blvd actually becomes Highway 144 on the other side of Highway 36 if you go straight through the light.

Not know which way to go, Diane stayed in the middle lane to go straight through then changed her mind at the last second and forced her way into the left turn lane. That was easy to do because there were any other cars making a left turn.

We drove a little ways while I got Maps up and running on my phone to see what I could find in the way of slow food instead of fast food. You know, a nice place to have a sit down meal on a Sunday afternoon.

When I got Maps up I discovered that all the fairly close places to eat were behind us. We should have turned right. So, the logical thing to do was turn around in the middle of a major highway, right? Well, Diane went to a light to do it. It was all legal and everything. Honest.

Once we got turned around all the normal food places started appearing: McDonalds, Papa John’s Pizza, Waffle House, and places like that. But, like I said, we were more interested in something that more closely resembled a restaurant. With a hostess, and waitresses.

Diane spied a Ruby Tuesday to her left as we buzzed along Highway 36 so I looked it up. Looked like good food so she started looking for a place to turn around. She always finds that place, but the legality of some of the places she uses to turn around are questionable. This one wasn’t. It was perfectly legal. And safe.

Now we’re going the other way on Highway 36, back toward Fort Lee and we’re having a conversation that made me think Ruby Tuesday’s was between the opposing lanes of the semi-freeway we were on. Thus, since Diane had seen it on her left the first time, logic in my head said it would be on the left, again. So that’s where I was looking when she made a right turn into what she thought may be a back way into Ruby’s that was on our right. Very confusing, right? You should have been there.

After driving up Cousins Avenue about half a mile, about where it make a right turn toward I-295, she figured it wasn’t a back way into Ruby Tuesday’s. This U-turn was illegal. Just had to say it. But she made it safely and only had to accelerate just a little more than normal to stay ahead of the car that appear magically behind us.

At the light she turned right and spied the opening into the parking are for Ruby’s just past the local Pizza Hut. We made it.

Upon entry, we were greeted by Samantha, a very bubbly young lady with a very distinctive cowgirl drawl, and she led us to a booth, got us seated, explained all the rules, then brought us tea for Diane, raspberry lemonade for me. A quick look at the menu was all I needed to determine what I was going to eat, and Diane did the same. She ordered a New York steak, baked potato, and salad bar. The have a really good salad bar just inside the door so it was an obvious choice no matter what else we ordered. Diane’s came with the salad bar. I ordered the triple shrimp place. They called it a trio-something, but it was just three kinds of shrimp in three small square bowls. One had two skewers with 3 shrimp each on a bed of linguine, one had 4 large deep-fried fantail shrimp, and the other had about 13 small battered and deep-fried shrimp in some sort of creamy pink sauce all layered on shredded lettuce.

Here’s what we got …

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The steak doesn’t look very big, but it was a big knife.

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I would have taken a photo of the salad bar but figured everyone’s seen those things. They’re all over the place. Diane sent me first because she said I usually take so long to figure out what I want so, to throw her off a bit, I did a speed run through the line and was in seconds. I was like The Flash going through the line with shredded lettuce, egg bits, pieces of beets, and carrots flying all over the place, and came back with a small plate adorned with a professional looking salad. It was awesome because I was wearing light-colored slacks and a nice shirt and didn’t get anything on me.

Halfway through the salad, Caleb arrived with our main courses. I knew it was Caleb because that’s what Samantha called him. I’m alert that way. Sometimes.

It all looked really, really good so we just dove right in and got to work. All of my shrimp were awesome and Diane said her steak was exactly what she was hoping for. Perfectly cooked, tasted great, and very, very tender. She didn’t even have to use ketchup or anything.

She ate the entire steak, all by herself. She never does that. There’s always a little bit left for me. But not this time. So all I got was a bunch of shrimp and I was looking forward to at least a couple of bits of steak. She offered me a bite about halfway through the meal, but I was determined to finish all those shrimp and the linguine, which I did. When I was done I discovered that it was a good thing Diane ate all her steak because I couldn’t eat another bite of anything. Really.

When we were done we bid Samantha adieu and headed back for the base. Upon entering our room I plopped down on the sofa bed, burped, and may have even farted a little, then texted Cedric to see how his day went. He hadn’t contacted us because he’s been working on qualifications to perform his assigned jobs while on duty and that’s important.

Tomorrow he has duty so we made arrangements to hook up after he gets out of class Tuesday afternoon. I bribed him with food and he was all for that.

Since tomorrow will be another free day for us we may venture off base for a new adventure so I’ll have something to tell you at the end of the day. Need to take some new photos, too. It’s always nice to have photos.

The weather today was cool (65) but bright and sunny. Last night, however, and all day yesterday, the rain hammered us mercilessly. By Oregon standards it wasn’t bad at all, but apparently the ground is pretty saturated from previous rain storms so today there was quite a lot of standing water. It was most evident at the on-base golf course we ventured through on our search for a way off the base. Most of the sand traps were full of water. It would have been fun to play, but I didn’t bring my clubs.

Now it’s late, once again, and I must terminate.

G’nite.

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