Saturday, May 05, 2007

Texas Tour - Day 0 (3/26)

I decided that I was working too much to the detriment of all else, namely my social and mental health (ironically, in a Japanese company even working too hard is not working enough). So I decided to take vacation to visit some college friends, and what better time to do that than during Rice's revered tradition Beer Bike (disclaimer: although there are bikes involved, there is no beer... anymore).

As luck would have it, only one person I contacted was planning on even going to Beer Bike.
So I decided to take a week and do some travelling to reach everyone. However, (miraculously,) I was able to get at least one meal out of each person I contacted, and didn't have any meals left over, so it was worth it.

I'd never flown on Continental before, but they had what I coveted most out of my trip: a direct flight to Intergalactic Airport (also known as George HW Somebody-or-Other Airport). Gullibly believing them when they announced they would be serving lunch, I didn't purchase any food in the terminal. The lunch was cheeseburgers. When I asked if she had anything meatless by any chance, she said "you can eat what I give you or not at all". They should call it Your Mama Airlines!

I was famished when I landed, and then I had to collect my luggage and pick up the car. Thank the goddess I reserved a navigation system because I got the last one (unfortunately I didn't get the Corolla I reserved - I got a Sonata). The first thing I did when I got out was find a Taco Cabana! Had my first bad experience with Hertz Everlost GPS. When I did finally reach the TC (having not been able to get there by the imaginary roads Everlost showed me), I ate so fast I almost got sick. My gods it was good to have a real tortilla again!

The sun had gone down by this time, and I still had a 3-hour drive to Austin. I couldn't have been past Tomball when the skies positively opened up in one of those rare but harsh East Texas thunderstorms. The rain was so hard I couldn't see the road, I couldn't see the highway signs, I couldn't see the land around me; and so loud I couldn't hear the hotel operator when I called to tell them I'd be late. I was able to make it by luck and following the tail-lights of the only other car crazy enough to be on 290 in Waller County, who I could only hope was staying on the road in front of me.

I finally did get to Austin about 2AM and checked into possibly the loudest hotel ever - at the intersection of Hwy 183 and I-35.

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