We decided to get three rooms at the hotel and began making travel plans back several months ago.
Little did I know.
I was actually raised in Houston until my dad "semi" retired and moved our family to South Texas. Childhood memories include the constant background shrill of emergency vehicles and traffic snafus were a routine part of getting from point A to point B.
I thought I'd have this.
I volunteered to drive from the river house (up near Austin) directly to IAH to pick up an out of state friend. It's a three hour drive. That's what my map app says. I departed at 1:30 for a NLT 5:15 arrival. I love to drive. The scenery between here and there is always a joy to behold ... tunes on the stereo, I'm home, I'm finally home, the supporting thought which all other stimulus filters though ... I'd say it's a bit like rose colored glasses for the psyche ... road trip, friends, old hometown adventuring ... all good!
You know you are "in" Houston because your car stops moving. When it does moves, it either creeps along with the needle bouncing around below 10mph or, and this is an important or, you are shooting along with one foot on the gas, the other on the brakes and colors on either side of you are a linear blur. Exit only and toll signs are meaningless as you fight for your very life. You are bobbing up and down in a high speed current of various vehicles (the fact that they are "with human" doesn't really dent ones awareness ... all that penetrates is HOT HEAVY METAL INBOUND). I went with the flow. With the exception of one minor construction encrusted reroute, I was able to maneuver within the guidance provided by the traffic guidance app. Hmmm, Never seen purple toll signs before ... hmmm, EZ tag ... ummm, I don't have an easy tag. Gosh it's frustrating. I really do prefer to follow "the rules" when I'm driving. It seems right to me (with the exception of an easily distracted heavy foot on an open road). Did you know that cop cars wait on the "after" side of a toll gate flash?
I did make it to the line which had collected around the airport terminals. Even though we were moving like glue I missed the entrance to "parking" and after working my way around for another pass I slid in to ask two hardhat guys how to/where to on the parking. Did you know that limousines have their very own circular lot conveniently located near a private elevator?
By sweet coincidence FOUR was coming in to the same airport at about the same time as my friend so I was able to see her, get a quick hug and give her a bag full of homemade cookies for her weekend fun.
gratuitous homecoming football game shot
high school friends - missing a few!
Debbie opted out of the reunion festivities but came by to treat me to lunch and a nice long drive around. Her husband has several thousands of acres along the border which he farms (right now mostly cane, jalapeños and bell peppers). I'm hoping to be back for harvest (maybe he'll let me drive one of the big green machines). I really do like to see the cane fields burning - it's sort of amazing. He said avocados have experienced a significant price jump (I've noticed it up here) because the cartel has taken control of the Mexican avocado crop. I've read an account of how "they" branched out into legitimate (legal) businesses during the later part of prohibition. He said they aren't going to be happy about marijuana becoming legal on this side of the border (as it is in Colorado and Washington State and maybe other places by now). Kinda interesting. This picture was taken "on the border" the mesquite trees to the left are in Mexico, to the right, a spillway (probably not the correct term, it's where the Rio Grande may wander) on the US side. I liked seeing the white dirt roads (caliche), thrown up a fair share of dust from those roads and it looks like white smoke flying out behind the truck. It's funny the things you enjoy remembering. They said next time I come down (I'll probably stay with them, they are family to me) we will go across - apparently he's not worried about border tensions. I like visiting in Matamoros.
We enjoyed seafood for lunch and the raw oysters were note worthy (best ever). The visit was too short as always.
Great fun to see so many of my old classmates. Of the 475+/- there were probably 150 in attending the dinner/dance. I wasn't able to recognize more than 15 people, but it felt great to share the evening with them. Can't remember when I've laughed so much, probably it was back in the 70s.
|making the run for the border ...|