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Thursday, November 22, 2007

10:20, and my trip was facing delays even before it began. Within five minutes of buying my brand new 2008 blackberry pearl-colored Honda Fit, I slotted my power inverter into the ACC slot, watched the indicator like turn green... and then turn off again after three seconds. Motherfuckers. It's not complicated science, a power outlet in a car, and those bastards couldn't get it right. I had much to do in Houston on Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and I didn't have time to have the car service. The upshot of this was that I would lose precious travel time on Thursday and Friday charging my laptop... and I would not be able to anagram during the drive!!! I really needed to have an in-dash computer installed in the car.

Finding decent food has been challenge on Thanksgivings past, but my route to the several new Houston-area Starbucks took me along a heavily Latinoed portion of Highway 6. Those Latinos are a hard-working lot (is a positive stereotype implictly a negative), and I found the Tropical Island Cafe. As with most Cuban restaurants I had found, I was served a heaping helping of congri (arroz moro) to go with my tostones, and the order was more than enough for lunch and dinner.

Earlier that morning I had arrived at the Fannin & McGregor store to find it closed, as I had expected. I didn't mind so much, because I was able to get some decent photos that would have been hard to get on a normal day. But later, up in the Woodlands, when I found that new store closed, I was a bit miffed. If I didn't visit all the ones I wanted in the Dallas area, I was going to be right pissed.

Hit DFW around 4:30 with the realization that not only would I not get to all the new stores, but I might not even make it to all the stores along a direct route. It was alomost 4:30, with several closing at 6:00, and the drizzle was intensifying. Later, as I left a gas station, I thought I saw flakes of snow. Was the temperature supposed to drop that much? Thankfully, they did not last, and I made good time through the next three stores, but I still did not make it to the last one, Mockingbird & 183... because they closed early!!! Bastard!!! They said 6:00, and when I arrived at 5:45 they were already gone. AARRGHH. This was most frustrating because from Grapevine I could have gone to Frisco instead, which also closed (supposedly) at 6:00.

At the gas station I had put 9.83 miles into the tank after driving exactly 300 miles. I wasn't getting the 34 MPH promised (which was probably at 55 MPH, not 75), but I was still happy with 30 MPH.

I wanted to get some charge for my laptop and iPod, so I headed towards the Oak Lawn area where there were three Starbucks. All were closed, but the Magnolia Theater was open and had an available power outlet. I had already dismissed my hopes of seeing No Country for Old Men because it didn't start 'til 7:00, which meant I wouldn't leave for OKC 'til 9:15, putting me there around midnight--not enough sleep. However, a different plan occurred to me. If I saw the movie and stayed in Dallas, and managed to fall asleep right away, then I could visit Mockingbird, Frisco, and then head directly to Tulsa, skipping OKC altogether. Adding the store in McAlester, OK, I'd basically be trading the four OKC-area stores for these three others. Since time would continue to be tight for a few weeks, it made sense to finally see this latest well-reviewed Coen brothers film.

After the film, which was excellent, drove just a few miles to a neighborhood near Lemmon and Oak Lawn and parked in front of some heavy trash dumpsters on the lawn of a house being renovated. As I hoped, the Fit was very sleepable. Being able to lay the seats completely flat and stretch out made a big difference.


Friday, November 23, 2007

Awoke at 5:37, not quite 8 hours. If I started driving too soon I'd feel the fatigue later in the day, so I tried for more sleep. Gave up at 5:55 and started for Mockingbird, but I noticed an unusual indicator light on the panel. I pulled over quickly and checked the manual--low pressure indicator. I parked under a street light and looked at the all the tires, but none seemed flat. I went over to a Shell station and checked again in better light. I knew that the lower temperatur affected temperature, so I decided to drive it a while and see if as the air heated the indicator would go away.

Turns out Mockingbird had closed at 2:00 the previous day, so I had no chance at all.

950 miles to drive, without just the mandatory detour to Tulsa . Completely doable, but I had a good 15 stores to visit through St. Louis, and then some on the approach to Elmhurst in Chicagoland. The clock was a-ticking.



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