Tuesday, March 28, 2006

So Much to write, so little patience!

Why didn't anyone hear from me for the past week or so? Because I drove to Texas to pick up my grandmothers restored O'Keeefe & Merritt stove.

And I thought it wouldn't be a good idea to advertise that I was gone, you know, in case the booger-man was reading my weblog, and decided to hide under the bed and stuff.

But now that I am back, I'll try to detail it all out here.

Thursday, March 16th:

Depart San Jose 4:10am - 15,757mi on odometer
It's dark out, I'm a little tired, but there is not much traffic. I am able to drive quickly and easily south on Hwy 101 to Gilroy, where I take Hwy 152 east to I-5. I get on I-5 at 5:15am.

Arrive in the mess of LA 8:38am, 16070mi on odometer
LA is a total cluster. I realize it is more than one city, but really, it isn't. It's a huge stinking metroplex of hwys and insanity. The speed limit was 65, everyone was either stopped in traffic, or going 90mph. I was glad to get through it all.

Cabrazos - 10:30am - 16183mi on odometer
Stop for fuel, see giant dinosaurs in park, call Sara to check on her.

Blythe, CA - 12:32pm - 16320mi on odometer
Cross border to Arizona

Arizona - 1:pm time zone cross change to 2PM - 16356mi on odometer
Lots of cactus and rocks, it looks like Wiley E. Coyote should live here.

Phoenix, AX - 3:53pm - 16471mi on Odometer
traffic here sucks. I mean totally horrible. Maybe worse than LA. It is all interstate, but will stop, totally stop, for no apparent reason. I am not happy about it, I am definitely delayed over an hour. There is a way to bypass this, and will figure it out on the way back. I discover I have not updated the maps on my GPS here. I have the cable, and can do that later.

Tuscon, AZ - 5:46pm - 16585mi on odometer
The sun is setting, traffic is stop & go. I think it is about 4 more hours to El Paso. I'm doing the mental mathematics, trying to figure out how to squeeze it all in there. Feh.

New Mexico Border - 8:10pm - 16713mi on odometer
it's late and dark. I know I am not even gonna see NM. But drive on the Interstate

El Paso, TX - 11:28pm - 16878mi on odometer
Stop at Flying J for gas. Changed to central time zone. It's late, but I do not think I will stop in El Paso. I am feeling refreshed from the stop, and will drive farther.

Friday, March 17th
Van Horn, Texas - 1:45am - 17017mi on odometer
I am blowing bubbles, I cannot think, it is time to stop. I've travelled 1260 miles, I will stop and rest for a few hours in the back of the sprinter. Wake at 5:20am Depart Van Horn

6:48am - 17112mi on odometer
sunrise, and hwy rest stop to make bears.

7:35am - 17171mi on odometer
see this rock formation

9:58am - Junction, TX - 17355mi on odo
I have passed junction, and turned off I-10 to Hwy 290E. It looks like the Central Texas Hill Country. I feel like I am close to home Every vehicle I see on the road is a gignormous pickup truck.

10:39am - Fredericksburg, TX - 17398mi on odo
Stop for gas, pass the museum

11:48am - Oak Hill, Texas - 17465mi on odo
I am really here. This is very close to Joe's house.

Now my plans begin.

I stop at AAA Appliance to see if the stove is ready. Nope, they need to talk to Ed, to see when he will have the stove from his workshop to the sales shop.

So I drive north to Stone's Trailer Sales to pick up my Pace 6x10 enclosed trailer. They are looking at me funny, I guess because I just drove too much from CA. I do look kinda shagged. They sell me the trailer, hook it all up, and I am ready to jet.

I drive back south, and stop at Pete's Flat Top Shop, for a nice refreshing haircut. It makes me feel lighter and fresh. Then stop again at AAA Appliance, they suggest tomorrow for the stove.

Drive south to Joe's house, see him, unload trailer to his driveway.

Drive north again to see my pal Ingrid. We go to dinner at a schmancy Hungarian restaurant in Pflugerville, tx. I have some of the best cutlet in years. the service is exceptional, the atmosphere is great. This is a swell place.

Saturday, March 18th
Drive the trailer up to OMJ's house. Stop and visit with him. The stove is not ready yet, so James and I go out for brunch at Curra's Grill. This is a bit trendy, but we have mimosas, and some fantastic migas. James is shocked that my phone has a camera. I am shocked at how delicious the food is.

