Thursday, February 24, 2005

The (Very) Long Road, Part 2

Driving Day #2

Day 2 became a very long day. It started with an early morning wakeup and a sleepy continental breakfast. In the morning, Travis tried to waken himself with a "Monster" drink he had purchased before the trip, as a potential energy booster. He said it tasted like shampoo. I took his word for it. The day consisted of driving into and through the northern tip of Texas (there is NOTHING in that part of Texas), missing the "Welcome to Arkansas" sign, and having to drive at least 5 miles out of the way to go back and snap a picture of it. The day was broken up with a little bit of rain, a stop at the DQ, the taillight going out (and then coming back on), and a few interesting truck bumper stickers. One bumper sticker said, "I'm not speeding, I'm qualifying." Another bumper sticker said "We have good drivers - call 1-800-XXX-XXXX." It wasn't actually X'd out like that, and it wasn't intended to be a funny bumper sticker. But someone had scratched out the phone numbers... I guess he wasn't such a good driver and didn't want anyone to call him on it! Today's conversation consisted of talking about my new home, and home ownership in general. Some of the conversation had to do with priorities, as I was expressing some grief over now being officially broke, and the compromise between now owning a home, but no longer having the luxury to travel, which is something I'm craving more and more these days. We also talked about the meaning of an "important career" and what that means, as well as having money vs. quality of life... and how they're not always the same thing. We missed the Texas BBQ because we drove through so quickly, so we stopped in Arkansas at Rick's BBQ, where the fried pickles were so good that our great waiter said they were "addictive, like cigarettes." The BBQ was delicious, the evening was great, the Superbowl was on the TV, and everything was going fine. Then, I stepped out of the booth and hurt my knee again, the Eagles lost the Super Bowl, and this was a sign of very bad things to come. We started driving again and decided to stay in a town called Russellville for the night. While pulling off the highway, the car sputtered, made some hideous grinding noises, and died. Travis was able to get it started and make it run just enough to get it across the street into the hotel parking lot, and this was the beginning of our 2+ day residency in Russellville, Arkansas. The tow truck driver, Bryan, was in a happy place because he was from New England (as his nickname "Yankee" suggested) and his team had just won the Super Bowl. We were going to get him to tow us to Little Rock for the night, about 70 or 80 miles away, but he told us there was a Jeep dealer in town, and he recommended we stay here the night because, as he said, "I wouldn't leave my dead cat in Little Rock. It's nasty!" So we checked into the hotel where there was no internet access, even though the sign on the marquee clearly stated there was free high speed internet. And we called it a night.

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