Sunday, March 3, 2013

Day 2 - Texas, or "Duuuuude!..... ranch"

I woke up early Saturday so I could get breakfast before heading to the nearest police station. See, ten minutes before I got to my hotel Friday night, I was pulled over for speeding. I was keeping with traffic, but was sporting out-of-state plates, so obviously I was a danger to society. I was looking the ticket over trying to reconcile an unexpected expense with getting basically free hotel stays when I noticed there was no amount written on the ticket, just a date when I was supposed to appear in court. It took the officer five pieces of evidence to believe that I knew who I was, what I was driving, where it came from, and where I was going, yet the idea that I am not an Arkansas regular missed him.

The funny thing was when I got to the police station early on a bracing Saturday, an assured and friendly local trooper took one look at my ticket and uttered "Ugh, Staties." Short version: I should be able to leave the state without a federal man-hunt, so I could move on.

On my walk to the station, I passed by the county Admin building and nearly fell off the sidewalk. See, unless I'm wrong, the local paragon of state governance is Liberace.

If anyone knows who this is and why they're dressed like Khan from Star Trek II, let me know please!

A shower later, I was on the road for Houston. Google's first idea was to take me on a dozen toll roads. My first idea was to throw the phone out a window. We compromised. The route I ultimately took sent me down a lot of smaller state roads which added about an hour to my travel time, but it was worth it. I must have passed by a dozen ranches, with herds grazing and prominent stars and brand symbols everywhere. Again, I did not pull over to take pictures because I figure ranchers have guns and like privacy, and I like not being threatened or shot. I'm not being fair - everyone I've actually interacted with in Texas has been very friendly.

Especially Gretchen and Jim! After GoogleMaps sent me on a wrong turn at the very last minute, I finally made it to Casa del Plassard. Gretchen met me outside at the gate, I drove her to the community trash dumpster, and I entered the house. They had a room and bathroom set up just for me, their cats were friendly, and I wasn't there five minutes before there was a beer in my hand. The empanadas didn't turn out that great, but they were experimental anyway - the salad and the spinach&artichoke dip were marvelous! The evening ended with Two Towers on AMC and Red Dragon Inn on the table. I give this establishment 4.5 out of 5 stars!

This morning started with bacon, and we plan on visiting a house made out of beer cans. Gonna be a good day.

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