Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Texas Trip: Day 5 (Final Day)
Yeah, you knew I wasn’t gonna get any blog entries done while in Texas. I didn’t even take the laptop after all. E did take her laptop and she’s been good about updating her blog. I’ve been a slug, however, and it’s been a good thing.
We’re driving back to OKC from Austin today and I thought I’d try to give a brief rundown of our trip on E’s trusty laptop. Hopefully I won’t be too wiped to post it when we get home.
Day 1 Saturday
I got up about 7 am. Didn’t want to get up. Really wanted to sleep but we had agreed upon getting away from the house by 8. E, of course, was already up and showered.
After my own shower I was feeling a lot perkier. We loaded the car with our luggage. This wasn’t a tough thing since we were taking the mini van. Two people’s worth of luggage is nothin’.
We managed to pick up ice at a local 7-11 and pull out of OKC a little after 8. Not too bad. I consider that on schedule. I was the driver for the first part of our trip. We drove until we hit the Arbuckle Mountains (hills to E) and pulled off into one of their scenic turnouts. E took a bunch of pictures of miles and miles of flat Oklahoma land. I climbed a bit and found a few rocks for E to take back to Seattle and her collection of rocks from all over.
Then it was on to the Texas border and the Texas Information place. E picked up a ton of maps and we snagged the big book that highlights every town in Texas and what keen touristy things there are to see. We got some good shots of E by the big Texas sign outside the information place. Hell had finally frozen over.
E took over driving at this stop and we headed on to Fort Worth. I must mention that she got in the car seat and was all prepared to mess with my mirrors and adjust them to her specifications. She forgot we’re roughly the same height and no adjustment was necessary. Neener, neener. Lunch was a stop at a Dairy Queen in Itasca. E indulged in a burger (red meat!) and I had a footlong chili dog. Yeah, I ate most of it—chicken lips and pork knees hot dog and all. I also got a small dipped cone. Vacation is all about the bad eating.
After lunch it was on to Waco. We decided that the Dr. Pepper Museum was a must see. I also had a few comic stores that I wanted to hit to look for back issues for a friend. Oh, I forgot to mention that thanks to Mike’s wonderful workmate, Larry, we were big ol’ geeks and had E’s laptop hooked up to a GPS. We foolishly decided not to put the Dr. Pepper Museum address in the computer. We ended up getting kind of turned around because of the one-way streets in downtown Waco but eventually managed to find the museum. E will say we got lost because of my less-than-stellar navigation but don’t believe her. The Waco map we had was crappy.
The Dr. Pepper Museum was cute. It was certainly worth the $5 admission fee. E spent some money in the gift shop. We could have gotten some Dr. Pepper at their little café but since we’d just eaten lunch, we passed.
Time to find a comic shop in Waco. We ended up at Bankston’s Sports, Comics and Collectibles. We found one issue from the list and I bought a Liz Sherman action figure and some Batman Begins cards. E was excited about the Where the Wild Things Are action figures she bought. Ebay will be doing some searching for her soon.
Bankston’s was a nice shop. The staff was friendly and they told us to be sure and hit Austin Books when we started searching for shops in Austin. Evidently brothers own each of these stores and most of the back issue stock ends up at Austin Books. If you’re ever in Waco, stop by and spend some money at Bankston’s.
E was really liking the 70 and 80 mph speeds she could go on the highway. Once again I was passenger/navigator, which was fine with me. We picked up highway 77 (we’d been on I-35) and headed to Victoria. The GPS told us going through Austin was the best route but we really didn’t want to contend with Austin traffic and Texas has really good roads. As a bonus, the smaller highways aren’t patrolled as much and E was able to go 85 and 90 on some stretches. I was good and didn’t nag.
We traveled at a good clip until we met up with what looked to be a bad accident on highway 77. Traffic was backed up and emergency vehicles kept coming in. We sat in line for about twenty minutes and decided the wait was going to be a lot longer. This was where the GPS worked out well for us. I plotted a route using FM (farm to market) and county roads. Within one CD we were back on 77 and far away from the accident.
