I'll admit it. When I'm traveling, and I need to stop for the gas/restroom/snack trifecta, I become a happy man when I see a Love's or a Pilot.
But I don't think my mood in those instances holds a CANDLE to how people feel about Texas-based Buc-ee's Travel Center. And Kentucky's first (of a planned three) locations is now open in Richmond. The excitement is seriously palpable. The place was packed for the Tuesday grand opening.
Last summer, we got the news that a Buc-ee's would be coming to Smiths Grove, Kentucky at an Interstate 65 exit just north of Bowling Green. That generated tons of excitement and it's still a few years away. Then recently, it was announced there would be a third one in Oak Grove, near Fort Campbell and the Tennessee state line. The next thing you know, I'm seeing people planning a road trip when IT opens.
They'll probably have no issue planning a getaway around this new store in Richmond. It apparently shouldn't come as a surprise that THAT reaction can be expected, based on what we're seeing on social media.
I have never visited a Buc-ee's, despite the fact that I've driven through Texas several times. Here's a time-lapse walk-through of the new Richmond store.
Wow. Depending on where you pause this video out of context, one might think they're looking at a clothing store, a grocery store, or, yes, a roadside travel center. I guess I can say I've never seen anything like that.
I can understand this excitement. When we were kids, my whole family LOVED finding a Stuckey's during our travels. It never mattered that the chain's trademark pecan logs were always stale. It never mattered that the food was merely good and nothing to write home about. Looking back, I'm not sure WHY we looked forward to Stuckey's, but we did. Maybe it was the first "travel center" of its kind. Could be. Back then there were very few of them; if you wanted gas, it was a gas station, for the most part, and a Lance or Tom's machine for snacks.
But now Buc-ee's has absorbed all the excitement in the room.
I have to wonder if it's just a coincidence that Stuckey's rhymes with Buc-ee's.