On the Road to Texas

Oil refinery along I46 road to Galveston
Oil refinery along Texas 46,  road to Galveston

Thurs. Dec 5th   On the Road
Me, Joe, JR and Jackie drove to Bryant Arkansas, almost 10 hours with a Cracker Barrel breakfast stop and numerous rest stops for stretching our legs and relieving our bladders.  JR and Jackie had driven to Kentucky from North Webster Indiana after work the day before. It was 30 degrees out this morning at 7 am in Kentucky. It’s 66 and sunny here in Arkansas.
           Staying at a Hampton Inn. We walked over to a Mexican restaurant for dinner. No driving. We enjoyed the food. I had fish tacos and a frozen lime margarita.

And so the vacay begins.
Fri. Dec 6th   To Texas
On the road by 7 am. Breakfast and coffee at hotel. Nice weather, sunny in the 60s. Lunch at Sonic Burger along US 59 heading south toward Houston. After tiring of Willie’s Road House and The Bridge, we tuned into 60s on 6. We were having a great time, four seniors belting out  lyrics from the Beatles, Frankie Vali, the Stones  and more.  But when Gary Puckett of the Union Gap began crooning
                “Young girl, get out of my mind
                My love for you is way out of line
                Better run girl,   You’re much too young girl”

I stopped singing and began listening to the crazy words of this song.  “Holy Shit! This is a pedophile’s ballad,” I exclaimed. We all got a good laugh and began quoting other 60s lyrics that would cause today’s woke individual to bang her head on a wall.
           At one point, as we were driving south on US 59, we had to exit and follow detour signs for 59 which took us along several FM (Farm to Market) roads, confusing our lady GPS. She repaid us for the insurgency by having us turn right on 59, which was north – we thought maybe she had a better route to Galveston not going via Houston. But when I consulted my Texas map (the big fold out paper kind, that takes up the whole front seat, blocking the driver’s peripheral vision) and decided she was off her rocker JR began making jokes that AI was taking over and she was pissed because I was trying to take control.
                “Open the pod bay doors, Hal.”
                “Open the pod bay doors, Alexa.”
                “Hey Siri, Open the pod bay doors.”
Regardless of our intuition, Joe decided to follow her advice. So for the next 20 minutes we were turning right and left, we even headed north on a small section of I 69 (not the one in Indiana), but per the signage ‘the newest North-South corridor out of Houston’. When we finally were told to turn on South 59, I called her a bitch.  She wasted our time for no good reason. We should have just stayed on 59.

A little south of Cleveland, Texas, she (lady GPS) again tried to get us to exit off US 59 to FM 424. This time Joe ignored her. As we got closer to Houston, the traffic got heavier. It was dark and raining by then, so the decision was made to exit 59 and take 146 south in Dayton, Texas (where Rudy works) all the way to Galveston, bypassing Houston completely.  We drove through Baytown, where Dede and Rudy live, crossed the Fred Hartman Bridge over Baytown’s ship harbor. Then we drove through miles and miles of oil refineries on both sides of 146.  In the dark you could see the many plumes of burning methane gas, flickering orange and blue in the dark night. Every time I have been through this no-man’s land, it reminds me of the opening scene in the original Blade Runner, so other-worldly, like driving through a Sci Fi movie.
           This route change turned out to be no better than taking I-45 through Houston, all the way to Galveston. The traffic was horrific. We were stopped much of the time in a sea of trucks and cars, in the rain and dark.  The traffic didn’t let up until we got on I-45 just outside of Galveston where we drove over the Galveston Bay Bridge to Galveston Island.
           We made good time on 45, checking into the Hampton Inn around 7 pm. It was 76 here, dark and windy when we walked across the street, through the Wal-Mart parking lot to a restaurant on Seawall Boulevard. It was too dark to see the waves rolling in along the beach, but we could hear them.  Back in our rooms, we crashed, wanting to rest up for our real vacation to start tomorrow.

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