People ask us, how do you decide where to go on your road trip? It ought to be a combination of factors, allure of location, silliness of road side attractions, potential of really good food. But the reality is that both last year's trip and this year's were decided because of a single event. In the former's case, it was the Kewanee, Illinois annual Hog Fest, or as we have always ever thus thought of it, HOG FEST! The possibility of attending such an event was decisive; the Midwest would be ours.

This year, it was equally simple; the South Carolina State Barbeque Championships. After all, it's not just barbeque, which would be frankly good enough, it's the state championship! What more could we ask for? (Well, a name like HOG FEST! perhaps, but one can't have everything.)

And that would have been enough. Truly. After all, there were other things along our route, as you shall read, things like the salt and pepper shaker museum, and even the Pig Hall of Fame (you may be sensing a certain pull towards pork on our part). But then something we could never even dream of happened. We were asked to be judges, tonight, this very night, at part of the event in question (officially entitled the Beach Boogie and Barbeque Festival). Which part? At the "Anything BUT Pork" competition -- you can imagine our mixed emotions. Homemade biscuits, cobbler, mac and cheese, anything that doesn't squeal will be offered up to our grateful and discerning palates, and we, we will be their judge and jury. We are, to put it in a word, stoked.

But before we get there, we will have spent a day roaming Savannah, something we've both wanted to do since reading Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil, which we re-read in anticipation of this trip. That gracious city, and Atlanta, have each pointed in the direction of what may be our theme for this year, resilience and endurance.

More significantly, we will have paid our respects to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the morning of the day a black man will be accepting the nomination for the Democratic candidate for President of the United States. Nearly a year ago, we sat with a couple hundred other people next to a lake in Iowa and watched an unlikely candidate give a stump speech full of passion and vision. And we thought "Well, good luck to you." What a difference a year makes. And what things do happen to us during Plucky Survivors See America.

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