Who needs a wake up call ?
Somewhere between 10am and 11am a housekeeper loudly knocked on my door.
Groggy, I yelled YES! Check out time is 11!
I reached for my phone, it was-10:09am
I screamed, I’ll be out in an hour!
When your sliding into home and your pants are full of foam……(You know the rest)
Oh my god, not now, with the attack housekeepers lurking about.
On the toilet I sang a couple of Negro Spiritual’s
I finished my pack of tums and took a shower. Then another shower.
HOUSEKEEPIN! CHECK OUT TIME IS 11!
With every move I make, and every step I take, my stomach is out of control, I must be near the toilet.
I forgot to chain the door. HOUSEKEEPIN! she opened the door. I’m on the toilet and it anit pretty (believe me)! I screamed back at her. I’m not sure she was overcomed by the flowery scent, but she didn’t return.
I left the room at 12:30 and stopped at a nearby Shell Convenience store and bought some Pepto and drank it in line as I waited to pay. I visited their lovely men’s room and stayed a while.. No one complained or knocked on the door.
The Pepto quieted the symphony of sounds in my stomach.
My goal was a nine hour drive to Austin
In the daytime, the landscape of El Paso reminded me of Tijuana. Rocky hills with little vegetation . In the men’s room, I read up on El Paso on my cell phone(I had the time) and decided to explore downtown. (If stomach permits)
El Paso was a Pleasant Surprise. A stranger bout me a burrito.
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When I left Sacramento the average price for gas was $ 230 per gallon. In Phoenix it was $1.76 in El Paso it averaged $1.86. Being the penny pincer I am, I was looking to pay less. As I was leaving El Paso it was closer to $1.91. oh well……
In the seventies ,a stretch of Interstate 5 opened between Northern California and Southern California. Its barren as it passes through the west-side of the Central Valley that two hundred mile stretch of road is disconcerting for some drivers.
You know your out in the middle of nowhere when there are no McDonald’s
It is nothing compared to I-10 in West Texas. IT IS THE DESERT! The speed limit was 85, eighty five-legal miles per hour! So, of course I set my cruise to 90. This stretch of I-10 convinced me that Texas is a huge state. The Interstate is dominated by trucks. Highway Patrol cars were rare. As were the gas stations and restaurants. At one point my Garmin said the nearest gas station was 120 miles. The road way was littered with closed and abandoned business. I saw one highway patrol car in three hours and without a cell signal it occurred to be I could die out here and months, years could pass before anyone would notice.
The first significant town was Van Horn, population 2000. The main drag has quite a few motels. Probably its number one industry. I stopped at a Dollar General for a foam ice chest, water and more Pepto.U
At Chuy’s Restaurant in Van Horn I came across
No , The Rock wasn’t inside the Restaurant, but there were several big guys. I took these pictures for friends who flew from Rhode Island to attend Wrestlemania in Dallas
By nightfall I was getting a little hungry.Austin was still five hours. There were no restaurants of any kind. Just past Fort Stockton, there were signs promising home cooked meals. Pappys, exit#… Big yellow signs Pappy’s .
The Pappy’s I visisted was inside of a Service Station. that featured Burgers and Mexican Food. There were three people sitting waiting for the orders. Potato and Bean burrito or Cheeseburger and fries $5.99. I passed and bought a bag of Frito’s and an Arizona Grapeade.
Out of the Desert
Within an hour the noise started in my stomach. I stopped at the first service station, Pepto, tums, water. Several times I exited the freeway to drive through the small towns along the Interstate. Many of the small towns were very fascinating, many of small towns had local businesses and locally owned restaurants in an age of chains I find this refreshing. Other communities was marred by the presence Wal Mart which drained many of the main streets. Wal Mart seem to have a negative effect on the community as many of the buildings on the main streets were vacant.
. My favorite city on this leg was Ozona Texas in Crockett County.
. My exit off I-10 to US 290 in Junction Texas.By this time I thought I just need to find a room for the night. There was a Motel 6, the sign said $49. Inside the young woman said they had rooms. I confirmed the price and she took my credit card. and then said it would $82 including tax…. Hello? Its the only room they had. Ah no.
In the car ,I went online and Hotwire said there was an Econolodge 0.8 miles away $42. Works for me.
The hotel was on an isolated hill..There were no street lights .The road leading to the motel was a bit steep and twisty. . The only light came from the light bulbs marking the rooms. Circling the parking lot .I could see the dimly lit lobby. I could see a silhouette of someone human, I suppose. I paused and thought to myself I’ve seen Psycho. We have a black man in 23. Lets send granny. Ah no. I can make it to Austin.
Us 290 is a two lane hilly highway, with many twist and turns.. The speed limit often dropped to 25 miles an hour as you drove through the small towns..
290 goes through the center of Fredericksberg, Texas, the town seems to be filled with many upscale shops and restaurants
I was completely exhausted by the time I hit Austin. Austin on a Wednesday, without a hotel reservation. (Wednesdays in many cities is often the busiest day of the week) In Austin, many of the Motel 6 were asking for $129 a night. After a half an hour, it was back to the cell phone and Hotwire and Priceline. The bargain was an Extended Stay for $87. The good news it was five blocks away. Easy, thank God.
The lobby smelled of stale beer. A women sitting in a chair in the lobby was screaming on her cell phone “stop calling me” Another woman is yelling at the hotel desk agent because the agent couldn’t find her reservation (I wanted to ask ,did you bring your reservation number?) no huh!
It was the agents second day on the job and she wasn’t trained. She didn’t know how to pull up a reservation or knew the hotels reservation number or help line number.
Two other people joined us ,then she announced, she didn’t think she had rooms. My grumbling stomach sank. Meanwhile, a hotel guest was calling with noise issues. Gawd, I picked this place. The woman is now screaming “mommy you betta get somebody cause I’m tired -shit!” The desk clerk called her manager, who finally help her. Its funny (not) how slowly 40 minutes passes.
The screaming woman’s reservations was at another hotel, so she took her hostility out on the reservations department for the reservations she made. The woman standing behind me, thought it was her turn. WTF!
Kudos, to the agent. Many people would have walked out. She checked me in with a smile. The drama made me hungry. Its now 320am. I told her I was going to the WhatABurger, I wanted to try it out . WhatABurger is a Texas institution.
She said she wanted French Fries with chicken gravy. I ordered a WhatABurger and a side of Chicken gravy( hey could be a Texas thing) I dropped off her meal and went to my room. Its now after 4am. The burger was a burger and the fries with the Chicken Gravy was vile.