Jan 4, 2008
Well, we made it to Austin yesterday. Let's just say that Arkansas is flat. Flat. Flat. That's it. Ok- maybe it's got some rolling hills, but it's basically flat and brown, and yesterday it was also cold. Here's a sample:
We did pass Little Rock and saw the skyline in the distance. I think we might have gotten a little of it on video. We also passed Hope, Arkansas, the birthplace of our fine former president, Bill Clinton.
Then we passed into Texas and stopped in Mount Pleasant, I think, and had some absolutely delicious BBQ (what? It's Texas, dude! You have to have BBQ!). The place was called Blalock BBQ and it has been there 28 years. Mmmm... today we're trying The Saltlick for dinner, which is supposed to be an Austin tradition, so we'll report on that later.
Anyway, we passed Dallas, which is quite big and has a pretty skyline. Then we headed to Waco and down to Austin. We got in around 5:30.
I'm a closet Country music fan (I guess it's not surprising given my North Carolina roots), but the funny thing is that, I guess by association, my husband has started liking Country music. There are no Country radio stations in NYC and the only one that you can get in Northern NJ is from Pennsylvania and the signal dies out just before you get to the town where our house is, so usually I listen to iTunes radio for my Country fix. Let's just say that Texas rocks for Country stations and they seem to have huge playlists! We've been getting our fill of the radio because we don't know what we'll get radio-wise once we cross the border.
Anyway, we met up with our friend, Jeff, when we got to Austin and went to dinner. He lives in this super cute neighborhood where all the houses are old and have been renovated and painted funky colors. Lots of them have tin roofs and some have random sculptures in front. It reminds me of Seattle, but with better weather. All in all, I have decided that I could definitely live in Austin. It's very hip and funky. In fact, I think that it might be the perfect location for my sister and brother-in-law, although it's not close to family... it has the type of vibe that they like- hip, funky, artsy and hippie.
Last night when we went to get our hotel room we went over to the La Quinta Inn and as we drove in we saw a bunch of homies hanging out in front of one of the rooms. Right away we were suspicious... then we got our room key and as we were unloading the truck Hans saw a drug deal happen and this guy walked by pocketing his score. Then I walked over to the room we had rented and just pushed the door open without a key. The wood around the door jam had been busted and the metal thing that the door closes into was missing a screw, so it swung freely and allowed the door to be opened without a key or even turning the knob! So Hans was like, "We're not staying here." When we went to return the keys and tell the front desk guy we weren't staying there and that the door was broken he acted pissed off and didn't even offer us a new room or say anything about the door. Our guess is that he put us in that room because he saw our full SUV and he must have been in on it. Anyway- we moved over to the Clarion and it's all feeling a lot safer. Word to the wise, check the doors!
So we went to another Austin institution this morning for breakfast, Maria's Taco Express. Here's a photo of me and Hans in front of Maria's.
Another interesting thing that happened this morning is that Hans' PC got the blue screen of death. It had been acting funny the last few days and a couple days ago it got the blue screen of death for the first time. This morning it got the screen and it wouldn't start up. Luckily, we're still in Texas, so he's working on getting it working again, but we might stop by Frye's and get a back up PC for him. We already own two other (older) mac's for me if my computer tanks, but Hans doesn't have a backup if his tanks.
We've decided to stay in Austin one more night to settle the computer issue.
One thing I'm surprised about about Texas is that there really aren't many signs in Spanish anywhere. I know we're not near the border, but NJ isn't near the border either and there are TONS of signs in Spanish. Of course, when we crossed the border and I commented on that Hans told me that they had passed a law in Texas a couple years ago that it was illegal to have anything in Spanish on any signs. He said it was in an effort to maintain English here. So about 4 hours later when we finally passed our first billboard in Spanish and I said, "Look! There's one in Spanish!" he said, "I'm surprised they haven't been fined yet!" and then he started laughing because he was lying the whole time about the Spanish thing. You know, I've been married to him for coming up on 7 years and I usually know when he's BSing, but sometimes....
SPECIAL CHICO UPDATE:
It was special requested by my mother-in-law that we provide Chico updates. He's been riding along with us, doing what he does usually, sleeping. Every time we stop we take him out for a pee break and sometimes run him up and down the block so he can get a little exercise. He seems to be doing fine. Yesterday we took him on a nice walk in the park here in Austin near Jeff's house. We didn't bring his kennel and he really feels more secure when he is in his kennel while we're out, so lately he's been cowering a little when we get back to the room and he hasn't been with us. We immediately check to see if he peed on the carpet or what, but it seems that if he's really doing anything wrong it's probably that he's been up on the bed while we've been out and he knows he's not allowed on the furniture.