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Seattle man visits all 26 Pal's in 13-hour, 400-mile binge

March 11th, 2014 2:25 pm by Matthew Lane

Seattle man visits all 26 Pal's in 13-hour, 400-mile binge

Joshua Baxter on his recent Pal's road trip. Contributed photo.

KINGSPORT — Joshua Baxter loves Pal's.

Really. Loves. Pal's.

So much so, the 30-year-old Kingsport native recently spent the entire day visiting all 26 Pal's Sudden Service locations.

But why?

“That's a great question. I don't even know if I can answer it myself,” Baxter said. “I love Pal's. I grew up eating Pal's, and when my wife and I moved out to the Seattle area about six years ago, we only get to visit about once a year, so every time we come in we'll try to hit up Pal's at least a few times.”

Baxter, a 30-year-old technical writer at Microsoft, said the real story behind this Pal's adventure began a couple of years ago when he visited family in Kingsport.

“On a whim I woke up with nothing to do and thought 'I'm just going to go visit some Pal's,'” Baxter said. “I went to one and got a fry, then another and another and then I said 'Let's see how many we can hit?'”

Baxter went to about half of the Pal's restaurants. This time around, a little more planning went into the mission.

“About two weeks before this trip I decided I'd try it again, only I planned a little better,” Baxter said. “I got on (Pal's) website and put in all the addresses into a trip optimizer. It said it would take a little over 13 hours, and it did, so it all worked out.”

Baxter left the house around 7 a.m. on March 5 to begin his day-long Pal's adventure. First he went up into Virginia, hitting locations in Lebanon, Norton and Abingdon, then back to Kingsport and the rest of the Tri-Cities, then down to Rogersville, Morristown, Jefferson City, Greeneville and Jonesborough.

“I went by myself. My wife didn't fly in until that night so as soon as I hit the last location I went straight to the airport and picked her up,” Baxter said. “She thought it was unique.”

At each Pal's location, Baxter bought a Frenchie Fry and left $5 for the person behind him in line – an idea offered by his wife. Baxter, who made it through the day with only three teas, documented each of his stops with a photo of each location and a montage of all his receipts, which he posted on the Pal’s Facebook page.

“I certainly didn't eat all of the fries. I ate a little from each location to say I did,” Baxter said. “They all tasted pretty much the same.”

The entire 400-mile trip took about 13 hours to complete.

“I would totally do it again,” Baxter said. “It was neat to finish and feel a sense of accomplishment, as silly as it was.”

Pal's President and CEO Thom Crosby said devoted customers like Baxter are what it's all about.

“Our mission statement is to delight our customers in a way that creates loyalty,” Crosby said. “And this is one of the biggest displays of loyalty I’ve known. That’s really something.”

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