We're back from our weekend trip to Arkansas. It was wonderful to see everyone, though I hate the reason that brought us there. It's going to take a long, long time to adjust to Carol not being around - she was such a wonderful, warm, caring, no-nonsense personality.
We ended up leaving Austin quite late on Friday - about 9:30 or so. After five hours or so of driving through pretty uneventful weather (the freezing rain was going to jump up and bite us later on in the weekend) we exited the highway exhausted in Longview, Texas. Though there was a sign by the side of the road indicating a surfeit of nearby hotels and motels, we somehow ended up driving 20 miles or so through the darkened streets of Longview before finding a Days Inn.
The hotel only ended up costing us $10 per hour for the 6 hours we were there, plus we got raisin bran, yay for that.
The pickup parked next to us in the lot had this bumper sticker:
Luckily, we were only 2.5 hours from L-Dizzog (El Dorado, natch), and the rest of the drive was fine.
Our visit was short, but we did get to briefly see le bebe, who just wanted a freakin' nap. Why won't you people leave him alone?
What a cutie.
As it turned out, we only ended up staying in Arkansas until late afternoon on Sunday. Husbear had to be at work today at 3:30, and he didn't want to drive all 8 hours back to Austin on Monday. Though the trip was much shorter than we wanted it to be, we did make the most of the time we did have and spent as much of it as we could with the Husbear's folks and Carol's family.
We attempted to leave around 5 on Sunday, but the car, sensing the difficulties to come, refused to crank. Great. Perfect, we wanted to say. GQ saved the day while simultaneously showing us to be very poor mechanics by cleaning the corrosion off of the battery terminals. Cranked right up. Oh well - I've learned a new trick now, which I can use to wow my neigbors. (thanks, GQ! We'd still be scratching our heads in your driveway if it weren't for you!)
We almost got all the way to Shreveport (in a bit of a drizzle, which froze on our windshield) before hitting any trouble. I-20 heading west was closed before we got to town, so we turned around to head east back to the loop... but I-20 east had some problems on the entrance ramp, involving a fire truck, and ambulance, and a bunch of people scratching their heads in a ditch next to a truck with all doors open. We picked our way around that, and got ready to exit onto the I-220 loop... but...
A line of headlights stretching up the exit ramp convinced us this maybe wasn't the best idea. So, around again and back to the closed I-20 west. We exited and managed to take surface roads almost all the way downtown, where we went 3 blocks in an hour before hearing that all of the bridges from Bossier City into Shreveport were closed, leaving us stranded in Bossier (That's boah-zher, to you yanks) and unable to continue any further on our journey to Austin. Dangit.
(This is just fascinating, isn't it?)
We found a hotel room and went out for some Mexican food, arriving at La Posadas (?) just as they closed - which we learned when an over-gelled idiot met us at the door and asked us "Whatchall NYEEEED?" upon our arrival. After stabbing him in the eye (in my mind) we found another Mexican restaurant, where we each had a giant plate of melted rubbery cheese accompanied with margaritas that were syrupy sweet and bitingly nasty, at the same time.
The next morning, we discovered that the La Quinta has a make-your-own waffle bar! Callou callay! We ate our fill of waffles and hard-boiled eggs and full fat yogurt and honey-nut cheerios and headed out to the car.
Though we didn't have any choice, I'm glad we stopped when we did on Sunday night.
Of course, there was another accident on 20 west, so we sat in traffic for three hours trying to make it out of town.
As it turned out, the reason traffic was so bad was because the interstate was closed... again... (though we did see one guy pick his way through the barricades - wonder what happened to him?) so we wandered aimlessly through the ghetto. It really would have been nice to have a cop or two directing traffic.
We did eventually make it back to the interstate. Heading west, it was completely clear, since we entered right after the closure... heading east, though, it looked like they were going through the same problems we had been shortly before.
Finally, we were through.
We drove and drove and drove and drove and stopped for gas
and drove and drove and drove and saw a truck with a giant snake head wearing a bow (or perhaps a steak with a leafy garnish - you tell us) advertising cheap meat (but is it tasty? Or disease-free?)
And then we drove and drove and drove and drove and napped a little and drove
And made it to Corsicana, which has its very own synagogue! (I had no idea until I got home that this building with a star of david rose window was an actual synagogue. Huh.)
We ate at a Mexican restaurant we've been wanting to try since the first time we drove through Corsicana.
I wanted to know if this sign was on purpose. After perusing the menu and having a burrito with tomatillo sauce and a side of "mexicant" rice and seeing that this restaurant is part of a chain in small towns in east Texas, I'm reasonably certain that this isn't an accident. Or, if it was, it isn't any more.
But you think they'd explain something like that on the menu, wouldn't you?
So concludes the fascinating story of our drive from El Dorado to Austin. Things went steadily down crap hill after we got home... the folks at work are being... difficult. And that's all I'll say, since I don't want to get dooced.