Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Houston, we have a problem....

Have you ever driven for three days? I have! Ok, so not three days solid without a break. But we have spent three days getting to San Antonio Texas. Last time I blogged we were in New Orleans having a fab time. I never got to blog about the paddle boat ride that we took up the Mississippi River, or the Cajun meal we enjoyed, or having real french donuts and coffee at the french cafe in New Orleans that has been there since the city was built. I could have written a big old blog post about all of that. But we moved on and didn't have wifi, so you can always just look at the photos (see the Louisiana Album link in the sidebar).

Anyway, we are now in San Antonio, Texas. Although, as of yet, we haven't seen any of it as we just arrived and crashed out. We left New Orleans three days ago, and have been travelling since just to get here. The first leg of our journey took us to the edge of Louisiana, just before the Texas border. We drove there and slept over night. It was on the way to our second stop, Houston, that I noticed we had a problem. More specifically, I had a problem. Anyone who read my family blog will remember the time I fell down the stairs and broke my toes. You may also remember that a few weeks after that, I dropped a piano stool on my foot and smashed my big toe up pretty badly. The nail went black, and all sorts of yucky things happened to it. Just before we left for America it started looking like it was healing. The bad nail fell off and new nail was growing. Well, as is common after that sort of injury, the new toe nail started ingrowing into the nail bed and my big toe got extremely sore and red. Then it started developing a pussy blister and got just nasty. So, on the way to Houston I had to stop by a podiatrist and have a little minor surgery to the toe. How pleasant. I had my toe numbed with seven or so injections, then watched in horror as all sorts of torturous looking implements were used, as the surgeon chatted away to me about the horrors of the British NHS and how much better American medicine is. I had to laugh at one point when he brought over this amazing portable xraying machine that showed live images of my broken toe bones. He showed me the workings of my foot and where the old breaks were, as a special treat, because we obviously "wouldn't have technology like that in Ireland". This kerfuffle cost me $175 for the surgery, plus another $45 for a prescription. Not money I had intended on parting with on my drive to Houston. But these things happen. I almost died at the chemist when my prescription came to $45, after getting them for free at home. Still, you get what you pay for ... he has given me the mother of all pain killers. One tablet and you can't stand, talk, or walk.

We stopped just before Houston and slept another night (after countless drives up and down the interstate trying to find the camp site in the most treacherous rain). This morning we started day 3 of our drive through Houston to San Antonio. Houston is a scary place to drive through (maybe not quite as scary as New Orleans). At one point we were driving on a 14 lane motorway (7 lanes each direction) in the most intense traffic. People don't seem to acknowledge the whole "you'd be a fool to break the 2 second rule" thing when driving here and drive right up each others backsides. We had to change lanes countless times, in a 25 ft vehicle. Houstons roads seem to be built one above another. At points it was like spaghetti bridge junction. There were motorways above us, below us, either side of us, and all flying about at 70 mph with no gaps for unexpected stopping. It was scary as hell, but we made it through.

We stopped on the way at a place the podiatrist had told me to stop at. Buc-ee's. I'm not sure how to categorise it as a shop. It sells fast food, drinks, snacks, but there are no tables or chairs. It sells gas, cowboy hats, every imaginable type of jerky known to mankind, souvenirs, things made of beaver or cow, and postcards. But it was a great place to stop. There are signs all along the I10 saying "Buc-cee's - 247 miles". The fast food section works like our Argos at home. (Except Argos sells household furniture). One just uses the computer touch screens to order food, then a wee receipt comes out with an order number on it, and you wait to be called. Someone leaves your order in a little hatch area and there is no need for human contact what-so-ever. We could do with this at home where fast food servers rarely smile and have no manners at all (not like here in the US where all restaurant staff are delightful).

Anyway, Im waffling. We arrived at our RV park near San Antonio at 6pm and spent the evening bathing Barney, tidying up, and planning what to do over the next three days. And beyond. As of yet, I'm not sure what the plan is. I like Texas from what I've seen so far (just the I-10) On the way here there was the most amazing sky I have ever seen. It was just so blue and covered in amazing fluffy little clouds. It looked like a peice of artwork. Except if you saw it as artwork, you'd think the artist got carried away with the clouds and made them far too quaint, painting them the shape that kids would paint clowds. The grass is so green at the moment, and as spring has just started there are little red flowers blossoming all along the interstate. We noticed a lot of cactus in the grass too.

The kids were exceptional on our three day drive. They just sat in the back playing, reading or drawing, and we never heard a peep out of them. I was so proud of them and told them so too. We have about 12 days now to explore Texas and I'm really looking forward to it.


Tammy said...

Have fun in Texas!!

Tom S. said...

Damn if those two Irishmen don't look like they were born to wear cowboy hats!

Maybe you should stay!?