Bobby D. Taylor made his occasional visit to Texas, arriving May 17 (or so) to stay with Bob Weathersby. This year is special. Bob and Bob decided to set out on a 2 week road trip up through the central US and then west intending to arrive back here in Austin June 11 for a homecoming party that you are all invited to. Here's Bob:
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
Taylor arrives at 6:20 (scheduled 6:33) from Dallas, not 5:30.
Played NASCAR. He showed me how to make it more fun by turning off driving aids, then proceeded to kick my ass.
We got to bed at 3:00 a.m.
Thursday, May 20, 2004
I tried to get organized; spent most of the day collecting stuff to take on the trip, while Taylor snoozed on and off on the couch. He did not pet Buster, but the Allegra seemed to keep cat allergy at bay.
We started loading the car at 6:00 p.m., and by 6:20 we were worn out. The sun was still up and it was very hot. We still had more stuff to load, and each needed to take a shower, so we said fuck it, we would leave the next day, bright and early.
We bought gas at Diamond Shamrock, then went to the mall to get my watch, then to Chili's to eat supper, then to Walgreens, then to Walmart, and finally back home.
Taylor went to sleep at about 12:30. I went to sleep at 2:00.
Friday, May 21, 2004
I woke up at 9:45. Taylor was still asleep, so I started reading. At 11:00 the boog called wanting to know about lunch. I said I would talk to Taylor, and see what we could do. I woke him up, at at 11:25 I called her back and said we would try to meet her at 1:00.
We got the rest of the stuff in the car (forgetting the NASCAR wheel and game). The trunk was full, the back seat stacked 2 feet high, the back floor boards were full, there was stuff between the seats, and in the passenger foot well. Need a bigger car!
At 12:53 we pulled out of the driveway. We bought ice in Lago, then got the cooler out of storage in Cedar Park, put in ice and water and Dr. Peppers, and headed for Dan's Hamburgers to meet Susan.
We beat Susan to Dan's. While waiting, I decided to put the front license plate on. She showed up as I was finishing. We all had burgers for lunch, like the three bears. I had a medium double meat with double cheese, Taylor had a medium cheeseburger, and Susan had a small cheeseburger.
We left Dan's and went to West Marine, where I bought a new flashlight for the trip. Not quite what I wanted, but close. Then to Fry's to get a battery for the car key for Taylor. They were out, and didn't have the GPS I was interested in. So we went to Radio Shack, got the battery and put it in, then walked down to grocery store to get more ice.
Finally on the road at 3:52!
Just north of Waco we saw a weird-looking vehicle, called a Vixen 21. It looked like what Taylor and I need. Not huge, but definitely more room! So I called Dave Janda and asked him about it.
He found out where we were, and said we should go to the Czech Bakery and get kolaches. I saw the sign about then, took the (wrong) exit, and drove down the access road to Kaskas (a gas/store combo). We bought kolaches. We both had cherry, I had two meats and a cream cheese. We both agreed they weren't all that great.
Of course, as we were leaving we realized that the bakery we were supposed to go to was the next one past where we stopped! Oh well, Dave said there were two, and to stop at either one.
We drove into Oklahoma without realizing it. Navigator failure. Taylor feels that boog-style Navigator duties are too much work, too constraining. ("What if I want to day dream?", he said.)
My right leg was getting sore, so when I saw a "Scenic Turnout" exit, I took it. There was no scenery to speak of, just fields. They did have a sign with geological strata on it. I took some pictures of the sign, and some pictures of Taylor and the non-scenery.
Ah, Turner Falls, Oklahoma. My wife Carol's family used to drive from Houston to Omaha every summer for the family vacation. With 5 kids in the family it could be an intense experience. She recalls that Turner Falls Park was one of the few locations everybody was encouraged to get out and play around. Bob again:
Decided to get off at Turner's Falls Area exit, onto US 77. Drove down to the Turner's Falls Park. It was nearly dark, but it looked sort of neat. No motel, though, so we got back on IH 35 and continued north.
