PART FOUR: The following morning, knowing we had two chances of finding something to eat in Fort Compton, slim and fat, we decided to drive to Estebrook, fill the cars, and eat breakfast.  

We drive.We drive some more. We keep driving.There is nowhere to stop and get gas, or eat. There is nowhere to stop.  

Our truck driver calls and says, “Gas, now, or I’m walking.” Isn’t that just great. There is still nowhere to stop.

Estebrook, which is not 50 miles from Fort Compton but more like 80 miles, looms ahead. There is a Chevron on the right which doesn’t look open, and an Exxon on the left. We cross over the highway and pull into the Exxon.  

While we wait for the truck to catch up, I go inside and ask the lady how far it is to Estebrook proper.She taps her fingernail on the counter and says, “This IS Estebrook.” Excelllennnt.How far is it to someplace where we can sit down and have breakfast?“Altona,” she says. “80 miles up the road.” Excelllennnt.  

The truck arrives, and the driver looks at me and says one word. “Diesel.” Ohhhh, right. The counter lady points back across the highway and says, “Oh, she should be open by now, if she’s not the pumps are 24 hours if you’re using a credit card.” There is life in all of us.  

This is Sunday and we’ve already determined that restaurants are hard to come by in this part of the country. We should have stopped at the first restaurant we passed, but they didn’t serve breakfast. We figure we could find a different restaurant, one that serves breakfast.

We drive around for awhile, and I feel very bad that I keep dragging the Budget truck down dirt roads at the back end of one horse towns. In the end, we’re back at the first restaurant, and now the church crowd has begun to show up in their nice clothes, and genial familiarity.

The food is good. I haven’t had proper chicken fried steak in ages, and all the vegetables are fresh. I’d say they may have been picked within the last week. The tea is sweet and so is our waitress, and we’re encouraged to linger. But we can see the end of the road from here and are somewhat eager to get back on the highway for that last dash to the finish.,

Soon we’re coming into town, and we scream up the highway avoiding all the Sunday drivers, arriving at our destination late in the afternoon. It’s good to be someplace where there’s a little space for all of us. We’re not squeezed into a motel room with iffy AC, interesting water and a view of the back of a gas station.

We visit the local Harley dealership (Of course we do.) where they’re having a Memorial Day celebration. At this point I think my t-shirt souvenir collection is complete. But there’s one more stop in my future.

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