Road Trip

Posted: March 8, 2009 in The Roper Files
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Just in case my previous post didn’t make it clear, last week was a long miserable week.
A friend of mine collars me and berates me for hanging around the house too much. He tells me we’re going down to Austin and each excuse I offer in resistance is countered with the infallible logic of “we’re going, come on!” Toss a few things in a backpack and off we go.
Lock up the house and leave; the cats sit in the front yard and look slightly confused as I get in my friends truck and we round the corner and head for the freeway. I don’t look back at the cats.
Friday afternoon on I-35; the usual parking lot. We creep along and slowly pass the same exit I take every morning to go to my job. I exhale and I feel every muscle in my body unclench as we pass the exit. Not going there; good!
The traffic slowly clears and we begin to move. The crimson rays of the late afternoon sun flash on me from my right as we zoom south, cut off and on by double-wide trailers, “all-ratings” video outlets, RV dealerships, and “gentlemens” clubs. The flickering sun-beams create a hypnotic effect on me and I flashback to the last time I took this same trip, almost a year ago last Memorial Day.
It’s not really THAT far to Austin; 180 miles or so. But it’s a long boring drive; the Hill Country offers few diversions other than a string of look-alike fast-food restaurants. We laugh at the sign for a chain called “Bushs Chicken” until we notice each one has not one but two lanes for their drive-throughs and that there is a long line of cars at each location. We make mental notes to stop for Bushs Chicken next trip.

This weekend marks the beginning of Spring Break and the Highway Patrol is out in force. We see a cop and a dog on a leash sniffing down a car they have pulled over on the side of the road and pass many, many police and Highway Patrol cars on I-35. Word to the wise: do NOT speed or tailgate others on I-35, especially in the Waco area. You WILL get pulled over; they’re very much open for business during spring break. Hug the speed limit.

We drive like good citizens at the posted speed limits and arrive hours later long after dark at Baird and Susannahs Frank Lloyd Wright-ish home in Austin and adjourn for some late-night grub.
Afterwards we stay up late and talk and play guitars and watch TV and talk and talk and talk until all of us are hoarse and start to sound like old men. (“I’m tellin’ ya; these kids today….”)

And the next morning…well, we pretty much did the same thing. Oh we went to a bookstore and some vintage guitar shops (“they want HOW much for that?”) and a couple of other places but frankly we didn’t do anything overly exciting. Just three old friends getting together and visiting.
We did stop at a Vans outlet in Georgetown north of Austin on the way back and I bought two pairs of some badly needed new Vans. The pair I am wearing I purchased four years ago in Santa Monica and are starting to look it. They are buy-one-get-one-half-price and I get two cool pairs of new Vans for sixty-four dollars. Cool!


But it really wasn’t much of a trip in and of itself at all; we only stay overnight and in thirty hours or so my friend is dropping me back off in front of my house where I am met by two hungry and confused cats. (“and where the hell have YOU been?”)
But it was good to break the routine and get away from my apartment. I needed the reminder that my place isn’t the center of the universe and neither am I. And I got some cool new footwear out of the deal as well…

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