We stopped at Pauls Valley. Bought gas, got room at Days Inn. Ate at Denny's. Not bad, either the room or the food. Couldn't do email, because all of the numbers for Toast were in other cities, and toll calls. And, goose that I am, I went off and left both my phone cards at home. I didn't want to pay motel toll charges, so we passed on email for the night.
Best shower I've ever had: plenty of very hot water, plenty of very cold water, very high pressure. It was like a mini-firehose.
Taylor was lights out at about midnight. I am just finishing this at 12:30.
This is the image I remember most when I was rooming with BT during college. On the weekends there was no point in trying to wake him before noon. Its nice to know there are some constants in life.
Saturday, May 22, 2004
We asked for a late checkout last night, and were okayed for noon. We were out of the room at 11:52. We lugged everything out to the car, and I tried to get stuff organized better than it had been. It was a nice morning, with a stiff breeze.
Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. In Carol's youth this was often the destination for first day of their annual sojourn. Looks like these two mafia types liked it too! Back to Bob:
I had brought a plastic bag to use for trash, but we couldn't get find it in the back seat mess on Friday. I got it and carefully placed it between the front seatbacks. When we finally got the car loaded, the bag wasn't there. We looked all over, front seats, back seats, in the trunk. I even looked across the parking lot in the downwind direction. It wasn't there. We were ready to leave without it, when Taylor saw it up against the motel sidewalk, probably 70 degrees off the wind direction. Helluva deal. He retrieved it, and we left.
I drove for an hour and we stopped at a Subway for sandwiches. Taylor drove after that, for the rest of the day. Black metal animals?
My gun permit wasn't valid in Kansas, so we stopped just shy of there at Blackwell, OK, to more the .45 to the trunk. Taylor was nervous about it being up front. Actually, he was nervous about it being in back. Oh, well. We used the stop to check the oil, which was fine, and top off the windshield washer fluid container with some water.
At Bell Plain, KS, I35 became a toll road. So we got off at "The last free exit" and checked the map. We (I, mainly, with Taylor going along) decided to avoid the toll road. So we went west down US 166 to US 81, then proceeded north, paralleling, and within sight of, I35 for part of the way to Wichita. We took IH 135/US 81 through Wichita and north to US 50. We turned east there heading for Emporia, where we were to leave I35.
Taylor did a lot of big sighs on this part. It was mostly a two-lane highway, with the occasional extra lane for passing. But there was almost no traffic. And we never needed to pass a single car, since Taylor was staying exactly at the speed limit per the speedometer, which put him about 4 or 5 mph under, according to various radar signs I have observed in the past.
But I enjoyed the detour. It was very pretty countryside, with lots of trees and fields. Saw some interesting houses in the little towns. And, since I was the navigator on this part of the trip, I was kept a little more active in making sure we followed the route, changing roads, and following the twists and turns through the various towns.
We sort of wanted to get to Kansas City, MO, but decided it was too far. We stopped at the Candlewood Suites in Emporia. The motel was good: pretty nice room, queen bed, neat snack area with reasonable prices (25 cents for a can of Coke), good bathroom although the water pressure was very low in the shower.
Except for one thing, which was almost a deal-breaker for me. They had some high tech thermostat controlling the air conditioner. There were motion sensors in the room that told the AC when someone was in the room. As long you're there, the AC works great, and cooled the room to 68 and kept it there all night. But if you leave the room and don't return for 30 minutes, it shuts off, and the room starts heating up again.
In the first room they gave me, it didn't work right. It would shut off after about 5 minutes, even when I was in the bathroom. I switched rooms and had no more malfunctions, but it is still kind of aggravating. I like to get to my room, crank the AC to high, then go out to eat, coming back to a nice cool room. The only way to get the nice cool room here is to wait it out, without leaving the room for more than 30 mintues (assuming all works as designed).
Who said they don't have Coors in Kansas!
On to May 23-24.