Bed bugs abandoned. Monarchs and William and Mary (what was their mascot?) fading in the rear view mirror. The sun setting on UVA (much like the NCAA tournament did…sorry, I couldn’t resist the trash talking). Roaring down the highway with the cool wind in my hair we arrive in Blacksburg, VA for my first visit to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Aka, Virginia Tech.
Joshua Hayden and I were a few hours behind the schedule we thought we’d be on so we didn’t roll in to the Comfort Inn until about 10 pm. That’s pretty good since it was 3 hours earlier than the place we ended up staying the night before. Also, our delay worked out for the best. Mitch Ruloff was able to join us for a 10:45 am breakfast the next morning.
Coming off a great referral to try Gillie’s for breakfast I walked into the restaurant and was greeted by bleary eyed Spenser Thompson and Mitch Ruloff. I got them out of bed for this way before their alarms went off. As the giant buttermilk pancakes, massive mounds of eggs, potatoes, and more were served I hunkered down into my coffee cup and traded stories about football games, tailgating, late night (or early morning) adventures, and heard about life at Tech.
Mitch and I had only met on Christmas Eve in passing so it was great to learn some of his story. I really enjoyed hearing about football games at Tech since it was a big part of my life at Michigan State, the work he was doing in statistics, and that he was very happy with life in Blacksburg.
Spenser and I had the chance to get to know each other for 5-6 months before he headed off to college so it was great to hear Blacksburg was a great fit for him. I was encouraged to learn about his recovery from Mono and that he was working hard. I was the villain to “Hard Work” the hero my freshman year at MSU.
After a hardy breakfast we walked through campus a bit. Since I hadn’t been on Tech’s campus they showed me the war memorial, drill field, and pointed out where the VT shooting had occurred a few years earlier. It was hard to believe that happened in such a beautiful place. It was fun to learn that the “civilians” and cadets have a massive snowball fight on the drill field. Students would pour out of dorms and take on the army, navy, marines, and air force with balls frozen water. Snow.
I listened as they traded youth group stories and took the opportunity to live in the past for a few minutes. After a few pictures we parted ways and I told them I thought next year we might be able to hit that nice dinner restaurant for Mitch’s senior year. Not much better to look forward to in college than a really nice meal that’s free…even one that is a year away!
A short time later I was picking up Josh at the hotel and heading out of town. Our road trip was winding down and ended 868 miles later in the same place it started. One might think College World Tour 2012 is over but I’m going to hang with my friends at GMU and NOVA this week and next so they know McLean Baptist Church loves them. I’ll hope you join me for one more round of updates in the coming weeks.
Go Hookies! Go Cavaliers! Go Monarchs! Go W&M (what is their mascot?)!