I had planned on going to Tulsa over the three-day Labor Day holiday. Then my buddy Carl called up with a suggestion. How about you come up the weekend before for Jana's 50th birthday party....and you bring 35 lbs of shrimp with you when you come? I must admit...I do love a challenge.
I put the gears in motion and took Friday and Monday as vacation days. I scoped out my coolers: a 48-quart and a 24-quart cooler. That should be plenty....right?
I made plans to stay with Carl's buddy Big John on Thursday night. Big John is a food guy and knows his stuff. He made me one of the best steak's I've ever eaten. Also a salad made from grilled charred lettuce. It was awesome. What a great cook and host he is. Big John then took me by the seafood stores, less than 2 miles from his house. He gave me the wise advise to go to more than one to compare prices.
I woke up the next morning and hit a little shore diner that I'd been to before awaiting the shop openings at 8am. After an ample breakfast, I headed to the shrimp stores. The one that Carl told me about didn't appear to be open at 7:45am but the one across the street was. I went inside and the workers were loading the bins with ice and setting up signs. They asked if I was ready to order. No, not just yet. I went back across the street to the desired venue. The workers were still outside smoking and didn't go inside until the stroke of 8am. I went inside and nothing was ready. I asked the lady behind the counter about their tilapia and she told me they had only frozen, and pointed to the counter. I wasn't feeling the love. Plus, it was hot in there...with fresh seafood? Ewww. I went back across the street and called Carl. We figured out what we wanted and it all fit in one cooler. The old Asian man behind the counter taking the money asked where I was headed. I said, "Oklahoma". He yelled out, "Put in lots of ice. He go LONG way!" The little guy carried the cooler down to my car and I placed it on trash bags in the back seat.
I hit the road about 9am, after rush hour. I started about a half hour south of downtown Houston. So on my way I saw Sam Houston Tollroad two times and I-610 two times. I felt like I was driving in circles. It took about an hour to drive out of the traffic. I really could've used a nap, but didn't dare stop in the 100+ degree heat. I hit Dallas at a good time and made it to Oklahoma in good time....for me. By the time I got to Okmulgee, OK one of the plastic bags was poking through, so I added another bag of ice.
That night, Carl and I delivered the 35 lbs of shrimp to Mark and Jana. 520 miles and the shrimp is still iced down. The 50th birthday party would be the next night.