I get a call from Ed, the stove is ready. Back to James house, grab the truck and head to AAA. The stove is beautiful.

Ed shows me how to break it down to travel, and reset once I get it home. We disassemble and pack it all up. We get the stove and all the bits and boxes in the trailer.

I drive crazy south to meet everyone for dinner at the Satelite Cafe. This is a restaurant in the Y in Oak Hill, just down from Joe's house. I am told he eats there 2x/day at least.

The whole family comes. Joe, Natalie, Giselle & Paul; Chris, Chelle (Zack had to work); Jim, Alva, Maya & Johnathan. We eat and talk, and I am very happy to be surrounded by these folks.

After dinner, Chris drives me out to their house in Briarcliff for the night.

Sunday, March 19
Wake up and shower at Chris & Chelles. I finally feel rested. Chelle makes bacon & eggs. YUM!

It is raining so we do not try to go dirt bike riding, instead, Chris & I meet Jim at the gun show. We wander around and look at guns, but there is nothing that really calls me.

After the show, we go to Chuy's. Oh baby! Mexican Martini, Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas, mmm mmm mmm

Back down to Joe's house, He helps me mount and secure tie downs, etc., so the stove will not move. period. Joe, I must say, is a genius. After the stove is done, I pull the pipe off the Ducati. You may remember I shagged it when I crashed. Joe manages to shine it up. You can still tell I crashed, but it looks much much better.

Chris and I take off in the trailer to Academy to buy the safe. Sara says I have too many guns at the house, and with Tarzan on the way, I do really need a safe. So I find it is cheaper to buy in Texas. I have no clue why, but it is. So I do.

Back to Joe's, and he helps me secure the safe. NOW, most of my work stuff is done. I feel very secure, stove, trailer, safe.

Drive up to James' house, meet with him and David Carpenter. We head to Hyde Park Bar & Grill for dinner. Chicken Fried Steak, French Frys, and great conversation.

Back to James house for more chatter, then sleep. I sleep like a rock. I think James & Dave stayed up later. But I woke up first. and was back on it.

Monday, March 20
Driving from james house, I stop and visit Rod Root, then stop for lunch with Jim Ranes and Fred Cantu. It is great to see my freinds. I miss Austin something fierce.

After Lunch, I go to the HEB, and buy up a load of Boudin sausage. They don't HAVE boudin in California. So I buy a passel, and freeze it at Joes.

We sit around and watch TV with his kids. Giselle and Paul are pretty fantastic. And Natalie is happier than I have ever seen her.

Dinner at Trudy's south, I have a REAL Chile Relleno. I mean, that is how they are supposed to taste! Back to Joe's, and we take a cruise of Austin in his vintage Caddy. Stupendous. We stop and see my pal Jamie Griffith, visit with him and his wife Sue, then out to cruise the caddy.

do some work in his shop, then sleep in their garage-converted-to-kids room.

Tuesday, March 21
Brekkies with Joe, then drive up to grab OMJ. We putz around his shop for a bit, then go get Mac the Welder for lunch. Mac & Tim are working on OMJ's superhawk restoration. I think James is fighting them every step of the way, but it will get done.

At this point, I am running late, I need to get somewhere, but cannot remember where. I start missing connections, and have not seen many people. I do make it to Sherry's, we have dinner at Threadgills. I sleep at her place.

Wednesday, March 22
Pick up trailer early from Joe. Natalie is cooking breakfast. Delicious bacon & eggs. The rtime to drive.

Austin - 9:55am - 17808mi on Odo
Depart for Longview.

Longview - 2:30pm - 18099 on odo
Arrive at my folks house. My cell phone has died on the trip, so Mom takes me to the cell phone store, and they replace it. Now my bluetooth headset will not synch to the phone, but at least I have a phone.

Back to the folks house, and I install some SW on dad's mac, and clean up some of my room. I go through boxes and shelves, and toss out about 2 bags of stuff. and take about 2 bags back to San Jose.

Play with Cheyenne a little, she is such a well mannered dog.

That evening have dinner with folks, Seegers & Gans. It is nice, I try to be polite and not talk too much smack.