We finally pulled into Victoria around 8 and got a room at the La Quinta (free wireless internet). After unpacking we got back into the van and followed the directions to Beth’s house. Her instructions were good except for one right when it should have been a left.
Beth introduced us to her dogs Posie and Frances. They were really excited to have guests. We discussed options for dinner and E said she wanted a steak. Where better for steak than Texas. Of course, we ate at a place called Montana Mike’s. I broke down and ate a steak. I usually stick with chicken but decided a nice, rare steak would be a treat. E and Beth ordered theirs medium rare. Well, they all looked the same. Fortunately E and Beth were good with rare and ate ‘em anyway.
On the drive back to Beth's we took time for a brief stop at a church with a light up window of Jesus. We didn’t hang out at Beth’s for long because we were both wiped. We went back to the hotel room and E uploaded day 1 pics while I read comics. Around midnight we both hit the hay. I think I was asleep before E even turned out the light.
Day 2 Sunday
E let me sleep in. She’s a morning gal and woke up around 5. I, however, slept until 9:30. She tippity typed away on the laptop while I snoozed. Damn perfect arrangement. She’s only noisy when snapping pictures of me while I’m sleeping.
We met Beth at the Victoria IHOP around 10:30 for a very late breakfast. I was feeling daring and ordered a meal that included cream cheese stuffed French toast. It was good although I couldn’t finish the French toast. I was impressed that the grill cook got my eggs scrambled hard. Can’t stand snotty eggs.
The IHOP was located right next to the Target and E needed a new battery charger so we decided to browse. I found more Batman Begins cards and a keen GI Joe action figure. I also bought some pretzels. They’re the perfect road trip snack.
Victoria has one comic book store—Goldmine Comics & Cards. I was hopeful they’d be open on a Sunday and by the time we were done with breakfast and Target it was late enough they’d be open. Alas, that wasn’t the case...closed on Sunday.
Beth works at a local college library and she took us there so E could take some pics. We got the grand tour and saw Beth’s server switches and the reference desk where she spends some of her time. Her office was full of computers and was very nice. Unfortunately she’d taken most of her toys home in preparation for her eventual move away from Victoria.
Today was Gulf Coast day so we headed back to Beth’s house to check on the dogs before doing the hour drive to Rockport. Beth followed in her car because we were going to spend the night in Rockport and she had to go to work the next day.
I drove this time and E navigated. The heat in Victoria was a little much for her and she didn’t feel up to experiencing the thrill of Texas highway driving. I gave Beth a thrill a few times when I had to swerve to make an exit. All was good though and we made it to Rockport in one piece around 3:00.
We decided getting a hotel room first would be a good thing. We regrouped and rested and decided it might be nice to get lunch. Once again we hit the Sunday curse. This isn’t something E is familiar with. No place closes on Sunday in Seattle. Well, here in the Bible belt, lots of places close. After a frustrating hour driving around Rockport hunting for a restaurant that wasn’t part of a big fast food chain we finally ended up at a local Mexican restaurant, the name of which escapes me. Yeah, we spaced and didn’t get a picture of the outside.
The food here was great. I got cheese enchiladas with a beef gravy. It wasn’t the chili con carne that usually comes on the Tex Mex Mexican food we have in OKC. It was lighter and really good. E ate chicken enchiladas with a verde sauce. Beth treated herself to seafood enchiladas. Both were very pleased with their meals.
With a very late lunch completed we decided it was time to head to Mustang Island and the Gulf. It didn’t take long to get to water, only about thirty minutes. E was fascinated by the free ferries at Port Aransas. They held ten cars and ran 24 hours a day. The trip across lasted about ten minutes and we were at the beach in no time.
E was mighty pleased to be seeing ocean again. To make it even better, the breeze coming in off the ocean made the temperature considerably cooler. We spent a good three hours there just relaxing and taking pictures. Beth had a good time flying one of her kites. Poor Angela was forgotten and ended up in the van the whole time.
We stayed at the beach until it got dark and drove back to the Holiday Inn Express in Rockport. Beth took her leave of us to head back to Victoria. Once again we stayed up until almost midnight due to uploading pictures.
To be continued....
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