Sunday, June 17, 2018

Day 12: still near Cleveland, TX

Rain and heat, a climate like a sauna.

A lot of food, the Far East comes to Texas, with good results if you know where to look:

Tomorrow, my sister flies from New England to Houston to join us for the next leg of the trip. Making room for everything in the car will be a challenge. 

Days 10 and 11: Cleveland, Texas

Good times, good talk with good friends in their tiny house in the woods.

The beautifully appointed tiny kitchen:

Big Bobby and Eloise were spellbound by another visiting friend who is a professional animal trainer:

Eloise made another big-dog friend:

Friday, June 15, 2018

Day 9: Cleveland, Texas

Another note to self: next time, bring maps. Old-fashioned paper maps from AAA. Last night's ordeal would have been greatly aided by having a complete mental image of Lubbock, Houston and Cleveland on a map of Texas.

Cleveland is a small town near the new little home in the woods that good friends have built for themselves. I somehow had a mistaken impression that Cleveland was further north of Houston than it it is.

I also somehow was thinking of Houston as south of Austin when it is really more east than south.

These mistaken images in my mind caused me to get on route 99 going in the wrong direction, without bothering to check.

 Then, a note to all who travel to Texas: beware toll roads for which you can only pay with passes--no cash option. Google directions provides three ways to get from Lubbock to Cleveland, all involving one of these roads, on which I have run up fines. By that time of night, with only Google as a guide, I just kept driving. I am told that a bill will arrive in the mail.

With a big paper road map, I would have found another route to Cleveland and got on it going in the right direction.

The La Quinta in Cleveland at nearly one in the morning was a welcome sight, with the desk clerk I'd been on the phone with standing outside to flag me down.

Day 8: Austin, Texas

By the time you get to Austin, the landscape has changed from desert to lush green. For the same reason, arthritis pain kicks back in.

Supper, breakfast and a drive around Austin with more cousins. We agreed that another time, it should be at least two nights so that we can make a proper day trip.

Day 7: Lubbock, Texas

Note to self for future journeys: Do not try to spend the night in Lubbock. There are four or five or six Laquintas in Lubbock, lodged like insects in a spider's web of intersecting highways.

Late, after dark, and tired, I roamed from one to the next in growing confusion until I gave up and checked into one, not the one I had already paid for.

There is a nice Best Western right on the highway just south of town. Just stay there. In general, I am learning, choose motels for easy freeway access if all you plan to do in a place is sleep.

Day 6: Coralles, New Mexico

If you click here:

Hopefully you can see a video of Eloise playing with my New Mexico cousins' gentle giant of a pit bull mix.

 Below, a still of the great game:

This visit was cut short by waiting until Monday morning to buy a new tire.

A wonderful time was had by all, nonetheless. Big Bobby commandeered one of his cousin's comfy beds and just took it easy. His arthritis, like mine, is greatly helped by the dry weather.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Days 4 and 5: Holbrook, Arizona

The first mishap of the trip. Long ago, I made a bargain with the Gods that I do not expect never to have car trouble, but that my car will break down at times and places where I can cope. Over the years, this arrangement has consistently worked.

West of Winslow, some unidentifiable but not very large object hit the side of my rear right wheel with a clunk, and the tire started to go flat. I got to a the next freeway exit where there was a Mobil station and some shade, and called AAA. It was mercifully not even too hot, since we were at high altitude and a breeze was blowing. The AAA guy arrived in due time, helped unload the trunk and dig out the donut, and put it on. Bobby and Miss Louise actually enjoyed roaming about in the shade and having drinks of water.

Back on our way, we got to Holbrook as planned on a Saturday night. It doesn't look as though anyplace that sells tires is open on Sunday, though, so we will stay a second night in Holbrook and get the tire Monday morning, cutting short our visit to another cousin in New Mexico.

Both Bobby and I are feeling the salubrious effect of the hot, dry climate on our joints. So much so that a second floor motel room is not much of a trial. I did not think to specify a ground floor room because my Best Western mindset involved elevators, somehow. However, if somebody else schelps our stuff up the stairs, I can get up without too much trouble.

Bobby stood at the bottom of the stairs, either daunted by the climb for his tiny arthritic body, or not being able to clearly see what we were doing. But when I said, "up, up, up," he bounced up ahead of me like a rabbit.

I am coming to understand why so many cousins ended up in the southwest.