Travel Tuesday: I Am Now a Buc-ee’s Believer

Last year, my wife and I took a business trip to Dallas. Along the way, we passed a couple of gas stations that bore a distinctive and adorable beaver mascot and bright yellow background on their signage. For a moment, I thought perhaps the beaver was named “Katy,” although that just happened to be the city we were passing through (yes, I really am that dumb). Anyway, I soon discovered that these travel stops were known as Buc-ee’s — and while they originated in Texas, they’d since become a favorite wherever they opened. Well, while we managed to miss them on that Dallas trip, we finally had a chance to stop at a Buc-ee’s for myself… and I can definitely see what all the hype is about!

While driving back from Florida to Missouri, the Buc-ee’s billboards ran for miles. I believe the first one we saw advised of a location 130 miles ahead, with us passing dozens more before the proper exit. As if the yellow text and beaver head weren’t enough, these signs also had fun and pun-y taglines, with my favorite being “You have to pee it to believe it.” Alas, the first Georgia location we passed didn’t fit into our gas stop timing. But, thankfully, the Buc-ee’s in Calhoun, Georgia made for a perfect stop.

As it turns out, this particular location only opened a few months ago. Sure enough, the place looked brand new even as we approached. The first thing that caught my eye was that there were not one but two massive islands of gas pumps, including specialty gas types such as ethanol-free. What’s more, according to the Nexit app (review of that beauty of an application coming soon, by the way), this Buc-ee’s had the cheapest gas in the area.

After filling up, it was time to check out the main event. Entering the Buc-ee’s building, it felt more like I was stepping into a grocery store than a convenience store. As soon as we made our way through the vestibule and into the main area, we were welcomed by a cashier. Straight ahead were the highly advertised restrooms, which are of course a road trip must. As promised, I did indeed need to “pee it” to believe it! These restrooms were not only clean but gigantic. They also featured wall partitions between urinals (as well as hand sanitizer next to each one), stall doors that looked more like regular doors, and so many handwashing stations that the CDC would weep with happiness.

With that out of the way, we went to explore the rest of the shop. The first order of business was to determine what the delightful scent we kept smelling was from. The answer? Cinnamon sugar roasted nuts. Yep. If that weren’t enough, these were being sold alongside a fudge shop and barbeque sandwich stand. The Texas roots were definitely showing at this point.

Further back in the shop, Buc-ee’s has plenty of branded and miscellaneous merchandise. Personally, as someone in the market for a new pair of pajama pants, I was drawn to the Christmas-themed Buc-ee’s sweatpants and made sure to pick up a pair. We also considered buying the amazingly cute beaver neck pillow, but it was actually intended for children. Meanwhile, the other side of the shop looked more like a regular convenience store, although with a wider than normal selection.

Before you ask, no, we did not try the famed Beaver Nuggets on this particular trip. However, we did pick up a small sample of fudge alongside a brisket sandwich. Both were tasty, although I think I’d opt for the chopped brisket over the sliced brisket next time around (truth be told, I didn’t realize there were both, grabbed the wrong one, and felt bad about putting it back so I just rolled with it). As we checked out, our tap payment processed instantly and we were on our way.

Typically on our road trip, we’ll aim to hit up a TA, Pilot, or Love’s that typically have larger, nicer restrooms and plenty of gas pumps. Nevertheless, not all of these locations are created equal and so it’s hard to know exactly what we’re in for. Yet, while we’ve only been to one Buc-ee’s location — and a brand new one at that — I feel confident that we’d have similar experiences at any of the centers we stop at. Thus, if we’re driving through a region where they’re available (and with more locations on the way), we will definitely be making a point to stop at Buc-ee’s from now on.

P.S. – I’m loving my sweat pants, although my wife is already upset about the prospect of me wearing them way past Christmas.

Author

Kyle Burbank

Kyle is a freelance writer and author whose first book, "The E-Ticket Life" is now available on Amazon. In addition to his weekly "Money at 30" column on Dyer News, he is also the editorial director and a writer for the Disney fan site LaughingPlace.com and the founder of Money@30.com.

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