On Saturday, my girlfriend Stacey and I decided we wanted to get out of town for the day. So after wrapping up my remote at Rick Ball Ford, making a quick stop at Pet Smart, and some shopping at Gene's Boots and Hats, we pointed our car toward Springfield.

It all started late last week when I was wearing my Buc-ee's t-shirt, and Stacey mentioned she had never visited one of their stores. I thought about saying maybe we should go to the new Buc-ee's when they build it out by the NASCAR track in Kansas, but I didn't want to wait however long it would take them to build it.

When I Google-mapped the route, it was only a couple of hours' ride, so we decided to roll into Springfield for a day trip. Stacey suggested we go to the Bass Pro Shop in Springfield since it's also a spectacle. We would be hungry, too, so we decided to eat at Hemmingway's in the Bass Pro Shop and then make our way over to the Springfield Buc-ee's.

Lunch at Henmingway's was delicious, and Springfield's Bass Pro Shops footprint is astounding. Of course, there's the gigantic store, the restaurant, Johnny Morris' Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium, a conference center, and Morris' Bass Pro Shop's Angler's Lodge across the street.

Yet, even the sheer size and spectacle of Bass Pro Shops in Springfield didn't prepare us for what was in store when we showed up at Buc-ee's off Interstate 44.

Just driving into the parking lot on a busy Saturday afternoon made me feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of people showing up to pay that wacky beaver and his overgrown convenience store a visit.

It got worse as we parked, got out into the heat, and went inside. Buc-ee's on a Saturday maybe wasn't a good idea. It was loud, crowded, hard to navigate around the store, and noisy, and even though I had eaten about an hour ago, the food smells were making me hungry again.

Rob Creighton, Townsquare Media
Rob Creighton, Townsquare Media

We were first enthralled by Buc-ee's Independence Day T-shirt, which Stacey instantly decided she wanted. It was clever, Buc-ee's face wearing an Uncle Sam hat on the front. On the back, fireworks, another picture of Buc-ee Beaver, and a parody of Francis Scott Key's famous lyric, "The Land of the Free and Home of the Brave." They changed it to "The Land of the Free and Home of the Beaver."

We wandered around a bit before heading to the merchandise section. We chuckled at the Missouri and Ozark-themed merchandise. We liked a Chiefs sign that would look good in my apartment. We checked out some of the other Buc-ee's logoed clothes, such as boxers, sleep pants, hats, and the like.

Right after slapping a bag of Beaver Nuggets into Stacey's hand, we ran into the man of the hour himself, Buc-ee Beaver.

Rob Creighton / Townsquare Media
Rob Creighton / Townsquare Media

By the time our visit was almost complete, our Buc-ee's haul included Two Fourth of July Buc-ee t-shirts, two Buc-ee's shot glasses, a bag of Beaver Nuggets, and a new insulated travel mug for my morning coffee.

Before heading out, I decided to use Buc-ee's restroom. They're not kidding about how clean they are. Anyway, while doing that, I asked Stacey to go to the coolers and get me a Mountain Dew for the ride home.

When I returned to the cart, I was surprised that she had picked me up a Cherry Coke. She explained to me later that she couldn't find Mountain Dew, and when she asked an employee about it, they told her Buc-ee's, at least the Springfield Buc-ee's, doesn't have Pepsi products.

That surprised me, and Stacey told me that an employee had told her they didn't serve Pepsi products. I found that interesting, and had I been thinking, hey, I'm going to write about this, I would have seen an employee or manager and asked them why that was. However, at this point, we mostly were looking to check out and get back on the road toward West Central Missouri.

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I did some research from home. There's very little out there about Buc-ee's not serving Pepsi products. A story on Finance Buzz, "16 Secrets Buc-ee's Employees Really Want You To Know," asserts that Buc-ee's exclusive contract with Coca-Cola dates back to 1997. Yet, Southern Living, in an article "12 Things You Might Not Know About Buc-ee's, Texas' Favorite Gas Station," asserts you can get both Pepsi Products and Coca-Cola products from their fountains. The Southern Living article was from last August, while the Finance Buzz story was updated earlier this month.

Additionally, I found two articles published by sister stations in Texas that contradict each other. One concurs with Finance Buzz that Buc-ee's is Coca-Cola only, and another says you can get both at the fountain. Then there's the scuttlebutt on Reddit talking about Buc-ee's not serving Pepsi, either. One employee, or former employee, seemed to think Pepsi and Buc-ee's couldn't agree on a price, so they just stopped serving Pepsi.

I've contacted Buc-ee's to ask them what the deal is with Pepsi, and I'm hoping they'll answer. If they do, I'll update the story.

It surprised me because the last time I visited Buc-ee's. I remember being impressed by the drink selection. If I hadn't seen any Pepsi products, that, not the impressive selection, would have stuck in my head.

We had fun visiting Bass Pro Shops and Buc-ee's in Springfield, and the Cherry Coke was perfect for the ride home. Don't even think of getting a Pepsi at Springfield's Buc-ee's, though, cause they don't have it. Keep scrolling to see how some of Buc-ee's yummy snacks pair with different types of ice cream, and check out some of the beefs folks have with the beaver.

10 Perfect Pairings of Blue Bell Ice Cream and Snacks from Buc-ee's

If you love Blue Bell Ice Cream and have developed a taste for more than Beaver Nuggets then this list of treat pairings will satisfy your sweet and savory tooth too.

Gallery Credit: Bruce Mikells

Biggest Complaints About Mostly Loved Convenience Store, Buc-ee's

While most people look forward to stopping by a Buc-ee's location here is a look at why some people don't like the iconic convenience store.

Gallery Credit: Billy Jenkins

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