Here we are…Son Billy and me, heading south to Austin from Scottsdale to Albuquerque then on to Lubbock …but first a stop at the dam where Walter White waited for his new identity in Breaking Bad. I figured that would be a good place to deposit can #6. Max loved that show. It gave me the creeps. But hell, this stop is a memorial experience to honor Max, not me, so scatter his ashes I do sans further editorial comment. Except to say, that Max has a new identity, that being an angel or some other holier than us entity, and I too have been claiming my new identity from partner to grieving widow to … Hmmm, I’ll let you know when I figure it all out.
Further on we’ve passed a billboard… “Can’t sleep? Try counting your blessings.” Signed God. I do, daily, but thanks for the reminder. And on we drive.
The car had been loaded with a plethora of snacks. I now fully understand the trucker’s belly. I cogently packed carrots, celery, apples and asst. dried nuts and fruits, water, juice, tea, before I threw in the licorice, chocolate covered pretzels, jelly bellies, dried snap peas and seaweed. After consuming the dozen carrots the first day on our journey I knew I was doomed. The sweetness of the carrots sated me only temporarily, I craved more to soothe the tedium of the highway… Stretches of the 40 can be B-o-r-I-n-g to the extreme. Son Billy cracked open the cinnamon and sugared encrusted almonds, munch, burp, where did we put the caffeine drinks anyway? Guess we better grab some red bull when we stop for gas.
Tuesday afternoon we found ourselves, hungry (snacks can only go so far), tired and needing to pee like racehorses in Lubbock, which is fitting since the location is loaded with horses, racing and otherwise. The barbecue joint listed in yelp was closed. “Phooey!” I said as we Yelped, again, a place for lunch close-by. “just forget about the BarBQ, lets get some food, I’m hungry.” snapped Billy. I didn’t care about the type of food as much as the quality of the toilet facilities, so there was no argument from me. We found a place with incredibly delicious turkey burgers. I ran to the toilet, Billy ordered, he ran to the toilet, we ate.
Did I mention I’ve thrown caution and veganism to the wind this trip? There’s next year… 2014 is the year of the vegetable and the horse, so it will be Neigh to meat and Yeah to carrots…until then, I’m on a carnivore tour in Texas. Too tired to drive on we chose a Priceline deal for the Overton Hotel in Lubbock where we checked in and slept like we’d been on the road to Zanzibar for a year. The sleeping was not before I attempted a bath, but when I turned on the faucet this strange black stuff came out – to which I yelled “Jesus what the fuck is this stuff?” I took it as a sign that sleep was godlier than cleanliness and promptly went to bed. In the morning I took a shower, first inspecting the tub, then at the front desk complained about the faucet, to which they comp’d us the breakfast buffet – in hindsight I think we could’ve had them give us a further discount on the room, but the bed was clean and we had slept uninterrupted. We hightailed it onto the highway.
On the way now closer to Austin, billboards were aplenty, mostly from you know who.
“I miss how we used to talk when you were a kid.” God
“Best BarBQ in Texas, next exit.” (Not from THE big guy, but maybe from a big guy)
“Well, you did ask for a sign.” God
“Keep using my name in vain, I’ll make rush hour longer” God
I could go on, but that might spoil your next road trip.
This day, since Billy was at the wheel, even though I probably would’ve made note of the additional God talkin’ billboards we passed anyway, I was also able to write stuff down on my trusty iPad. You see, I’m not a drive n’text/blog sort of person. In addition to the “signs” and a few gas stops, we passed (often slowly) through a variety of teensy Texas towns with names such as Post, Bangs, Coleman etc. In Coleman, we mistaking stopped for lunch at the Owl drug store for burger and Reuben (burp…and blah) and cokes. This had to have been the worst roadside meal we’ve had, which is surprising since the tamale factory where we had supper two nights ago was our first run in with godawfulness in roadfood. So much for some Yelpers. This is God’s Country after all – she would have been really disappointed with the cuisine,or lack thereof,at the drug store. God may not be too p,eased with the reviews some places get. I can see a billboard, “Though shalt not lie about the quality of food along the highway!” anyway, we had to open the windows to let out the fumes a couple times.
As we headed closer to Austin I noted there are sheep grazing and I must bah at them, alas once I have bah’d at these wooly wonders I realize I have also missed the photo-op to capture them. Instead I have shot the clouds… And still I am counting my blessings, though Not in the least lulled to sleep by either sheep or blessings. I and the mighty GPS are navigating…there will be no snoozing.
Time passes as we blur through the towns of Sweet. Comanche. Goldthwaite. Lampassas…and so many more tinier hamlets in between. We arrived in Austin at 4pm on Wednesday, just a day earlier than we had originally planned, so well worth it…getting to see my bouncing baby grandson. Yes, literally he was bouncing. Seeing this kid has made our long drive well worth the human and auto gas expense.
Its now several days since we arrived…a week i think. So much has happened, though most has been changing diapers, cooing and bouncing baby Levi. We are in the aftermath of Xmas, our bellies full of laughter and food, joyful to have made the trek. Currently, I’m glad to be parked (ass, not car) at the kitchen table, typing with the intent on posting this Can o’Max #6 adventure. Tomorrow I pick up Max’s brother, Simmy and his kids at Austin airport. Last year they came to us in LA. Max’s and my family have grown closer even though he has left this realm. I’m hoping we will make this a regular tradition, our winter holiday together. I will write more, when I have something to say. Merry whatever to you.