Getting Waco in Texas and seriously contemplating Life School
Hello blog followers.
I am sitting in my freezing cold Best Western room in El Paso, TX after a long day of driving across this huge state. Weather in TX has been averaging about 105 so you can imagine my relief at a chilly room and the storm clouds outside my window. Yippeee!
So I will update you from were we left off. After my love affair with Elvis in Graceland, I landed in a random town in Arkansas called Arkadelphia. I found the nearest hotel and pretty much crashed. I realized I was relatively close to Austin - around 5 hours away - so I woke up a little later and actually took a shower, applied make-up, etc. It was awesome. I proceeded to the CB, traded my audio book in for a new one, got some coffee, and was off. I was enjoying my pandora Elvis station on my iphone when I ran across a Starbucks for the first time in a state or two! Hooooray. Got a venti iced coffee - and later at lunch got a huge diet coke. Point of this story is....holy shit I had too much caffeine! Don't know what was wrong with me. I started itching like crazy, making up songs, changing the radio station every other second, pretty much going loco. Which was appropriate, considering I was passing through northern Texas and the Bible Belt.
It's...different there. Most Texans consider themselves to be Texans first, Americans second. You will often see the State flag before you see the American flag. Other than that in the stretch from Dallas to Austin, you see huge churches everywhere and nothing else. I was already sort of on the look out for weird because I had watched an infomercial the night before in my hotel for an amusement park in Orlando, FL called HOLY LAND EXPERIENCE. Holy what the eff! This is the most amazing fundamentalist vacation spot ever - complete with daily Passion Plays. I was disturbed by this and made a mental note of how for some reason Holy Land Experience was getting absolutely no PR in Cambridge, MA???!!! As I pass through Dallas, I see one of the familiar huge signs for a fundamentalist church, with probably a congregation of around 10,000, except this one has a sign for thier education program as well. It's called LIFE SCHOOL. I almost peed my pants - and it was not because of the caffeine OD. I entertained myself for an hour so creating my own little infomercial for Life School and all the amazing things one might learn there, and how you might not want to fail at Life...School. I entertained the idea of calling my Dad and telling him I was not going to make it LA because I had seen the light and I would now be enrolling in Life School in Waco, TX. I thought better of it and called my brother Jesse to make fun of it instead. Good times in Texas.
I had a wonderful time with my friend Michelle in Austin! She is a bright, cheery, talented, loving, smart woman and I could not be more lucky to have her as a friend. The hospitality was superb and Texan, the conversation was stimulating and fun, and the food was to die for! Austin is chill and charming as well - I hope to get a feel for the nightlife next time - and I KNOW I will be back. Her husband opened a BBQ restaurant in the 70s called The County Line, which has now turned into the most successful and delicious BBQ chain in Texas! Michelle took me to their most popular location on the river in Austin and we got the royal treatment. The food is amazing - absolutely best bread pudding I've ever had, drenched in bourbon sauce and homemade vanilla ice cream. The decor is funky and totally Texan with eccentric antiques and mismatching art all over the place. The final touch is the sounds of Michelle and cowboy-esque man teaching the visitors to speak "Texan" in the bathrooms - a CD on loop. It hilarious and I have a copy!
We went home and commenced to laugh, talk, play with their darling Siamese cat, Gigi, hang out with her awesome hubby, Ed - and then the parlor singing began. Now if any of you know me, you know that I'm not a great parlor performer. I clam up when fam or friends ask me sing - and often refuse. Well, the new philosophy is the YES. "Oh, you would like me to sing a little song for you? Yes, of course I will!" And I did. I sang 3 or 4 actually. And Michelle sang too. And it was wonderful and rewarding and fun and relaxed. I was feeling the flow - and the surrender of just enjoying my gift and letting it out. Not hoarding it any longer. Those days are over, baby! It's sangin time and it's damn fun..
Woke up to an amazing breakfast by Michelle and headed off to cross the great state of Texas. This was the most beautiful part of my drive so far. White and orange rocky hills covered in green, dessert fauna - blue mountains in the distance - billowy, white clouds in the sky that looked like poodles and chinese dragons - and that big western, blue sky. Truly, there is nothing like it. No words can explain the beauty of that big sky. Route 290 out of Austin is filled with peach stands, antique stores, ranches, oil rigs, just beautiful little pieces of TX - and 10 west is just as pretty, but much more barren. At that point, it is just you, the road, your music, and the sky. Pretty Rad.
I made it to El Paso in record time - considering the speed limit is 80 and I speed. Michelle and Ed called ahead to the County Line in El Paso, called The State Line because it sits right on the line between New Mexico and Texas. I was treated to an AMAZING salmon dinner with baked potato, beans, slaw, coors light, and cheesecake. The perfect reward for the long drive.
In closing, it is worthy to note that my ASS hurts. It is literally aching from sitting in that seat for so long. I'm going to do some serious yoga and stretching tonight and tomorrow. Hopefully you will not have to hear of my backside again.
Tomorrow is sort of up in the air, as I am probably 10 hours from LA, but I might not be ready to let this trip die yet. I'm having too much fun. I might find an interesting detour.