After dinner I head out to visit a pal from high school. Doing well, and working on organizing a 2007 25yr reunion. Cool!

back home and sleep.

Thursday, March 23
Longview, TX - 9:55am - 18097mi on ODO
Depart and head to Dallas. I stop for gas, booze and ant-stop pesticides. Finally get moving on IH20

Terrell, TX - 12:30pm - 18218 on odo
Stop for gas. My pop gives me some wierd funky directions that have me exiting hwy 80, and driving through Terrell, TX. (piss ant town. Family story, email for details) All that's left on the Hwy is porn shops.

Dallas, TX - 1:15pm - 18251
Lunch and visit with Aunt Donna & Gavin. He has a great name suggestion, Samson, like his grandfather, like from the bible. Strong, appetite for destruction, and a way with the ladies. Will see what Sara thinks.

After spending time with them, I head down Hillcrest Ave, for dinner with Aunt Gersa & Uncle Irv. As a bonus, My brother Louis arrives! Extra Bonus, Caryn, Joe & Ryan, my cousins arrive.

Have a spectacular dinner, chat with everyone, then sleep over.

Friday, March 24
Travel to Arlington, TX to have brunch and visit my college pal Sam Haber. It is great to see him. He is still the happy, playfun guy I knew in College, just a little older.

Arlington, TX 11:15am - 18294 on Odo
Depart. IH 20 west

Abiline, TX - 11:57am - 18471
stop at Flying J for fuel. Listening to the radio, I hear about AllenBrothers.com, to mail order USDA Prime. hmmmm..... Not cheap, but could be worth it

Monahans, TX - 5:23pm - 18671
stop for fuel & lotto tickets. See sign about blanket shop in El Paso, where I hope to get some mexican blankets. I hope I can make it.

El Paso, TX - 7:34pm - 18885
cross time zone, drop 1 hour. Traffic is totally messed up, stop and go. I do not know if I will make it.

Turns out I do not. At 8:07, when I pull into parking lot, the doors are closed, and the lights just get turned off. DAMNIT! POOP.

But, salvation, I find a joint a little further down the road, and get some! woo hOO!

Cross into NM, stop for fuel at Flying J in Anthony, NM

NM State Line - 11:32PM - 19104

San Simeon, AZ - 11:45pm - 19117
blowin bubbles, I stop at truck stop and sleep. I realize I will not make Phoenix tonight. I resume driving at 4am

Saturday, March 25
Wilcox, AZ - 4:38am - 19156
Stop for gas

Red Rocks, AZ - 6:19am - 19273
Sunrise over redrocks is amazing. I try to take a photo, they are kinda blurry

Phoenix Bypass on Hwy 8, I will not get stuck in that silliness.

Ehrenburg, AZ - 8:33am - 19506
cross timezone again, in Pacific now. Stop for fuel

Blythe, CA - 9am - 19508
cross into cali. the ag check station is closed. I blast across the desert. The speed limit here is reduced to 55mph for trailers. poot. I go 65.

Passing through Los Angeles is torture with the trailer. everyone is goin 90, and weaving. Every exit I need is on the opposite side. sometimes left, sometimes right exit, but always the opposite side of 8 lanes.

Gorman, CA - 1:37pm - 19802
crossed grapevine hill, and stopped at Flying J in Gorman. I want a shower and a nap. I am dirty, tired, miserable, and it just started raining.

Buttonwillow, CA - 3:36pm - 19867
Stopped at racetrack in Buttonwillow to say hi to freinds running AFM. I am not racing, I am beat tired, but stop to say HI.

Turn 20000 miles on truck, before I turn 152 to head to Gilroy

San Jose, CA - 7:55pm.
I am home, loopy, and I forget to write down return mileage. All I can think about is getting out of truck. Away from truck. FAR away.

I manage to back the trailer up to the garage door, pull the mounting screws out of the safe, and get it out of the trailer, and into the garage.

I move the trailer, it is too big. the combination of trailer and truck will not park in the driveway.

I unload some, then go shower, and sleep.

I spent Sunday and Monday cleaning and reordering our garage. My hope is to be able to unload the stove to the garage, then sell the trailer.

Tuesday am, I am at work

You don't need to go to TX to get a good Chile Rellenos. Found some at an authentic place next to the Brass Rail, off 237/Matilda. Let's go sometime.
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